A common question from clients is, “Should I be feeding dry or wet food, or a mixture of both?” If you ask five veterinarians this question, you will get five different answers. This is a hot topic in the field of veterinary medicine, and unfortunately, there are no clear answers. I know veterinarians who stand passionately on one side or other of the topic. My answer to my clients: “It depends”.
For me to make a nutritional recommendation for a pet I need to know the life stage of the pet, what the pet “likes” to eat, if the pet is healthy, and some information about the owner’s lifestyle. There are benefits to both wet and dry food, and these must be weighed with other factors to make a recommendation. Wet food generally costs more than dry food, and
it spoils so must be discarded or refrigerated if the animal doesn’t eat all of it at once.
Benefits of wet food include higher protein, less carbohydrate, and higher water content than dry food. This can be especially helpful for older cats that have problems such as
constipation, diabetes, kidney problems, or crystals in the urine. Dry food is less expensive, is more energy dense, doesn’t spoil as readily, and can help with dental health.
The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs a good quality pet food that is appropriate for its life stage and that it will eat. Puppies and kittens need puppy and
kitten food. Older pets need a less calorie-dense adult food to avoid obesity. Cats generally require a higher protein diet. As for wet versus dry food, I do recommend a diet of more wet food for older cats that have the problems previously listed. But in my opinion, healthy pets can often benefit from a mixture of both.
Kristie Souders, DVM
Homefront Veterinary House Calls