A healthy furkid starts with a balanced diet and the main source of their nutrition comes from their meals. Just like us, dogs require different nutrients in their body to survive: Amino acids, proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Thankfully, commercial pet food fulfills these essential nutrients and have now even evolved to target different age groups, tackle certain health issues, and cover a wide variety of flavours and formulations.

If you’re at the pet store, a quick look at the food shelf reveals two options: Dry or wet food. But have you ever wondered if there’s any difference between the two? Are they the same food, but in a different form?

Dry and wet food are excellent sources of nutrition for Fido, but each type of food presents its pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know so that you can choose the best diet for your furkid and your lifestyle.

Dry Food

Also known as kibbles, dry food is the most convenient and cost-effective form of dog food and hence, the most popular choice among paw-rents.

How’s it made: Similar to how cereals are made, your furkid’s dry food goes through the process of extrusion. Raw ingredients such as beef, chicken, eggs, as well as grains, cereals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant are mixed into a dough, thereafter, it goes through a machine under high pressure and heat, which shapes and cooks it simultaneously.

Pros: It’s extremely convenient to store and if necessary, bring around when you’re travelling or spending a day out; you can pack a portion of dry food in a ziplock bag without having to worry about it going bad as it doesn’t require refrigeration. They are also much more affordable.

Also, If your pooch tends to be a fussy eater, you can leave his/her food out in the open and they can consume their food at their own time throughout the day. This type of dog food is ideal for automatic feeders.

Cons: During the cooking process, heat could possibly strip off the nutrients and flavour from the ingredients. Thus, paw-rents should invest in a high quality and trustable dry food brand that ensures the cooking process retains the nutrients your furkid needs.

Also, dry food might cause bloat and older pooches with dental problems may find it difficult to chew the kibbles.

Ideal for: Paw-rents that are always bringing their pups out for picnics or outdoor activities should incorporate dry food into their lifestyle as it isn’t a hassle to carry around as compared to wet food. Also, dry food can be left out in the open for a few hours, which is suitable for slow eaters that takes a few hours to finish their meals.

Wet Food

Also known as canned food, this type of dog food contains a higher amount of meat protein and natural fats. Undoubtedly, the meat ingredients are closer to their natural state than their dry counterparts—this might be why Fido tends to prefer wet food over dry food. It’s richer, tastier, and unfortunately more expensive.

How is it made: Made of a combination of meat byproducts, chunks of bite-sized meat and gravy are thoroughly cooked and mixed together, and then packed into cans. Thereafter, it goes through the process of sterilisation that kills harmful bacteria under optimum pressure and temperature.

Pros: Wet food contains more moisture that aids in digestion, which prevents the stomach from swelling up and causing bloat. The term bloat can be used to refer to any accumulation of gas, fluid, or food that causes the stomach to distend.

When pooches ingest commercially processed kibbles for prolonged periods of time, their stomach walls become weak as the stomach doesn’t need to work very hard to digest it, and eventually, it becomes prone to dilation as well as the gas build-up.

Also, because of the way it is manufactured, the wet food contains less preservative and carbohydrates since the original flavours are kept intact. It also has a higher shelf life than dry food.

Cons:  Although wet food is a healthier option, it can be costly as compared to dry food and inconvenient to bring around as it requires refrigeration at all times. When left in the open, it can grow bacteria very easily and become contaminated. Do ensure to never leave wet food in the open for more than an hour or two.

Ideal for: Breeds such as Boxers, Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, and St. Bernards are prone to bloat, so they would definitely benefit from wet food. It is also great for pooches that suffer from kidney diseases or urinary tract infections, as moisture in the food can flush out the toxins.

It is also ideal for puppers with dental problems that find dry food hard to chew or younger dogs that require high protein meals.

This article first appeared in Pets Magazine 25 Aug 2017