The Different Pet Food Formats
In terms of which pet food format to feed, this very much comes down to the particular needs and preferences of an individual pet, along with what works well for the owner. Whilst some pets and their owners may prefer a wet food or a commercial raw food, others may prefer dry. This variety is intended to ensure there is something to suit all needs and preferences.
Wet food can be convenient with single-serve formats ensuring a fresh, easy-to-serve meal each time
• For hygiene and cleanliness any uneaten wet food should not be left out for a prolonged period of time
• Pets usually drink less when eating wet foods as there is higher water content than in dry foods
• Wet foods can be a good option for pets with missing teeth, poorly aligned jaws, or smaller mouths
• In terms of storage, once opened wet food can be kept for a maximum of up to 5-7 days if stored correctly. The food needs to be covered to minimise air exposure (for instance use a plastic tin lid or a zip-to-close bag) and refrigerated
• When feeding wet food, the portions will be bigger due to the higher water content
• A special consideration for puppies and large breed dogs: Puppies require a much higher nutrient intake per unit of their weight than an adult dog. Large breeds have proportionately smaller stomachs than standard or small breed dogs. In both these cases, it is possible that with wet food alone, a dog may feel full and finish his meal before the nutrient requirements have been met. To ensure your dog is receiving a nutritionally balanced diet, we advise owners to speak to their local vet for feeding advice.
In terms of storage, dry pet foods should be stored in a cool, dry environment to prevent destruction of vitamins and oxidation of fats, which can lead to rancidity (spoilage). Pet foods will retain their best palatability if they’re stored in the original packaging, provided they are sealed properly after each use. Please refer to the ‘best before date’ on the pet food packet
• Dry pet foods are good for pets who like to eat little and often, and who choose to regularly return to their food.
• It can be left in the dish longer than wet food but it will become less palatable the longer it is left out
• Dry foods are convenient and can be weighed out more easily, helping with portion control
• Some, but not all, dry diets may contribute to dental health by reducing the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth
• Due to the lower moisture content in dry food (approx 8-10%) your pet is likely to drink more water. A recommendation is to offer one water bowl for each pet in the house plus an additional one. This is often referred to as the 1+1 rule
• Once defrosted it can be stored in the fridge if properly covered to minimise air exposure. The length of time for which it can be stored will vary between products and manufacturers will provide guidance on their packaging.
• Raw feeding does not use the ad-lib technique of leaving food down as can be done with dry feeding, instead it is offered at regular meal times
• For hygiene and cleanliness always ensure your hands, utensils, pet bowls and any surfaces that have come into contact with any raw pet foods are cleaned thoroughly, just as you would when handling raw meat for human consumption
• For hygiene and cleanliness any uneaten food should not be left out for a prolonged period of time
• Due to the high natural moisture content in raw food you may notice that your pet drinks less
• If switching from a dry or wet diet a gradual transition over 7-10 days is recommended to restore natural gastric acidity and allow the gut flora to adapt to a raw diet