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Cats require the right nutritional balance to stay healthy and avoid getting sick. However, choosing a diet for them is also tricky. You will find that there are just too many choices when you go to the pet store. For first-time cat parents or even long-term ones, the number of options can be very overwhelming. Don’t worry. The Furry Companion is here to help!
Generally, there are two main types of cat food to choose from: wet or dry. If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you are interested in giving your pet a dry cat food diet. In this article, we list down the best dry cat food for your furry pet. But before that, it’s also as important to know the benefits of dry cat food for our felines. Understanding the benefits also helps you decide between wet or dry cat food.
Wet Cat Food vs. Dry Cat Food
There is no right or wrong answer on the question of whether you should feed your cat with wet or dry food. Some owners or veterinarians can have very strong opinions about it, though. As with other animal concerns, it is best to discuss this with your veterinarian. He or she may have specific reasons for his/her recommendation based on your feline’s health and needs.
To make it simple for you, both wet and dry cat food is nutritionally sufficient. The only difference between dry and wet cat food is moisture content. Wet cat food has a higher moisture content.
Best Vet Recommended Cat Food: Top 5 Brands Reviewed
All About Cats May 12, 2019 2 Commentson Best Vet Recommended Cat Food: Top 5 Brands Reviewed
The best vet-recommended cat food is more than a prestigious label. It’s species-appropriate, made by a trustworthy company, and, if it’s a prescription food, keeps its therapeutic promises.
Because it has so many benefits for underweight or sickly cats, we’ve chosen Hill’s Prescription Diet a/d as the overall best vet-recommended food. In addition to Hill’s Prescription Diet, we’ve reviewed four other vet-recommended cat food brands and chosen top recipes from each.
Before we get into the reviews, let’s take a critical look at the world of vet-recommended food. We’ll explore which brands vets recommend, learn what makes vet-recommended food special, and talk to vets about which foods they recommend.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
Image Product Features
Hill’s Prescription Diet a/d Urgent Care
Rich in animal protein and fat
Full of specific organ meats rather than animal by-products
Low carbohydrate content
aac-table__logoBEST FOR KITTENS
Hill’s Science Diet Liver & Chicken Kitten Food
Rich in animal protein
ontains fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids for brain and eye development
Low carbohydrate content compared to other Science Diet recipes
Royal Canin Calorie Control Paté
Primarily made from animal protein
Low carbohydrate content
No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Iams Perfect Portions Optimal Metabolism Chicken Recipe
Rich in animal-sourced protein
Low carbohydrate content
Thickened without carrageenan
Purina Pro Plan True Nature Natural Beef & Liver Entree in Gravy
Rich in protein
Most cats seem to enjoy this food
Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
When you hear the words “vet-recommended cat food”, which brands do you think of?
You probably think of Hill’s Prescription Diet, Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams or Eukanuba, and Purina Pro Plan.
What do these brands have in common and why do so many veterinarians trust them?
First, all of these brands are produced by companies with strong foundations. They’re large, well-established companies with plenty of money to spend on state-of-the-art manufacturing, research, and product development.
Secondly, these companies want to be recommended by veterinarians.
Veterinary endorsement and approval are priceless if you want to become an authority brand. These brands have spent decades establishing themselves as icons of scientific animal nutrition. While their reputations owe something to merit, you can’t ignore the role of marketing.
Though we’re starting to put together a picture of what vet-recommended food is in general, veterinarians are as dynamic and varied as anyone else. They don’t all agree on nutrition. Some don’t even recommend foods with the words “vet-recommended” on the label.
To understand what veterinarians think about feline nutrition, I set out to talk to real vets about cat food, asking how they choose the best food, which brands they trust, and what they feed their own cats.
Here’s what a few veterinarians have to say about cat food.
Sara Ochoa, DVM is a practicing veterinarian in East Texas and a veterinary consultant for DogLab.com. Sara says that when picking cat food, she looks for “an AAFCO statement saying that it is a full balanced diet,” adding that “there are certain low-end foods that do not meet these requirements.” The brands she recommends are Science Diet, Royal Canin, Purina Pro Plan, and Eukanuba. If these brands are too expensive for her clients, she recommends “any of the Purina lines such as Purina One, or Purina Cat Chow. Also I recommend Iams cat food from the grocery store.” What does Sara feed her own cat? Hill’s Science Diet.
