The amount of choice is overwhelming when it comes to stepping into a pet store to choose a food. There are rows and rows of food from floor to ceiling in both the cat and dog aisles! From different textures, to flavours, to ingredients in all sorts of combinations – how is it possible to choose just one? One big question in most people’s minds when they get started is whether they should go with a wet or a dry food. Each type has their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Read on to learn more about which would be best suited to your pet.
Table of contents
- Always check the label for nutritional adequacy first!
- Dry food
- Wet food
- Struggling to find a good food that suits your pet?
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Always check the label for nutritional adequacy first!
The most important thing to look for on the label of your food is that it is complete and balanced for the type of pet you want to feed and for their life-stage. You should check this first when deciding on a food type. You will find diets that are formulated to meet the specific requirements of growing individuals, pregnant individuals, or adult individuals. Some diets will be formulated to meet the needs of all these life stages but the best choice will be one that most closely matches your own pet’s age.
Dry foods are classified as foods with very low water content of under 14%. These diets are manufactured using extrusion, baking, cold-pressing, or drying. The most common of these is extrusion. If there isn’t any stated manufacture method on the bag, you can assume that this was the way the kibbles were made.
The following are the main advantages to using dry kibble for your cat or dog:
Can be used in puzzle feeders
Puzzle feeders are toys which have to be manipulated for your dog or cat to get at the food. They are often recommended as a way to extend the time taken to eat a meal and reduce begging behaviour between meals. Dry kibbles are the most commonly used food with puzzle feeders. There are many dry food puzzle feeders available at your local pet store or are easy to make yourself, for cats or for dogs.
Can double as treats for training
Dry kibbles are the perfect to use during training. They are bite-sized and easy to keep in a pocket, ready to be doled out for a job well-done. Also, they are likely to be lower in calories than many treats, so can more easily fit into your dog or cat’s daily meal plan.
Easy to store
Dry food can be kept in its own bag in any cool and dry location in your home. Any closet or a pantry is suitable.
Tend to be less expensive per calorie than wet food
Dry food doesn’t contain very much moisture. This makes its storage and transport a lot more economical when compared with wet food. You will likely pay a lot less per calorie of dry food than wet food.
Wet foods will contain from 60-90% moisture. They are available in either cans, trays, or pouches at the pet store. These foods will always be cooked before packaging to prevent bacterial growth. They have a long shelf life before they are opened.
The following are the main advantages when choosing a wet food:
May improve water intake in cats
There are some reports that a wet diet can increase water intake in cats. This can be useful for senior cats that have a less sensitive thirst drive in their old age. A wet food can help to ensure they stay hydrated.
Can be easily warmed up
For any pernickety cats and dogs, giving wet food a zap in the microwave can help to release aromatic compounds. This will turn a meal into an irresistible treat! Additionally, a warmer meal may be preferred during times of inappetence due to stress or illness.
Available in a wide variety of textures
Wet food can come in many textures such as pate, mince, jelly, and gravy. Some foods will even include whole ingredients in the mix. There are many options for discerning and picky pets!
May help with weight management
There are some reports that a wet food can help to increase satiety because of the moisture content. Wet foods might be a good option for the dog or cat who always seems to be hungry!
Struggling to find a good food that suits your pet?
Have a chat with the veterinary team at your practice. Contrary to popular belief, both vets and nurses are educated in pet nutrition, and the nurses are often great at finding just the right diet to tempt a fussy pet!