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Wet vs. Dry Food: Which is Better for Pets? | Nutrition Center

Wet vs. Dry Food: Which is Better for Pets?

The truth of the matter is that there isn't always one that is "better." In fact, the quality of pet food is far more important than its form. So, how do you best go about choosing between wet and dry pet food? The answer may be more personal than you think.

Food and How it Affects Your Pet's Health

Did you know your pet's food type may be helpful in the control of some medical problems? For example, cats and dogs that suffer from chronic bladder crystal and stone formation seem to achieve better control if fed wet food. This is because the high water content of wet food helps dilute minerals responsible for crystal and stone formation in the bladder, which is especially important in cats. Cats are naturally thirst tolerant and do not normally drink large amounts of water.

Conversely, dry pet food is often attributed to better dental hygiene. However, in order to be effective for dental tarter prevention, dry food needs to be chewed. This can be problematic for some dogs and cats, as cats have a fixed jaw and dogs tend to gulp instead of chew their food. Lack of chewing also means that eating wet food doesn’t necessarily promote dental tarter. Food simply does not spend enough time in the mouth to prevent or promote tarter.

Weighing the Options Between Wet and Dry Food

So, if food type is not the ultimate factor in your pet's dental hygiene, how do you make a choice? In the end it often depends on your personal preference, lifestyle, and budget concerns. Dry food is definitely cheaper and more convenient than canned food. Despite the expense and the hassle of opening, storing, and disposing of cans, canned food is more readily eaten by most pets. Raw and homemade diets are also expensive and require careful attention to food safety, public safety, and ingredient balance, but are eagerly accepted by most pets. Combining wet and dry is another strategy that helps control costs and is typically well received by pets.

The most important evaluation of the food, no matter what type, is how it affects the pet. That is, is it meeting your pet's nutritional requirements? A coat with a brilliant luster typically indicates that the food contains a quality nutrient balance. Formed, small to moderate stool volume suggests that the ingredients are highly digestible and the food does not contain excessive indigestible fiber. The willingness to exercise and the activity level of dogs and cats fed a quality diet is generally much greater than in pets fed inferior foods.

Trust the health of your pet, not the opinion of others. Every pet is genetically unique and will respond to food uniquely. The best food is the one providing the best health results, irrespective of the brand or whether it's wet or dry.

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