All Things Dog

Dry or Canned: Which is Best?

Our dogs rely on us to make the best food choice on their behalf. But when it comes to picking a dog food, which type is the best choice: dry or canned? Let's take a closer look at each variety.

Dry Food: high marks in convenience, crunch, and cost

Dry kibble does have some advantages over canned foods—including distinct benefits for your dog's oral health. Chewing kibble helps to keep your dog's teeth healthy by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. That's why kibble eaters tend to have better breath than those who chow down exclusively on canned food. Dry food also provides the necessary chew and crunch that dogs have craved since their primal pack days, a time when chewing and crunching were a stress-relieving sign of power.

Unlike canned food, kibble does not require refrigeration after opening and can be left out for free feeders. It makes traveling with your pet much easier, too.

Cost is another area in which dry kibble has an advantage over canned food. Because canned food contains a higher percentage of water (usually 70–85%) than dry foods (10% or less), dry food is also more economical to feed on a per-serving basis.

Canned Food: meaty, moist, and appetizing

Canned dog food tends to be more palatable to dogs because it is made primarily of protein and fat, with few carbohydrates. It is also more easily digested, making backyard cleanup minimal. The palatability and digestibility of canned food may also make it the right choice for finicky eaters or dogs with certain illnesses. The downside is the soft, smooth texture of canned food, which doesn't give your pooch an opportunity to do the crunching that can help clean his teeth. And, smaller breed dogs that often eat canned food have more crowded teeth, providing areas where plaque and tartar easily accumulate.

Nonetheless, some pet nutritionists believe that canned food can be healthier than dry. And, with its high moisture content, canned food can help keep a dog hydrated, benefiting the urinary tract.

While the meat-based protein in canned dog food is more expensive, for smaller breeds that eat less it may actually be the more cost-effective option.

Remember, canned food is perishable and can only be left opened and out of the refrigerator for a short period of time. Therefore, any food left in your dog's bowl more than 1–2 hours should be discarded.

Making the right choice

In the end, there is no single right or wrong way to feed your dog. What matters most is that the food you choose is as healthy as possible and suited to any medical condition he may have.

If you feed your dog only canned dog food, give him opportunities to crunch on snacks that can help clean his teeth and satisfy his need for a good chew. Likewise, dogs that are fed dry food may occasionally enjoy a delectably meaty treat. Balancing out the crunchy with the yummy is just one more way of providing the best care you can for your dog.

To help find the right foods for your dog, check out the food-finder tool at www.pedigree.com. With so many nutritious and delicious choices, your dog will have a hard time trying to determine his very favorite.

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