The popularity of wet dog food is on the rise as pet parents are becoming more and more in tune with their dog’s nutritional needs. If you have a picky eater on your hands or a senior dog who may have a hard time chewing crunchy kibbles, odds are you may have considered or tried wet dog food as a meal option for your pet. As the hunt for holistic dog food is becoming more and more saturated, it begs the question–what exactly is holistic dog food? And do holistic canned dog foods exist? We’ve rounded up all of your questions about wet dog food and the potential benefits of feeding it to your furry family member.
What is Holistic Dog Food?
As far as a holistic dog food definition, one way to look at holistic dog food is “whole dog nutrition”.
Crafting holistic dog food recipes means creating high-quality recipes that are meant to nourish your dog’s whole body–not just keep them full until their next meal. Holistic dog foods are made with high quality ingredients, essential vitamins, and nutrients to make sure your dog is thriving in all ways possible. Always make sure to pay attention to the dog food label. Looking at important parts the ingredients list will tell you a lot about the quality of the food.
When looking for a high quality holistic recipe, you’ll want to make sure the food you’re considering is a complete and balanced diet, meaning it has all of the essential nutrients your dog needs to live a happy and healthy life. When looking for a holistic dog food, taking a deeper look at the label on your dog’s food is even more important, as holistic food will likely contain more high quality ingredients that will support your dog’s overall well-being.
That being said, ingredients are just a single piece of the whole puzzle. When looking at a pet food label you’ll also want to look at other things like the AAFCO Statement, the guaranteed analysis, and even feeding guidelines to make sure the food you’ve picked out fits your dog’s needs. If you’re ever in doubt (and even if you aren’t!) we always recommend discussing your dog’s diet with your vet to make the best decision for your dog’s diet and nutrition.
Benefits of Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food has many benefits, especially if you’re looking for dog food for picky eaters. Canned food is a great way to stimulate your dog’s appetite. By feeding them wet food by itself or even mixing in wet food with your dog’s usual dry food, you’re likely to encourage them to eat if they’ve been being picky. Wet dog food also typically contains more high protein meat that’s closer to its natural state which is what makes it more appetizing to dogs.
Additionally, feeding wet dog food if your dog is being picky will also help keep them hydrated. Wet dog foods with high water content is normal and is shown on the guaranteed analysis as “Moisture”. If your dog isn’t eating much kibble or drinking much water, wet food like K95 Lamb is a great alternative to keep them hydrated and to get some nutrients in their bodies.
If you’re feeding wet food as a topper or mixer, you’ll just feed slightly less kibble to make up for the calorie difference. You can always check with your vet to make sure you’re adding the right amounts of each type of food, as adding too many calories of wet food could lead to weight gain.
Wet food also makes great senior dog food. As dogs age, they tend to become more prone to dental issues which can make chewing crunchy kibbles a little more difficult. Wet food tends to help in these instances since it’s much easier for dogs with dental problems to chew. One thing you’ll want to keep an eye out for in wet food for seniors is glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. As dogs age, they typically experience a decline in joint health. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements that help support joint health, so it’s important to look for these on the guaranteed analysis when researching dog food for seniors.
Another benefit of wet food is its long shelf life. When our kibble recipes are produced, they have an 18-month shelf life. Our K95 Duck recipe, on the other hand, has a shelf life of three years before it needs to be used or thrown out. For this reason it’s much easier to stock up on wet food if you should ever need to.
Holistic Dog Food vs. Natural Dog Food
So all of the scientific terms aside, what is natural dog food? Basically, it’s any recipe that is made without any artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, food additives, or preservatives. That being said, while AAFCO develops these guidelines they don’t actually enforce them. According to the American Kennel Club:
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for enforcement, but since the FDA has not defined “natural” in relation to pet food labeling, it requires only that the labeling not be misleading. For the consumer who is researching pet foods, this can be quite confusing. Since most ingredients in pet foods are derived from “plant, animal or mined sources,” these will all be considered as natural ingredients. Any ingredients that are synthetically derived do not meet the requirement to be labeled natural. These include chelated minerals, mineral amino acid complexes, vitamin supplements, propylene glycol, calcium ascorbate, and other preservatives, such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), as well as artificial flavors and colors.”
This is why you’ll always see our statements about our natural dog food recipes paired with a statement about added vitamins and minerals. While all of our ingredients are natural the added vitamins and minerals technically aren’t, but we choose to include them to further benefit the overall health and lifestyle of your dog (going back now to holistic!).
Canned Holistic Dog Food Ingredients
Taking a closer look at the ingredient list when choosing food for your dog is always super important. It’s especially important if your dog has food allergies or sensitivities, but even if not it’s always a good idea to know what’s in their food and to know if the food is made with natural ingredients.
The ingredients list will be ordered from largest to smallest amounts and making sure the first ingredient is meat protein of some kind–whether it’s real meat or a high quality meat meal–is always something you should be on the lookout for. Looking at the label and ingredients list is also important if you’re partaking in mixed or combination feeding, which is using wet or canned dog food like our K95 Beef recipe in addition to your dog’s daily kibble. You might wish to find a topper with a protein source that’s similar to their kibble to combat stomach upset or may wish to try adding something completely different. Either way, if your dog is digesting it, you should know what’s in it.
