How often should cats be fed canned food?

 |  Sep 7th 2006  |   1 Contribution


Hello Dr.Barchas.

I was wondering how often you should give your cat
canned food. I heard you should only give your cat canned food once a
week as a treat. Buy my stepmom gives it to my cats almost every day, and I
have told her not to but she still does.

Stephanie
Brighton, MI

From a nutritional standpoint, the only major difference between canned food and dry food is water content. Canned food contains more water than dry food. Therefore, basically, the two foods are nutritionally equivalent.

However, there are two problems with canned food that make it less desirable than dry food. The first and most important issue is that canned food contributes to more rapid development of dental disease. Wet foods tend to adhere to the teeth more than dry foods. This encourages bacterial growth, which leads to dental infections. Since dental disease is a major health problem in pets, it's best to avoid canned foods. This applies to both cats and dogs.

The second issue regarding canned foods applies only to cats. Cats who eat large amounts of canned food are twice as likely eventually to develop thyroid disease. Thyroid disease has serious consequences. Although it is not known for certain that canned foods cause thyroid disease, the correlation is well documented and warrants concern.

My recommendation is that healthy pets eat a diet consisting mostly of dry food. Give canned food only as a treat on special occasions, or not at all.

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