Canned Versus Dry Pet Food

Choosing a food for your pet can be difficult. There are many brands, styles, varieties, and opinions out there when it comes to nutrition for our four-legged friends. The number of options can be mind-boggling.

One of the fundamental things that needs to be decided is whether you are going to feed your pet canned or dry food. Read on to learn about the differences between canned versus dry pet food, so you can make your decision with confidence.

Reading the Small Print

Reading pet food labels on wet versus dry food is not for the faint of heart. This often confusing endeavor is further complicated by the fact that you are not comparing apples to apples.

The guaranteed analysis section of the food label is where you look to find information like protein content. While this is great information, guaranteed analysis does not take into account water content. This makes eight percent protein content in a dry pet food very different than a canned diet containing eight percent protein. Because the moisture content from diet to diet can vary dramatically, comparing the percentages is not straightforward.

If you want to use the numbers in the guaranteed analysis to compare pet foods, you must first convert them to a dry matter basis. This removes any water weight so that you can compare the actual nutrient content. There are online calculators available to help you convert the numbers.

Health Benefits of Canned Versus Dry Pet Food

All commercially prepared, AAFCO-approved pet diets must meet certain standards in order to be deemed suitable for sale. This means that no matter which food you pull off the shelf, your pet will get a complete and balanced diet for his or her life stage.

There are some differences, though, that you may want to take into account when deciding between canned and dry pet diets.

  • Due to the higher water content, pets often must eat more canned food than dry to meet nutritional requirements.
  • A canned food diet can be helpful for overweight pets, as there is a lower calorie content per amount of food.
  • Canned food, due to the higher moisture content, can be a good choice for pets with urinary tract issues.
  • Dry food tends to cost less because more nutrients are packed into a smaller amount.
  • Because it does not require refrigeration, dry food typically has a longer shelf life.
  • Canned food is often preferred by most pets, including picky eaters.

Canned or dry, commercial pet diets are designed to deliver your pet’s nutritional needs in one, convenient dietary choice. Nutrition isn’t always easy to decipher, but when you need help choosing the perfect diet for your precious pet, Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is here to guide you along the way.