Your pet is part of the family. Feed them well! Here’s what you should consider when trying to decide between wet vs dry dog food.
And maintaining a balanced diet for your pet is a huge part of keeping them happy and healthy. But the debate still continues. Wet vs dry dog food: which is better?
Well, we might be able to help you decide. Read on to find out everything you need to know about wet dog food and dry dog food!
A Brief History of Dog Food
Our domestic relationship with dogs has a long history. In fact, some research suggests that we first domesticated dogs 16,000 years ago. And even before that, we used them as companions over 30,000 years ago.
So the earliest forms of dog food go back a long way too.
Romans used to feed their dogs leftover meat and gave them bones to chew on. For added nutrition, they also gave them milk-soaked barley oats. This diet dates back to around 2000 BC.
This approach of giving whatever you had continued for hundreds of years.
During the mid-19th century owners fed their dogs all sorts of food. Some even fed their dogs directly from their table!
These 19th-century dogs enjoyed bone knuckles, cabbage, onions, potatoes and scraps of bread. Although, they might have enjoyed more variety depending on their owner’s social standing.
It was only in 1860 that a businessman called James Spratt created the first commercial dog food. This all began in the east end of England’s capital, London.
This combined wheat-meal with baked meat and vegetables. Sixteen years later he also created the first dry dog biscuit.
These caught on in the US around 1890 and were very popular from 1900 onwards. So US companies began their own production.
They developed their own recipes for dry kibble and biscuits. And in 1922 they created canned dog food.
This recipe actually included horse meat. Fortunately, you won’t find horse meat in dog food products anymore!
From the 1980s onwards experts gave more attention to the nutritional needs of dogs and cats. The US National Academy of Sciences’ Research Council released an outline of the requirements for pet food. They revised this again in 2006.
The Lay of the Land
Nowadays there are hundreds of dog food brands on the market. But there are two main types of dog food: wet dog food vs dry food.
Dry dog food usually consists of pellets or granules. It is, as the name suggests, dry.
Manufacturers grind up the ingredients and then bake them into small, dry pellets. These ingredients often include meat, vegetables, and grains.
Kibble is a prime example of dry dog food. Other dog treats are often also dry. This makes them easy to carry around while you’re out and about!
You’ve probably guessed already that wet dog food is, well, wet! It combines the ingredients in a liquid almost like a gravy. Sometimes this has a slightly jelly-like texture.
Because of this, wet food usually comes in cans or pouches.
Often these types of dog food contain the same ingredients. But the pros and cons of each are quite different. So let’s have a look at these.
Benefits of Wet Dog Food
There are plenty of benefits to using wet food for a dog. Some of these are general, while others are more specific.
One of the overall benefits is the water content of canned food. This is always higher than that of dry dog food.
This means it can help to keep your dog hydrated throughout the day. This makes it a great option if you live in a hot or dry climate. Or if you have difficulty getting your dog to drink enough water.
However, it’s important not to use wet dog food as an alternative to drinking water. It does support hydration. But you shouldn’t use it to replace water.
This high water content brings another benefit. It helps to make your dog feel fuller for longer. This means it’s especially helpful for dogs who are undergoing weight management.
Wet dog food can also be a great option for older dogs. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, it has a richer smell than most dry dog foods. As dogs get older they often lose their sense of smell. This can contribute to a loss of appetite or interest in their food.
A stronger smell means they are more likely to show an interest in their dog bowl. This can combat any worrying weight loss.
Wet dog food is also easier on their teeth. This means it can be great for older dogs. But it’s helpful for any dogs suffering from the following:
- Tooth loss
- Misaligned jaws
- Small mouths
Nutritionally, different varieties of dog food differ depending on the manufacturer. So it’s also worth checking the label to ensure the dog food contains everything your pet needs!
Benefits of Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food can offer lots of practical benefits as well as nutritional ones!
If you’re thinking about storing canned dog food vs dry food, then dry food is a clear winner. Provided you store it correctly it won’t go bad once you open it.
Unlike wet dog food, you can leave it out all day without it spoiling. This makes it a much more convenient and less wasteful option. Once open, you have a much shorter time period to use canned dog food.
It’s also cheaper to buy than most wet dog food. And you can buy it in bulk. This means fewer shopping trips to stock you up.
But your dog can also reap the benefits of dry food.
The rough texture of the food pellets can actually help to clean their teeth while they eat. This reduces plaque, staining or tartar build up. So you actually reduce the chance of tooth loss.
You can also use it in food toys to mentally stimulate your dog. Kibble or food pellets are easy to stuff into puzzle toys. These enrich your dog’s environment and encourage mental development.
You Don’t Have to Choose Wet Vs Dry Dog Food!
We know what you’re thinking, both types of dog food have such great benefits. You don’t want your dog to miss out! Well, you don’t have to.
You can actually use a balance of both foods in your dog’s diet. There are several ways you can do this.
You can mix two smaller portions together in their bowl at meal times. This means they will regularly benefit from the hydration of wet dog food. And their teeth with be squeaky clean!
But you might find yourself with awkward amounts of wet dog food left over to use up.
An alternative plan is to give them one type of food in the morning and one in the evening. It’s best to give them dry food in the morning and wet food in the evening.
This is because wet food will feel like more of a treat for your dog. So they might be less interested in dry food after eating it. Some people actually keep wet dog food aside as a treat for special occasions or good behavior.
Whatever balance you choose, make sure you don’t accidentally boost their calorie intake. Check the labels to ensure you are combining the types of dog food into a healthy amount.
You should also check the nutritional information of different types of dog food. And avoid mixing brands too much.
Often one brand formulates its dog food to provide carefully thought out nutrition. Mixing brands together might create an imbalance in this.
Things to Consider When Choosing Wet or Dry Dog Food
Now you know the benefits of different types of dog food you might already know which one works best for you and your dog. But if you’re still struggling to decide, have a think about some of the following.
What is your budget?
Dry dog food is cheaper and less wasteful than wet dog food. This means it is a better option for anyone looking to save money.
But wet dog food can keep your dog fuller for longer. So you may end up using less of it at each meal. Overall though, dry dog food still works out as less expensive.
What are your pet’s individual needs?
The best dog food probably depends a lot on your dog. For example, older dogs might find wet food more appealing and easier to eat.
Like with most things, find what works best for your dog. This might take some trial and error but it means they will be happy at the end of the day.
Are you using it for something in particular?
Yes, dog food is primarily nutritional. But you might also be trying to train your dog. If you’re using food as an incentive, then wet food might be more appealing to your dog.
Or if you’re on a weight management plan it could help with that.
What does your vet say?
Your vet is a great person to talk to about your dog’s diet. They can advise on specific nutritional needs. And they’ll recommend the best products for you.
They can also discuss the most effective ways to transition from one type of food to another. This is important for creating a supportive and stable environment for your dog.
The Bottom Line
When deciding between wet vs dry dog food you should look at what works best for you and your dog. Both your situation and their needs will help you to find the right food for them.
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