Decoding Types of Dog Food

  • Dry: Also called “kibble,” this is the most common type of dog food and can be found in a variety of brands and flavors. It has a long shelf life (but always check expiration dates!) and can be stored in bulk without the need for refrigeration. The crunch of dry dog food can help a dog’s dental health by removing buildup and improving jaw strength. When picking a dry dog food, check for what type and ingredients will provide the best nutrition for your dog. You will have to decide if your dog needs puppy, adult, or senior food. Avoid fillers such as corn and check to see how much protein is provided in the brand you are considering.

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  • Wet: This type generally comes in a can or similar packaging. It requires little chewing so it is ideal for dogs with trouble eating or dental problems. Some varieties require refrigeration and will say so on the packaging. Because it comes in smaller amounts than dry food, it can cost more in proportion to the dry food. Check for the fat content on the labels and be aware of the calorie content. This may have more of both than dry food, so be aware of your dog’s overall health when considering this type of food.

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  • Semi-Moist: You would probably recognize this type as commercial dog treats. The jerky, chews, and soft chucks shaped like meat are all considered semi-moist. They are solid but chew instead of crunch. They are usually high in fat content and low in other nutritional values. That’s one of the main reasons they are considered more of a treat than a type of food. You can replicate this texture by combining dry food with a type of wet food. This can ease your dog into one type or the other.
  • Frozen: These are also called “raw” foods. They are higher maintenance and should be handled like raw meat. Cooking or preparing will depend on the brand so be careful to read the directions on each package. Store the food properly in the freezer and wash your dog’s bowl thoroughly between meals. This type of food comes with some health risks if not prepared correctly and isn’t suitable for all dogs. Consult your vet before introducing this type of food to your dog’s diet.
  • Home-Cooked: This one requires the most work but possibly the most benefits. This gives you the control of knowing exactly what is going into your dog’s food. You can add certain ingredients like vitamins for desired benefits. Research what constitutes nutritious ingredients for your dog and what kinds of food your dog can’t eat. A vet will be able to provide professional input and guidance for what kinds of nutrients your dog needs specifically.
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