Canned or Dry Dog Food — What’s the Better Choice?


Ever wondered what’s better? A canned dog food — or a kibble? For me, it took a trip away from home and a call from the kennel attendant that finally helped me solve that riddle.

Dry Dog Food in a Bowl

“Bailey hasn’t eaten a bite in two whole days,” she advised. “What would you like us to do?

We had gone away for the holidays and had no choice but to leave our little guy with the vet.

And now we were worried.

Bailey’s recent favorite — a chicken and rice kibble — had been brought along with him to the kennel. But now he didn’t want any part of it.

When I asked the aide if she had any suggestions, she quickly replied…

“Why don’t you let me try something. It almost always works, especially with our finicky dogs who refuse to eat.”

When I called back a few hours later I was relieved to find out Bailey had “gobbled up every bit of it… and even licked the bowl”.

Want to know what “it” was?

An Overlooked Dog Food Option

Canned dog food. That was it. Bailey wouldn’t eat the kibble. But he sure did love that wet food.

So, I decided to learn more about canned dog food. I knew Bailey liked it. And he liked it a lot more than he liked kibble.

But I had to be sure if it was OK for him to eat. After all, I’d always heard that canned dog food wasn’t as good for dogs as kibble.

Why Canned Dog Food
Can Be Better Than Kibble

In many ways, canned dog food can be superior to kibble. They typically contain more meat protein than their dry counterparts.

And they’re made with fewer carbohydrates, too.1

can-vs-dry-nutrient-contentPlus, due to their air-tight packaging, canned dog foods contain no synthetic preservatives. So, fats and oils sealed inside cans don’t easily become rancid.

And no artificial flavorings and colorings.

With cans, meat ingredients are closer to their natural state. So, canned products are more palatable — and more appetizing.

Help for Dogs with Dietary Problems

Have an overweight dog that needs to lose weight?

The moisture content of canned dog food can make the same amount of nutrients (on a dry matter basis) occupy more volume. So, your dieting dog can feel fuller — faster.

And what about older dogs?

Seniors are frequently afflicted with chronic dental problems that can make chewing dry kibble difficult — even painful. So, canned dog food can be the perfect solution.

The Truth About Dog Food
and Dental Health

Now, I know it looks like I’ve forgotten to mention how kibble can be better for your dog’s teeth than canned food.

But my own professional background makes that silly rumor difficult to accept.

Find out for yourself.  Be sure to read “Dry Dog Food and the Myth of Cleaner Teeth” to learn the surprising truth.

So, Which Is Better — Canned or Dry?

To help answer that question, take a look at this table…

canned-vs-dry-foodFrom this chart it seems like canned dog food might be a better choice.  But looks can be deceiving.

Where Kibble Wins

Now, when it comes to convenience, nothing beats kibble. Plus if you’re on a budget (and who isn’t these days) a quality dry dog food is almost always a better buy.

But one important warning…

Never leave any canned food in your dog’s bowl for more than an hour or two. Unlike kibble, wet foods exposed to the environment can easily grow bacteria — and quickly become contaminated.

Of course, every open can must be kept refrigerated. Be sure to discard any unused dog food within two to three days.

Why You Should Consider Both

Now, I hope you don’t think I’m recommending canned food over kibble — because I’m not.

There are times when feeding either one or the other may be the better choice for you or your dog. However, there are also times when mixing the two together — a feeding method known as topping — makes an especially tasty choice.


  1. National Research Council, National Academy of Science, “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats”, 2006 Edition, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, p 317
  • bojangles

    Hi Mike and aimee,

    Thank you both for taking the time to post the data about Great Danes 🙂

    Pitlove’s statement also mentioned Labs, do either of you have supporting data for that part of her statement? Thanks in advance.

    Calcium is scientifically proven through clinical research studies preformed on Labs and Great Danes to impact bone growth and risk of DOD’s”

  • bojangles

    Hi Aimee,

    Pitlove said:

    “Calcium is scientifically proven through clinical research studies preformed on Labs and Great Danes to impact bone growth and risk of DOD’s.”

    The paper you linked to says that the lifelong study on the Labs and the study on the Great Danes involved energy restriction and meals instead of free-feeding. It doesn’t say anything about those 2 studies and Calcium.

    So thanks for the link, but if it shows us anything, it’s that Pitlove’s statement is incorrect.

  • InkedMarie

    LOL Amie, you’re engaging him now with your post!

  • aimee

    Hi bojangles,

    I believe that Pitlove is intentionally ignoring you, likely for the same reasons that I have for choosing not to engage you in dialog.

    But just in case you are truly interested in this topic and have been unable to find references on your own I will provide you with a link.

    Use the reference list to read the original research

  • Diane

    My yorkies really don’t seem to want the dry food either. I have tried so many quality brands. They also do seem happier eating wet food. I am having a problem find a wet without potatoes in it as I believe my one yorkie is allergic to them. I will keep researching. I am glad your baby is happy. And yes it is definitely more expensive!!!

  • Susan

    Hi Michelle, Raw or Cooked diet is the best. What your doing is probably better then just feeding your dog a wet tin food or just feeding a kibble, always add some raw or cooked meat/veggies with their kibble….follow Rodney Habib on his F/B page, Rodney has a post adding 1-2 tablespoons of veggies/meat to their kibble 3 times a week can reduce the risk of them getting cancer…

  • bojangles

    Hi Pitlove,

    Why should Drexel provide you with the sources for his information when you continually neglect to provide the sources for your information?

    You said:
    “Calcium is scientifically proven through clinical research studies preformed on Labs and Great Danes to impact bone growth
    and risk of DOD’s.”

    I asked:
    Could you please provide me with links to the “clinical research studies” you are talking about. Thank you.

  • Pitlove

    Hi DrexelLake-

    Would you care to elaborate or provide some sources for this information? I would like to learn more about why you feel this way.

