What Are The Benefits Of Dry Cat Food
Dry complete diets have some specific plus points – they are convenient, easy to measure and use, easier to store, and have a longer shelf-life once opened than wet foods. Some may also help to remove plaque from the teeth.
Bear in mind that cats at certain life stages may prefer softer foods, for instance elderly cats or weaning kittens. Wet food will work well on these occasions and there are also some dry diets which have been specially designed to be soaked.
Is Wet Food Bad For Cats Teeth
The oft-told theory that dry food is better for a cats teeth than wet food is mostly untrue. Dry cat food cleans a cats teeth no better than crackers or cereal clean a humans teeth. Feeding a cat only wet food is not bad for the teeth. However, special dental diets that contain the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal have been proven to support dental health and keep the teeth cleaner. All cats should have their teeth brushed daily, or at least several times a week, with a pet-safe toothpaste and cleaned professionally by the veterinarian at least once a year.
Cornells Veterinary Chief Of Veterinary Clinical Nutrition Explains What Each Food Offers To Help You Decide Whats Best For You And For Your Cat
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We want the best for our cats, and nutrition plays a vital role in any animals health. But advertising and lay opinions can leave a cat owner wondering whether to feed canned food or dry foods.
With so many claims about whether to feed wet, dry, or both, we went to Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, Section Chief of Clinical Nutrition at Cornells College of Veterinary Medicine, for expert advice. Heres what you need to know:
Dry food is convenient, easy, less mess, may be better for teeth.Wet food is better for dieting cats sometimes, better for water intakenot great for teeth health, says Dr. Wakshlag.
Unless your cat has a physical or medical reason for choosing one food or another, such as wet food for the cat with few teeth, you can feed either wet or dry, or both.
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Research On Whether Dry Food Improves Cats Dental Health Is Inconclusive
Dental health is a big reason why cats are fed dry food. Here is some information on dental health and cats’ diets.
- Some studies show a small dental benefit when hard food is included in cats diets others do not.5 One reason hard food may have a limited impact on cats teeth and gums is that cats arent big chewers, so the hard food they eat has little opportunity to do abrasive cleaning.
- Some veterinarians express concern that the higher carbohydrate content and starchy coating of many hard foods could actually contribute to plaque formation.
- Specially formulated dental diets do seem to benefit cats dental health, perhaps because the larger sized kibble forces more chewing.
- For a listing of diets scientifically proven to improve cats’ oral health, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council .
- By far, 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. Learn more here: “Home Dental Care for Cats.”
Myth : Canned Food Causes Cats To Become Overweight
Many cat owners believe that canned cat food, also called wet food, is more rich in calories and can make their kitty too chubby. Although many cats go crazy for canned food, canned food actually has LESS calories per cup when compared to dry food!
How can this possibly be true? Well, canned cat food consists of up to 80% water and all of that extra water is both filling AND low in calories. Feeding wet cat food is similar to drinking a glass or two of water with your favorite mealyoull end up eating less and consuming fewer calories.
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Stick To A Feeding Schedule
While there may not be a clear winner in the wet food vs. dry food debate, a feeding schedule can be beneficial to her diet. Cat parents who decide to leave dry food out all day for her to eat whenever she pleases need to be aware that this can cause her to overeat, leading to obesity and a multitude of health issues such as liver disease and diabetes.
If you choose to go the dry cat food only route, it is a good idea to practice portion control. A good way to do this is to set up a feeding schedule each day. Start with a portion in the morning and another for dinner. This will help avoid chances for overeating.
If your schedule doesnt necessarily work with strict feeding times, consider purchasing a timed feeder. They work well and offer a little flexibility should something interfere with making it home in time to feed her. It also lets you portion out the right amount of food, so you dont have to leave out a big bowl of food when you arent sure you will make it home in time. Just set it and forget it! What more could you want? Just make sure to test it before leaving for an extended period of time.
If you still arent sure which version of food is right for her, try incorporating both into her diet. Feed her dry food in the morning and a can or pouch of wet food at night. Doing so is a wonderful way to make sure she maintains a protein-rich diet, and can keep her from getting dehydrated.
Myth : All Cats Love Canned Or Dry Food
Some cat lovers swear by canned food, saying that all cats prefer itand some cat lovers say the same about dry food! Which group is right?? The correct answer is: BOTH!
