Your dog or cat may not be able to tell you, but all mammals need high moisture diets! Their canine and feline ancestors evolved on fresh food and live prey that was more than 60% moisture. Water plays a major role in every function of the body, especially digestion. Dry food as a sole diet can lead to dehydration, taking a toll on the body’s resources in small ways that add up. Many health problems benefit from wet food, from obesity to intestinal ailments, and there are more ways than ever to incorporate it into your pet’s menu plan. Even using wet food as a topper or a mix-in can yield good results.
Water – the Most Important Nutrient
Because cats are notoriously poor drinkers, the feline need for wet food to prevent everything from urinary blockages to ‘fat cat syndrome’ is fairly well established. But even though dogs lap water expertly, they too can suffer if moisture is not present in food. Digestion is a moisture intensive process, from saliva to gastric juices, and the body will pull it from other tissues and organs if necessary, leaving less temporarily for flushing toxins and general hydration. This can occur even if the water bowl is right next to your dog’s food bowl.
More Moist Food Options Than Ever
Raw food for both dogs and cats is still our gold standard of nutrition, and there are many choices in our freezers to fit different tastes and budgets. Canned food is a great choice too, especially for the kitties. Dehydrated complete foods that you rehydrate by soaking in water such as Honest Kitchen and Sojos are cost effective and exceedingly popular with many dog parents.
The newest moist food option is lightly cooked frozen entrees for dogs (and a cat version may be coming) that resemble home cooking in their goodness and ingredient choices. Natural Pet Pantry, a local company, makes delicious slow-cooked, grain-free meat and vegetable cooked stews in Chicken, Turkey, Venison and Buffalo. My Perfect Pet makes several different recipes in convenient 8oz. dinner bars from restaurant-quality ingredients, combining lightly cooked boneless meats and poultry with raw veggies and cooked starches. One recipe, Snuggles Blend, is a low mineral chicken and rice recipe that is especially good for dogs with intestinal, kidney, heart or liver issues. These lightly cooked meals are easy to transition to, hugely appealing to fussy dogs, and have been well received by veterinarians as highly digestible recovery diets for their patients.