Dry vs Canned Dog Food

My longtime experience with giving my dogs dry vs. canned food.

As I explained in my earlier post, I never measure the dog's food! That's why all my dogs were psychologically balanced and not obsessed with food, as well as very fit little guys. None of my dogs was ever fat and none of them was drooling around people who were eating. They always have their bowls full of food and they decide when and how much they want to eat.

Cons of canned food

  • Canned food can't be left in a bowl for hours. It stinks, it oxidates, it gets bad, it dries out, the ants attack it,… It has to be eaten at the moment.
  • Canned food is also obviously more charged with addictive additives because the dogs adore it and devour it.

That’s why I use it as an ace up my sleeve when I have to give them medication. With canned food, they don't hesitate to take any (crashed) tablet, which is it's only PRO and only if you use it correctly.

Pros of dry food

  • Dry food, on the other hand, can be left in the open air for days, even weeks before it dries out.
    I put it in a non-automatic dispenser, so only a small amount is in the air and the dog eats it before it dries out. Immediately, new food comes from inside and the dog is never left without food.
  • By eating dry food, I also noticed my dogs have cleaner teeth. Indeed, dry food works as a sort of peeling scrub for teeth and prevents the accumulation of plaque and tartar.

Why I hate canned dog food: the biggest con ever!

There's one reason more why I cringe at the thought of the canned food:

Once, Nono woke me up at night, he was shaking. His eyes were staring at me begging me for help, or that's what I thought while he couldn't even see me? I don't know.

It looked like an epileptic attack although there wasn't any foam coming out of his mouth but it seems, there's no always a foam. It was horrible, I was 15 and living alone, I called my mum to Vienna at 3 am screaming and crying because I didn't know what to do.

Gucci and Whisky at the dunes in Gran Canaria.Gucci & Whisky on the dunes of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

The attack lasted for a few minutes and then it stopped. He seemed fine, but scared. I slept with him on the floor.

The next day I called a vet and he told me there wasn’t much to do, there was no cure. When the attacks start to appear very often, we should start treating him with barbiturates. When he starts having them once a week, once a day, a few times a day,… I would have to take the decision not to make him suffer any longer… I was devastated.

Another attack didn't appear for months. Then it came again. At that time I was studying days and nights and didn't pay much attention to him. He came to me and asked me for help, pushing his head in my legs, again that look, I knew it was coming…

I hugged him and when it started I tried to lie him down, it was hard, the convulsions made his body stiff as a piece of wood. A few minutes later it was over. I couldn't forgive myself I ignored Nono because of that stupid exam.

During that year, he had several attacks, which was not a good sign. On the other hand, it didn't seem the attacks were getting stronger or that they appeared more often. Of course, I couldn't know what was happening when I wasn't home. At least, the attacks I was able to witness were equally strong as the first one. Wich was kind of a good sign.
I was completely horrified by the idea the day would come… he was only 4 years old.

Maltese and Boston Terrier running over the dunes, Canary Islands, Spain

One night, my mum took me with her to a dinner party at some friends' house. One of the guests was a vet. It wasn't a time or a place, but my Nono was more important than all the world's norms of good behavior.

I told him the whole story, hoping he new about some new, experimental drug.

He looked at me seriously and asked, “What does he eat?”.

I was staring at him, what did that have to do with Epilepsy?!
“It depends. Canned food.”
“Right. That’s what I thought. Stop giving him plane canned food. Cook some rice, pasta, even polenta…and mix it with his own food.”
“Polenta…?!”

He explained to me the canned food is, let's say, too rich, to charged with proteins. It might be fine for a working dog, maybe, but an average dog simply doesn't burn all that nutrients. His liver couldn't cope with it. He needed more carbs and less protein.

“OMG, he also steals cat's canned food!”
“Even worst. Cats are more carnivores than dogs! Dogs are omnivores. But cats eat only meat, so their food has even more proteins.”

He also explained to me that unfortunately, any vet in the world would tell me what Nono had is Epilepsy. Epilepsy means treatment, treatment means money. Inevitably it would end with euthanasia, which means even more money.

The day after I started cooking for Nono. Polenta! I have never seen polenta in my life, but there was my Nono, eating his polenta and not very happy about it.

For the next 6 months, he didn't have any attack! Then I started to study for some horrible exam again. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, I was a zombie…
I gave him the damned canned food again, without any cooked carbs, for three days in a row. The fourth day he had the attack. I started cooking again, the attacks stopped.

Nono had 3 more attacks in his life, the three of them happened when I was completely dedicated to an exam. Sometimes I would forget to cook the rice, sometimes he would manage to steal the cat's food because I wasn't fully concentrated, but it was always the damned canned food and I knew it.

After I graduated, Nono had never had another attack. He lived 8 years more.

Now he's taking care of me from above, I can feel him very often. He's smiling. He forgave me for not cooking as much as I should have and he knows I miss him terribly.

Gucci eats only dry food, I hate cans!

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