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS is a vet living and working in the UK. When asked what she recommends to her clients, Joanna emphasizes the importance of weight control, noting that “It’s important to select the right food for your cat’s age and neuter status. I often find myself recommending a neutered/sterilised diet as these are slightly lower in calories and around 50% of cats are overweight. It’s hard to encourage a cat to exercise more, so it’s all about getting the food right. Megan Teiber, DVM mentions the benefits of wet food, “Canned food helps cats to stay better hydrated, feel more satiated, and can prevent and manage health conditions such as obesity, cystitis (bladder inflammation), and diabetes.” On the other hand, several cat owners may find dry cat food to be more convenient. Similarly, many vets will also feel that dry cat food is better for your feline’s teeth.
However, dry cat food is not at all a substitute for your cat’s dental care. Regardless of its diet, your pet will still need professional dental care.
On the whole, wet cat food provides cats a meal better suited to their dietary needs, with the primary ingredient usually being fish or meat. Still, this does not necessarily mean that wet cat food is always a better choice. Some cats will require a diet with a mixture of both wet and dry cat food. In most cases, you will only ever find out what’s suitable for them because they will tell you what they like. That is to say, it’s also a trial and error process.
At this point, finding the best choice seems very confusing. Don’t worry; we get you. To make it easier, here are some points you should consider when choosing between the two.
Dry Cat Food
If you’re like most cat owners, you are more likely to leave your cats with dry cat food all the time. This practice is called free feeding. However, your pet might be getting less nutrition than a cat on a wet food diet if it only eats dry cat food. There are far too many low-quality dry cat food that contain a lot of fillers.
You also have to note that this may not offer the best hydration for your cats. Remember that for wild cats, most of their prey contains 70% water. Dry food almost always contains about 10% moisture. This can put your felines in danger of becoming dehydrated, especially if they do not have a habit of drinking. This situation can lead them to experience health problems like chronic renal failure or urinary crystals.
Should you choose to feed your pet dry food, you must make sure it drinks about one cup of water throughout the day. During warmer seasons, your cat is sure to need even more. Also, remember to provide them with a clean and appealing source of fresh water.
Aside from dehydration, there is also an added danger of cats on dry cat food diet to be prone to obesity. Part of this is because they are consuming a high amount of carbohydrates, and another is because of the free-feeding method most cat owners practice. According to Julie A. Churchill, DVM, PhD, “Carbs can be valuable to hold dry food together and make food more affordable, and many cats like that crunch. As long as carbs are in an amount cats can handle, it’s OK.”
If these arguments are discouraging you, don’t feel that way just yet. Let’s first hear the wet cat food debate, and you might be more at ease!
Wet Cat Food
Even with all that said concerning dry cat food, it still does not mean that wet cat food is better. A premium quality dry food is still a lot better than a cheaply produced wet food. This only means that you must check the ingredients before anything else. Make sure it contains the primary animal protein source as its number one ingredient. Ideally, it should not contain meat by-products. But Lorie Huston, DVM says that “Reputable cat food companies choose quality by-products to include in their foods.” Many people also argue that wet cat food eventually leads to dental problems more than dry cat food. But this should not be an issue if you have your feline visit the vet regularly.
Choose a premium cat food. Whatever choice you make between the two, you should buy premium cat food with quality ingredients. Although the initial cost will be higher, you will be able to save a lot more in the long run when it comes to veterinary costs. The fastest way to choose the perfect cat food is to keep this simple checklist in mind:
- High in protein
- Low in carbohydrates
- High water content
It should contain quality ingredients like:
- Real animal protein
- Fruits and vegetables
- Good fats
- Herbs and marine plants
And voila. The choice should now be clearer, cat parents!
Choosing the Best Dry Cat Food—What Now?
If you’re leaning toward purchasing dry food for your furry feline, what additional information would you need? Aside from the concerns discussed above, it’s helpful for you to be aware of the benefits when choosing the best dry cat food for your pet.
The primary benefit you get from dry cat food is that it is extremely convenient for the owner. It’s easy to measure, easier to feed it to your cat, and easiest to store. It is naturally very low in moisture. Therefore, it can easily be left out for your cats to feed on even without your supervision. You don’t have to worry about it going “dry.”
