Food Guidelines

Which is Better: Kibble or Canned?

foodchoicesOne of the many first decisions you have to make as a dog parent is to determine the right dog food to provide for your new furry family, how much food to give your new pet, as well as how often to feed him. With so many varieties, brands, and flavors to choose from, many a pet parent has found themselves staring wide-eyed down the pet food aisle, wondering to themselves, Dry or Canned?

What You Need to Know

First, what’s more important than the decision of Wet or Dry, is the decision of which brand to feed your dog. Most low quality dog foods are soybean, rice, or corn-based. Some of the better brands, however, have real meat or fish, or meat meals as their main ingredient. Although they tends to be more expensive, high quality foods, made with real meat, can be an excellent source of the protein and nutrients that your dog needs. Most dogs are apt to eating a smaller volume of the much higher quality dog food products than of their cheaper counterparts; thereby cutting down the cost. In other words, a high quality food will cost more upfront, but will last longer and cost less in the long run – especially when you consider the costs associated with vet bills for a malnourished dog.

For the sake of this comparison between dry and wet dog food, the focus is on high quality, proven brands, that use appropriate ingredients, not cheap fillers or unsafe by-products.

By comparison, dry foods usually have more caloric density than canned foods which suggests that there is less water in a cup of dry kibble than in a cup of canned dog food. This is hardly ever an issue for small dogs, however, it’s very likely that giant breeds will have trouble eating sufficient amount of canned dog food because of their remarkable caloric needs.

· When canned food is superior to kibble. Canned food can be better than kibble in several ways. Canned foods usually have more meat protein and less carbohydrates as compared to their dry counterparts. Because of their air-tight packaging, canned foods normally contain no artificial preservatives. They contain no synthetic colorings and flavorings. With canned dog foods, the meat ingredients tend to be closer to their natural state; making them not only appetizing and palatable but beneficial as well. Even older dogs, which are commonly tormented with chronic canine dental issues, can benefit from canned foods because of their softness, making them a lot easier to chew.

· When kibble comes first. When talking about convenience, nothing can beat the ease of feeding dry foods – just scoop and feed. Many dog parents who are on a tight budget seem to find quality kibble products almost always a way better buy as compared to the canned ones. And, unlike canned foods which are susceptible to bacteria or mold growth if left uneaten in your dog’s bowl, dry kibble can remain fresh and safe for a much longer period of time. Plus, kibbles provide your dog with the crunch that many dogs crave, and need for their dental health. It’s important to note that dry kibbles usually contain much less fat than canned alternatives, making them ideal for dieting dogs. And, dogs that tend to scarf down their food too quickly will eat dry kibble at a slower, safer pace.

Overall, the choice of “canned” or “dry” is an individual one. Nevertheless, larger breeds, like those dogs weighing more than 40 pounds, should to be fed a dry or semi-moist dog food in most situations. Just bear in mind that there are times when providing either one food kind or the other could be the better pick for you and Fido.  For some pet parents, combining the two is the best option to make, just be careful not to overfeed!

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Pingback: Best Dry Dog Food - Pet Blog For Dog & Cat Parents

  2. vijay

    May 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Our lab is 9 Months old. We have given in limited amount of popular kibble plus cooked finger millets served in yoghurt and raw veggies like cucumber, beans, papaya, banana treat and he likes raw jack fruit. He is healthy and normal.Dogs are omnivorous – it eats only non veg is just a sales lobby or slogan from ignorance.

    Our vet doctor also has a male lab who has been served cooked finger millets in yoghurt and he is 14 years now.

  3. Karen

    Feb 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I have a 4 year old yellow lab. His breeder feeds all her pups RAW (BARF) and she has dogs close to 20 years old. Amazing. Also I was told if i wanted to switch to kibble I should do it very slowly as the animal would become ill. Why would I do that to a very happy dog who truly enjoys his meals and bones. I can regulate the amount and type of food I give him depending on his weight and activity level. I am rarely at the vets except for check ups. I know I haven’t been doing this as long as some but I don’t find a problem and it just makes sense. I should eat as healthy.

    • Catherine Scott

      May 2, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Each dog, like each person, is different. I’ve had 4 of the same breed dog. One loved raw, one wouldn’t eat raw, one threw up constantly on raw, one had constant diarrhea on raw. Same raw blend. 4 different reactions.

      Did home made. One LOVED it but died of cancer early (not saying it did it, of course, just stating a fact), one was so miserably gassy that I didn’t try it on the others.

