If Fido's been turning his nose up on his dry food diet, it's okay to add a little canned food to it to tempt him to eat it. Mixing these two types of foods can potentially give you the advantages of each one and isn't harmful to your dog. Feel free to flavor your pup's dinner with canned food but don't forget to account for the extra calories you're adding to his diet.
Dry vs. Canned
There are several advantages to feeding your pup a dry food diet. Dry food generally costs less than canned food, which is especially helpful when feeding a large dog or multiple pups, according to PetMD. It has a crunchy texture that helps clean your dog's teeth, and you can leave it out throughout the day for your pooch to nibble without having to worry about spoilage. Canned food spoils if left out, but it contains more water than dry food, which helps to hydrate Fido. It's also more palatable than dry food. By mixing a bit of it into your pooch's dry kibble, you can combine the benefits of both types of food for your pup.
When your pup isn't feeling well, adding a bit of canned dog food to his dry diet may help encourage him to eat, recommends veterinarian Dr. Ron Hines of the 2ndChance website. Most dogs enjoy the taste of canned food, and you can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to enhance its aroma, unlike dry food. Mixing the two together can also soften your pup's kibble. Softer kibble helps older dogs, who may suffer from dental issues, and recently weaned young puppies, to eat their dinner more easily. If your pup is underweight, canned food generally has more calories than dry food, so adding it to Fido's dinner may help him gain weight.
To transition your pup from a canned food diet to a dry one, you'll need to add his old canned food to his new dry food to slowly transition him from one to the other while avoiding any tummy upset. Do this by decreasing his old diet and increasing his new one by 25 percent each week, recommends the Petfinder website. Remember that when serving Fido any canned food, even mixed with dry food, you should never leave it out for more than two hours to prevent spoilage, recommends the Pedigree website. Instead, discard or refrigerate any of your pup's leftovers to serve later.
When feeding dry food mixed with canned food, remember to add together the calories of each to determine how many calories Fido's ingesting daily. Each food's calories count is usually listed on the package, as is your pup's daily recommended calories for his size. If your pup is on a special therapeutic dry food diet to treat a medical condition or food allergy, only add a canned food to it that is also from the same prescription food line. Many manufacturers of such prescription diets make them in both dry and canned form, but it's best to consult with your vet before adding canned food to his dry diet.
- petMD: Dry vs. Wet Foods: Which is the Best for Your Pet?
- 2ndchance.info: What to Do When Your Dog or Cat Won’t Eat Anorexia in Pets
- Pedigree: Dry or Canned: Which is Best?
- Petfinder: Changing Your Dog's Food
- WebMD: Canned Versus Dry Food -- Which is Best?
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Breeding for Dog Owners -- Caring from Birth to Weaning
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.