The pet food market is constantly growing, and so is the amount of food options available for your pet to chomp on. But with so many options, choosing the right food for your pet can get confusing. Not only do pet parents have to choose from different brands and ingredients, but to come to this preference, they need to select the type of food they need to feed their pet first. However, the kind of food your pet needs entirely depends on your pet’s breed, size, lifestyle, and (obviously!) liking. In this article, you will learn more about two basic types of pet food: wet food & dry food.
What is wet food?
Wet pet food is the one that is sold in tins, trays, and in some cases, pouches. It is created by mixing protein sources (generally animal byproducts) with fats, oils, minerals, and grains. The mixture is then added to the can, pouch, or tray, closed vacuum shut, cooked, sterilized, cooled down, and in the end; sent for labeling and packaging.
A single container of wet food contains 60% to 80% moisture content. It doesn’t mean that there will be water sloshing around the container. The moisture is present in the ingredients used(it’s hidden). Some of the well-liked wet foods are Purepet, Meo Persian Cat food, and Canine Creek.
Pros of wet food:
High Moisture content: Wet food can be a fantastic option for pets who don't tend to drink much water on their own. This is because wet food typically contains more than 60% water, which can help keep your furry friend well-hydrated and healthy. It increases your pet’s water intake, which helps put less strain on main organs such as kidneys as well as their urinary tract.
Likeability: Both cats and dogs are known to like wet food better as it has a moist, soft texture, powerful smell, and intense flavors, making it appetizing for your pet. Pets often love wet food more as it mimics their natural diet.
Low Carbohydrates: When you compare the same portion of wet and dry food, wet food is low in calories and carbohydrates, making it best for overweight(chonky) fur babies as they can eat more food while consuming fewer calories. It can also make your pet feel fuller.
Health: Wet food is easy on pets having few or no teeth and for fur babies who are suffering from dental issues, as it is easier to chew than dry kibble. Wet food is an excellent choice for pets with sensitive stomachs, for the ones that face constipation frequently, and for picky eaters.
Nutrients: Although wet and dry food both have similar nutrients, wet food is higher in protein, phosphorus, sodium, and fat.
Cons of wet food:
Shelf life: Wet food has a shorter shelf life than dry food, as even though an unopened container of wet food has a shelf life of almost two years from the date of manufacture, the moment you open your pet’s wet food container, time starts ticking as an open container of wet food only has a shelf life of 5 days, that too only when it’s refrigerated instantly. At room temperature, it turns bad after 4 hours, so even if you have frozen the container but still have some leftover food in your pet’s bowl after 4 hours, you have to throw it away.
Expensive: Wet food is way more expensive than dry food, particularly when you feed your pet exclusively wet food. This price difference is said to be because of the presence of meat byproducts in the wet food and a higher packaging cost.
Messier: Spilling liquids is an easy task which we think your pet is an expert of. Well, wet food is in a semi-liquid form, so it is not the optimal choice if your pet is a spiller. However, you can solve this problem by getting mats and placing them in the feeding area. Your pet might even get food on their face, which can be easily wiped by a towel or tissue, but it sure is a hassle.
Odor: Pets find the smell of wet food lovely, but we can’t say the same about their hooman as the smell can get too strong to handle (especially when they keep their food next to their pets in the fridge!).
Waste: As wet food comes in small tins, trays, and pouches, they contribute more to the increasing trash that is bad for the environment.
What is dry food?
Dry food, also known as 'kibble' is a widely available pet food. It is produced by mixing dry and wet ingredients to form a dough. This dough is heated and then under pressure in the process of ‘extrusion’. After the dough is cooked, it is pushed through the die machine that cuts the kibble. The size and shape in which the kibble gets cut depends on the specific product. The kibbles are then dried and cooled, after which they enter a revolving drum where they are coated evenly with a mix of flavors that enhance flavors and with some preservatives to enhance their shelf life.
This type of food is known as dry food, as it has less than 20% moisture content. Some of the best dry pet food brands are Whiskas cat dry food and Smartheart dog food.
Pros of dry food:
Shelf life: Although the shelf life of unopened dry pet food is only over a year when you open it, its shelf life is six weeks (and it doesn’t require refrigeration!), as dry food has lower moisture content. You can keep it out for as long as you want for your pet to graze on(it is suggested to throw away the food left in the bowl the next day to refill with new).
Economic: Dry pet food is cheaper than wet pet food. As dry food doesn't spoil rapidly, pet parents can buy it in large quantities to increase their savings!
Better Dental Health: One of the most important benefits of dry pet food is dental health as this type of food is chewy, which helps to keep your pet’s teeth free of plaque and tartar(No! It is not a replacement for brushing their teeth). It is helpful, especially for teething pets.
Waste: Packing kibble bags requires way less packaging than wet dog food, which means dry pet food creates less waste than wet pet food.
Other benefits: Dry pet food is clean and convenient as it does not create a mess like wet pet food. If it spills, you can clean it easily with a broom or vacuum cleaner, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning food off your pet’s face. It is easy to serve and store and is safe for hoomans noses, as dry pet food doesn’t stink as much.
Cons of dry food:
Palatability: Unlike wet food, dry pet food does not attract much pet following as it has a harder texture and minimal smell.
Nutrients: Dry food is calorie-dense as compared to wet food, which makes it an unideal option for overweight pets as they can contract obesity-related diseases.
Sensitivity: Dry dog food is tough and chewy, helping to keep your dog’s teeth tartar free, but on the other hand, it is painful for dogs with sensitive teeth to eat it. It is also not a great choice for picky eaters.
Moisture content: Dry dog food has a low moisture content, which makes it hard for your dog’s organs to break down and digest. It may even cause dehydration in your pets, especially when they dislike drinking water.
Both wet and dry food have similar nutrient profiles, which means you can feed your pet either wet or dry food, as eating either type of food nourishes your dog. So, choosing your dog's food depends on their preference.
Do you know what is better than giving your pet one type of food? Give them two types of food! You can do this to increase the dental benefits of the food, and your pet might even appreciate some variety, and you can save more with this approach. While feeding your pet the combination, keep an eye on your pet’s health, as some pets may develop gastrointestinal issues or diarrhea. Also, make sure you do not overfeed your pet!
If you want to make sure you are making the right choice for your pet, ask your veterinarian! If you are transitioning your pet from one food to another, don’t forget to check out our blog about it to make this transition as smooth as possible.