Wet vs. Dry Cat Food(Pros & Cons)
It’s a common question heard by veterinarians: should I give my cat wet or dry food? Here we explain the pros and cons to feeding canned vs. dry cat food to help you choose which is ultimately best for your pet and you.
Pros and Cons Explained
For storage and ease of feeding, dry cat food is the best option.
Open cans need appropriately sized lids when storing them to keep them fresh and prevent odor from permeating the rest of the refrigerator
Dry kibble diets average around 7-12% moisture content, making your pet prone to dehydrationif they don’t drink a significant amount of water.
In the wild, cats would receive most of their hydration from the prey that they would eat, which is typically 60-70% water. At 70-80% moisture content, canned or wet cat food is very close to your kitty’s natural prey diet.(Since cats don’t have as strong a thirst drive as dogs do, they are much less suited to a low-moisture kibble. )
More Protein, Less Carbs
Canned cat food in general contains more meat than kibble diets
Dry cat food has great shelf-life than wet food. More dubious artificial preservatives added to pet foods to keep fats from becoming rancid
Canned food is naturally preserved though the canning process, so it requires fewer chemical preservatives than dry foods.
Dry cat food can be poured into a bowl and left all day.
Wet cat food should not be left out for longer than 4 hours.
Since kibble is dense and doesn’t include a lot of moisture, it can be easy for your cat to overeat.
The high water-content of canned cat food makes it perfect for your cat’s weight loss or maintenance, since water helps your pet feel full. The high protein and low carb content helps, too, since it promotes satiety
(quality and nutrition)
Dry cat food is generally a lot cheaper than wet food.
Canned pet foods in general contain better quality ingredients, more meat protein, and fewer carbohydrates than dry kibble.
Hard food may have a limited impact on cats’ teeth and gums is that cats aren’t big chewers, so the hard food they eat has little opportunity to do abrasive cleaning.
Keep in mind older cats may have a harder time eating dry food than wet, especially if gum or dental issues have set in. Canned cat food’s soft consistency may be easier for older kitties to eat than the crunchy kibble they ate at a younger age.
The three key negative issues associated with dry food are:
1) water content is too low
2) carbohydrate load is too high
3) type of protein – too high in plant-based versus animal-based proteins
In addition to the issue of carbohydrates and how they affect the blood sugar level of some cats, dry food is very calorie dense, is very palatable, and is usually free-fed. This often leads to obesity.
An optimal weight loss diet should be:
high in protein (over 40% of calories)
moderate in fat (under 50% of calories)
low in carbohydrates (under 10% of calories) and high in water.
* Dry Matter Protein Content = Protein of Food/Dry Matter = Protein of Food / (1-moisture content)
- Just be careful not to mix water in your pet’s dry kibble: mixing water with dry food can allow for bacterial contamination
- Artificial preservatives is linked to a number of health concerns.(Please choose BPA-free canned cat foods.)
- Wet cat food should not be left out for longer than 4 hours. Clean bowls after every use and store unused portions covered in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days for best food safety.
- It’s best to keep it in an airtight container for optimal freshness.
- Be wary though: a high price-tag doesn’t always mean high quality. Always look at your cat food ingredient list for the honest truth about quality.
- Look for multiple animal proteins in the first few ingredients, few to no carbohydrates, named meats and meals, and natural preservatives and vitamins, for just a few pointers, and avoid cheap, bad pet food ingredients, such as white flour, MSG, and corn syrup.
- The best things you can do for cat’s teeth and gums are frequent brushings and regular veterinary dental exams and professional cleanings as prescribed. Brushing your cat’s teeth is still the number one way to promote healthy teeth in your feline.
Canned cat food is our clear winner when it comes to your cat’s best health. On top in terms of urinary tract health, meat protein content, and weight loss, canned cat food can provide numerous benefits to your feline.
However, your pet’s best food choice must always be weighed against all pros and cons. There’s no one-size-fits-all food solution for any pet. Choose what works best for your pet and your lifestyle. And above all else, always choose the best value food you can afford for your cat, whether dry or kibble, homemade, or raw.