Dry kibble has its benefits, particularly to your wallet. For some dogs, dry food fits bill. For those with certain medical needs, soft food can be integral to improving their health. Soft dog food also helps those who need a tasty supplement to help them devour their dry food.
As your dog ages, his dietary needs change and so can his tastes. Some dogs become slightly picky or there's-no-way-I'm-eating-dry-food-again picky. Your furry friend might have trouble chewing or swallowing hard food, and in such a case soft food becomes a must. Treat your senior dog to soft food to aid his digestion, make the food tastier and make it easier to eat. This is especially important with senior dogs who have lost their appetites. Giving them the tastier and more odoriforous canned food mixed with kibble encourages them to eat more of the dry food, which they might turn their noses up at otherwise.
Soft food is often veterinarian-ordered for dogs with serious medical conditions. An entire market of prescription soft foods serve the pets market, from post-operative pates to vitamin- and glucosamine-infused canned stews. Similar variety crowds the nonprescription canned pet foods shelves at retail stores -- so consult your vet to determine what to look for and to avoid. Diabetic dogs get fewer carbohydrates with most canned foods; epileptic dogs benefit from the high protein content of most soft foods. Consider premium canned foods, since they're lower in fillers and preservatives which can promote allergies.
Especially with diets full of treats, dogs can pack on poundage around their middles. Soft canned dog food can help. Its higher moisture content helps make your pup feel fuller faster, keeping him from getting too many calories. Look for soft food specifically designed for overweight dogs for best results. But know this: Soft food can help underweight dogs get back where they need to be. Dogs are more likely to eat canned food, which looks, smells and tastes more like meat. These foods usually have higher protein and fat levels than dry food, which can be full of carbs as fillers, helping adjust your pooch's weight to where it needs to be Check labeling to be sure.
Your doggie's breath doesn't have to blow you away -- keeping his teeth clean is as important to his breath as it is to yours. A benefit of dry kibble is that it can help remove some tartar from his teeth. Soft food doesn't remove tarter and can stick in the cracks and crevices of teeth, leading to tartar buildup. This is why dogs on a dry-food diet often have better breath and teeth than those who eat soft food only. Mixing canned food with dry food gives your pup the moist taste of the canned food with the dental benefits of the dry food. With either type of food, remember to brush his teeth regularly and get dental checks at the vet; however, feeding only soft food means you must spend a more significant amount of time brushing than if you feed dry food only. And it costs more.
If your dog doesn't have special medical needs, you can consider canned food a luxury. High-quality dry foods offer the proper nutrition for most dogs at a significantly lower price than giving your pup strictly soft food. When your budget is tight, use canned food as a special treat rather than daily nutrition to save some dough.
You wouldn't eat an open can of soup that had been sitting on your counter for days, so don't even think about doing that with your dog's canned food. Once you open a can of food, feed it all to your dog at once or store it in the fridge for up to a week. You can also break it into smaller portions in zip-top baggies and freeze it, thawing it out in the fridge as needed. Wash out your pup's bowl after every soft-food feeding; any leftover bits can quickly grow bacteria and mold. If you travel often with your pet, dry food is certainly more convenient because it doesn't require refrigeration or constant bowl cleaning.
- Jupiterimages/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images