Feeding your dog well is an important part of the process of loving him and taking care of him. You care, therefore he does not live on apple slices and bacon fat. And because you care you want more than just mediocre dog food. The first decision is picking out a dog food revolves around the age old dry dog food vs. canned debate.
If you’ve ever noticed (and there are of course exceptions to this observation) people with large dogs tend to show up at the pet food store grabbing armloads of the 50 pound bags of dry food. People with small dogs grab one of those little red plastic shopping baskets and fill it with treats and cans of petite dog food. Is there a reason for this? Do small dogs need to gnosh on the soft slick filling content of the canned stuff while big dogs need the great challenge of crunching their hard food pieces into oblivion with great enthusiasm? Well, probably not.
Should I Feed Kibble or Canned Dog Food?
There are some dogs who simply absolutely must have canned dog food, but these dogs have an obvious reason. Dogs that are missing vital chewing teeth, for instance, need canned dog food. Dogs that are raised completely on canned dog food are not likely to make the switch to the effort associated with dry dog food later in life. This is sort of like asking someone who has eaten oatmeal every morning for the last sixty years to suddenly wake up and start chomping down peanut brittle for breakfast. There is comfort in the softness and ease of a puddled meal. There is something disconcerting in the effort of crunching, at least in the mind of the sixty year old man and the dog who has lived solely on canned dog food.
Canned dog food is almost always more appetizing to dogs. There are plenty of suggestions to help explain this, but none that are based completely in fact. Some people believe that it is so much more attractive to dogs because it isn’t as healthy for them. This depends entirely on which line of dog food you’re plucking off the shelves. If you are filling your dog up on filler in the form of a hard dog food, there are plenty of high real protein filled cans out there that would shame the hard food at the nutrition counter.
Hard dog food has numerous advantages over the soft stuff. In the "dry dog food vs. canned debate", dry dog food comes in heavy on the pro side with its ability to help clean a dog’s teeth (most dry dog food eaters have better breath than those who chow down the soft variety) ease of storage and handling (dry dog food can be left down for free feeders while wet dog food must be consumed on a schedule) and its ability to provide the necessary chew and crunch that dogs need to be healthy. The chew and crunch that dogs crave takes them all the way back into their primal wild pack days, when chewing and crunching was a stress relieving sign of power and prowess.
Dry dog food also comes in high in the con side of the list when comparing crude protein and fatty acids ounce for ounce. Most dry food has a high level of the filler—wheat--byproduct content while the wet stuff is more likely to have appropriate levels of crude protein, an essential for healthy pups. This may seem like a direct contradiction to what I said earlier. It isn’t. While the brand of your choosing is definitely a heavy player in the game, there are still likelihoods.
If, by chance, you had to pick a dog food off the shelf, having no idea what the brand name was or having a chance to check out the ingredients and you simply had to make a blind choice your chances of picking a lower level of filler wheat product would be better if you went for the wet stuff. This is because the wet stuff is made from a more obvious blend of ingredients. It’s hard to get a high concentration of wheat and filler into a wet mixture. Just like adding wheat to the soup, if you add tons of it, your soup is going to be more like a paste than a soup. However, making those hard crunchy little balls is relatively easy if you use a high level of wheat. This is not the case with every single dog food on the market, but it does play a large and often silent factor in creating a better dog food.
While dogs can often be found grazing in the back yard, they are actually interested in eating their leafy greens. While a certain amount of vegetables can add necessary vitamins and minerals to their diet, dogs are carnivores. They need the stuff of hearty meat eaters. Even the small and dainty types need to have the same nutrition, or as close as possible to, as the game they would take down in the wild. This is what their bodies are made to thrive on, and this is what their bodies crave. Naturally, there are ample times when we have had no idea what we were feeding our dogs. The unfortunate disaster surrounding the dog food poisoning deaths woke us up, reminded us that the industry is not regulated and unless we do our due diligence and serve them high quality dog food, we are just mindless consumers. We are smarter consumers now.
What matters most, ending the dry dog food vs. canned debate, is that the food we feed our pups is as healthy as possible. Those who receive only canned dog food should have other ample opportunities to crunch on things, to clean their teeth and to satisfy their need for a hearty chew. Those who eat only dry food should be permitted the occasional delectable treat. Balancing out the crunch with the super tasty is just one more aspect of ultimately providing the most loving and specialized care we can for out dogs.