There are so many choices. Complete and balanced pet foods are available in a huge range of formats. The traditional dry kibble and wet tinned food, to fresh foods, cold pressed, baked, air dried, freeze dried and so many others. 

Wet food is presented in a whole array of different ways now. From tins to pouches, foil trays, rolls and tetrapaks. The product itself also comes with a range of options. There’s pate, chunks, shreds, mince, filets, in a variety of sauce, gravies, and jellies, and more. Kibbles vary hugely too. From traditional grain based mueslis to grain free, high meat content kibble. Fresh meat, sustainable, or organic ingredients, and foods to suit so many conditions and health needs. There is such great variety, and the range of ingredients and recipes is massive. But how do different formats of pet foods compare?

Different formats of pet foods all give us options, but the most important consideration is the nutritional content. If the foods are complete and balanced for your pet’s life stage and lifestyle, the various formats just give us choices. Choices for the way we’d prefer to feed our pets, the type of recipe which suits them best, the ingredients and quality which we want to feed, and what your pet prefers too. Afterall our pets are all individuals and pet foods aren’t one size fits all.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The truth is there are advantages and disadvantages to each of the different pet food formats. Take wet food. This is the more traditional method of feeding. Your grandparents were definitely more likely to have had tins of dog food in their cupboards than a bag of kibble. Yet now more people choose dry food for their pets. Kibble is more convenient. You can store it in the cupboard and pour it into their bowl. No need for half fed tins to be hanging around in your fridge. Wet food, of course, has a higher water content too. This is great for promoting good hydration in our pets, and often is more palatable for pets too, but this does mean that it’s more expensive per meal than kibble.

What about the other formats of food?

There are pros and cons to all formats of pet food. Take cold pressed food as an example. The advantage here is that during processing the ingredients aren’t subject to high temperatures, although this is only an advantage if the ingredients weren’t exposed to high temperatures either. Some claim that cold pressed foods are more easily digested, although this hasn’t been well studied. Fresh foods? These are similar to wet foods, but they have undergone different processing, and need to be stored chilled or frozen to keep them fresh.

What about air dried and freeze dried?

Air drying is an example of dehydration. This is where hot air is used to remove moisture from foods. Air dried foods are often very palatable, but more expensive than extruded kibble. Freeze drying, in contrast, happens in a vacuum, which is an expensive process to run. There is no heat involved in removing the moisture in this process.

What to choose?

There are so many options when it comes to pet foods. The role of pets in the family has changed bringing with it interest, innovation and an exciting boom in the options we now have available for our pets. These choices can be overwhelming, but also wonderful. Feeding complete and balanced nutrition to your pet is key. The format of the food can be chosen dependent on your priorities and what best suits yours and your pet’s needs. These choices give us flexibility when it comes to feeding our pets.