Some people always wet their dog’s kibble with water, while other dog owners feel it isn’t a good idea. There are pros and cons to adding water to your dog’s food, and taking them each into consideration can help you make the best, healthiest choice for your pet.

Putting Water In Dog's Kibble pros vs cons
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Changes Food Appeal

Some dogs are picky eaters. They might not like the flavor of their food, or they might be turned off by the crunchy texture. Adding water, especially warm water, softens dry dog kibble and creates a light broth. Many dogs find this much more appealing than simple dry kibble, so adding water to a picky dog’s food can often encourage them to eat.

If your dog is very picky and refuses to eat dry kibble, you can also add low-sodium chicken broth or beef stock instead of water. This is usually very appetizing to dogs, and it can encourage even the pickiest dogs to eat their food. If you warm the water or broth, it often warms the food and creates a stronger aroma. This smell can sometimes help to stimulate a dog’s appetite.

Some dogs are also simply bored with their food. These dogs might refuse to eat even if you change dog food brands. Adding water changes the flavor and texture, making the food much more interesting. If you alternate between adding or not adding water, you might find that your dog is more interested in meals because they’re a bit more exciting.

Some dogs, on the other hand, don’t like the texture of wet dog food. If you add water and their food becomes mushy, some dogs might refuse to eat it. The only way to know if your dog likes the texture or not, however, is to try.

dog sniffing a bowl of kibble food

Digestion Changes

Wetting your dog’s food can also change how the dog digests the food. When dogs eat dry kibble, it can be difficult for their bodies to break down the dry foods. This can lead to health issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Many dogs tend to gulp their food down in large bites. When dogs gulp, they don’t always fully chew the food. This means that large pieces of dried kibble are swallowed, and these are even harder for the body to break down and digest.

When water is added to kibble, it softens the food pieces and makes them much easier to digest. Since the food is a little mushy, dogs also have a harder time taking large gulps, so even though they might find the food more appetizing, they often swallow smaller amounts at a time. Both of these things mean that digestive issues can often be reduced by adding water to kibble.

On the other hand, adding too much water can sometimes lead to diarrhea. This is particularly true if your dog already drinks enough water. The body can’t always absorb all of the water, so it’s flushed out, and this can lead to some intestinal discomfort.

dog drinking water from a bowl

Increased Water Intake

Many dogs don’t drink as much water as they need, and they can quickly become dehydrated, especially during the warmer summer months. Adding a little water to your dog’s food can help. When the water blends with the food, it creates a broth that most dogs find delicious, so they’re likely to lap it up. This can help to ensure that your dog stays hydrated.

Dental Wellness

Many people feel that adding water to a dog’s kibble isn’t a good idea because it reduces dental health. Dry kibble is crunchy enough that, when the dog chews it, it can help to clean away tartar. This, in turn, helps to preserve your dog’s teeth. If the food is wet, though, it won’t clean the teeth, and it can get stuck between the teeth more easily.

Dog food, however, usually isn’t specifically designed to keep your dog’s teeth clean. The best way to ensure that your dog’s teeth stay clean is to use a dog toothbrush regularly.

Many dogs, especially older dogs, also find it difficult or even painful to chew very hard food. As dogs age, their teeth often deteriorate. Softening the food with a little water can make it much easier to chew, which can make eating more comfortable. If dogs feel more comfortable eating, they’re more likely to eat more. This can help dogs maintain a healthy weight.

brushing a dogs teeth

Grazing

Many people like to feed their dogs once or twice a day. Dry dog food can be left out all the time so that dogs can eat a little bit whenever they like. This way, dogs don’t need to eat their entire meal at once, but can instead graze throughout the day whenever they get hungry.

Wet dog food, on the other hand, can’t be left out for more than 12 hours or so, and the same is true for dog food that has had water added to it. Wet or watered dog food can attract bacteria, so it should never be left out for too long.

When you add water to dog food, if the food is left out too long, it can congeal. Instead of softening the food and creating a delicious broth, it can quickly create a sticky mess that your dog most likely won’t be interested in.

Adding water to dog food works best if your dog eats its entire meal at one time. This way, the kibble won’t become a clump and it won’t go bad. If you prefer to let your dog graze, though, it might be better to only add water to one meal per day, or skip adding water altogether.

dog with a paw in food dish

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