I have 2 year old shih-poo who at this time is eating wet food. I am concern that she may be getting nutrition and am considering changing her to dry. Plese advise me on this for I want to provide her with the right care. Thank you.
I would never recommend anyone to switch to a dry food diet. This is by far the worst diet a dog can be on.
It can be a little part of a diet if a person is on a budget, has big or multiple dogs. But should never make up more than about 50% of a diet.
The problem with dry food is one, it's dry. It's void of needed moisture. Dogs are meat eaters and need a high moisture diet. Dry food is the most processed food. The more you process dog food or people food, the worst it is for you.
A dog on a dry food or mostly dry food diet will actually live in a mild state of dehydration.
It's the hardest food for them to digest. It can take up to 13 hours to digest dry foods where wet type foods take about 3-4 hours.
So feeding wet foods are the best. There is very little nutritional value in dry foods. They were made for our convenience and not for good health for dogs.
The order of the best to worst diet for dogs goes like this. The best is a raw food diet. This is there natural species appropriate diet that gives them all the nutrients plus the "live" co-factors that are missing in cooked and processed foods.
Next is a lightly processed foods. Ones like a homemade diet or there are some companies like My Perfect Pet who produce complete balanced "lightly" cooked meals. These are not raw foods but not as processed as canned or dry. This make more nutrients available to the dog.
The next best thing is canned foods. But only the premium canned foods as many of the commercial brands are filled with fillers and not so good ingredients.
Grain free is also better as dogs just don't need grains. But a little here and there is not bad.
Some good brands are Instinct, Blue Buffalo, Before Grains, The Great Life, Merrick, Wellness, Evangers, Taste of The Wild just to name a few.
On the bottom of the pile is dry foods. Even the best dry foods are still the worst for dogs. If you want to feed a little dry, make sure to get premium brands like mentioned above.
Keep the wheat, corn, soy, by-products, gluten's, artificial coloring's and chemical preservatives out of his diet. Learn to read ingredient labels and make good choices.
The best thing to do as well is to rotate foods all the time. Give him something different every time you purchase foods. Switch between chicken, lamb, beef, duck or whatever else. The more variety in the diet, the stronger their immune system will be.
You can also add things like salmon oil daily. Also mix things up by adding a little egg now and then or cottage cheese. Add a little different veggies now and then. Get some green powders like kelp, spirulina or others now and then. Just mix things up.
Look for the small, independent pet food retailers in your area. Most should only carry the better brands of food and they have staff that are more educated to help you.
Most will carry a little of all the diets and brands mentioned above.
If you don't like the thought of a raw food diet, look for the "lightly" processed ones like from My Perfect Pet. These are great foods that are much healthier for your dog.
The last piece of advice would be to get a hold of some enzymes and probiotics in a supplement form and put on his food at each meal.
These vital nutrients are found naturally in a raw food diet but are destroyed when foods are cooked. So most all canned and bagged foods are missing these vital nutrients.
We feed a raw food diet exclusively to our pets and we still add extra enzymes and probiotics to each meal. This just gives them that much more digestive support which is critical. The enzymes help break down the food small enough to utilize more nutrients from whatever they are eating. The probiotics help keep a good, healthy flora balance to the intestinal system. This helps prevent disease.
You can find them in a powder form in most pet foods stores. A good one we carry and use is from Animal Essentials. It has both enzymes and probiotics in one bottle. Makes adding it very easy.
I hope I've cleared things up a little for you. If you have additional questions or would like clarity on anything I've touched on, then please feel free to respond back to this same question and I'll be happy to help if I can.