Canned Food Vs. Dry Food

Canned Food Vs. Dry Food

There are pros and cons to feeding your pet canned or dry diet.  In order to determine which is best for your pet and your household we must look at the different qualities of each.   Here is a chart to help categorize the benefits and drawbacks to canned and dry diets.

Comparison Canned Dry
Moisture content 70-80 % 10-15%
Amount of water pet must drink Less More
Cost Higher Lower
Shelf life when not opened Longer Shorter
Spoilage once it is opened Faster Slowly
Fibre content Lower Higher
Palatability (taste for your   pet) Higher Lower
Digestibility (how much is   absorbed by Higher Lower
your pet)
Tartar Control Worse Better


Moisture Content:

If you have a cat or a dog that does not drink very much water than the moisture content is important for your pet.  When we have cats or dogs that do not drink on their own very often, we can supplement them by feeding them canned food.  Since canned food has a higher moisture content it compensates for the fact that your pet does not drink very much.  If you have a cat or a dog that drinks water on a routine basis, this may not be an issue for you.


The cost of pet food affects everyone, but it may become more of an issue for a larger animal.  The cost of feeding a Chihuahua does not compare to the cost of feeding a Great Dane just in the quantity alone.  Whenever we are considering cost of different brands of food we recommend calculating the cost per cup and comparing how many cups are recommended to feed your pet.  This will help you determine the actual savings based on how much food your pet will be eating and not the price on the bag itself.

Shelf Life When Not Opened / Spoilage Once It Is Opened:

Canned food has a longer shelf life when it is not opened, but once the can has been opened it will spoil faster than dry food does.  This may lead to some of the canned food being wasted but it is less likely for dry food to be wasted.  Both of these factors affect how often we need to go and purchase pet food, how much storage we have available and how much waste we consider to be acceptable.

Fibre Content:

Fibre content is important for our dogs and cats who have issues with their bowel movements, or maintaining their optimal weight.  Fibre can help regulate an animals bowel movements much like in people.  It can also help our pets feel full when we are trying to decrease the amount of food they are consuming.  Although if your pet is maintaining their optimal weight and has normal consistency in their bowel movements this may not be an issue for your pets.


Palatability refers to how well an animal likes a diet.  Most often palatability is higher in canned food because of the abundance of great smells it contains.  Even though we want our pet to enjoy what they are eating, it is more important for the health of the pet to have a food with superior nutrition.

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