Make your own free website on




Comparing Dog Food

Types Of Pet Foods
The three main types of pet foods are dry, soft-moist and canned products. These vary in a number of characteristics including moisture, cost, palatability and amount of nutrition delivered per pound of food. Evaluating a pet food diet should include consideration of all these factors. In spite of these variations, with today's advanced technology, all types of pet food products can be formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs.

Which Products Are Best?
The immense number of choices pet owners have when purchasing pet food sometimes makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what type of product to buy. The important criteria to consider in choosing the type of product are the place the consumer shops, how much money the pet owner would like to spend and the level of convenience, palatability and digestibility desired. As long as the product offers 100% complete and balanced nutrition, the form of the food and the category are simply a matter of the pet owner's preferences.

Canned Diets
Canned dog foods contain between 8% and 15% protein and between 2% and 15% fat, depending on the type(s) of animal tissue used in the diet. The moisture content for canned pet foods is approximately 75% (less than 78%). Canned dog foods deliver 375 to 950 metabolizable kilocalories per pound. Total food consumption is high because of the low caloric content. The nutrient balance is dictated a great deal by the type of animal tissue used in the diet. These diets offer the highest palatability and the highest cost per serving when compared to the dry and soft-moist products. In addition, canned products are less convenient to serve than other product types. Once a can is opened, unused food should be stored in the refrigerator.

Dry Diets
Most dry dog foods contain 18% to 27% protein, 7% to 15% fat, less than 12% moisture and 35% to 50% carbohydrate (also expressed as N.F.E. or nitrogen-free extract). These diets deliver between 1,400 and 2,000 metabolizable kilocalories per pound of product. Dry cat foods contain 28% or more protein, 8% to 24% fat, less than 12% moisture and have 1,400 to 2,000 metabolizable kilocalories per pound of diet.

Commercial dry dog foods were introduced in the United States during the late 1890s in the form of baked biscuits made with blended grains, vegetables and meat. Many of the early pet foods were collectively labeled "dog and cat food diets" and little was known about the individual nutrient requirements of dogs and cats. However, as animal nutritionists began to study the nutritional needs of dogs and cats, certain unique nutrient requirements were established for each species.

Soft-Moist Diets
Soft-moist dog and cat foods contain approximately 16% to 25% protein, 5% to 10% fat, about 25% to 35% carbohydrate and 30% water (moisture levels sometimes go as high as 50%). High-quality soft-moist diets contain approximately 1200 to 1350 metabolizable kilocalories per pound of product. Soft-moist dog and cat foods generally offer higher palatability as compared to dry diets, are convenient to serve and store easily. They are more expensive to feed than dry diets.

Categories Of Pet Foods

In addition to distinguishing pet foods based on their form, products are also distinguished more generally based on the criteria of cost, place of purchase, nutrient density (number of calories per pound) and, to a lesser degree, palatability and digestibility. Super premium, premium and non-premium products can all offer 100% complete and balanced nutrition. No official definitions exist for these categories of pet foods and the characteristics of products vary from one manufacturer to another. In general, super premium products tend to be at the high end of the spectrum for the distinguishing characteristics, premium products fall in the mid-range and non-premium products tend toward the lower end of the spectrum for cost and nutrient density. Super premium foods are generally sold in pet specialty stores and veterinary offices, carry big price tags and are usually energy dense, or have more calories per pound of food. Premium foods are traditionally sold at grocery stores but are also available in pet specialty outlets. These types of products are moderately priced. Feed stores often carry non-premium pet foods which are very inexpensive.

Some pet foods are designed with palatability as their distinguishing feature. These products often have kibbles with different sizes and shapes and carry various flavor claims. They appeal to pet owners interested in indulging their pet and providing great variety.

Store-brand products are those pet foods sold under the store's name as opposed to a national brand name. These foods are designed to offer similar guarantees, ingredients and performance to the nationally advertised brands at a lower price.

Comparing Label Guarantees
The difference in moisture content among the various types of pet food impacts the nutrient density of the products or the amount of nutrients per pound of food. As the water content of the diet increases, the amount of protein, fat and other essential nutrients decreases. That means the animal must consume a larger portion of the high moisture products to receive the nutrition they need.

This difference in moisture content also prohibits a direct comparison of the nutrient content of one product type to another. For example, a consumer cannot compare the 12% protein content of a canned dog food to the 21% protein level of a dry dog food and conclude the dry food will supply more protein. The serving size for the canned food will be much larger due to the increased amount of water. Thus, the dog will actually consume similar amounts of protein with each product. The consumer can, however, make a fair comparison of the 21% protein content of one dry dog food to the 30% protein content of another dry dog food and conclude that the dog will receive more protein by eating the higher protein product. That is not to say, however, that the higher protein product is necessarily superior. That would depend on the life stage and lifestyle of the pet to whom the product is fed. It is generally accepted that dry pet foods are more economical to feed than the soft-moist and canned varieties and offer more convenience to pet owners. Dry products also have crunchy kibbles which help reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar on the pet's teeth.

Pet Foods To Meet Special Needs
Many pet foods are formulated to meet certain specific nutritional needs of dogs. For example, diets designed specifically for puppies usually contain higher levels of the nutrients pets need during their period of rapid growth and development.

Some dog foods are formulated to have higher levels of protein and calories to provide the extra energy dogs need when they are hunting or working. Other dog foods are formulated to be lower in calories and fat to help less active and older dogs maintain normal body weight.

| HOME |

2002 Pitbull Zone by Gatekeeper. All rights reserved. All other copyrights are the property of their respective owners.