  • sharron

    hi – i have a nearly 8 yr old yorkie/chihuahua – tried for years to get her to eat dry – gave up and i feed her canned dog food – she’s happy, i’m happy. a lot more expensive than dry but there’s no more stress for her or me which makes the extra cost worth it

  • DrexelLake

    Your dog is only a picky eater because you allow them to be. It’s amazing what a dog will eat when they’re given nothing but good nutritional kibble.

  • DrexelLake

    Exact opposite.

  • Diane

    My little yorkies will rarely eat dry kibble. I have given up on even buying it anymore. Giving them Wellness grain free beef stew and grain free Duck and Turkey stew. So far they like them alot

  • Robert Spiegel

    I currently feed my dog (12 years old) 2 cups of dry food every day. recently he’s not eating all his food so I’m thinking about going to canned food. What would be the equivalent amount of canned food? His weigh has been the same for a number of years.

  • Michelle

    When my senior dog had a heat stroke, I spoke with a pet nutritionist who used to work for PetSmart. She told me about cooking a cup of vegetables– chopped broccoli, spinach, carrots, green beans, corn–and mixing those into his food with a tablespoon of flaxseed meal, along with his normal vitamins. When we left the animal ER, the vet told me we’d be lucky if my Nash lived another month, his vitals were so weak. Well, the cooking for him worked so well, he lasted three more years before cancer got him at 16. I learned my lesson, and I’ve cooked for my other dogs, too. So far, no vet trips for illness for either my rottie or my mutt. Just normal trips for shots before being boarded or groomed.

  • Michelle

    I’ve always heard that wet food is best, and dry food is basically “junk food” for dogs. Maybe…but my dogs like the crunch of the kibble. So, they get the wet food, cooked veggies, flaxseed and vitamins at night, and a half a cup of dry food in the morning. So far, so good. Oh, and the kibble is the Merrick mixed with I & Love & You, so it’s hardly doggie potato chips.

  • Leyna

    I have been feeding our 5 dogs dry kibble, canned pate’ type food diluted to make it easier to mix into the dry and I also give them dehydrated raw rehydrated in warm water.( I only purchase foods that have a 5 star rating.) 2X a day for as long as I have had them. They absolutely love their meal times. They gobble it up and there is never any left in their bowls. Recently have had our 2 larger dogs to the vet for vaccinations and their weight is still the same as it was 3 years ago when they were there. Feeding this way enables me to control their weight and keep an eye on their appetite. Years ago I used to free feed my dogs, so glad I changed my ways. Now there is never dry food lying around to attract bugs, etc. I love that our dogs really look forward to their mealtime!!

  • Bluedog Lim

    I would have to agree. Throughout my life I have had labs, pit bulls, plenty of big or medium dogs, and they will eat just about everything. Due to my new apartment I decided to get a small dog. He is mostly chiweenie and getting him to eat most dry food is nearly impossible, but luckily he does like a few.

  • sharron

    hi – you got that right! – i have a yorkie/chihuahua. won’t eat most dry, hates raw, dehydrated, even picky about wet food – has to be a certain kind, and even picky about treats

  • Lola Haze

    My small dog is a very picky eater. I have tried every dry kibble, and the only one he tolerates is Nutro. He still wasn’t eating very much, maybe half of his recommended daily intake, and he usually only ate every other day. He is very active and likes to run around a lot, so I was worried he wasn’t getting enough food. I took him to the vet to see if he had any kind of illness that was keeping him from eating, but he was fine. I began to add a little bit of canned dog to his kibble, and he is now eating again. I also have hime on a schedule, which means no more free feeding, so his bathroom trips aren’t nearly as sporadic. My other dogs (13 yrs & 7yrs old labradors) will eat just about anything, and have eaten dry kibble all of their lives. It just depends on the dog, I suppose. In my experience, the smaller breeds tend to be pickier.

  • Amy R

    Maybe you could add some Boiled water to it to warm it up?

  • Tommie Bell

    I agree with you. First, I mix dry/ground every night for supper. I give my 2 Scottish Terriers half pouch ground & half cup kibble. When I do have to use canned over the pouch, I always empty the rest of it in a ziplock baggie and store in the refirgerator. It’s made of meat products. Of course it is supposed to be kept refrigerated after opening. shesh guys!

  • zoe the chow

    Hi Amy,

    To warm refrigerated food, you could put leftovers in small plastic containers and set them in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes.

  • Diana Kitch

    This is a fine thing to do. My dog prefers warm to cold and 10-12 seconds is no trouble. Agree with the finger stirring method so you know it won’t burn the mouth.

  • Esmedoodles

    My dog was having digestive problems and I tried soaking her kibble 20-30 minutes before feeding. It smelled horrible! And I tried 3-4 different brands, all grain-free premium brands. I just couldn’t conscientiously continue to feed her something that smelled so unappetizing, even though she didn’t seem to mind. Now, I buy canned and also home cook meals for her. She doesn’t poop as much as she used to and also, fingers crossed, no more vomiting.

  • Sarah Snyder

    Listen, your dogs health should NOT come after convenience. If you’re on a budget, sure, but OVERALL, no. The wet food is CLEARLY better for your dog, so use that mate!

  • sharron

    thanks aimee – the best one i got was when i was at a pet store holding a bag of royal canin, i was in the treat aisle and this man that was there too noticed the bag and promptly told me i was an idiot and i could feed a much better food – imo, i think some people have taken this
    whole issue of dog food too far – i admit that for quite a few years i felt intimidated into feeding the so called better foods – now my belief is that if Lexee is eating and doing well on a certain brand of food, then that means to me that food is better for her – Happy Easter

  • Pitlove

    Good! I’m glad you didn’t let it bother you. As long as Lexee is healthy and eating well, that’s what matters. Not the random opinion of a guy at a pet store.