The best dry cat food can also be stored for a long time without going bad. This means you can stock up on a lot with just one buy. And because there is no moisture content, bacteria are less likely to form. Sounds neat!
A dry cat food diet is ideal if your cat finds it difficult to maintain its energy. Specifically, nursing cat moms will also benefit from this since the energy requirement for milk production can get pretty intense. This way, cat parents can make sure their nursing cat mom gets all the nutrients she needs.
We’ve said this before, but it is proven to help with cats’ dental health. It does so in two ways
- The mechanical action of chewing the dry cat food aids your cat.
- Some dry cat food contains chemicals that reduce the build-up of tartar on your cat’s teeth.
Our Best Dry Cat Food Picks
Alright! At this point, you might have already made up your mind entirely in favor of dry food. It is worth knowing what fundamental factors are essential in choosing the best dry cat food. To help make purchasing easier for all cat parents, we’ve searched the best dry cat food based on these factors:
- Quality of the ingredients
- Reviews from customers
- Brand reputation
As always, The Furry Companion aims to make your life with pets easier and comfortable. The following section will now extensively talk about the best you can buy for your feline pet. Be sure to take notes!
1. Wellness Core Dry Cat Food
This best dry cat food option is specially designed for adult cats. It has five key indicators of healthy nutrition: probiotics and prebiotics, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and healthy carbohydrates and proteins.
The first two ingredients say it all: boneless chicken and turkey. Very real and healthy right off the bat, right? It might be a little toward the pricier side, but it does come in a huge bag. So even if you are spending a couple more bucks, it’s sure to last you a long time.
This option does not only contain premium animal proteins, but it is also safe for cats with health problems like diabetes. On the flip side, it does have a strong fishy smell that cat owners might have a slight issue with. Another issue for some, albeit small, is that it comes in a big and heavy bag.
2. Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food
This pick is a high-protein natural dry cat food that comes in either a 5- or a 12-pound bag. Taste of the Wild (TOTW) Dry Cat Food contains real animal protein, such as trout, salmon, chicken, and venison. All these goodies mean your feline pet has the ideal mix of necessary amino acids. It also boasts a competitive price in contrast with other premium brands. Its ingredients are sourced from sustainable and highly trusted global suppliers.
If those are not good enough reasons to be your best choice, TOTW’s cat food is also very digestible. It contains low-GI carbohydrates like peas, raspberries, and blueberries! If there’s anything negative to point out about this brand, it can be because your cats might like it too much. If that is the case, then your cat might eat this way too fast, and you’ll find yourself running out of stock quickly. However, you can easily solve this by changing the portions or your cat’s eating routine.
3. Fromm Dry Cat Food
If you’re looking for a unique kibble option, you’re in luck. Fromm’s FourStar offers not just duck and turkey; it also has quail and pheasant meat. If you know your dry cat food, you would know that these are hard to find in other brands.
Some cat parents have claimed that their cat’s skin and coats have noticeably become shinier and fuller upon using this dry cat food brand. Even better, some have reported less shedding, which might be attributed to the fact that the cat’s hair follicles have become healthier. Oh, one more thing—your cat’s digestion can also have a chance to improve with this option!
Fromm Dry Cat Food comes in a 5-lb bag. For cat parents with only a single cat, this should be able to last you for about a month. There’s just so much good to say about this product, but do note that it has a seal that doesn’t close properly. While an inconvenience, you can simply use a clip to lock in the product properly. You can also choose to transfer it to another container should you find it necessary.
4. Orijen Dry Cat Food
This comes in a 12-lb bag, which makes it more cost-effective when compared to other brands in this list. On top of that, this best dry cat food selection also carries the perfect blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and micronutrients. With this, your cat is sure to maintain a lean and healthy weight. Be sure to check the indicated feeding recommendations as this is more nutrient-dense compared to other brands.
However, customers have mixed feelings when it comes to their feeding experience. Some say that their cats do not lose interest in this. Others have reported that their felines don’t enjoy the taste as much, and the high cost doesn’t seem to be worthwhile. Similarly, cat owners also do not appreciate the slightly smelly odor. It may even cause foul-smelling feces, which can be a further inconvenience.
But all cats are different, and your feline friend may or may not fall in love with this brand. You’ll never know unless you try!
