Dry Food or Canned Food?
Whether it’s wet food or dry food, both of them have their pros and cons in terms of ensuring our furkid’s health and well-being. While some of us understand our furkid’s preferences, we always have a choice of feeding our furkids kibbles or canned food.
But how do both types of food differ? We look into their respective pros and cons.
Wet Food (Canned Food)
- High moisture content
If your furkid is not drinking the adequate amount of water or have a urinary tract condition, you might want to consider feeding him canned food as it serves as a good source of hydration. Pet Care RX suggested that the moisture filled in the furkid’s belly will temporarily satiety your furkid without actually consuming more calories.
- Easy to chew
Canned food can be a good alternative if your furkid has missing teeth, poorly aligned jaw or smaller mouth. If your furkid is ill and unable to smell well or lacks appetite, canned food is opted as it ensures he is nourished with proteins, vitamins and minerals.
- High nutrition content/ More flavourful
Generally, the nutritional content in wet food is more superior compared to dry food as needless to say, it’s not only nutritious but low-carb and low-calorie. These canned food have almost twice the amount of animal fat and protein which are essential for our furkid’s health. Dog Food Advisor supports this claim by agreeing with its higher meat with fewer carbohydrates too. Even though we are not buying canned food labelled “grain free”, its amount of grains and carbs are still lower when compared to dry kibbles.
According to Pet Care RX, dogs tend to prefer wet food as it’s more flavourful and resembles more on meat and meat by-products. You might want to feed your active and younger furkids canned food as this boost in protein helps keep them energetic and help build muscles at the same time.
- Less Preservative
With their air-tight packaging, canned food contains lesser synthetic preservatives thus the fat and oil content don’t become rancid. The canning process also preserves the flavour of its content which means they are subjected to canned food regulations that set processing standards and limit the use of preservatives, artificial flavouring and artificial colouring.
- Shorter shelf life
Once open, it has to be immediately covered and refrigerated or better yet, finished quickly before it spoils as bacteria and plagues can contaminate the food faster due to its high water content. Note that we should never leave the canned food open for more than an hour or it becomes contaminated upon being exposed to the environment.
- Dental Care
Wet food does not clean our furkid’s teeth or massage his gums as he eats. Instead, it leaves a gooey residue (known as plaque) which usually hardens, causing tartar buildup and dental disease. We need to be more vigilant taking our furkid’s dental care by brushing off the residues stick in between our furkid’s teeth which will cause plague to build up and eventually cause tooth decay.
- Health issues
Its higher moisture, protein and fat content may upset our furkid’s tummies especially when they switch from kibbles. While some pet advocates argue that our furkids should maintain a balanced diet as high protein volume can overtax the kidney and livers, others argued that our furkid’s diet should focus mainly on protein.
Despite its low level of preservatives, Dog Food Insider reported that these canned foods often uses a number of thickening agents for the purpose to hold the food in shape. Among the thickener is carrageenan which has been associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), acid reflux, and intestinal ulceration.
- Less economical
Especially when you have a budget range, purchasing canned food can not only be costly but less economical. Due to its shorter shelf life upon opening, replenishing these canned food would increase our expenses.
Of course, we might also want to take its quality into consideration when stocking up these canned food. A higher quality of canned food (usually premium brands) would cost more upfront, but if we were to consider using it in the long run, it costs less and last longer when we take in the costs of vet bills for a malnourished dog.
Kibbles (Dry Food)
- Convenient – Feeding & Storing
Some pawparents free feed their pets by leaving a large amount of kibbles in their pet’s bowl with minimum fear of spoilage. Kibbles are also easy to measure out as it can be accurately and easily portioned to keep your furkid’s diet consistent.
Besides the convenience of feeding it, its longer shelf life serves the ease of storage. All we need is to keep them in an airtight plastic bag to keep its freshness and safe from pests and rodents. If you are frequently on the run, dry food is the choice for you as it can be kept in any containers. Or, you can opt to treat our furkids with kibbles as an effective training treats as it’s not only convenient to bring around but easy to feed.
Generally, dry food are less expensive and pawparents can purchase them in bulks and store them for a relatively long period of time. This indicates little waste; good savings compared to wet food which turns bad easily and requires frequent replenishment.
However just like what we mentioned in the wet food section, we must take the quality of the pet food into consideration. Some dry food that appears much less costly can be due to its less quality ingredients such as fillers and by-products. Hence, always keep in mind to read the labels so that what we spend is really worth the value!
- Dental care
Interestingly, some dry foods are served as dental health supplements as they are specially formulated and shaped to clean the teeth whilst being chewed. Nevertheless, if your furkid has dental issues (tooth decay, missing teeth, and gum problems) chewing on kibbles will be a problem and wet food will be more preferred.
However Dogs Naturally warned that this is not to be mistaken that “kibbles might clean their teeth better than canned food”, “better” does not mean effectively. We should not solely rely on these specialised kibbles but take up the responsibility to brush our furkid’s teeth. By doing so we can save up the cost of visiting the vet.
- Low moisture content
With the hot climate of our country, wet food diet can be more practical as our furkids need to be hydrated especially sick ones. However if we still opt for feeding dry kibbles, PetMD recommends that we add some “gravy” i.e water. All we have to do is just add about ¼ cup of filtered water on top of the bowl of kibbles to moisten and enhance the flavour of the pet food. But once these kibbles are soaked, it is subject to spoiling when it sits out at room temperature.
- Nutrition content
As mentioned, dry food has a longer shelf life due to its low moisture content. But ever consider the reason behind it? To start off, these kibbles are dry cooked meal and exposed to high volume to heat, destroying its nutrient content. Likewise, canned food are canned fresh and exposed less to heat.
Other than that, these dry food usually have a lower amount of fat content and higher amount of carbohydrates. If you have an active furkid, a higher fat content may be more favoured upon than dry food. Additionally, as protein and fat content in dry food increases, it does cause a rise in price which defeats the advantages of dry food: a relative inexpensiveness.
Besides, some manufacturer of dry pet food brands might add artificial colouring in order to appeal to us by making us think the food is healthier, tastier or full of ingredients.
These bright coloured kibbles may look like vegetables or chunks of meat but the truth is it is a marketing strategy and it actually serves no nutrition purpose to our pets. In addition, The Nest claims that our furkids actually appreciate the taste of their food more than its appearance. This is because their sense of sight differs from ours and it does not play a significant role in their choice of food. They lack the ability to see colours ranging from red to green. According to OPD, natural organic food should look grey and bland due to the absence of potentially harmful artificial colouring.
To summarize, Dog Food Advisor had reviewed them in the table below:
Since both dry and canned food serves a fair amount of nutrition, some pawparents opt to mix them together in a bowl to have the best of both worlds. Combining them allows our furkids to taste of wet food while it allows us the flexibility of buying different types of food that fits our budget. However some may disagree with mixing both types of food in the same bowl as the rate of digestion for wet and dry feed differs. Nevertheless, Maxi Zoo suggests it can help our furkids to better habits as we tend to fill too many dry kibbles in their bowl, worrying we underfed them because the “right” portion seems rather insubstantial. Hence we are instead overfeeding them.
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong way to feed our furkids as both types of food do serve the right nutrient content to ensure growth and health. We can always consult our vets to determine the suitable combination of wet and dry foods to ensure our furkid’s health and keep their tummies happy. Pet Care RX advises that it’s the consistency of dry foods that keeps their digestion steady while the feeding of canned food keep our furkids interested in their mealtime.