For years most dog owners have fed their pets on tins of wet dog food. Clever marketing ploys have helped to convince us that wet dog food really is the best for our pets. But is this really the whole story?
You see, over the last few years a number of dry dog foods have begun to grow in popularity, helping to polarize the nation. These days most dog owners fall into one of two distinct camps; the wet food feeders and the dry food feeders.
If you’re currently trying to decide on the wet food vs dry food question, in this article we hope to reveal some of the most important factors in the argument. By the end you should feel far more confident about which types of foods to select for your dog, in order to keep them as fit and healthy as possible.
Wet Dog Food Vs Dry Dog Food: Typical Ingredients List
When you’re trying to decide whether wet food or dry food is better for your dog, a very good place to start is the ingredient list on both packets.
Let’s start off with the wet (tinned) dog food. Typically this ingredient list will promentntly feature the phrase “meat and animal derivatives”. What this means is essentially all the bits of animals that we humans wouldn’t want to eat. We take the nice meat off a chicken carcass, for example, in order to turn it into pies, pasties and so on.
The “meat and animal derivatives” is all the bits that you or I wouldn’t eat. Most commonly this source of protein comes from the heads, feet or guts of animals. Not only is this quite unsavoury to consider, but clearly this isn’t the highest quality of protein that your pet can have.
On the other hand, some of the so-called “super premium” dry dog foods contain real meat, as you will see from the ingredients list. These real chunks of meat offer far higher-quality nutrition to your pet and are likely to be far healthier to eat.
Also look at the other ingredients involved besides meat. For example, most dogs find grains very difficult to digest. In many cases, these elements are included more as a “cheap filler” rather than for any solid nutritional purpose.
On the other hand, rice is very easy for dogs to digest and can be very easy on the stomach. Rice is therefore generally a sign of a good food, while cereal grains like corn are poorer quality.
The message is this; whilst there are high quality wet foods and low quality dried foods, on the whole, super-premium dry foods tend to offer superior nutrition to wet (canned) dog foods.
The Cost of Feeding Dry Dog Food Vs Wet Dog Food
That the top brands of dry food offer superior nutrition is one thing, but price is also a consideration. Many people continue to buy wet foods even if they know the nutrition isn’t as good because wet foods seem to offer better value. But do they really?
The fact is that wet foods of course contain plenty of water. As a result, much of the volume of food you provide isn’t actually useful from a nutritional point of view, so you must feed more of it. Dried food, with the water taken out, is far more energy-dense and so one needs to feed far less to offer similar levels of nutrition.
Again, while there will always be exceptions to the rule, most wet foods for dogs are actually a false economy. Rather than comparing the two dog foods on a per-weight basis, try instead comparing them on a per-feed basis and in almost every case you will find that dried foods work out much better value.
This is often even the case for “super premium” foods, where a big bag can cost £40 or more. On a per-feed basis though all this high quality food can still work out cheaper than the standard wet dog foods you’ll find at your local supermarket.
The Practicalities of Feeding Wet Food Vs Dry Food
One final consideration when it comes to deciding on wet food versus dry food are the other practicalities.
Of these, there are two other factors that are worthy of consideration. Firstly, dry food weighs less. Oh sure, that giant bag that you can buy is heavy, but on a per-feed basis dry food is much lighter. This means that overall if you feed dry food you’ll have to buy less and carry less. This makes your life as an owner much easier indeed.
Secondly, consider how much of your dog’s food is actually digestible and how much of it isn’t. As mentioned earlier on, foods that contain rice and higher quality cuts of meat are generally more digestible than lower-quality foods.
It’s difficult to put this sensitively, but frankly it’s rather more pleasant clearing up after a dog that has been eating good quality food than poor food, which can make bowel movements sloppy and odorous.
Each person has their own opinion on whether dried food or wet food is better.
However the evidence suggests you’re probably better of trying to encourage your dog to eat dried foods.
Assuming you leave a bowl of fresh water available at all times there are few worries of your pet becoming dehydrated and much health to be gained from a super-premium dry dog food diet.