Wet vs Dry Dog Food
PetMD has rounded up a great list of benefits of wet dog food compared to dry dog food, as well as a list of benefits of dry dog food compared to wet dog food:
Benefits of Wet Dog Food Compared to Dry Dog Food
Higher moisture content: Wet food may be a good choice if your dog doesn’t drink as much as they should, or if they have a medical condition that could benefit from proper hydration.
Palatability: Canned dog food is often more aromatic and flavorful when compared to dry food. This may entice sick or older dogs to eat if their appetite is decreased.
Satiety: Wet dog food tends to create a longer-lasting feeling of being “full.” Increased satiety is useful in weight management, especially in dogs that seem to have a never-ending appetite.
Easier to chew: Dogs that have dental disease or other oral abnormalities may find wet food easier to chew than dry food.
Benefits of Dry Dog Food Compared to Wet Dog Food
Dental health benefits: Dry food encourages dogs to chew their food, which aids in preventing tartar buildup and secondary periodontal disease.
Convenience: Compared to wet food, dry diets are much easier to pre-portion, and they won’t spoil if left out all day. This can be beneficial for dogs that are grazers.
Financially feasible: Depending on the brand of food, dry diets may be less expensive to purchase and store long-term.
Food enrichment: Kibble is easier to integrate into food puzzles and slow feeders that may improve a dog’s quality of life through cognitive stimulation.
So Which Type of Dog Food is Better for My Dog?
When it comes to whether or not canned dog food is better than dry, it really depends on your situation. As with any dog food, what works for your dog might not work for someone else’s and that’s totally okay! If your dog won’t eat dry food or you’re looking for the best food for dogs with no teeth, you should experiment with wet food to see if they prefer that. If dry food works better for your furry family than canned food and you don’t mind a few more carbohydrates in dog food, then you should feed what works best for you. In the end, even the healthiest dry food or the healthiest wet dog food isn’t really healthy if it doesn’t work for your dog (can we put that on a shirt or something?).
Mixing Wet and Dry Dog Food
Wet and dry food tend to vary in terms of cost effectiveness. Depending on how much canned food you need to feed your dog, it may be more cost-effective to stick to kibble. For example, the feeding guidelines on our K95 Turkey recipe states to feed one 13 oz. container per 13-15 pounds of body weight daily. For a 60-pound dog that’s almost four cans per day, which can add up quickly!
That being said, that doesn’t mean that canned food is out of the question for your large breed dog. Canned food is great if you need to stimulate appetite in dogs using different textures and different flavors, so using canned food as an additional topper or mixer on occasion is a more cost-effective way to incorporate it into your dog’s diet if your dog would normally need larger portions of just the canned food alone.
If you decide mixing wet and dry dog food or combination feeding is right for your dog, we highly recommend talking to your vet to help you make an informed decision regarding exactly how much of each type of food should be in your dog’s daily bowl. If your dog’s dental care is a factor in why you’re choosing to incorporate wet food, your vet may also recommend switching to wet food entirely in order to keep their teeth healthy as long as possible.
How Should I Store My Canned Dog Food?
Storing canned food can sometimes be tricky, especially if your dog doesn’t eat a whole can for a meal. In these cases, you’ll need to make sure you safely store the food so it doesn’t go bad and ruin the nutritional value of the food for your pet.
Does canned dog food need to be refrigerated? Canned food typically only needs to be refrigerated after you open it. If you don’t use all of the can at one time, seal the container and store it in the fridge for up to four days. We also love using Stasher bags, and the Stand-Up Mid Bag would fit a can of K95 Turkey or any of the other four tasty flavors perfectly!
How long is canned dog food good for? How long does canned dog food last once opened? Once you open a can of dog food, don’t let it set out for more than two hours. After opening, make sure to transfer any unused portions into a sealed dog food container or into a Stasher bag if you have one. You can then keep it in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Can I freeze canned dog food? Yes! As a matter of fact, freezing canned food is a great DIY treat option for your dog. Put them in a mold and freeze them overnight for a fun but tasty treat or addition to your dog’s dinner bowl. Alternatively, you can portion out the canned food and freeze it for your dog’s meals.
Our K95 Canned Dog Food Recipes
If you think canned dog food may be a good option for your dog, we have five great canned food options for you to try! Our K95 line comes in five tasty protein options: Beef, chicken, duck, lamb, and turkey and is crafted with high-quality meat protein and wholesome fruits and vegetables.
These grain- and gluten-free recipes are all made with a single meat protein, making them great options if your dog has allergies or sensitivities to a certain animal protein. They’re also fortified with added essential vitamins and minerals to keep your dog healthy.
Whether you wish to feed canned food as a topper or mixer or as your dog’s entire meal, K95 is a great option for pet parents who are looking to switch up their adult dog’s meals. If you have a picky eater, these recipes are definitely worth a shot. Fair warning, though–they’re likely to become your dog’s new favorite food!
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