5. Castor and Pollux Organix
Castor and Pollux’s Organix Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe and its other variants come in either a 4- or 12-lb bag. This best dry cat food option is made in the USA and has flaxseed, which helps in promoting healthier skin and coat. You know what that means: healthier coat = fewer hairballs. Win-win! Some cat parents have also noted that any digestion issues with their felines go away when on this dry food diet.
Also, a good thing to keep in mind is that this contains a slightly higher carbohydrate content because it has brown rice. Heads up for cat parents with overweight or sedentary cats! This might not be the best option for you.
6. Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet Dry Cat Food
Nature Balance Limited Ingredient Diets has a wide variety of protein sources as well as flavors. It’s almost a foolproof way to satisfy your feline’s taste buds. This brand is feline-friendly in that each flavor contains limited ingredients to promote healthy digestion and avoid upset stomachs. Additionally, the first ingredient is always green peas plus their primary meat source: chicken, duck, venison, or salmon.
All the available variants are grain-free. It also provides balanced nutrition by incorporating six fatty acids and omega-3 with the ingredients. All of which are necessary for promoting a shiny and healthy coat, steady energy, and easy digestion. Varieties of this best dry cat food option with green pea are duck, chicken, venison, and salmon. They also have two additional variants with chickpea: turkey and chickpea indoor formula and salmon and chickpea indoor formula. Unlike the other brands in this list, this is available in five different bag sizes: 2, 4.5, 5, 8, and 10 lbs.
7. Newman’s Own Adult Dry Cat Formula
If you are an extra picky cat parent or your pet requires an extra sensitive diet, this organic option from Newman’s Own is your best bet. If you feel like it sounds familiar, that’s because it is the same brand that makes those healthy salad dressings—for humans! If you’ve had their products before and enjoyed it, then just imagine how much your cats will be in for a treat.
This best dry cat food selection is made with organic chicken, grains, and vegetables. It is so rich in protein that it is suitable for young and adult cats alike. Because it’s organic, you won’t have to worry about finding any artificial additives in here. Unlike most brands, though, this only comes in a single 4.75-lb bag. Still, cat parents rave about this brand, especially for cats who have digestive issues or related health problems. While definitely pricier than the others, fans of this say the price is worth it for their feline.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food
This dry cat food boasts providing well-balanced nutrition for your kittens. Its formulation puts real chicken as the primary source of protein and fats. Moreover, adding fish oil means that it has significant amounts of EPA and DHA. These are targeted to address anti-inflammation and nervous system health, respectively.
Unfortunately, take note that this has allergen content that might be harmful to your cats. It contains wheat gluten, soy, and corn, which might be a serious concern for pet allergies. On the bright side, this formulation is specially designed for tabbies who do not really go on outdoor ventures. This ensures they still get the kind of well-balanced nutrition they need.
9. Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo clearly deserves a spot in our top ten. This best dry cat food option is enjoyed by a multitude of cat parents. Blue Buffalo offers an amazing array of flavor choices as well as clinical purposes. Typically, it comes in single meat protein sources such as chicken, turkey, or salmon. Some have the combination of all three with added brown rice. Aside from the wholesome grain, it also contains natural vegetables. The ingredients help provide your cat with an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals packed into a single source.
But what really makes this one of the best dry cat food options is it includes five different strains of gut-friendly probiotics that are sure to aid with your cat’s digestion. We don’t want our feline friends vomiting and aching all day, don’t we?
10. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food
Last but not least, there is zero doubt that Wellness offers one of the best dry cat food in the market with its Complete Health line. Most notably, this is specially formulated for cats who are at high risk of developing joint problems like arthritis. Great, right? It includes chondroitin and glucosamine in its ingredients. This only means that your cats can have the ability to nourish and optimize their joint health. It also contains one of the highest levels of crude protein, with a minimum of 38%. Nice!
Naturally, this dry cat food is beneficial, especially for kittens. However, if your feline has kidney problems, then a protein level too high can be quite dangerous for them. Like most brands on this list, Wellness Complete Health has chicken as its main protein source. It also sources protein from salmon or uses a combination of salmon and turkey. These provide EPA and DHA for brain health and anti-inflammatory abilities. Nonetheless, it still remains to be a great choice because it has an ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, with an extra addition of natural antioxidants.
