Wet dog food is good for dogs
Wet food, dry food & Co. - which dog food is the best?
Proper dog nutrition is the subject with the greatest potential for controversy among dog owners. There is a lot of discussion, especially in Internet forums - which can quickly unsettle inexperienced owners or those who still want to become dog owners. While one faction swears by home-made food, either raw (BARF) or home-cooked, the other dog owners defend purchased dog food. But here too, opinions differ as to when dry food, wet food or a mixed feeding of both is most suitable for the dog. In the following article you will learn the advantages and disadvantages of each type of food and how you can find the right food for your dog.
Good food versus bad food
To begin with, it should be emphasized that the best dog food optimally supplies the dog with energy and nutrients, is easy to digest, the dog tastes good and also gives the owner a feeling of security. All of this does not depend on whether it was homemade or bought in the store.
Most conventional dog foods are very good and will take care of the dog according to its needs. Of course, there is always food that does not meet these requirements for various reasons. There are product tests that compare different feeds and examine them for harmful substances.
But homemade food can also cause problems, for example if the ration has not been calculated correctly for the dog or if it contains ingredients that the dog cannot tolerate.
Dog food: raw or cooked?
Dog owners who barefoot their dog, i.e. feed them raw meat, want to orientate themselves particularly towards the original diet of the wolf. After all, it can be said that wolves also feed on raw meat and are optimally cared for.
However, the dog is not a tame wolf. Through the society of humans, dogs have adapted to their eating habits over thousands of years and, so to speak, got used to cooked food. After all, they fed on the remains of the people and thus kept the deposits clean.
Cooking also makes the feed easier to digest because the structure of the constituents is changed. Cooking also makes feed safer, as potentially dangerous germs and possibly existing parasites in the meat are killed by the heat.
That doesn't mean that barefing is automatically worse - it does, however, require good kitchen hygiene and not every dog can tolerate raw food.
Conventional food from the pet store
Most owners choose conventional food because they are either unsure how to properly care for the dog according to their needs or simply lacking the time to cook for the dog. In the pet shop there is a lot of high-quality dog food with different flavors that are adapted to the respective phase of the dog's life, such as dry or wet food for puppies, adult dogs and seniors.
But what is better for a dog? Wet food or dry food? To clarify this question, the differences between the foods and their effects on the dog are explained below. Finding the right food for your dog is usually a long process. Just as people react very differently to different foods, no general statement can be made for dogs either.
The difference between dry food and wet food
As the name suggests, the main difference between dry and wet food is the moisture content. While wet food contains around 75 percent moisture, i.e. water, dry food contains between three and eleven percent moisture.
This affects the dog's drinking behavior, the amount to be fed and the shelf life of the food. While dogs fed dry food need to drink significantly more, dogs fed wet food need less water.
To do this, however, they need a significantly larger amount of feed in order to be supplied with sufficient energy and nutrients. This is because water makes up a lot of space and weight, but does not bring any "ingredients" with it. Dry food is highly concentrated, so to speak, so you should measure the food precisely, as you can quickly overdose and feed too much. You can tell that the dog is continuously gaining weight.
Prejudices against dry dog food
Due to the low moisture content, many owners assume that Dry food bad for the dog's kidneys is. When feeding the dog with dry food, access to sufficient fresh water must be guaranteed at all times. The dog compensates for the lack of water in the food by drinking more.
Thus, dry food by itself does not cause any damage to the kidneys unless the dog is not drinking enough. Accordingly, wet food is of course suitable for dogs that drink poorly. However, there is also special kidney food that can be found on the market as dry food. The decisive factor is not the moisture, but the protein and phosphate content in the feed.
It is also often assumed that the high percentage of carbohydrates and the relatively low meat content in dry food is not good for dogs. Carbohydrates, whether from grain, potatoes or other sources, can be digested very well by dogs and provide a solid basis for energy supply. The carbohydrate content in dry food is therefore not a problem either.
Wet food versus dry food
It cannot be denied that most dogs prefer to eat wet food rather than dry food. One of the reasons for this is that wet food smells more intense and dogs, which perceive their world more strongly with their nose than humans, are addressed by the intense smell.
However, the dry feed has now caught up in palatability thanks to special coatings made from fat. The coating is the reason why the dry food sometimes feels a bit greasy.
In terms of digestion time, the two types of food hardly differed, because both are highly digestible and adapted to the dog's digestive system.
