Making pet food yourself is the trend. Already today there are numerous books on the subject of“Barfen” or “prepare dog food yourself”. But there is not always the time and opportunity to take care of the food of the four-legged friend yourself. Therefore, there will always be ready-made dog food. However, in addition to the durable dry food and moist canned food, there is the third variant: semi-moist dog food. This dog food, also called “soft food”, is far superior to the other types of food for many reasons.
What is semi-moist dog food?
This product is between 15 and 30% in its moisture content. This is much less than, for example, canned wet food. Its water content is 60-85%. Due to the lower water content, the semi-moist dog food has more weight percentage left to fill it with really nutritious ingredients.
Semi-moist dog food is pressed into cubes or bars. The cubes come in different sizes. This allows both the small terrier and the large German shepherd to get the portion size that fits their mouths. The stick form is ideal for snacks. Since this food form is particularly popular with dogs, these snacks are well suited as a reward in dog training. The production of this food consistency is more difficult to produce than the dry or wet food. Its packaging and storage is also more demanding. This makes semi-moist dog food more expensive already during production. However, since the ingredients are prepared particularly gently, it is much tastier and more digestible for the dog. Semi-moist dog food is therefore mainly marketed as “premium food”. This is already noticeable in the price – this food costs from 3 euros per kilogram.
However, even with this feed consistency, there is no way around reading the ingredients carefully. Only these give exact information about what is really in the chunks. The terms “premium dog food” are not protected. Therefore, when buying this type of food, you should pay particular attention to the composition.
How is semi-moist dog food produced?
Unlike cooked wet food or freeze-dried dry food, semi-moist dog food is cooked. This means that the individual ingredients are prepared in a steam stream of 100 °C. This is very important especially for the vegetable ingredients. This method preserves the vitamins, while the indigestible fiber is broken down to a large extent.
Semi-moist dog food of premium quality always has a high proportion of meat. This is cooked together with the vegetables and other ingredients. In the process, the flavors of the individual ingredients blend together. Since dogs naturally like meat a lot, all the ingredients of the dog food taste equally good to them.
The dehydration process is greatly reduced compared to the production time of dry food. This saves especially the sensitive vitamins from destruction. Once the desired moisture content has been achieved, the food is packaged in sterile, airtight containers. The individual containers are comparatively small. Once opened, the soft feed should be consumed whole. Due to its low content of preservatives, there is a risk of mold growth if it is left for a long time. This is especially true if the soft food is packed again in an airtight container.
Advantages of soft food
Compared to conventional wet or dry food, premium soft food has the following advantages:
- more digestible preparation
- fewer preservatives than canned food
- does not swell in the stomach like dry food
- higher meat content
- higher acceptance by nutritionally sensitive dogs
- higher content of healthy ingredients
- lower content of unhealthy ingredients
Since soft food is already more complex and therefore more expensive to produce than conventional types of food, it is usually processed into particularly high-quality food. This means that its meat content can be as high as 70% in most products. In this context, meat in soft food is really meat – and not bones, stomachs or other organs, as in the case of “dry food” it may also be referred to as “animal ingredients from beef or pork”.
The low (or complete absence) of preservatives makes the soft food particularly digestible for dogs with allergies.
Especially small dogs can quickly spoil their stomachs on dry food. It swells strongly and can stretch the stomach walls. Then threaten constipation or obesity. With the stomach walls stretched, the dog loses his ability to feel a natural sense of satiety. He keeps on eating. With dry food, this can lead to a disastrous chain reaction.
Wet food often has a low acceptance rate among dogs. It does not smell well and what is in it, one would rather not even know. Above all, the content of the important proteins is alarmingly low, especially in cheap varieties. Semi-moist dog food in premium quality, however, always has enough meat content to ensure health and muscle growth in the dog.
Vitamins, fibers and proteins are precisely identified in premium soft food. Unhealthy ingredients such as crude ash, preservatives and artificial flavors are usually completely absent from these foods. This makes the soft food the best pet food after your own preparation.
How can I recognize premium soft food?
What is written on the front of the packaging or the can of pet food is usually not very meaningful. The small word “with” alone, for example, says next to nothing. If it says, for example, “with chicken meat,” then even the smallest amounts are enough to make this statement legal.
The law that regulates the declaration of ingredients for pet food allows the following three levels:
- Closed declaration
- semi-open declaration
- open declaration
The closed declaration allows only a general indication of the food groups. Exact percentages and defined descriptions of the ingredients are missing on the packaging. Instead of exact information, only very general terms such as “cereals” or “animal by-products” are written. This not only sounds disgusting, it actually is. Most of the time, these are stomach or intestinal contents for the most part. So that the dog eats them at all, they are richly enriched with artificial flavors. Giving dog food with closed declaration is not only unappetizing, but dangerous in the long run. There is a threat of deficiency symptoms, allergies and obesity.
In the semi-open declaration, the exact ingredients of the pet food are listed. What is missing in the semi-open declaration, however, is the important percentage information. The dog owner can exclude thereby particularly harmful products. For a purposeful, lasting nutrition the half-open declaration is however insufficient. Without the exact composition the dog owner does not know, which additives such as oils or Vitamine, he must add. The semi-open declaration is therefore insufficient for a targeted diet for the dog.
With the open declaration, all ingredients are listed exactly according to type and quantity. The dog owner can work precisely with this very reliable information and put together the ideal food mix for his pet. The open declaration is preferably chosen by premium and organic manufacturers.
For semi-moist dog food, this means that it only really becomes premium food in combination with an open declaration. Everything else can be safely described as a rip-off that does not justify the high price.
Conversely, dry or canned wet food can also be offered in premium quality. Also with these forms of presentation the content specification in open declaration is the surest indication that it concerns also really first-class fodder.
Should I give my dog only semi-moist dog food?
It is not the consistency of the dog food that is important, but its quality and the way it is presented. It is quite possible to cover most of your pet’s diet with dry food, provided you follow a few rules. This includes that the dry food is exactly dosed and that the dog always has enough to drink. Simply always putting a bowl full to the brim with dry food is guaranteed to make the animal sick – regardless of whether it is premium or cheap dry food.
The same applies to canned food. The high percentage of moisture is at the expense of the other ingredients. Proteins, vitamins and dietary fiber must be distributed over the remaining 15% that the water content of 85% still leaves them. These ingredients may be of first-class quality and also precisely listed. However, in the long run, the dog will get malnutrition if given canned food.
Semi-moist premium quality dog food is actually the best balanced pet food available ready to buy. The only thing better is the food you prepare yourself.
Therefore, we recommend feeding the dog only on the basis of a diet plan developed together with the breeder or the veterinarian. This may well alternate dry, wet and soft food plus nutritional supplements and freshness. This keeps the cost of pet food in check and the dog still stays healthy.
Is semi-moist dog food basically quality pet food?
The designation “semi-moist dog food” does not say enough about the quality of the pet food. Only the open declaration makes it a premium food.
How is semi-moist dog food produced?
Soft food is produced through a complex steam cooking process. In this process, all ingredients are softened in a steam current of about 100°. This not only makes the food digestible, but also sterilizes it. Artificial preservatives can therefore be dispensed with in the case of quality soft food.
How expensive is semi-moist dog food?
The price of soft food depends on its ingredients and the quality of its processing. Food with a high percentage of lamb is naturally more expensive than food with pork. Currently, you have to expect prices between 3 and 6 euros per kilogram for semi-moist dog food.