We always want the best for our cats, and finding them a diet that will help them thrive is no exception. Some cat owners are concerned about dry food and ask our Springfield vets if it can be harmful to their feline friend's kidneys.
Is Dry Food Worse for Cats Than Wet Food?
No, not necessarily. The nutritional content of any given cat food is much more important than whether it is wet or dry. the conception that dry food is worse comes from the fact that dry cat foods often contain more carbohydrates than most wet foods as a result of the grains they use for processing. Carbohydrates are a leading cause of obesity in cats, so if you do choose a dry food you should make sure they do not have an overabundance of carbohydrates.
Dehydration and Dry Food
Cats have a lower thirst drive than most companion animals and so they may not even feel thirsty while dehydrated. This makes it important for them to get hydration from their food. The misconception dry food is bad for kidneys comes from this potential difficulty. Dehydration is very bad for the kidneys, and so if dry food is worse for hydration one could believe it is bad for kidney health. It's important to remember this is only an issue if your cat is dehydrated and not drinking enough. One option if your cat is used to dry food is to wet the food in order to get some of the benefits of wet food without having to change food brands.
Transitioning To a New Kind of Food
It is best to change cat food gradually over time rather than abruptly. If your cat isn’t used to eating at fixed times, the first step is to begin feeding on a routine. Start by setting dry food out 3-4 times a day, and be sure to take it away after 20-25 minutes. Then, you can begin to remove additional times until you’ve reached your goal feeding times.
If going from wet to dry or dry to wet, it is a good idea to feed a mix of both. In the beginning, you should still mostly feed your cat the food they are used to, and slowly increase the amount of the new food you feed them each day. If they are used to dry food left out, be sure to take it away for 20-30 minutes to feed them the wet food. Switching food types will be much easier if your cat is fed on a routine. If they aren't already, its best to start them now.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.