  • aimee

    Hi Sharron,

    I can confidently say that this doesn’t constitute a behavior problem.

  • sharron

    i don’t ask for opinions – i’m asked how lexee is doing and what she is eating and that’s when i get the opinions i didn’t ask for

  • sharron

    next time i’m at the store, will have to ask why he sells canned dog food if he thinks that the dog has a behavioural problem if the dog wants wet – i must have something stamped on my forehead when i walk into a pet store

  • sharron

    hi – it’s a small pet “boutique” store, it’s where she gets groomed – been going there for years and yes i get off the wall opinions and i swear it’s true – haven’t exaggerated anything – not all the screwy opinions were at the same store – i truly don’t where some of these people get their ideas – i looked at the guy with a stunned look on my face and then thought, no l am not going to let you influence or intimidate me into changing the way i feed her and what i feed her – we are doing just fine

  • Pitlove

    Hi Sharron-

    No I’ve never heard that. I don’t believe it is. I do think that some dogs just simply prefer canned and if all canned is not an option, then adding it to dry to encourage eating is fine IMO. Canned is a healthy addition to their diet.

    Where do you shop lol? You seem to always get unwanted opinions when you get dog food!

  • sharron

    has anyone, who mixes wet and dry, been told that the dog has a behavioural problem because it won’t eat dry without wet food mixed in?
    Was told this tonight when i went to pick up more can food. My reply was “at least she is eating dry”

  • LabsRawesome

    I personally wouldn’t nuke my dogs food. Try using some hot water, to warm the food.

  • theBCnut

    Microwaving can destroy some of the nutrients and change some to less healthful, but since you aren’t doing it for long or for every meal, it’s probably OK.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Amy,

    I always add warmed water to my dog’s kibble/canned meal, so I don’t microwave it, but I don’t see a problem with microwaving it to warm it. I’m sure some people are against using the microwave in any manner, but I’ve used them for years with no apparent problems. I also would use a lower setting to warm it slower.

    I believe the point of not microwaving is of more concern when feeding raw food since any type of heat destroys some of the nutrients and enzymes in the raw food, but since canned food is already cooked, that wouldn’t be a concern. When I do feed raw, I thaw it to room temperature rather than cook/heat it.

  • sharron

    Hi – i feed lexee can food all the time and warm it up for about 8-10 sec and she’s doing just fine

  • Amy Alice

    I refrigerate my dogs food. He loves it right out the can warm and fresh. After its in the fridge and Coke he will not touch it and I e wondered if you can microwave it s bit. I’ve done it but wondered if it’s safe to warm it. I mean it usually for about 12 seconds and I have to mix it up and stuck my finger in it to make sure he won’t burn his mouth but not sure if that makes it bad to eat

  • Amy Alice

    I 100% agree with you. I wouldn’t eat anything left out over night and sure wouldn’t let me dog either. The can even tells you to refrigerate after opening. Our vet told us do not leave it out! Maybe her parents dog got lucky but he doesn’t talk so who knows how many stomach aches he endured or how many times he had runny poop. No if I eat food left out I won’t die just like the dog didn’t but I wouldn’t want to live with a ****load of stomach aches and the ***** from bacteria riddled food. It may not take years off my life as it did not for the golden retriever but doesn’t mean he didn’t feel it with stomach aches, the *****, or lower immune system and got sick easier.

    [edited by moderator]

  • Jeni Peterson

    Bulldogs are kind and peaceful animals. Now they are part of a happy family in many

    homes across United States and United Kingdom. Though they are medium in size, they

    still have a muscular body that requires a amount of food everyday to carry out their

    activities. So, I have explored the options you have for the best dog food for bulldogs. Here is the link for complete article

  • Talkingtree

    Never have had my dogs vomit because their food was too cold . ..but there is this handy little invention called the microwave that most people have and it’s easy enough to nuke it for 12 seconds to bring it up to room temperature. I used to certainly do that for my cat as she got older and pickier. 😉

  • Paul Evans

    Mexico is not a fit place for man or beast. I will never set foot in that stink hole.

  • Paul Evans

    Let the refrigerator food come up,to room temperature before serving to make more appetizing. If you’re mixing with water to make a gravy any way then use piping hot water to warm up the food then mix it with the kibble

  • Alyssa

    Unless feeding a dog with a compromised immune system, feeding unrefrigerated left over canned food is just fine. I wouldn’t leave it out for more than a day or so, though…just to be cautious. Dogs naturally have very acidic stomachs, so they dont get sick as easily as humans do from bacteria growth in food…this is why feeding raw meat to dogs is also perfectly safe. The AVMA is a joke…they’re hardly educated on pet nutrition and make decisions based on which pet food companies will pay to come lecture to them so they are hardly a credible source. Also…feeding cold canned food straight out of the fridge can cause regurgitation…which is a big reason a lot of people dont feed canned foods to their dogs. They believe the food itself is making the dog vomit when it’s actually the temperature.

  • BigFED

    WAYYYY, back in the real early 1960’s, I was on a Military Assistance Group in Thailand. The primary village we operated out of had huge number of dogs running around. We advised the village elder(s) that something should be done since many of the dogs were in poor health and posed health problem to the people. Their response was that they couldn’t directly kill them since, being Buddhists, any of those dogs could be a deceased relative. A few days later, we had to leave for one of the other villages that was parts of our “group”. We repeated their same problem with almost every village we supported. about a month later we were back at that first village and we noticed there were fewer dogs running around, but the ones that were about, were the really sick ones. So we asked the lead “elder” about it and he told us that they understood what we told them and that they had put out poisoned food for the dogs! That was OK since they were NOT forcing the dogs to eat, it was “karma” if the dogs ate the poison and died! Problem was all the “healthy dog” fought of the sick dogs and ate the poisoned food. We ended up walking through he village with a couple of .22RF rifles and doing some “lethal animal control”. Hated having to do it and to this day I have a hard time passing a stray and not try to take them home. I don’t like pounds, especially “kill” pounds. Both of my current dogs are “adopted”. And any time we (wife and I) see a “stray in our neighborhood, we try to get it back to the owner. So far, so good.