Cats tend to have preferences for the texture of their foodfrom specific types of canned food to shapes of dry kibble . In some cats, feel good hormones are released from the brains reward center when they crunch on dry kibblemaking it even harder to transition a dry food eater to a wet food eater. These kitties are truly addicted to dry foodand it can be hard to make the switch. For this reason, its best to introduce kittens to multiple dry and wet canned food textures so that they dont develop an aversion to a medically-indicated diet later in life, if needed.
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Why Feed Wet Cat Food
Felines require up to three times more protein in their diets than dogs do. Wet cat food often has high protein content, which benefits obligate carnivores like cats who depend on animal proteins to meet their nutritional needs.
With an average of 75% water, wet cat food can also help your cat meet daily hydration needs, especially since felines tend to not drink enough water. The high moisture content in wet food may be beneficial for cats with urinary tract problems, diabetes or kidney disease stay hydrated.
Also, wet cat food is often more appealing than dry food and is offered in a wide variety of flavors and textures to please all types of felines.
ProTip: Dont let wet cat food sit out in your cats bowl more than 20-30 minutes. Canned cat food doesnt stay fresh as long as dry food, so be sure to refrigerate any leftover food and serve it within 72 hours. On the plus side, wet food has a long shelf before its opened and, with smaller, stackable containers, is easier to stock up on than larger cat food bags.
Obesity And Feline Diabetes
Cats on a dry food diet have more risks of having diabetes and obesity than cats consuming wet food. Your cat might be prone to diabetes due to the carbohydrate level in many kinds of dry food if youre allowing 24-hour access to food.
Therefore, to avoid diabetes, stick to premium dry food or try canned food for your cat.
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Wet Cat Food Storage Tips
Unlike kibble, we cat food cannot be left out for cats to graze on all day long. If wet cat food is left out for too long it may cause a stomach upset for your cat due to bacterial growth, and it also wont be very appetizing once it has been left to dry up, says Garner.
After opening a can, Dr. Carroll says that any remaining food should be stored in the fridge and served laterwithin 1-2 days of opening. This storage issue can be avoided by opting for smaller sized cans, she adds.
If youre considering putting the wet food in the freezer, make sure to check the label beforehand. Some wet cat foods can be frozen, but make sure to check the packaging first, says Garner.
When serving already-opened wet cat food, you can add a bit of warm water to the mix to refresh it and add moisture.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food – generally referred to as kibble – remains the foundation for the cat food industry, and has a number of advantages:
- Kibble is by far the easiest to feed and to portion-manage.
- It is an excellent choice for cats that prefer to ‘graze’ because the total daily portion can be measured into the bowl in the morning, and then offered at specific meal times throughout the day.
- It comes in many sizes and shapes, so you can choose one that your cat prefers. Work with your veterinarian to determine the calorie content of the kibble you have chosen in order to determine an appropriate daily portion.
- Kibble also lends itself well to food toys or interactive feeders that either move about and dispense kibbles intermittently or are stationary and make the cat work for its food. Food toys can be just as entertaining for the humans as they are for the cats!
One common mistake cat owners make, however, is buying too big a bag of kibble, thinking they are getting a bargain. Until the bag of kibble is opened, the nutrient profile is stable. But once the bag is opened, the food is subjected to oxidative stress – meaning that exposure to the air degrades some of the nutrients and contributes to the food becoming stale. It is best to purchase just enough kibble to last 4 to 6 weeks – 8 weeks maximum. Once you and your veterinarian have determined the correct daily portion to feed, it should be easy to calculate how many pounds of kibble you need for that time period.
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Wet Cat Food Benefits
Wet food can eliminate the risk of kidney disease and avoid dehydration in cats. In addition, cats with certain health conditions that need more water intake than normal cats may benefit from the additional water in this diet. Finally, wet cat foods provide some other major advantages like:
- Urinary Health: Wet foods are useful to prevent urinary tract problems. According to the hypothesis, wet food will promote more dilute urine, resulting in low inflammatory components in the urinary bladder. This is also effective in eliminating kidney disease risks as it ensures sufficient water is provided to the body. Kidney failure is caused in cats due to insufficient water intake. Therefore, make sure your cat is getting enough water.
- Weight Management: Wet food does not provide calories. As a result, wet food has a lower energy density than dry cat food. Wet foods provide 0.81.5 kcal/g, where typical dry food where dry foods provide 34 kcal/g or even higher.
- Constipation: As wet food has a higher moisture level than dry food, it does not cause dehydration. However, dehydration is a risk factor for creating constipation, so wet food can be beneficial in these cases. Experts recommend feeding wet food to cats suffering from this problem.
