It recently hit the headlines that supermarkets were reporting a shortage of dog and cat food pouches on their shelves. At a similar time, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) released its pet population data showing that, since the start of the pandemic, 3.2 million UK households have acquired a pet. This brings the estimated combined population of cats and dogs in the UK to 24 million.
The sharp rise in pet ownership has brought with it increased demand for pet products. With dogs and cats being the most popular pets here in the UK, it is unsurprising that these industries are feeling the most pressure.
But there’s some good news – not all pet food is in short supply! Many manufacturers are able to keep up with the increased demand, and, in particular, the supply of dry dog and cat food is strong.
So, if you cannot find your normal pet food or are looking to transition to a new dry dog food or dry cat food, look no further! We’ll be covering the benefits of trying dry food with:
- What’s the difference between wet and dry food?
- Will my pet like dry food? Exploring the palatability of pet food
- Introducing solid food to your puppy or kitten
- Transitioning to a new pet food safely
Wet or dry: Which one to try?
There is a wide range of pet food options out there for your cats or dogs. Dry food, raw food, and wet food, some in gravy, others in jelly. There’s mixers and complete food, grain free and vet prescribed food. With a myriad of options, it can be difficult to navigate, especially for new dog and cat owners.
Want to know the pros and cons of types of pet food? We’ll take it to basics. The two most common types of dog and cat food are wet and dry food. Typically, wet food will come in a pouch or can, whereas dry food is in a kibble form.
The difference between the two starts with the cooking process. While wet food is cooked as a loaf or cut into chunks and mixed with gravy or jelly, dry pet food is cooked with a combination of heat and pressure and then the moisture is removed. Although the main ingredients may be very similar, the process results in two different products.
FIND OUT MORE
The PFMA has a handy video on How Pet Food is Made.
The benefits of dry food
- Due to the cooking process dry food will keep fresher in the bowl for longer than wet food
- There is a less water content in dry food, so your dog or cat needs less food to get all the nutrients they need from their diet
- Dry food is generally more cost effective – a standard bag will last longer than wet food
- There are also suggestions that certain formulations of dry food with particular fibre contents are better for your pet’s teeth. The texture of dry dog and cat food is said to have positive impacts on helping to keep your pet’s teeth clean, by helping to remove plaque build-up. Burgess cat food also contains a specific ingredient to help promote all round oral health.
There are things to bear in mind if you do decide to feed dry food to your pet. As most of the water content has been removed from dry food, it is important that your dog or cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Wet dog or cat food is also considered generally more palatable than dry food, however, most pets will happily eat either.
No matter if you choose to feed your cat or dog dry or wet food, it’s always best to find a complete food. This will be a food that, on its own, has all of the vitamins and nutrients your pet needs to stay happy and healthy. Non-complete foods will need to be topped up with a mixer feed to ensure your pet is getting the nutritional support they need. Alternatively, feeding a complete food means you do not need to worry about topping up their diet, and you can be assured they are getting the dietary support they need every day.
Will my pet like dry food? Let’s take a look at palatability
While wet food is considered more palatable for your pet, most cats and dogs will happily eat either food. With the benefits of dry food including cost and portion control, you may be considering moving onto a dry variety.
Is your pet a picky eater?
When your pet is off their food this could be a sign of illness, especially if it is combined with symptoms such as changes in behaviour, vomiting, or diarrhoea. If you notice these signs, seek the advice of your vet. Alternatively, if your pet is well in themselves and happily eating other foods and treats, they could be a fussy eater.
One of the first things to do is make sure you know what you pet is being fed. Are they getting extras from somewhere else? Dog owners among us will know how much our dogs can love a tasty treat, while cats have been known to visit other houses for a second dinner. Rather than being fussy, your pet could be getting their tea elsewhere!
If you feel that a certain food is working well for your dog or cat but they still aren’t eating it, try changing the flavour. For example, if your cat doesn’t fancy Burgess Cat Salmon, try our Chicken and Duck variety. Or if your dog isn’t keen on Burgess Sensitive Turkey, give Burgess Sensitive Lamb a try.
- Make sure food and water bowls are separate, and each pet has their own bowl.
- A ceramic bowl might do the trick! These are less likely to hold the odours of previous dinners.
- Think about the size and shape. Tall dogs might prefer a raised bowl, while cats like low and wide bowls so they can see over them and their whiskers don’t touch the sides.
