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We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.Should I add water to my dog’s dry food?Our guide dog school has recently advised us to add a small amount of water to our dog’s kibble.Basically, just enough water to make your dog’s kibble like bobbing for apples.Pet sitting client Molly waiting for her kibble to soak Outside of guide dog puppies, should you add water to your dog’s food?If you feed kibble, you’re probably seen the reminder to always provide your dog with fresh water on any given bag that you’ve purchased.After all, the reason that dry dog food has its name is that the average moisture content of kibble is only somewhere between 6% to 12%!That’s a fraction of the moisture content you’ll find in canned and raw dog food, which is between 75%-85%.It makes sense when you think about it from a shelf life perspective as moist food spoils more quickly than dry food.But we all know that proper hydration is essential for proper organ functioning and good health in all living beings, so what about adding water to your dog’s dry food? That’s a valid question, especially if your pup doesn’t drink enough water from their bowl!So in this blog post, we’ll look at 8 pros and 3 cons of putting water in kibble.We’ll also provide different soaking time guidelines to achieve a variety of purposes and mention the ratio of water to dry food to add.Last but not least, we’ll talk about whether or not soaked kibble has an impact on bloat along with 9 moisture rich food toppers as an alternative to water.Ready? Let’s jump right in! What Is The Benefit Of Adding Water To Dog Food?Below, you’ll find 8 reasons why adding water to a dog’s dry food can be beneficial.Improved HydrationThe most obvious benefit is that adding water to dry dog food helps increase the moisture content of the meal.This is particularly beneficial for dogs who: Are diagnosed with certain diseases like kidney disease, diabetes and UTIsDon’t drink enough water on their ownFor example, dogs with kidney disease often experience increased water loss because they have to pee excessively. That’s why soaked kibble can help support kidney function and prevent dehydration. For dogs with diabetes, they typically have increased water consumption due to high blood sugar levels. That’s why it can be helpful to add water to kibble to manage their condition and prevent dehydration.Also, UTIs can cause increased thirst and urination in dogs. That’s why hydrated kibble can help these pups flush out bacteria and maintain urinary tract health.Help With Dental IssuesOlder dogs with dental problems, missing teeth, or sensitive gums may have difficulty chewing and swallowing dry kibble. That’s when adding water can be really helpful because it softens the food and makes it easier for them to eat and digest.I remember doing this with my dog Buzz after he had a tooth removed at his vet’s. He was 4 years old at the time and had fractured one of his upper molars when he was chewing on a smoked beef bone from the grocery store.So I soaked his kibble in water for 5 minutes while he had a swollen cheek, which lasted for 2 weeks. Since he was always a picky eater while he ate kibble, I also added a few moisture-rich food toppings he enjoys from the list in an upcoming section.Just FYI, this incident happened a few months before I switched Buzz and his sister Missy from kibble to raw dog food, and I learned 3 valuable lessons when I did:Raw-fed dogs drink a lot less water than kibble-fed dogs because as I mentioned before, raw dog food has almost 8 times more water content than kibble.You should never offer your dog weight bearing bones from large hooved animals such as cows. That’s because they’re incredibly dense and hard given the amount of animal weight they have to support! And yes, it’s enough to break a dog tooth. Raw dog food offers lots of food variety and different textures that can “cure” a picky eater. Buzz stopped his food antics the moment he started eating raw dog food, and I never had to entice him to eat ever again.Enhanced PalatabilitySome dogs may find dry kibble less appealing due to its texture or taste.That’s particularly true for smaller dog breeds who are known to be picky eaters anyways.In this case, adding water can not only make the food softer, it also brings out more of its flavor, especially when the water is lukewarm.I remember having to do this for several of my smaller pet sitting clients!Digestive AidMoistening dry dog food can also help with a dog’s digestion, especially in dogs with sensitive stomachs or those prone to gastrointestinal issues. The added moisture helps break down the food more easily, facilitating digestion and nutrient absorption. In some cases, it can also help alleviate constipation or dry stools.Weight ManagementAdding water to dry dog food increases the volume of the meal without increasing the calorie content. That way, it gives them a larger portion size that helps them feel fuller although you’re feeding them less kibble.So this approach can be beneficial for kibble-fed dogs on a weight management program.Temperature RegulationFor dogs who live in hot climates, adding water to dry dog food can help keep your dog cool and hydrated, especially if they don’t drink enough water on their own.That way, it provides an additional source of water intake and helps prevent overheating.Enhanced Nutrient AbsorptionMoistening dry dog food can also assist in the absorption of nutrients from the meal. The water helps to break down the food particles and makes it easier for the dog’s body to extract and utilize the nutrients from the food. Obviously, this can contribute to improved overall health and vitality in your dog.Customization for Individual NeedsAdding water to dry dog food also makes it easier to customize your dog’s meal based on their specific needs. For example, if your dog requires additional joint support, you can mix in their supplements with the water before moistening the dry food. This way, you can tailor the meal to address specific health concerns or dietary requirements.Potential Cons Of Putting Water In KibbleOK, now that we’ve looked at several different benefits, let’s cover a few downsides of soaking kibble in water.SpoilageThe most important downside is that wet kibble can spoil if it’s not eaten within a reasonable timeframe. As a general guideline, moistened kibble should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, so soaking kibble may not work well for dogs who graze. After that time, bacteria can start to multiply rapidly, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses or spoilage. That’s why it’s important to throw out any uneaten food promptly to avoid bacterial growth or contamination.Texture and PalatabilitySome dogs may prefer the texture and taste of dry kibble and may not enjoy it once it’s moistened. So go ahead and observe your dog’s preference and adjust the soaking time or water amount accordingly.Portability and ConvenienceSoaking kibble may not be as convenient for travel or on-the-go situations compared to dry kibble, especially if your dog prefers really mushy dry food, which takes a while to get to its consistency.How Long To Soak Kibble In Water?We haven’t talked about how long you should soak kibble for, so let’s do that now.And just as a side note, as far as what dry dog food you can add water to, you can add water to any brand or type of dry dog food.But do yourself and your pup a favor and try to avoid these 10 worst dry dog foods!Keeping that in mind, how long to soak kibble in water depends on the specific needs of your dog. Here are some time guidelines for soaking kibble:5-10 minutes: Makes it easier for dogs with dental issues to chew dry dog food without turning it into a complete mush.10-15 minutes: Helps release more of the food’s aroma and can make it more appealing for picky eaters (especially if you use warm water).20-30 minutes: Long enough for the kibble to completely absorb the water. This considerably increases your dog’s hydration level.How Much Water To Add To Dry Dog Food?When you’re adding water to dry dog food, you’ll need to find the right balance to meet…
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