A top priority of many pet owners is choosing the best food for their four-legged family member. Wet food can be the answer – not only is it a great way to add some variety to your pets’ current diet, but it can provide health benefits.
Wet Food Versus Kibble
As they say, variety is the spice of life, and wet food is a terrific way to accomplish this for your pet’s diet. Wet food comes in many different formats – stew, shredded, minced and pâté. It also comes in a variety of packaging options to suit your lifestyle. One of the newest packaging options, Tetra Pak, is a sustainable, convenient and easy-to-use carton available in two different sizes.
As the name suggests, the moisture content of wet food is much higher than kibble. While kibble typically contains 8-12% moisture, wet food may run as high as 82% moisture. This can make it tricky to compare the nutrient content of wet food and kibble because on the label, the Guaranteed Analysis is reported on an ‘as fed basis’. For example, to compare a wet food with 8% protein and 78% moisture to a kibble with 26% protein and 10% moisture, the values first need to be converted to a ‘dry matter basis’ or ‘per kcal basis’. But, don’t worry about the math. Petcurean conveniently provides these values for you in the nutrient profiles on our website.
Another unique difference between kibble and wet food is that unlike kibble, which requires carbohydrates to help create a crunchy texture, wet food can be formulated with lower levels of carbohydrates. Wet food recipes generally include high amounts of meat, resulting in higher levels of protein and fat, and lower levels of carbohydrate, compared to kibble. So, wet food makes a great option for pets who may require a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet. On the other hand, wet foods may not be the best option for pets that have certain health issues, such as pancreatitis or obesity.
Benefits of Wet Food
Wet food is highly palatable, so it is a great option for picky eaters. It is also ideal for pets with dental issues or missing teeth that need a soft diet. Wet food can provide health benefits, primarily due to its high moisture content. Cats are known to have difficulty regulating their water intake, and in many cases, they do not drink enough. Because wet food is generally 78-82% moisture, it is a great way to ensure adequate hydration. Increasing fluid intake can help to prevent the development of urinary tract crystals. This is a condition you most certainly want to avoid!
Choosing a Wet Food
When choosing a wet food, be aware that not all wet foods are appropriate to be fed as a sole source of nutrition. Therefore, it is important to make sure to read the nutritional adequacy statement on the carton.
If the food states that it is “formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrient profiles”, then it is complete and balanced and can be fed as a pet’s primary source of nutrition.
Adding Wet Food to Your Pet’s Diet
Wet food can be included in the diet in multiple different ways. Not only can it be fed as a complete and balanced meal, but it can also be incorporated as a topper or a healthy treat. Keep in mind that if you are deciding to feed wet food as a topper to kibble, it is important to cut back on the amount of kibble you are currently feeding to avoid weight gain. To make sure you are feeding the right amount of food to your pet, check out this article How Do I Feed Kibble, Wet Food and Meal Mixers to My Pet?. If you are using wet food as a treat, there are unique ways to incorporate it such as using it to fill a Kong or freezing the food in ice cube trays for a cool treat in the hot summer months.
Wet food is an especially great option for cats. Cats can be notoriously fussy eaters. For many cats who are used to eating dry food daily, it can be difficult to break them out of their habits. This is because cats are very sensitive to texture and flavour and often tend to stay away from things that they are not used to. Therefore, it is important to expose your cat to a wide variety of textures and flavours of wet food, especially at a young age. Kittens that have been given a wide variety of textures may be less inclined to be fussy in adulthood. If you need a bit of extra help adding wet food to your cat’s diet, we offer a few tips and tricks here: My Cat Won’t Eat Wet Food.
Keep in mind that if switching from kibble to wet food, a slow transition is important. If transitioning your pet to a diet they have not tried before, it should be done slowly over a minimum of 10 days. This will help ensure their system has had a chance to adapt to the change and avoid digestive upset.
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