Which dog or cat food is best? How to know when you’ve hit the jackpot!
As well as being interested in their food, the signs that your dog is on a good diet are nice, firm poos, a glossy coat, and that they’re generally happy in themselves. Similarly, if your cat is happily eating their food, has a good coat, and is otherwise healthy, you can be confident you are feeding them the right diet.
For both cats and dogs, another key indicator of the right diet is their body condition. The PFMA have a handy Size-O-Meter for dogs and cats.
Ideal things to look out for with your dog’s body condition:
- You can feel a small amount of body fat.
- They’ve got a visible waist.
- You can easily feel their ribs, spine, and hips.
Ideal things to look out for with your cat’s body condition:
- You can easily feel your cat’s ribs, spine, and hip bones.
- They’ve got an obvious waist.
- You can feel a small amount of belly fat.
According to the PFMA “pets at their ideal body condition can live up to two years longer.” So it’s worthwhile completing a quick body condition check when you can!
It is also a good idea to weigh your pet regularly so you can spot any signs of consistent weight gain. Weight gain is a clear sign that their diet needs to be altered. That could be by reducing their portion size or changing their food. Your vet will be able to recommend best way to manage your pet’s weight.
If they recommend changing your dog’s diet, there are several ‘light’ products available for dogs, with ingredients that support weight loss. Burgess Supadog Light is a dry dog food which is light in fat and made with L-carnitine to help maintain a healthy weight.
Did you know?
After neutering, cats need 20% less calories than before. Switching to a complete food specially designed for the altered needs of your neutered cat can help to keep their weight at a suitable level. Burgess Neutered Cat food is a dry food designed with your neutered cat in mind. The L-Carnitine in every bag helps your cat maintain a healthy weight, plus the fibre helps to prevent hairballs, and our recipe is formulated to support a healthy urinary system.
If you ever have any doubts about the suitability of your pet’s diet, or have concerns about their dietary requirements, it is always best to seek the advice of your vet.
Wondering what to feed your puppy? Unsure what’s the best food for your kitten? Try Burgess Pet Care today
For the puppy in your life:
Your dog’s needs will change throughout their life. They’ll develop their own unique personality, they’ll learn how to sit and stay, and they’ll become a much-loved member of the family. Throughout their life, from puppy to senior, your dog will need a food that supports their nutritional needs and helps them stay happy and healthy.
It is important to feed your puppy a food that will support their development into adulthood. A good quality, complete food should contain all the ingredients needed to support their growth. Calcium is essential for growing bones, while fat and carbohydrates provide energy for your curious puppy. Supadog Puppy Food also contains 28% protein to support young, growing muscles. When choosing a dry puppy food, one with smaller kibble is best for your pup’s smaller mouth and teeth.
Always keep an eye on how your puppy reacts to their food. If you notice runny poos, it is a good idea to speak to your vet about gradually changing your puppy over to a sensitive puppy food. Burgess Sensitive Puppy Food is designed for puppies or nursing mothers with sensitive digestion. Our recipe is made without many of the typical ingredients that can cause sensitivities in puppies, with calcium to support growing bones, and prebiotics to support good bacteria in the gut. Plus, it helps to form solid poos!
Caring for your kitten:
As your cat grows, from kitten through to their mature years, their nutritional requirements will change. This means their food needs to support them in different ways with specialist ingredients to support their changing needs.
Getting the right balance of nutrients is essential to help your kitten grow up healthy and happy. That’s why our Burgess Kitten Food is formulated to help little paws grow! With prebiotics to support digestive development, alongside digestible proteins and amino acids to support muscle development, our recipe is suitable for kittens and nursing mothers.
Ready to make the switch? How to transition safely between wet and dry pet food
Transitioning between any types of food, even between brands of wet food, can have an impact on your pet’s digestion. The best way to swap your pet’s food is to do it slowly, over a period of 7-10 days.
Gradually mix in their new dry food, with the wet food, until the new food completely replaces the old diet. This gradual transition will help to reduce any stomach upset. If you have any concerns, seek the advice of your vet.
We don’t recommend frequently changing your pet’s food or suddenly switching them onto a new food. If your dog or cat is responding well to a food that is nutritionally balanced for their needs, stick to it!
Is your pet a Burgess pet? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.
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Sources: bbc.co.uk, pfma.org.uk, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, pdsa.org.uk