      Never, ever thought I’d go canned and kibble, but I have. It still isn’t what I would prefer, but what they do. The two I have now will not eat or have a bad reaction to raw. Find what your pet loves, make sure it’s the highest quality of whatever type it is, and don’t stress.

      • Catherine

        May 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

        Each dog, like each person, is different. I’ve had 4 Norwich terriers. One loved raw, one wouldn’t eat raw, one threw up constantly on raw, one had constant diarrhea on raw. Same raw blend. 4 different reactions.

        Did home made. One LOVED it but died of cancer at 13 (not saying it did it, of course, just stating a fact), one was so miserably gassy that I didn’t try it on the others.

        Never, ever thought I’d go canned and kibble, but I have. It still isn’t what I would prefer, but what they do. The two I have now will not eat or have a bad reaction to raw. Find what your pet loves, make sure it’s the highest quality of whatever type it is, and don’t stress.

  4. Marina

    Feb 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Kalum, feed raw, your dog will love you for it. A good website to visit is Natures Menu is a good place to start and get advice.

    Marina 🙂

  5. Megan

    Feb 24, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Home cooked here! My diabetic schnauzer loves it, and it’s the best thing I’ve come across in regulating his diabetes.

  6. Kalum

    Sep 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Hi, I have a 3 year old shih tzu which I adapted him from his previous owner who was keeping him for 3 years in cage and feed him dry food. His very thin where I can see his ribcage but now his refusing to eat wet food and is scared of the smell of the wet food. I wanna give give him a better house to stay. Can someone help me please? How do I feed him the wet food?

  7. Greta Wallace

    Jul 10, 2013 at 10:39 am

    ABSOLUTELY there is a difference in what you feed your dog, in the same way we know now, what is good for humans! Processed foods are proven to cause cancer, period!!! Would you feed your child canned or dry food every day of their lives? If our own child lived only 10 years on the diets they recommend for dogs, would you not take action? Yes, people seem to survive on just about anything they eat….Some drink alcohol alone and look beautiful, for a long time, but common sense tells us that our bodies disease without natural foods…..Cancer is on the increase and yes you can feed you dog anything you wish, but it is the leading cause of pet deaths. It is not just a human disease. We can learn from your own mistakes. I feed a raw food diet to my dogs. Raw IS the healthiest diet you can give a dog. I struggle with no income and yet my dogs will not starve and they will have a good healthy diet….I don’t spend tons on dry kibble or canned food. I spend it on raw meaty bones and fruit and veggies and their basic BARF diet when I can afford it. Commercial diets create long term health issues. For those with small dogs that think they are getting away with feeding the same dry or canned food…..Small dogs DO live longer. Our pets are only expected to live 10 years or so….Too bad for them. They have the potential to live long healthy lives. I have had the experience of raising dogs on dry kibble and canned foods and RAW SAVED their LIVES…IN every case, it is your choice in the end. I just wish people would not BUY pets when they argue about not having enough money to feed them properly!!!!

    • Mary Williams

      Jul 11, 2013 at 5:05 am

      Comparing dogs with children is not correct, dogs do not have the same digestive systems as humans.

      It is ok to feed a dog always the same brand of food and maybe one treat a month.

      • Barbara Stapleton

        Oct 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm

        Mary I am so surprised by your harsh answer. First do YOU eat the same exact food day after day after day.

        First, “comparing children to dogs” is incorrect. It would have been better to write something like “Would you feed your child the human equivalent of canned or dry dog food.” It was an example of the boredom and insufficiency of the choices. Other readers understood this is what was meant.

        Second, do you eat the same exact thing 1-x day with nothing else, day after day after day = NO!
        Do you ever have more than 1 snack a MONTH! ABSURD.
        Sometimes energy drops and a snack is REQUIRED.
        Sometimes a reward moves mountains of feeling unappreciated.
        One or two feedings a day leaves a l o n g expanse of time to hunger.

      • Barbara Stapleton

        Oct 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        Mary I am so surprised by your harsh answer.

        First, regarding “comparing children to dogs”: It would have been better to write something like “Would you feed your child the human equivalent of canned or dry dog food.” It was an example of the boredom and insufficiency of the choices. Other readers understood this is what was meant.

        Second, do you eat the same exact thing 1-2x daily with nothing else, day after day after day = NO!
        Do you ever have more than 1 snack a MONTH! ABSURD.
        Sometimes energy drops and a snack is REQUIRED.
        Sometimes a reward moves mountains of feeling unappreciated.
        One or two feedings a day leaves a l o n g expanse of time to hunger.
        Variety IS the spice of Life – and Health

  8. Beverly Thalman

    Jun 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Go to dogfoodadvisor.com. It gives all the details on ingredients on all dog foods. Definitely educational if you have any concern at all for your pet and its nutrition. Put it simply you are what you eat. Check it out. I feed 5 star food or 4 star food. Have 3 healthy dogs.