  • John

    I agree with your comment about people in Mexico poisoning dogs but it is NOT for fun. The dogs they poison are dogs that are strays or in small towns dogs that eat their chickens or eggs (yes dogs eat eggs shell and everything) or other livestock so they poison them to get rid of the “problem”. Since there are no pounds or laws to help keep the dog population down the people thinks that it’s their only “solution”. I think it’s a horrible thing to do though and actually ones saw a dog dying right in front of me. It was by far the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. It was throwing up blood and foaming from its mouth and literally broke/cracked it’s back bending backwards while on the ground dying in excruciating pain. Me and my cousin saw it on the side of the road and ran to his house for my uncle’s gun but by the time me and my cousin came back with it so we could help end its pain, it had died. Everyone that walked by kept walking like it was an everyday normal thing. That’s why if I ever lived in Mexico I would never want to own a dog and I would never take my two babies (a lab and a husky) with me. Now I’m not saying everyone in Mexico is a dog killer or don’t like dogs but they also don’t do it for “fun”. Maybe they are some twisted f*cks that would but then again the U.S. also has its fair share of them.

  • theBCnut

    Um, what do you think is so magical about the human creation that most people give to dogs, kibble? Kibble was created for nothing but convenience, not because it was what is best for dogs. And rabbits and guinea pigs are fed “human food” all the time, in fact guinea pigs would die or have very severe health problems without it.

    What qualifies something as being “human food” anyways? Since we eat every edible thing on the planet, that leaves pretty much nothing for the rest of the planet to eat, if they can’t eat “human food.” Not even bugs and snails are safe from us.

  • Shawna

    That’s not exactly true. Commercial “dog food” is nothing more than “human food” (meat, veggies etc) that have been formulated to meat the nutritional needs of a dog. Dog food, kibble that is, is actually an inferior source of nutrition due to the high heat processing which damages nutrients in the food.

    I read you mention your parents are “dog experts” but Dr. Meg Smart is a nutrition expert. She is a vet, veterinary nutritionist and taught small animal nutrition for over 30 years. She says this about feeding a dog

    “Variety is the Key (My conclusions after over 30 years of teaching veterinary clinical nutrition)

    Do not be afraid to add variety to your pet’s diet. Variety in the diet can include healthy table scraps (not leftovers often laden with salt and fat), homemade diets, kibble, canned, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.”

    Homemade diets using human foods do need to be balanced for a dogs nutritional needs but with a little research this can easily be done.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Sorry, I am going to edit so it’s perfectly clear. I completely agree that if you are going to feed dry kibble, you should mix it with canned food. That is good advice, but storing at room temperature is not. Bacteria starts growing in the can within a few hours, and while dogs are scavengers with a generally strong digestive system and have been known to eat some nasty things, regular feeding of room temperature canned food is not a good idea.

  • Hugh Sach

    which part is wrong, mixing the foods together with water or keeping the food in the cupboard?
    I do, with respect, find this surprising as their last dog was a golden retriever which I believe has a life expectancy of 10-12 years, he lived until he was 15, the vet never mentioned anything to them about the way they served food being wrong, and other than old age, he never really had any serious problems. Their current dog is 11 and still going strong, again fed the same way.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I am assuming you are referring to commercial dog food. Commercial dog food has traditionally been the leftovers from human food processing.

    Manufacturers have made a good profit from the leftovers and unfit human food by processing it into “dog food” and convincing the general public not to feed “human food”. While it is very important to feed a dog a balanced diet that is species appropriate, you are incorrect if you are referring to only feeding a dog a manufactured kibble or canned dog food. What did dogs eat before the manufactured dog foods appeared on the scene?

    Cats are obligate carnivores and need a higher meat content, so you should not feed commercial dog food to a cat. Rabbits are herbivores so they would not be fed commercial dog food, but the comparison you are drawing is inappropriate.

  • Crazy4dogs
  • Hugh Sach

    Dogs should be fed dog food and nothing else! We don’t eat dog food or cat food, it’s human food for a reason, just as it is dog food for a reason, would you feed dog food to a cat or rabbit?

  • Hugh Sach

    My parents who are dog experts mix the two foods together with a dash of water, although having to keep canned food refrigerated after being opened is a big myth, as long as you cover the top with something, you can keep it in a cupboard out of the sun

  • Pitlove

    I feed wet everyday with dry

  • Breeze

    How many days out of the week would you feed dry and wet?

  • Tobias C

    You must feel like you can put words in people’s mouths. What part of “I don’t condone it” do you not understand? I am blaming people and their irresponsibility for this pest problem.

  • Pitlove

    Are you a sociopath?

  • Crazy4dogs

    You comment is ridiculous and really not worth discussing.
    Perhaps you might want to troll on some other site than a dog food site?

  • ShawnLa

    No they dont. Dogs are an invasive species, just as house cats are.

  • Michael L

    By what you wrote, you must feel the earth belongs to you, but these dogs also have their place under the sun, just because they are not your “pet”. If there poop is such an offence to you than you have certainly forgotten what you are.

  • Tobias C

    The poisonings are true. But I disagree that it is “for the fun of it.” There are lots of loose/stray dogs around which can be bothersome or even dangerous to your children or to your pets. There is no city pound or rescues in rural areas. And people are extremely irresponsible and there is no concept of any leash laws or containment or poop pickup. I don’t condone it but I can certainly understand why it is done.

