Welcome to another “Lucky Dog” series article. It often amazes dog owners when their dog will choose to eat something inedible (such as the plug to the vacuum cleaner), or something indescribably gross (kitty crunchies – that is to say, cat feces from the litter box). Yet, that same dog will turn up his nose and walk away from a bowl of dog food, especially if we (as humans, of course), think it is perfectly good dog food, regardless of whether it is a dry or a canned version.
Most dogs have a tendency to prefer canned foods. It tends to have more of an aroma, which is important, since dogs often gather about seventy percent of their sensory input from their sense of smell. Another reason most dogs prefer canned food is because it is moist. Most canned dog foods consist of between seventy to eighty percent of moisture in the form of water, broth or other liquids. In comparison, the moisture content of most dry dog foods hovers near the ten percent mark. Perhaps there is something inherently more satisfying to the dog to be eating a moister food. The desire for a moister food may even be partially instinctual; after all, wolves, the forbears of dogs, hunt live animals. It is quite possible that canned foods, rather than dry foods, more closely approximate the sensation that a dog would have in his mouth from a fresh kill. However, in terms of sheer volume, there is a significant difference between the volume of canned food a medium or large dog would need to eat versus the volume of dry food the same dog would need to eat in order to supply the dog with sufficient calories. For example, a medium sized dog of approximately fifty pounds might require between six to eight fourteen ounce cans a day, whereas the same dog might only require just two cups of dry food. As a result, most owners of dogs over thirty pounds tend to feed dry food, giving canned food only as a treat.
Dry dog food (frequently referred to as “kibble”) also is mass-manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes; therefore, the same brand may offer both a “small bites” version as well as a “large bites” version. Likewise, the same brand may offer different versions of their food based on the stage of life a dog is in; therefore, a brand may offer a puppy version, an active dog version, an adult version, and a senior version of the same food. Marketing departments, in conjunction with the manufacturer’s research units, have become adept at finding niches for marketing foods. There are foods especially designed for dogs with allergies, for dogs with sensitive stomachs, and for joint problems. There can be checking of the food reviews for providing to the dogs. Through the diamond puppy food reviews, there will be few allergy symptoms in the body of the dog.
In terms of nutrients, since canned food does consist of so much moisture, generally a dog requires a significantly larger quantity of canned food than of dry food. Generally, dog foods do meet certain minimum levels of providing a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and so forth. What often becomes an issue for dog owners is determining which dog food is best for their dog, while also ensuring that the food remains affordable. Many dog foods are created based on a mix of meats, meat meals, meat by-products, soy products and filler products, such as corn, wheat or rice, often used to both bulk up the food as well as to add to the caloric density of the food.
Semi-moist foods, shaped in the appearance of meat or chicken pieces have become more prominently available more recently, as have raw food diets. Semi-moist foods try to bridge the gap between canned and dry foods, with varying degrees of success. Raw food diets are exactly what they sound like – raw food, usually chopped or diced. My advice to dog owners is to determine your budget for your dog’s food, and then purchase the best (most appropriate) food you can for your dog within that budget. In future articles, we will cover issues regarding dog food ingredients.