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Why canned food is healthy for your cat or dog

Canned dog and cat food provide…

• Higher levels of animal protein than dry food

• More nutritional value than dry food

• Moisture that is vital to your pet’s health

Proper nutrition is the foundation of health

What we feed our dogs and cats each day is the most important decision we can make concerning their health and well-being. With the proper nutritional building blocks, the body can make its own repairs when a health problem arises. Canned foods are a good choice for both dogs and cats. They tend to have a high meat content, contain few carbohydrates, and preserve the food’s naturally occurring moisture.

Higher levels of animal protein are ideal for cats and dogs

Canned cat food and canned dog food is more likely than dry food to supply your pet with the nutrition they need to thrive. As carnivores, cats and dogs must eat a lot of protein from animal sources —meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. They do not thrive on plant proteins, which supply an incomplete spectrum of amino acids. Although plant ingredients (like grains, legumes, and potatoes) are less useful than animal ingredients, they are often used in pet foods—especially dry kibble—as a binder, thickener, or as an inexpensive source of calories. Canned food allows for the inclusion of high levels of animal protein, and eliminates the need for plant ingredients.

Moisture is important for pets and is crucial for cats

Originally from the desert, cats are best adapted to get the majority of their water from their juicy prey. They have a low thirst drive and are inefficient drinkers. Through their diet, cats eating canned food will consume roughly twice the amount of water as cats who eat dry food and drink from a water bowl! Cats who eat mostly dry food often visit their water bowl frequently, a sign that they are dehydrated and need more moisture in their diet. A diet consisting of 50% or more raw or canned food can help prevent life-threatening health issues such as renal (kidney) failure, diabetes, and FUS/FLUTD. Both fresh and canned foods have a high moisture content: 78% versus 10% for dry food.

Canned food is helpful with weight loss for dogs and cats

Diets high in calories from carbohydrates are the main cause of obesity in dogs and cats. Because canned food is low in carbs and high in satiating protein, it can help an animal lose weight. The high moisture content in canned pet food also helps animals feel full faster.

Canned food benefits dog and cat dental health

Because it has fewer carbohydrates, canned food is actually less likely to contribute to dental decay than kibble. Eating exclusively kibble leaves a residue of starch that can build up below the gum line where it ferments into sugar and causes plaque build-up, resulting in dental problems. 

Canned dog and cat food is easier to digest

Because it is easier to digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in a high-moisture diet than a dry one, canned food is particularly helpful for puppies, kittens, and elderly or recovering animals to get the nutrition they need. More complete digestion results in less doggy waste and less stool in the litter box.

Tips on switching to canned dog or cat food

Introduce canned food slowly, a little at a time, mixed in with or alongside the regular food. Remember to cut back on regular food as canned is added.

• Take away all food the night before and introduce new food to a hungry pet.

• For cats, add tuna water, or a pinch of shaved bonito flakes.

• Add the new food a teaspoon at a time to the old food.

• Warm up the food by adding a splash of warm water.

• A teaspoon of canned pumpkin can be helpful with digestive upset when transitioning to new foods.