The biggest nutritional difference between dry food and canned food is, as the names suggest, water content. Canned foods can be up to 70% water, whereas the moisture content of dry food is usually only about 10%. Semi-moist food falls in the middle, with about 33% water content. However, there are other differences as well: Dry Foods Are:
Semi-Moist Foods Are:
- Composed of cereal, vegetable protein, bone and meat meal.
- Healthy for the teeth and gums.
- Moderately inexpensive.
Canned Foods Are:
- Able to provide higher protein content than canned food.
- Often composed of vegetable protein and meat by-products.
- Best in combination with dry food, or used as snack or treat.
- Slightly more expensive than dry foods, without necessarily meeting your dog's nutritional requirements.
- Composed of meats, meat by-products, vegetables and grains.
- Highly palatable.
- Unable to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums, which requires more frequent dental maintenance.
- A common source of diarrhea unless supplemented with dry food or biscuits.
- Most expensive.
As long as you feed a veterinarian-approved commercial dog food designed to meet the nutritional needs of your dog at his current life stage, you don't need to worry too much about providing a wide variety of foods. At least not for nutritional reasons! To keep your dog from becoming bored with his food, you can feed two parts dry food to one part canned or semi-moist food per meal, or two meals of dry food and one meal of canned food daily. Experiment with different flavors of food if you like, but as a general rule, once you hit on a mix (brand) your dog likes, stay with it to avoid the development of feeding problems.
Never be tempted to add variety to your dog's diet by feeding him table scraps, as this will decrease his appetite for the dog food that makes up his primary source of nutrition.
Further nutritional information will vary from brand to brand. When picking a dog food, be sure it is veterinarian and/or AAFCO (The American Association of Feed Control Officials) approved. This will assure you of proper quality.