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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Wet pet food: Merits and considerations

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Choosing the most appropriate food for our beloved pets can be a challenging task, given the wide range of options available in the market today. While dry kibble and semi-dry diets have become popular choices among pet owners, wet pet food, known for its high moisture content, is emerging as a viable alternative with unique advantages in specific situations. Information on this topic is gathered from articles by Shepherd and Benson, titled “Wet Pet Food: When Is It Indicated?” on the Royal Canin website, and “The Pros and Cons of Wet Food for Dogs” by Stregowski on the SprucePets website.

Important Facts

Wet pet food, often referred to as moist or canned food, contains a significantly higher moisture content compared to semi-moist and dry pet food. Typically comprising 60-80 per cent moisture, wet food stands out for its gel-like consistency, achieved through the addition of gelling agents such as soluble fibers, starch, wheat gluten, and spray-dried animal plasma, according to Shepherd and Benson. Despite concerns regarding the impact of gelling agents on nutrient digestibility, studies have shown that they do not significantly affect macronutrient absorption. However, micronutrients like selenium, sodium, and potassium may exhibit lower bioavailability in wet food formulations, possibly due to the presence of gelling agents. Additionally, Shepherd & Benson say that thiamine deficiency has been reported in certain pâté-style wet food, emphasizing the importance of nutritional adequacy in pet food formulations.

A can of wet pet food. (Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

Advantages of Wet Food

Wet pet food boasts several advantages over its dry and semi-moist counterparts, making it a compelling choice for discerning pet owners, says Stregowski. One notable advantage is its palatability, with many pets showing a preference for the rich aroma and varied textures of wet food. The higher protein and fat content in wet food contribute to its enhanced palatability, particularly appealing to cats, known for their discerning taste preferences. Moreover, the high moisture content of wet food can aid in reducing overall calorie consumption per meal, potentially mitigating the risk of obesity, especially in cats as Shepherd and Benson point out. For pets with urinary issues, wet food offers a practical solution by increasing total daily water intake, thereby promoting urine dilution and reducing the risk of urinary tract disorders, Stregowski adds.

Considerations and Caveats

Despite its merits, wet pet food presents certain considerations that pet owners should bear in mind. Chief among these is the higher cost and perishable nature of wet food, which may deter some owners from adopting it as the primary diet for their pets. Additionally, Shepherd and Benson say, concerns regarding nutrient bioavailability and thiamine deficiency underscore the importance of selecting wet food from reputable manufacturers with a focus on nutritional quality and safety. Furthermore, while wet food may be beneficial for pets with specific health conditions such as urinary disease or diabetes, it may not be suitable for all pets, particularly those predisposed to pancreatitis or dental issues, Stregowski claims.

The owner makes the decision on what to feed their pet, based on what they believe is the best option and any feeding guidance offered by the veterinarian. Many owners choose to mix and match wet and dry ingredients. A special diet may be advised for a pet with a clinical ailment to aid in its care. Regardless of the sort of food, there should always be an ample supply of fresh, clean drinking water. We recommend that all owners adhere to the 1+1 rule (provide one water bowl for each pet in the house, plus an extra one). If you have any health concerns, please consult your local veterinarian.

Besties – a cat and a dog—share wet pet food. (Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

In conclusion, wet pet food offers a compelling alternative to traditional dry and semi-moist diets, with its high moisture content and palatable textures catering to the preferences of many pets. While wet food may be indicated in certain situations, such as managing urinary disease or promoting weight loss, pet owners should carefully consider factors such as cost, nutritional adequacy, and their pet’s specific health needs before making the switch. By making informed choices and consulting with veterinary professionals, pet owners can ensure that their furry companions receive the optimal nutrition necessary for a healthy and fulfilling life.

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist, writer, and tutor. She has been a solo parent for 17 years now because she is wife to Jonas Burgos, a desaparecido victim. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

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