  9. Sandy

    Mar 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Is there really that much of a difference in nutritional values between wet and dry dog foods and specifically, is it really worth feeding them the pricey stuff? Not to say that my dogs are not worth the top quality food but with two dogs over 60 pounds each, they go through food like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t buy the no-name brand but it’s dry food and a popular grocery store brand. A friend of mind keeps lecturing me on how anything I can get at the supermarket is never good enough (and sending me “options” for better food, like http://www.ranker.com/list/best-canned-dog-food/pet-project) but surely she isn’t volunteering to cover the costs of that expensive food. Is there any scientific findings to back up her claims? Similarly, is there any harm in switching foods? My lab is almost nine and boxer almost five and aside from when they were on puppy formula, they’ve eaten the same thing their entire lives.

    • Sandra Holloway

      Feb 25, 2014 at 8:21 am

      I have dogs my entire life and I have fed them many different things. For years I used a very popular and very reasonably priced grocery store brand of dog food. Back in the 1980s, we had 3 dogs – one 10 pounds, and two over 65 pounds. They loved the food, and lived to be 16 years old, 13 years old and 10 years old (very severe hip dysplasia resulted in our decision to humanely euthanize, otherwise he was very healthy). Back then, there were not the options we have now. Different dogs now, and I have also tried different feeding options. I have fed my more recent dogs premium foods, pet store grade and recommended by trainers (75 pound shepherd that lived to be 13). Now I have switched to a freeze-dried meat based raw diet developed by a veterinarian and am very happy with my 7 year old small dog’s coat, eyes, etc. I have done a lot of research, and think this is the best diet of what is available and would not switch back. He loves it and it is an excellent (and by far the most natural) diet. That said, genetics and environment play important roles in the longevity of our companions. Being loved and homed and seeing a vet regularly are the best things we can offer them, and having their own bowl in their own loving home is surely better, whatever food the bowl contains, than living in a shelter or being abandoned. So I think people should do the best they can in their individual circumstances with the decision of WHAT to feed. Unless your vet finds problems (allergies, urinary, etc.), serving food with love and affection counts for a whole lot. My dogs from the 1980s lived very long and healthy lives on grocery store food. I am in a different place now and do something different, but I didn’t have this option then and it worked out quite well for them. I made my recent decision to go freeze-dried raw because I do think, having tried many things over my lifetime and my dogs’ lives, that close to nature, natural and not baked/cooked, a raw diet is better.

  10. Casey Billhimer

    Feb 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    We have two Bichon Frise, ages four and seven, and have been feeding them lamb and rice dry food since they reached adulthood. Neither dog has ever been sick and the lamb and rice formula help to prevent them from staining around the mouth and eyed. They also have perfectly clean teeth and clean breath.

  11. Cindy Knott

    Feb 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    thank you for the info<3

  12. Brian

    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Wrong question. Should be “Why feed dogs kibble or canned?” not which one. Neither is that good.

  13. Ann

    Feb 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

    NEITHER! Feed raw. Who knows what goes in the bag or can since there are no regulations on pet food!

    • kris

      Jun 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      yep..raw it is.. i have for 12+ years..

      • Marina

        Feb 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

        Yes, most definitely feed raw, I have 3 Chihuahuas who are a picture of health since being fed raw 🙂

        Marina x

    • Steve

      Jun 12, 2013 at 2:40 am

      Try starting your own line of dog food and see how far you get without running into those allegedly non-existent regulations, lol.

      • Barbara Stapleton

        Oct 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

        Hello Steve, It would be SO nice to hear the roadblocks (regulations) that you ran into. As you know, the overwhelming majority of foods are not safe or healthy. So finding your comment on this site peaks interest. How hard IS it for healthy/safe pet food to get approved for sale in the USA? Also, did you talk to any of the recommended manufacturers for tips.

      • Barbara Stapleton

        Oct 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        Hello Steve,
        It would be SO nice to hear the roadblocks (regulations) that you ran into. As you know, the overwhelming majority of foods are not safe or healthy. So finding your comment on this site peaks interest. How hard IS it for healthy/safe pet food to get approved for sale in the USA? Also, did you talk to any of the recommended manufacturers for tips.

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