Some More Reminders
We’ve done the work of compiling the best dry cat food for you to try. However, you also have the responsibility to research on your own. At the end of the day, it’s you who knows your furry friend the best after all. Here are also more quick guidelines for you. It’s your cat’s food we’re talking about; it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful!
Check the Animal Protein
Look at the ingredients, keeping in mind that they are listed by weight. Those that have the most substantial amount of moisture (beef, chicken, fish, etc.) will most likely be at the top. Those further down may offer lesser key nutrients. Remember, cats are obligate carnivores. When deciding on the best dry cat food, look for nutrients that can only be found in animal sources, not plant-based ones.
Consider Your Cat’s Life Stage
Some cat food will have a label that indicates whether they are best for cats at all stages or just for some. Choosing the best dry cat food that is balanced and adapted to fit your cat’s life stage is extremely important. Just as you needed different nutrients when you were a baby compared to now, so does your kitten or adult cat!
Consult Your Vet
Wet cat food and dry cat food have different feeding guidelines. Moreover, cats will require different amounts of food, depending on the situation. If you really are unsure about the proper choice, ask your vet to perform a body condition analysis for your cat. You can also request your vet to show you how to do this analysis on your own. Knowing your cat’s body condition is the best way to determine what or how you should feed your cat. Once you know this information, you can now adjust your feeding method accordingly.
Research Your Cat Food Brand
Quality control and sourcing are important in choosing the best dry cat food for your feline friend. Of course, you only want the best quality for your cat, and you don’t want to feed your cat with just any food. For many brands, this is not required information to put on brand labels. Alternatively, you can get this information from their website or call their customer relations directly.
There you have it! The Furry Companion has broken down the complicated stuff for you, so you don’t have to. Remember, when choosing the best dry cat food, it is vital that you back it up with proper research. It is truly admirable how cats help ease our everyday mood, so much that we treat them no less than family. And with family, we never settle for less. Cheers to making the best choices for our furry felines!
Frequently Asked Questions
What brand of dry cat food is the best?
There is a wide array of choices for cat foods in the market and it can get confusing which one to choose. To ease the search, here are the best brands of dry cat food: Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food, Hill’s Science,
Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Iam’s, and Kit and Kaboodle.
What is the best dry cat food for indoor cats?
Indoor cats don’t use much energy, so they don’t need to consume as many carbohydrates and fats. Best dry cat foods for indoor cats are the following: Nutro Max Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight, and Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural, Adult Dry Cat Food.
What is the best cat food recommended by vets?
Vet recommended foods are definitely trustworthy since they know well what’s best for our pets. Vets approve of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet, Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, and Hill’s Prescription Diet.
What is the healthiest cat food?
It is imperative that we want the best for our beloved cats. To be able to keep them for a long time, they must be healthy, and to do so, they need to get the best nutrients they need. The healthiest cat foods are Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food, Purina Beyond Indoor, Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, and Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry Food.
What are the worst cat food brands?
As much as we want what’s best for our cats, we also want to stay away from cat foods that might potentially harm our pets. If you want to be on the safe side, avoid purchasing cat foods from Whiskas, 9Lives, Meow Mix, Kit & Kaboodle, and Friskies.
Is Blue Buffalo Cat Food Safe?
In general, Blue Buffalo cat food is safe for pets. They use ingredients that are of high quality and are sourced from the U.S. Many pet owners are wary of buying their brand because of the recent recall they made in 2017. But they had assured that they have improved on their measures in quality control of their products.
What not to feed your cat?
While it can be tempting to give you cat some snacks and scraps, bear in mind that there are some foods that are not safe for your feline. Some of the dangerous foods for them are onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, and grapes.
Is Fancy Feast a good cat food?
No, according to research this cat food contains ingredients that are harmful to the cat. The unhealthy contents of this food include gluten, fillers, corn, soybean, and artificial flavors.
Kim Reosora is a Communication Arts graduate who always had a passion for writing… and for animals! Since childhood, she has taken a particular liking towards cats. She used to take in abandoned kittens under her care. In fact, she initially wanted to pursue Veterinary Medicine to help out our furry companions. In a few years, she swears to finally be the cat mom of her dreams. Now, she loves the fact that she is able to write about one of the many things that she loves.