  • sharron

    thank you

  • theBCnut

    Wet food weighs more for the number of calories since it is mostly water. Yes, you feed more ounces.

  • sharron

    if a dog is fed only wet food, do they eat more than if fed kibble – for example if i was feeding my dog 4 oz/day of dry food, would i feed her 4 oz of wet food a day – thanks

  • Tanker

    Hi Susan, it ain’t easy, the first 2 months I was using an e-collar, clicker, friends, a few unknown people at the park, almost every day for two months, I think that the e-collar is the best tool for training just don’t use it too much your dog might get scare of everything and then you going to have a huge problem, just be careful how you want to use it and when to apply it… other than that my dogs beehive very well on their own, they still very friendly to every body and anything, including cats, it wont be overnight but it is worth it!… good luck! 🙂

  • Susan

    Hi Tanker, that’s awful to poison animals for the fun of it, its a painful way to die… how do you teach your dogs not to eat anything off the ground & not take food from no one else?? I’ve taught my boy to “Leave it” when we are out on walks but he sometimes looks at me to see if I’m watching him & if I wasn’t watching him he’d probably eat whatever was on the ground, the little bugger….

  • Tanker

    In the US you can feed your pet almost anything, raw, cooked, canned, dry, home made food… there they have a better understanding the bond between the pet and the owner, in my case I moved to México a year ago, and here is a whole different state of mind, 2 out of 10 might get it, from time to time I feed my dogs home made food but not so often, I give my dogs “high quality food”, I try to teach my dog not eat any other food if I’m not the one giving it to them, the thing is that here they will poison your pet just for the fun of it, which I fail to see the fun on that, and the “law” to protect your pet here is México is practically null. so I tend to be sort of restrictive about what I feed my dogs, when and how, that way I know that if my dogs are outside playing I know that they wont eat garbage food.

  • theBCnut

    A lot of this one came directly from the other one. Basically, the vet student has a great study technique. He writes out his lecture notes as if he is explaining it to someone else. I did the same thing in college and never had to study because of it. OK, there were a couple things in A&P that I had to read a few times before they ever sunk in. For some reason, nerve transmission and impulse inhibitors nearly defeated me. The funny thing is that my kids had basically the same lesson in biology, but their curriculum explained it so much better that they didn’t have any trouble understanding it at all, in high school.
    Re:potassium. Yep, the body has to have enough potassium to go through the process to make HCl. Proton pump. Potassium deficiencies are not rare.

    Now if I can only find the detailed info on pancreatic enzymes and the physiology of the duodenum…

  • Shawna

    LOL!!! I read much of that but nothing stuck because the brain was full before I started… I hit 40 and all the sudden I now have a daily limit for new info… UHG 🙂

    I forwarded the page in an email so I can print it out and study it tomorrow… 🙂

    We’re going to know more about digestion then will likely ever have a use for after this conversation…

  • theBCnut

    This has some very interesting stuff in it, some of it mechanical, some of it chemical. Did you know that the mechanism for letting small amounts of chyme out into the duodenum also causes more mixing in the stomach, or that receptors in the top of the duodenum detect a high fat meal and slow down the stomach, or that there are about 20 different hormones having to do with digestion.

    Whoops! My brain is full.

    ETA: Oh and if the stomach isn’t producing enough HCl, it may be a potassium deficiency. Go figure!

  • Shawna

    I notice that!!!! Glad you did too! That said, I thought the author was wrong about that so guess I got schooled too. 🙂

  • theBCnut

    This says humans have gastic lipase, so I really don’t know what the statement in that little “study” meant where it said only carnivores have gastric lipase.

  • theBCnut

    Thanks. I’ll be reading this this evening.

  • Shawna

    This is pretty rudimentary but this is the type of info I’ve been seeing since I started studying this.

    “The stomach of a monogastric animal (such as a dog, pig or human) contains four


    Fundus: this section receives and stores food.

    Corpus (body): this acts as a mixing chamber.

    Pyloric (antrum): this region is involved with emptying, trituration (grinding) and mixing. The wall of the stomach is thickest in the pyloric region because this is where most of the movement occurs.”

  • Shawna

    You may be right.. This is just how it’s always seemed. I even read one paper, on dogs, that gave the exact pH and the enzymes secreted in the fundic region but I didn’t bookmark it (or lost the bookmark in a computer change).

    I REALLY need to read this again but this may have the answers to some of your questions — looks really thorough. It’s 30 pages long but lots of pictures, big print and wasted space so doesn’t take long to read. Check out the last page

  • theBCnut

    Hmm, considering the shape of the stomach and the type of muscle action, there is no way that I can think of that the fundus can hold onto certain types of food. Possibly, it could hold solids and as the food liquefies, it would move out. Maybe veggies etc would liquefy slower and so not move down, but that would then put bone in the same category. IDK

    I agree that whole or processed probably has more to do with it than raw or cooked, though raw would matter in veggies and such if the body can’t process them at all.

  • Susan

    They’re beautiful, I wanted a Boston Terrier but you can never find any in rescue or pounds here in Australia & puppies sell for $2,500…so Patch was the closet in looks…

  • Shawna

    I’m not sure how this relates but from how I understand it, food gets held in the fundus for enzymatic breakdown while the stomach also works on food. I have to assume, but admit I could be wrong, that in a whole food diet veggies and other carbs would stay in the fundic region where the acid is lower and the enzymes in the food, from the saliva (humans) and those excreted in the fundic region, would continue digestion of the carbs while the protein/fats moved on to the body for the acid wash.

    With processed foods, we skew this whole process as there is no distinct “natural” macronutrient in any food. Our bodies are designed to eat foods entirely different than many of us eat them.. I believe this is why we see so much acid reflux and such — which, as you know, is often too little HCI not too much.

    Edit — meaning, it’s not a matter or raw or cooked but rather whole or processed when it comes to digestion.

