Wet or dry dog food: which is better?
Have you been feeding your dog dry dog food just because you were told it prevents tartar and dental disease? Do you feel guilty when you add canned foods for the damage they can do? Dry foods do not prevent dental disease, and wet or canned foods do not cause dental problems. Each type of dog food has its own benefits and drawbacks. A combination of wet and dry combines the best of both foods.
The dog’s unique feeding style
The belief that dry food prevents dental disease stems from the belief that chewing causes abrasion to tooth surfaces to prevent or shave off tartar. And that’s true, but dogs don’t chew their food! Anyone who has witnessed or stepped on a dog’s vomit knows that vomit looks like food, only wetter.
As pack animals, the dogs killed and feasted in highly competitive groups. The individuals ripped meat from the ingested corpse and then repeatedly plunged into frenzy for more. Taking the time to chew would have meant less food and possibly starvation.
This feeding habit has not changed in our modern dogs. Examination of a modern dog’s mouth reveals that they share the same sharp, pointed teeth as their carnivorous ancestors. They grab, maybe crunch once, swallow and grab again. No abrasive cleaning action takes place on the teeth during a meal.
Dental tarter and type of food
Wild cats and dogs do not eat any dry food. Studies show that they have less dental tartar than pets fed commercial, wet or dry foods. The fact is that dental disease is more complicated than the type of food that is eaten. Dental hygiene depends less on diet and more on routine care. Regular tooth brushing and the availability of hard chew toys have a greater impact on dental health than the type of food. Owners can be comforted that they can feed however they want without feeling guilty.
Dry dog food
The main benefits of dry foods are convenience and price. Open the bag and take out, no mess. This makes traveling with a dog much easier. It is also very inexpensive compared to wet food. A 50-pound dog can be fed for as little as 13 cents a day.
The main drawbacks of dry food are its quality and the reluctance of dogs to eat it when they are sick.
All dry food ingredients are put into huge pressure cookers and turned into liquid at high temperatures. This means that any form of protein, carbohydrate, or fat can be used. That’s why this method is perfect for using meat, grains, and processed food scraps, as well as dead and decaying animals, rather than actual cuts of meat and whole grains and vegetables.
Once the hot slurry reaches the proper time and temperature, it is injected through superheated extruders. As the liquid exits the extruders, the cold air causes it to “pop” in various ways depending on the extruder exit mold. The dry kibble is then drizzled with oil and vitamins before bagging to replenish some of the nutrients lost in this double-heat process.
Dry kibble won’t “pop” without enough carbs. This is why dry dog food tends to be lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates than wet or canned food.
Although dogs eat their food dry when they are healthy, they often refuse to eat it when they feel sick. Refusal to eat can reduce your nutritional status and your ability to heal. This downward spiral often leaves these dogs very fragile when they are finally taken to the vet. Would you eat shredded wheat without milk if you were sick?
Canned dog food
The main benefits of canned food are taste and quality. Only rarely do sick dogs refuse to eat canned food. When wet food is mixed with dry food, dogs eat more eagerly. The greater variety of flavors in canned foods allows for greater diversity in the diet. Canned foods are generally higher in protein than dry foods. With canning, the ingredients are cooked in the sealed can so that the nutrients are not lost during the heating process.
A big drawback of wet food is that it is more expensive than dry food. Also, many owners are opposed to the smell of canned food and do not like to store partial cans in the refrigerator. And certainly opening a can is more complicated than taking it out of a bag.
Why not feed them both?
Since food is not to blame for dental disease, why not spice up your dog’s diet with a combination of canned and dry foods? Using the wet one improves quality, flavor and enthusiasm for mealtime. Adding the dry reduces food costs. Everyone wins. Having wet food available can help support your dog’s appetite during illness.