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Is dry dog food better for your dog?

Canned dog food might be enticing to your dog, but dry food has several health benefits.
Canned dog food might be enticing to your dog, but dry food has several health benefits.
Marie Anne St. Jean

Given a choice, most dogs would probably prefer canned food instead of dry kibble from a bag, but is dry dog food better for them?

Dogs are carnivores (meat eaters) by nature and their teeth and jaws are designed to rip into raw meat and also to chew bones. While canned food provides the meaty flavor they love, there is minimal chewing required as most dogs do little more than snatch it up and swallow. Chewing hard objects is instinctive to canines of all types and helps maintain good oral health. Unless you intend to let your dog tear into the unopened can (and please don't), a nutritionally sound dry kibble may be more beneficial to your dog’s overall health.

Chomping on dry dog food will help keep plaque in check, much the same as a human biting into an apple a day, but you should be checking your dog's mouth and teeth regularly for any signs of plaque buildup, broken teeth, et cetera. Softer canned dog food is more likely to remain on the teeth and gums for extended periods, which may become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Dogs don't always know what's good for them and if they've been fed canned food in the past, they may be spoiled by the taste and not want to eat dry food. If that's the case with your dog, try mixing a small amount of wet food with the dry so that he'll get the meaty taste, but also the benefits of chewing.

In addition to their regular food diet, all dogs should be provided with some form of chew bones or safe toys to satisfy their natural urge to chew. Gnawing on a bone or hard toy will also aid in the prevention of plaque, but in addition, will provide the natural exercise of the jaw that the dog needs. Soft toys are fine for a puppy, but once your dog has his adult teeth, make sure that any chew toy that you provide is as close to indestructible as possible. Ingesting pieces of a plastic or rubber toy not meant for consumption can lead to impaction and isn't worth the risk to your pet's health.

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