There are so many different options on the pet food market. So, what is the difference?

NOVEMBER 10TH / 2021
The commercial pet food market is booming, and long gone are the days when choosing a commercial dog food simply meant choosing between tins or bags of kibbles. There are all sorts of options for these days to suit any preference - in fact, there are so many that it can be quite difficult to decide which one to choose. To decide which option is suitable for you and your pet, we'll look at the different categories of commercial pet foods that are currently available and the pros and cons associated with them.

By the way, it is not necessary to choose only one type of feed, you can use different types of products, mix, or rotate them.

In general, there are two main ways of classifying foods - the first relates to whether the food contains everything your pet needs and the second describes how the food was prepared.

1. Complete vs Complementary

COMPLETE FOODS

95% of pet foods on the market are complete foods. This is by far the most popular choice of dog owners in the UK. They can come in a variety of types, including dry, wet, and raw.

To be legally labelled as 'complete', a food must contain every nutrient required by a dog in sufficient amounts to keep the dog healthy which means it should not be detrimental to feed it alone for an extended period.

The bar for nutritional completeness in Europe is set by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) - you can find their Nutritional Guidelines For Complete Pet Food here.

To meet FEDIAF's nutrient levels, most complete foods incorporate a broad range of added vitamins and minerals.

Most Husse food is complete food and fully meets the FEDIAF's requirements.

COMPLEMENTARY FOODS

Complementary foods are usually wet or raw foods that don't contain the full range, or the right balance of nutrients required to keep a dog fully fit and healthy and so must be fed alongside other foods like complete foods or home-prepared foods. Examples would include 'toppers' which are added to food to increase palatability, raw meat cuts (like chicken wings etc) and wet foods that are specifically designed to be combined with a mixer.

In Husse range of cat's food, for example we have Aptit Tuna and Chicken toppers or Tuna Recipe which used as an addition to dry food or as treats.

2. Method of preparation

Let's now look at a list of all the major pet food processing methods, each of which can be in full or complementary form.

Dry foods

Most British dogs are fed on dry foods. Their popularity certainly owes a lot to their convenience as they're available everywhere, they don't need any preparation at all, and they don't have any special storage requirements.

Dry foods can be produced in several ways (scroll):
In the table below, we have summarized the pros and cons of main types of food.
Conclusion

When looking at the table, you will see that the advantages and disadvantages of the three different feeding methods are very evenly distributed. The question of what type of food is the best or healthiest for dogs cannot be met with a generic answer. After all, dogs – just like us humans – are individuals and therefore have different needs, tastes and requirements. Only you personally can decide what food is right for your dog. Don't be unsettled by the opinions of other dog owners in Internet forums or dog parks. What's important is that you and your dog are satisfied with your choice.

It depends on content, not type

The chosen food must primarily cover your dog's nutrient requirements and provide it with everything it needs for healthy development. Whether this is the case or not depends on the content more than the type. If you take a close look at the individual ingredients and their quality, your dog can be fed in a satisfactory and healthy manner with both traditional dog food and the BARF method. It's important that your dog's age, weight, size, and activity level are considered with the choice of food. Illnesses and potential allergies also play a decisive role. Personal circumstances will of course influence your decision too. Consider how much time you can spend on food preparation, how much food costs and whether you take your dog away often.

Written by Maria Potekha, Husse Pet Food Portsmouth

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