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May 2013 Ask Wellness

Q: My sister seems to think that dry dog food is the best for her dog instead of wet canned food. She said dry is better because it helps clean their teeth, is this so?

A: That’s a great question. Many pet parents like to top the dry food with canned food. It can provide additional nutrition, if weight is an issue.

The best way to answer your question is to first put the question in a human perspective. We humans brush our teeth daily and even twice daily, yet we still need to have our teeth cleaned annually or even more frequently.

The point is, that no matter whether we feed all dry for or we feed some softer food, your pet will still need her teeth cleaned at some point. Feeding just dry food may slow the process but not by much.

Q: I have 2 small dogs (a Maltipoo and a terrier mix) both under 20 pounds. I have heard that I should not feed them wet food every day, but I feed them 1/2 can of wet food each day. I leave the dry out for them to eat throughout the day and I also give them some snacks each day. Is this okay? Should I change my feeding schedule at all?

A: There is no problem feeding any dog a combination of canned and dry food as you have described. Be careful to only feed enough each day to maintain a slightly lean body condition (that goes for small dogs and larger dogs as well).

Canned foods are nutritious and a great complement to dry diets. They can add variety to the diet and encourage proper nutrition in dogs that are picky eaters or having trouble maintaining adequate weight. They do contain significant calories and that should be considered when making up the daily diet.

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