  • theBCnut

    Arrgghhh! Then I see this

    “Once chyme enters the duodenum, intestinal phase stimuli activate negative feedback mechanisms to reduce acid secretion and prevent the chyme from becoming too acidic.”
    It doesn’t matter what is in the stomach, once the chyme enters the duodenum, the process is automatically slowed/reduced. But this is definitely evidence of a feedback mechanism, just not the one I wanted. LOL!!

  • theBCnut

    I noticed in this one they state that the stomach produces about 2 liters of HCl a day. That doesn’t tell me that the amount of HCl changes due to amount of protein in the diet. I guess I can’t have everything. Maybe that’s an average or an assumption.

    Thanks Shawna, now if I can just find similar info about how the pancreas “knows” how much to secrete. The info has to be out there in some pancreatitis study.

  • theBCnut

    “The chemical action of free amino acids and peptides excites the liberation of gastrin from the antrum into the circulation…This phase continues until the food has left the stomach.”

    This tells me that the freed amino acids affect the process and continue to affect the process until there are no more freed AAs in the stomach.

  • theBCnut

    This is more like it!!

  • theBCnut

    “The presence of peptides in the pyloric antrum of the stomach stimulates the G cells to release more gastrin, which in turn stimulates more hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen to release.”

    If this specified that the amount of peptides affected the amount of HCl and pepsinogen to be released then it would be the type of info I’m looking for.

    We always say that more protein causes more HCl to be released, but everything I’ve read just says it is released, not any details about how much or how the body knows how much. Maybe the fluid is more acidic because of less buffering rather than more HCl, maybe the amount of HCl is affected only by moisture.

    What I really want to know is if it has really been shown that the amount of a particular nutrient affects the amount of enzymes that are released versus the system just being flooded with enzymes. It’s been shown that the pancreas releases lipase according to the specific amount of fat in the food, but I can’t find info on protein and carbs.

  • Shawna

    Okay sorry, one more — this explains what responds to what stimuli. “The primary factor during the gastric phase is that there is food in the stomach, which stimulates acid secretion. There are three different ways that this occurs. Food will stretch the walls of the stomach; this is sensed by mechanoreceptors, activating a neural reflex to stimulate acid secretion (purple). Peptides and amino acids in food stimulate G cells to release gastrin (blue). Food also acts as a buffer, raising the pH and thus removing the stimulus for somatostatin secretion (light blue-green).”

    Is that what you were asking or did I completely misinterpret the question? 🙂

  • Shawna

    Okay, doesn’t explain how (I think that is the “chief cells, c cells etc) but here it states that there is a direct relation to amount of protein and production of HCI. I’m going to post the whole thing instead of just the pertinent part as I find it very fascinating and interwoven… Bolded emphasis mine.

    “The process of gastric secretion can be divided into three phases (cephalic, gastric, and intestinal) that depend upon the primary mechanisms that cause the gastric mucosa to secrete gastric juice. The phases of gastric secretion overlap, and there is an interrelation and some interdependence between the neural and humoral pathways.

    The cephalic phase of gastric secretion occurs in response to stimuli received by the senses—that is, taste, smell, sight, and sound. This phase of gastric secretion is entirely reflex in origin and is mediated by the vagus (10th cranial) nerve. Gastric juice is secreted in response to vagal stimulation, either directly by electrical impulses or indirectly by stimuli received through the senses. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, the Russian physiologist, originally demonstrated this method of gastric secretion in a now-famous experiment with dogs.

    The gastric phase is mediated by the vagus nerve and by the release of gastrin. The acidity of the gastric contents after a meal is buffered by
    proteins so that overall it remains around pH3 (acidic) for approximately 90 minutes. Acid continues to be secreted during the gastric phase in response to distension and to the peptides and amino acids that are liberated from protein as digestion proceeds. The chemical action of free amino acids and peptides excites the liberation of gastrin from the antrum into the circulation. Thus, there are mechanical, chemical, and hormonal factors contributing to the gastric secretory response to eating. This phase continues until the food has left the stomach.”

  • Shawna

    After a quick search (more to come) is this kinda what you’re looking for BC?

    “What is the relationship between peposinogen and pepsin? What
    does the pepsin do?

    Peposingen is secreted by the chief cells and is a precursor for the enzyme, pepsin. Under the influence of hydrochloric acid, pepsinogen is converted into the active, proteolytic (protein digesting) enzyme pepsin in the lumen of the stomach. The proteins broken down by the pepsin form chains of amino acids but are not broken down into the elemental acids themselves. This takes place in the small intestine. The presence of peptides in the pyloric antrum of the stomach stimulates the G cells to release more gastrin, which in turn stimulates more hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen to release. Once the pepsin moves from the acidic pH pf the stomach to the more alkaline
    pH of the duodenum, it is inactivated by the change in pH and stops functioning.” This reference is “horse care” but the info on pepsin etc is the same in dogs and people.

  • Shawna

    Okay, thanks…

  • theBCnut

    Faster passage which does not equate to digestion necessarily. May or may not affect stomach emptying times.
    Sent from my iPod

  • Shawna

    WOW, great thought… I believe I remember reading something about the feedback mechanism — I think it was when I was researching the fundic region and digestion.

    I’ll see if I can find that again but give me a couple days…

    Your question also makes me wonder if there wasn’t rapid digestion due to the sudden change. A raw fed, 16 month old dog getting one meal of SD kibble/canned — there was no transition and we all know that can lead to GI symptoms. We know that loose stool is a symptom of a change like that — could faster digestion be a potential symptom as well?

  • Crazy4cats

    Thank you!

  • Crazy4cats

    Of course, I don’t mind. Thank you for explanation.

