When you walk down the pet aisle at the store, you probably notice a number of variations of dog food.  You will see different brands and food classified as wet and dry, canned and bagged.  But what is the difference between all of these foods, what dog food ingredients does each contain, and which will provide your dog with the best nutrition? Read on to find out.

The truth is, most dog food in grocery stores is high quality, complete and balanced.  They are formulated to meet nutritional requirements for normal, healthy dogs.  The right kind of dog food will contain a special statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO); this statement indicates that the product meets the proper nutritional requirements for dogs.  Along with the AAFCO, the FDA and DOA play a role in regulating the pet food industry.  Together, these organizations work to make pet food safe.  Purchasing foods that meet AAFCO standards is the first step to knowing the dog food ingredients are safe for your pet. 

It is important to always read food labels to find out the ingredients, you want to do this for the same reasons you do it for yourself.  Make sure that you can identify all of the dog food ingredients listed.  It is known that some commercial dog foods are loaded with unnecessary ingredients and pet owners that are not okay with this should take that into consideration.  Chances are though that food provided in stores is safe for your pet, for the most part. 

There are three main types of commercial dog foods: wet, dry and soft/moist.  They contain differences that may help you determine what type to provide your dog with. 

•    Wet Food
o    Also known as canned food
o    75-80% water
o    8-15% protein
o    2-15% fat
o    High palatability
o    High cost per serving

    Dry Food
o    Comes in bags
o    18-40% protein
o    7-22% fat
o    12-50% carbohydrates
o    10 % moisture
o    Relative palatability
o    Stays fresh longer

•    Soft/Moist Food

o    Usually served in boxes/single serving pouches
o    15-25% protein
o    5-10% fat
o    25-35% carbohydrates
o    30% water
o    Highly palatable
o    Convenient
o    More expensive
o    High in sugar and salt

Each type of food may be appropriate for some dogs, and not others.  For example, wet/canned food is beneficial for finicky eaters, toothless dogs and medications.  It is easier to ingest and dogs can eat more of it without gaining weight because of its high water content. However, some canines just do not like their food cold and wet so it is advisable to test it out before you stock up.  Some dogs enjoy dry food more than others, and an advantage to this is that it helps to remove plaque and tarter from the teeth.  Another advantage is that is has a longer shelf life, so if your dog isn’t a big eater it won’t go bad as fast as canned food. 

The type of food any canine is fed is completely up to itself and the owner.  You may have to do some trial and error before you find the kind that your dog enjoys the most.  Also, if your pet has certain nutritional needs, a veterinarian can help you decide what would work the best. 



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