Do Cats Need Wet Food Every Day
Whether dry or wet, healthy cats get all the nutrients they need from any form of cat food, provided that the food has the Association of American Feed Control Officials label on it. This label indicates that the food is nutritionally complete and balanced for the cats life stage .
However, wet cat food does provide the benefits of extra water and protein in a cats diet, so it’s beneficial to feed wet food every day if you can.
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Dealing With A Kibble Junkie
If you have a kitten, now is the time to start getting them used to eating canned food because kittens will form a preference and associations with the texture of their food.
So a cat who has never tried canned food before may be more difficult to transition. It can be done, but it will likely take more time and effort.
Dr. J’s cat, Smudge, was a kibble junkie, but with time and persistence, he was moved to predominately wet food. The goal is just to get them moving in the right direction. Slow and steady. Before you put down their kibble, put down the wet food for them to explore.
You can also use some tricks to make the wet food more palatable. Adding a little extra warm water to your cat’s wet food will not only increase the hydration, but should also bring out even more of the food’s smells.
Cats also tend to love Purina’s FortiFlora nutritional supplement, which is a win-win because it’s a probiotic that is good for their tummies, and also an attractant you can add to their wet food.
Feeding Both Wet And Dry Food
To balance the advantages and disadvantages of wet and dry cat food, you may also combine them both for your cats diet. This is appropriate for cats who need a higher water intake and enjoy dry food than wet.
How can I combine wet and dry food in my cats diet?
Either by mixing both duets or giving wet food at a time and dry food at the other time, you may be able to achieve the benefits of both diets.
If youre willing to mix the wet and dry food, talk with your veterinarian to find the best balance. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the right portion of the two diets according to your cats present condition.
Remember, every cat is different and the amount of food you feed to every cat is different. Feeding manually when your cat is hungry is a lot better than free-feeding unless you have a busy schedule.
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Fewer Calories & Weight Loss
Wet cat food can typically be more expensive than dry cat food. But this is usually because wet food is healthier for cats. Wet food usually contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates. So if your cat needs to go on a weight loss diet then the veterinarian will usually suggest a wet food diet.
Wet food can be helpful for weight loss because it can help the cat feel full for longer. Dry food is super dense and doesnt include any water so your cat can be hungry again in just a couple of hours. Being hungry most of the day can cause unhappiness and could also be the reason they are meowing at you all day long.
So Is Wet Cat Food Better Than Dry Food
So we come to the point to decide, is wet food better than dry food? After all the discussions above, you might think that wet food is better than dry food, right? Well, not necessarily.
A cheaply produced wet food is no better than your premium dry food. Remember depending on the price there are three types of cat food- economic, premium, super-premium. Economical wet/dry cat foods do not always result in good health.
Also, check the ingredients. It should list animal-source protein and its #1 ingredient and ensure it does not contain meat by-products.
According to some people, cat foods can lead to dental problems, including gingivitis. Well, thats not true if you keep your cats teeth clean and ensure a regular checkup.
Therefore, wet cat food is better than dry food in certain conditions because of the water content and nutrients. However, wet food is more costly than dry food, so it gets hard if you have a strict budget.
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Wet Vs Dry Cat Food: Which Is Best For Your Cat
When it comes to feeding your cat, you will find a myriad of options on the shelves of the pet store. There are more options than ever, and with so many advances in pet nutrition, there is something to suit every cats needs and desires! But this can make it tricky to choose a food for your feline friend wet, dry, soup, prescription, complete what does it all mean and which is best?
Wet Vs Dry Cat Food For Kittens
While your kittens are growing, They need a crucial nutritional needs. Should they eat dry cat food or wet cat food? Good quality Kitten food will have more protein. They will contain more healthy nutrition, calories compare to foods for adult cats. An opinion, a good quality dry kitten food daily along with a mix of a small portion of quality wet kitten foods.
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The Best Of Both Worlds
To avoid picky eating habits later in life, offer kittens both dry food and wet food.
If youre torn about whether to feed your cat dry food or wet food, consider offering both. You might serve one meal of dry food in the morning before you leave for work, then offer wet food in the evening once you return home. Or, if your cat tends to eat her food all at once, mix the two types together. Any amount of wet food can boost your cats overall diet with extra water and protein.
If you have a kitten, offer dry and wet food early on. Cats usually develop preferences for taste and texture early in kittenhood. If your kitten eats only dry food, she might turn her nose up at wet food in the future .
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For all cats, always offer plenty of fresh, clean water.
Ask your veterinarian for advice if you are still wondering about the best food for your cat, especially if your cat has specific health issues like kidney disease or diabetes.