  • theBCnut

    While you were out for a while I put out a request for info. I was looking for info on feedback mechanisms in the digestive system, i.e. how does the stomach know that there is more protein to know to produce more HCl, how does the pancreas know there is more protein to know to produce more protease. The only thing I could find after days of searching was one single study that showed the pancreas has a feedback mechanism in regards to fat levels. The convo that led to that line is long gone, but it’s still been bugging me. Basically, we were talking about whether or not dogs bodies really do adjust production of enzymes if they have been on a certain diet long term. The thing I thought of in this little test was that the dog they fed was a raw fed dog. Was his body already used to producing a certain amount of acid for his meal and therefore didn’t adjust acid production for this single meal of kibble?

  • theBCnut

    What they always claim is that it will cause stomach upset, but no one I know has had an issue. Some claim that the kibble slowing down digestion would cause the bacterial load to increase. One claimed that the acid level in the stomach would not be enough to kill the bacteria that is already present, no evidence, not even an idea what pH level was necessary. So I took that idea with a grain of salt.
    I agree with Shawna that adding canned or raw to kibble should help the kibble digest better, but I have looked for info about a feedback mechanism in the stomach that detects amount of protein in the food and have found no info, so I can’t say definitively if higher protein in canned and raw causes more acid production or what. At the very least, the added moisture helps. Adding kibble to canned or raw would not help the canned or raw digest better.

  • Shawna

    Hi Susan,

    No, I don’t believe he ever had an Endoscope. He came straight to my house, after being checked out by the rescues vet (who is also my vet) from the puppy mill. While with me he never had an endoscope done.

    He was very excitable. I kenneled him when I was away from work as I didn’t know his personality when he first came to me and he outweighed my dogs by about 32 pounds. When I came home from work he would get so excited that he would literally bounce his kennel across my hard wood floor about 5 or 6 feet by the time I got in the door and got to him. He would also start doing a hoppy, happy dance when I was getting food ready for the dogs. He was with me for just over a year and for the first six months he would cower when I reached for him.. His life must have been pretty crappy at the mill!!! 🙁

    At that time, my life and home was always bustling and high energy.. I constantly had young puppies coming in and being adopted out. And Gus LOVED puppies..

    My neighbor (directly across the street) ended up adopting Gus and it was a FANTASTIC match for him. They were a retired couple with a very low key lifestyle. He only vomited a few times at their house — once when I brought a new foster puppy over to visit him.. At my house, in the chaos and over stimulation, it was a daily event.

    The pictures are Gus and foster puppy Teddy (not the clearest pic) and Gus and foster puppy Max (the spots on Max are dead ringworm spots before his hair grew back).

  • Shawna

    I know you’re asking BC but I hope you don’t mind me giving my opinion… 🙂

    Yes people do think that kibble will slow down the rate raw is digested and, to some degree, I believe they are correct. The moisture of raw helps with it’s digestion and kibble soaks up some (if not all) that moisture — as just one reason why I think that. For this reason, and many others, I would NEVER suggest a raw feeder top the raw off with kibble.

    That said, “species appropriate” raw foods DO help kibble digest better by increasing the amount of moisture and hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach (HCI is produced in conjunction with the amount of moisture and protein in the diet–adequate moisture and more protein equal more HCI). In this way, a high protein canned food would help too. By naturally increasing the hydrochloric acid in the gut (by feeding higher protein) you are also supporting the gut in dealing with any microbes that might be contaminating the kibble — which we know is a problem..

  • Shawna

    Yep, agree with everything you state. I do think the canned would help the breakdown of kibble in that it 1. is slightly higher in protein which would cause more hydrochloric acid to be generated and thus more pepsin to activate (but would only marginally help). 2. The added moisture of canned would definitely help with hydrochloric acid production.

  • Steve

    Thanks everyone. I will keep on feeding my super mix. 🙂

  • Crazy4cats

    Please help me understand the concern people have with food digesting at different rates. Is it that they think the kibble will actually slow down the rate in which the raw digests, or that they genuinely want everything to digest together? What do they think the consequences would be if they don’t digest simultaneously? There does not seem to be the same concern with feeding kibble with canned, dehydrated or fresh foods. Have a great day!

  • theBCnut

    I saw the HCl comment and hoped that it was just poorly worded rather than that great a misunderstanding. I even looked for a place to post comments(you know me).

    I had never heard anyone even suggest that lipase was only found in the stomach, it’s the opposite of what I learned in school, but when I read that statement, I thought she meant that only carnivores also have lipase secretion in their stomach. Look at exactly how she worded it and see if you agree with me.

    I agree that the individual kibbles matter. As you know, some break apart in just water, some soften in water, and some stay hard. That has got to affect digestion time. And yes, surface area definitely affects how long it takes for the HCl to act on the kibble.

    I think the canned was added, because that’s how you get dogs to eat barium, and I don’t think it would have helped the breakdown of the kibble that much, but it would have started to enter the intestines faster than the kibble just be virtue of already being soupy. It’s not like the stomach knows what it is letting through, if it’s small enough, it goes.

  • Susan

    Hi Shawna, did Gus ever have an Endoscope done & diagnosed with a illness…

  • Shawna

    I remember siting a study when discussing with aimee shortly after I came to DFA.. This isn’t the one I remember from back then but it’s now 12:33 and…

    “Arnbjerg (1992) studied the time of passage of various commercial food items through the stomach of dogs (25-30 kg) by radiography. The types of food used were (1) dried food with 10% moisture, (2) canned food with 70% moisture and (3) fresh food (fish) with 75% moisture. After food ingestion the animals had no access to water or to any other type of liquid. In group 1, the food remained unchanged in the stomach for 480 to 600 min (mean 534 min) after completion of the meal. After 900 f 60 min the stomach appeared to be completely empty. In group 2, the food started to enter the duodenum after 270 f 30 min. The stomach appeared to be empty 420-480 rnin after eating. In group 3, the food was observed in the duodenum 30 min after ingestion and emptying was complete 240-360 min after ingestion. However, this method is not very accurate due to problems with determining the very beginning of gastric emptying; besides, radiographs were taken at intervals of 60 rnin (Arnbjerg, 1992)”

    What I read of the paper is very interesting but it is 25 pages long so I didn’t get through much of it. I’ll have to go back to it when I’m more awake. They do state that lipase digestion of fat happens in the duodenum (like I thought) versus the stomach as stated in the original article (page 9) but later state that gastric juice should contain lipase and pepsin (page 21) – so maybe I am wrong about lipase in the stomach.