Diarrhea, gas, and soft poop after wet food
Some dog owners report that wet food often gives their dog gas or soft poop. One of the reasons for this is the high moisture content. More often, however, gelling agents that are added to wet food to improve the texture are the cause of this. These gelling agents are not harmful per se, but neither are they beneficial for digestion.
If your dog reacts to wet food with flatulence and soft stool, it certainly makes sense to switch to dry food. Most of the time, the consistency of the stool becomes much firmer when the dog is given dry food, which is particularly noticeable when you have to clear away the pile.
If your dog has frequent diarrhea, it does not necessarily have to be due to the food, so you should investigate the cause with your vet in such a case. Often reasons other than the food can lead to prolonged diarrhea.
Shelf life and storage of dog food
The moisture it contains affects the shelf life of the feed. While you can hardly see any differences with unopened food, it is already open Dry food has a significantly longer shelf life than wet food, so that you can buy it in large bags and then store it well.
Wet food cans that have already been opened should be stored in the refrigerator and used up relatively quickly. This is particularly important in hot summer temperatures so that the leftover food does not spoil and harm the dog.
It is advisable to store opened dry food in a lockable food bin. So it is protected from humidity as well as hungry dogs looking for food or possible food pests.
Mixed feeding: combine wet and dry feed
Because of the different properties of wet and dry food, many dog owners choose to mix the two types of food. There are various ways of combining wet and dry food: together in a bowl or alternating both types of food.
Whether wet food in the morning and dry food in the evening or vice versa - how you combine the food is up to your taste. If the dog is used to it, it is not a problem to feed dry and wet food alternately.
Possible reasons for mixed feeding
Mixing wet and dry food can be for a number of reasons:
- Cost savings, as dry food is usually cheaper and the amount of moist food is reduced
- Improving the consistency of the faeces by adding dry feed
- Better acceptance of the dry food due to a more intense smell if you mix in small amounts of wet food (especially appetizers in sauce are suitable for this)
The right amount of feed
Both dry and wet food packaging has feeding recommendations based on the dog's weight. This shows you how much dry food or how much wet food a dog needs every day.
If you offer your dog mixed feeding, the total amount of feed should correspond to a daily ration. Combining both foods does not mean that you feed twice as much, because then the dog will gain weight accordingly. The ratio between dry and wet food is not decisive, as each type of food can be fed completely on its own.
Change of food in dogs
Food changes may be necessary if the dog refuses a type of food or can no longer tolerate a certain food. In general, it does not make sense to switch abruptly. It doesn't matter whether you stick to the same type of food and just want to feed a different brand or flavor, or whether you want to switch the dog from dry food to wet food or the other way around.
Since the quantities that the dog needs daily are indicated on the packaging, a conversion from dry food to wet food is seldom necessary. In general, however, you can say that you have to compare the nutritional values contained in the dry matter - i.e. the feed completely without water, so to speak.
In the Conversion from dry to wet food you should be aware that the amount the dog gets at a meal is much more voluminous than before. Accordingly, you should distribute the amount over several servings throughout the day in order to keep the risk of stomach torsion as low as possible, especially in large dogs.
Conversely, when switching from wet to dry food, the amount that ends up in the bowl will be significantly reduced, because the dry food is highly concentrated and the water that was previously in the food is no longer in it.
How do I switch my dog from wet food to dry food?
When changing food, especially in dogs with a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, you should take some time.
Usually a feed change takes 3 to 4 days and you swap more and more of the old feed with the new feed. It is important that you stay in the total amount of food in the weight class of your dog.
For example, the feed changeover could proceed as follows:
- on the first day give about three quarters of the old food and mix in a quarter of the new food
- on the second day, mix the two types of feed in half
- on the third day, add a quarter of the old food and mix in three quarters of the new food
- on the fourth day you can feed the new food completely
Of course, you can also give the respective mixing ratios over 2 to 3 days. You should judge whether this is necessary according to how well your dog can handle the change. This is very individual: some have no problems with changes and can cope with abrupt changes, other dogs need several days or even one to two weeks for a change.
If your dog is having trouble changing the food, you shouldn't keep changing the food. The idea that dogs need variety in their bowls is projected by humans rather than that dogs really need variety.
Conclusion: which food is best for my dog?
Whether you choose wet food, dry food, self-cooking or barfing primarily depends on your time and your feelings. Don't let yourself be unsettled by someone saying that only homemade food is good. Statements like: "If you feed dry food and not BARF, you don't love your dog" are nonsense. Better to buy good food than cooked bad food because you don't know exactly what your dog needs.
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