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Canned or Dry Pet Food: Satisfying a Meat Tooth
Should you feed your pet wet food, dry food, or a little bit of both? Check out Groupon’s guide to the pros and cons of each approach.
To be frank, there’s no simple answer to the question of wet versus dry. It largely depends on an animal’s health, an owner’s lifestyle, and whether a pet refuses to eat anything but fondue. Mostly, the question hinges on the important differences between cats and dogs.
Cats are notoriously finicky eaters, though certain evolutionary traits may explain their discerning tastes. Unlike dogs, which can digest a wide variety of foods, cats are obligate carnivores, which means they depend almost entirely on animal protein in their diet. As a result, all their food, dry or wet, is derived from animals to some extent. Cats also face the risk of dehydration because of their poor thirst reflex—the signal the kidney sends to the brain that tells an animal it’s thirsty and needs to drink. Dry food, naturally, has much less moisture than canned food, which consists of as much as 78% water, so using wet food may help a cat stay hydrated, even in the midst of readily available water. Ultimately, the choice between wet and dry food comes down to a combination of the cat’s preferences, affordability, and time. Wet food is more expensive, for example, and spoils much sooner in the bowl—though it also lasts longer on the pantry shelf.
Dogs are a little more easygoing than cats when it comes to what’s for dinner, but they also think dinnertime lasts as long as there’s food in snout’s reach. You can’t necessarily trust a dog to mete out its rations, no matter its moisture content, so leaving a bowl of dry food out all day may lead to excessive snacking. Still, dry food is usually more convenient, and many brands provide the added benefit of aiding with dental health—a much larger problem with dogs than cats. Wet food may be a good choice for older dogs, who might be missing teeth or losing their sense of smell. At the end of the day, though, either can fulfill a dog’s nutritional needs—though, as with cats, owners should take care to read the label on food to make sure it meets nutritional requirements.