There's no right or wrong answer when choosing between hard and soft dog food. Each is healthy for its own reasons, so it all depends on your pooch's individual needs. Whichever one you go with, what matters most is that she's getting the nutrients she depends on.
Promoting Healthy Teeth
One thing that gives dry food an edge over wet food is the crunch factor. Hard, crunchy kibbles scrape your dog's teeth clean, brushing away the plaque and tartar that can wreak havoc inside her mouth. It also keeps her jaws nice and strong, making her a strong contender in even the most heated games of tug-of-war. If your little lady doesn't like chewing on hard toys, or you just want to promote healthier teeth and gums, hard food could be the way to go.
Contrary to its reputation as a treat, wet food is generally less fattening than dry food. In fact, it typically boasts only half the calories, which makes it a satisfying meal for overweight animals. When you give her wet food, she can eat more without packing on the pounds like she would if she ate dry food. If your dog loves chowing down but you don't want to see her weight skyrocket, wet food could do the trick.
It may sound obvious, but it's true: soft food is soft because it's mixed with water. Point is, getting more water into your dog's system is never a bad idea, and wet food promotes adequate hydration. If your dog isn't getting enough water, she might face dehydration or even an uncomfortable urinary tract infection. When she eats wet food, her body soaks up plenty of moisture, keeping things running smoothly.
Some dogs just don't have what it takes to eat dry food. It's not their fault -- it just depends on their bodies. For example, if yours has broken or missing teeth, she just isn't equipped to break up all that crunchy food. She may even just have a weak jaw, making dry food too much of a chore to eat. Even a sensitive tummy can prevent her from eating dry food -- veterinarians sometimes prescribe a switch to wet food because it's easier on the digestive system. If your dog regularly rejects dry kibbles, it's time for a trip to the vet to see if there's a physiological reason why.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.