    They also demonstrate (page 10) that the “particle size” of the meat based diet didn’t change digestion rate to any great degree but the particle size of a “cereal based” kibble played a MAJOR role in rate of digestion.

    All very interesting but my mind is shutting down so best get to bed.

  • Shawna

    (BC –you know the below info. This just seemed like the best place to post this.)

    That’s a great article and I’ve never been one, as the regulars here know, to suggest kibble and raw should be fed separately. In fact, I strongly recommend that kibble feeders add some raw foods as toppers. But there are a couple oddities in the article.

    1. The author says hydrochloric acid is an enzyme. Hydrochloric acid denatures protein but it does not digest it like enzymes would. It does activate one (only one) enzyme which is the protein digesting enzyme pepsin when the stomach is sufficiently acidified.

    2. The author states that lipase is “only found in the stomach of carnivores”. I have never heard nor read this and it doesn’t make much sense to be concerned about pancreatitis if digestion of fat happens in the stomach? Has anyone heard of lipase in the stomach before?

    3. The experiment is pretty cool but we’re looking at two completely different macronutrient profiles. I’m curious why they didn’t use two more similar foods? And why they included 1/2 of the entire meal as canned when they were specifically comparing “kibble”, not cooked, to raw? Additionally, I looked at the size of the large breed adult chicken product in the photo on the Hills website and it appears to be a fairly small in size (less than half the size of Orijen). I have always felt, and stated, that kibble size plays a role in speed of digestion. Edit — after a re-read, I’m less clear on how much canned was eaten. The author states that 2 cups of kibble and 1/2 “cup” of canned was prepared and 1 1/2 cups of kibble and 1/2 “can” of food were consumed? Is is 1/2 cup or 1/2 can — would make a difference I would imagine.

    The raw meal was all protein/organ/tripe and bone. Although the bison/tripe and organs was a grind, I couldn’t find any pictures to demonstrate how coarse or fine the grind is (supplied by Texas Tripe).

    I fostered two dogs that seemed to have a very hard time digesting kibble while no issues with raw. Gus, a Boston Terrier, was one. He was a five year old retired puppy mill breed dog. I feed kibbles with macronutrient profiles closer to raw than Science Diet foods. Gus would excite vomit for various reasons (me coming home from work or prepping his meal etc). When fed kibble he was known to vomit up whole kibble 12 to 14 hours after eating. It was so bad that I told rescue I would not foster him any longer if I could not switch him to raw. When fed finely ground raw he would vomit up chyme after only 2 to 3 hours after eating – I never saw undigested bone.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Great point. Science Diet contains wheat flour, which digests quickly in humans. I don’t know if it is similar for dogs.

  • theBCnut

    It’d be nice to see a real study, but somebody would have to fund it, so it isn’t too likely to happen.

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    BCnut, thanks for posting that. It makes sense and I will relax more when I do feed a mixed meal.
    I’ve been waiting to see some type of study/science, behind this
    issue, rather than theory, and this is the closest I’ve seen.

  • theBCnut

    I wish they used the same dog but did several different kinds of kibble. I’m convinced that would make a huge difference. I would think that since food leaves the stomach as a liquid, it would matter which ones broke down the quickest. Grinds would exit faster than chunks or whole pieces too. So a dog’s chewing style would affect stomach emptying times too.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    This is super interesting, thanks for sharing! I wish they had tried it on more than one dog though. It is a good place to start.

  • theBCnut

    Sandy just shared a very interesting article on another thread.

    I always figured that due to the active enzymes in the raw, kibble digestion was helped along by mixing, same would hold true of fresh cooked, but maybe not.

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    Steve, I generally feed cooked and raw separately. The premise is to optimize digestion and free up that energy so there’s less stress on the body….and one of the reasons I add enzymes, probiotics and believe raw food is healthier. Feeding raw without cooked increases the health benefits of the raw meal b/c there’s no cooked to slow down digestion. When I combine raw and cooked I make sure to add a heaping/therapeutic dose of enzymes and probiotics. Bottom line, separating cooked and raw enhances a healthy diet imo. And as BCnut and Crazy4Cats said, it’s what makes sense for you and what works for your dog.

  • theBCnut

    No, you are doing it just right. Some people like to borrow trouble for other people. People digest different foods at different rates too, but just like dogs, we can handle it. If we can’t, then, and only then, we need to do something about it.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Steve-
    There are people that think that way and I think it’s weird, but it’s whatever works for your dog. I feed my two dogs kibble with a couple tablespoons of canned every morning. In the afternoon/evening, they get kibble with either eggs, sardines, dehydrated or frozen raw mixed in their kibble. It hasn’t caused any problems unless they get a little too much fat. When I eat meals, I eat things that digest at different rates, usually with no issue. You can definitely feed them at two different meals as well if it bothers you (or them).

  • Steve

    I read recently that you shouldn’t feed kibble and wet food together because they digest at different rates? At times I’ll mix kibble, rehydrated freeze dried, canned, raw and kefir. Am I doing wrong? What’s the real poop, er, scoop?

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Me too. Luxuating Patella is more likely. I have the complete story on the clicker topic.

  • theBCnut

    Gosh, I sure hope you have nothing to worry about.