Canned or Kibble? Which Pet Food is Best?
Courtesy of Susan Thixton, Truth About Pet Food
As if it isn’t difficult enough for pet parents to decide on which brand or variety of dog food or cat food to choose, you also have to decide if you are feeding dry or canned pet food. Walk into any pet store and you are staring at aisles and aisles of possible choices, and then you get to multiply the options by two. My best advice to pet parents – generally speaking – is to choose both; feed a quality kibble and canned pet food.
They are both pet food but there are many differences and benefits to dry pet food and canned or moist pet food. Some dry dog foods and cat foods provide probiotics which canned foods do not. Probiotics are considered friendly bacteria which helps keep the pet’s intestinal system in good working order. Keeping the intestinal system happy and healthy has far more benefits than good elimination habits; more importantly, keeping the intestinal system healthy helps keep the pet healthy because 90% of the immune system is located there. Obviously, a strong immune system helps the pet fend off disease and illness. Probiotics are scientifically proven to inhibit viruses and ‘bad’ bacteria, strengthen the immune system, plus aid in the production of digestive enzymes. To my knowledge there is not a canned pet food available that contains probiotics.
Some canned or moist pet foods do contain a prebiotic however. A prebiotic is sort of a food for the probiotic to consume; helping it to better do it’s job. However without the probiotic activity, the prebiotic doesn’t do much good. Both are best.
If you have ever closely examined the recommended feeding instructions on a can of dog food or cat food, you see that it takes quite a few cans to provide the daily nutritional needs of your pet. The reason is all canned foods contain high amounts of moisture. Water fills you up pretty quickly; the concern is your pet might not eat enough canned food. On the other side of the water coin however…the added moisture to the diet of dogs and cats is very beneficial. Cats, especially don’t drink enough water. Speaking of the ‘plumbing’ of dogs and cats, extra amounts of water help keeps the ‘pipes’ flushed clean. Just like your garden hose runs slow due to build up when its not used very often, the same comparison can be applied to your pets ‘pipes’. Lots of water running through the pipes helps to keep them clean.
The next thing to consider is the Guaranteed Analysis of dry foods to canned foods. The Guaranteed Analysis is a requirement of every pet food label; it provides pet owners with the nutritional information for that particular food. At first comparison, a dry food appears to provide a great deal more nutrition. As an example a dry cat food might show 26% protein while a canned cat food shows only 9% protein. The 26% protein and 9% protein is considered ‘as fed’ statistics. ‘As fed’ means the moisture content is considered into the statistics. To compare them fairly you need to multiply the canned protein amount times three; a rough method to consider only the nutrition of the food not the moisture. Back to our example of 9% protein in the canned food, when you remove the moisture consideration (9% times 3) you get an estimate of 27% protein in the canned food. The required minimal protein level of an adult cat food is 26%, the required minimal protein level of an adult dog food is 18%. Knowing how to properly compare the nutrition provided in a dry and canned food enables you a better means to decide which is best for your pet.
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