Most people feed dry food to their dogs, just because it’s easy and convenient. Have you ever wondered how this dry food is made?
Well, during the production process, dry and wet ingredients are mixed into a dough-like substance.
This substance is then steamed, cooked or baked and the moisture is extracted.
The moisture content in dry kibble is anywhere between 3% and 11%. This depends on the brand, the ingredients and the production process. There are some obvious benefits to dry food, but they come with some negative aspects as well.
The benefits of feeding dry food
Dry food has a long shelf life. This is mainly due to the low moisture content and the preservatives added to it. Compared to wet food, dry food contains much more calories so you need to feed less to give the same amount of energy.
It’s often much cheaper than wet food as well.
The crunchiness of dry kibble acts like a “toothbrush” and helps to reduce tar and plaque build-up. It can be stored at room temperature and doesn’t need to be in a cold space.
It’s easy to take with you on a trip. Dry food is not messy and easy to clean. There is a wide range of brands, varieties and nutritional purposes (for puppies, active dogs, retired dogs, special dietary needs).
The cons of feeding dry food
Dry food contains less flavor than wet food, so dogs with a bad appetite may have more difficulties eating it. Because dry food contains a low moisture content, it doesn’t support the urinary tract so your dog needs to drink more water.
It’s a big market and there are many low quality brand out there. When buying a bag of dry food, you should always check the label and investigate what’s inside. Avoid ingredients such as meal, corn, grains and soy. Avoid artificial flavoring, sugar and artificial preservatives.
The 90% rule
I highly advise that you follow the 90% rule. What this means is that the main ingredients, for example chicken & rice, should make up AT LEAST 90% of the food. When the content is lower than that, there is a high possibility that the food contains fillers such as grains, corn and soy. Please note that the 90% rule does not include the moisture content.
You probably noticed that the meat in your dog’s wet food doesn’t look like the steaks you buy from your local butcher. In fact, the meat used for dog food is often a by-product from animals slaughtered for human consumption. These “by-products” include intestines, livers, hearts, kidneys, etc.
Now, before you get disgusted about that idea, you should know that those products contain a lot of valuable nutrients for your dog! Dogs are carnivores, which means their body is made to consume mainly animal products.
I’ve never seen a dog sell their soul for an apple or a crop of salad, have you?
A piece of your slow-cooked pulled pork in the other hand.. Yeah.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the pro’s and con’s of feeding wet food
Wet food has a much higher water content, usually between 65% and 85%. This promotes the intake of moisture into the body and helps to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
However, you still need to provide plenty of clean water for your dog!!
It tastes better. The rich flavors in wet food definitely crush the flavors of dry food. This is great for dog who are bad eaters.
Dogs with dental issues, or who have problems with chewing, obviously benefit from the soft texture of wet food. The high moisture content makes your dog feel full faster. Naturally, this is great for dogs who need to lose weight.
It’s easy to digest. Because the food is already in a soft, mushy state before it enters the digestive system.
It's usually also relatively fresh.
More expensive compared to dry food. Refrigeration is needed. Short shelf life.
It can become quite messy and once your dog is used to eating wet food, he may refuse eating dry food (It’s like a drug)
Over the recent years there has been a lot of debate about this controversial topic. Raw feeding gained a lot of popularity and there are many myths regarding this topic.
A raw feed diet is essentially a diet with only natural and raw consumable products. The principle behind this is that raw meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits are given to the dog, without any form of preparation (cooking, baking, steaming,..). It often consists of organs, raw meat, bones with meat on them, raw eggs, raw milk, a variety of vegetables, fruits and nuts.
The benefits of raw feeding
You avoid potentially harmful ingredients such as grains, corn, soy and chemicals added to manufactured dog food.
It is a belief that the dog’s coat becomes shinier. Energy levels are increased.
The diet is 100% natural.
The cons of raw feeding
Potential introduction to bacteria and viruses present in raw meat. If not managed properly, the dog may develop an eating disorder.
Potentially inefficient nutrient intake which can lead to severe health issues.
We advise to give your dog a raw diet, ONLY when you know what you’re doing and with GUIDANCE of a QUALIFIED veterinarian or canine nutrition specialist.
The dog’s raw diet needs to be designed specifically for him and things like breed, size, weight, age, physical health and physical activity are taken into account.
Don’t take this lightly!
Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information.
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