Twice a day, like clockwork, my dogs get kibble and cooked chicken soaked in a tasty warm liquid to eat. They love it. Even my fussy eater gets herself out of bed so she doesn’t miss the feast. But I’ve always wondered if I should be soaking kibble and what the benefits are, so I did some research and found out that:
You should soak dog kibble in a tasty liquid, like broth, to get a picky eater to eat. Soaking kibble can also be good for dogs who: don’t drink enough water, have sensitive stomachs, or have bad teeth and cannot chew on hard kibble. Wet kibble can also help overweight dogs lose weight.
Some say you shouldn’t soak a dog’s dry food because hard kibble removes plaque and reduces the chance of dental disease. While there’s a small argument to be made for the abrasiveness of dry kibble scraping plaque off a dog’s teeth, the truth isn’t so cut and dry.
The most effective way to clean your dog’s teeth is to actually clean your dog’s teeth. To do this, you can give your dog dental chews or toys (such as these favorites from Amazon), or brush your dog’s teeth.
The benefits of soaking your dog’s kibble far outweigh the minor effect dry kibble has on the teeth, which is exactly what this article covers. Here are ten great reasons why you should soak kibble for your dog…
Makes the food more appealing
While you may be thinking about all the health benefits that soaking your dog’s kibble could bring, your dog just wants food that tastes good. Luckily, more flavorful food is one of the benefits of soaking kibble.
Most people soak their dogs’ kibble in homemade chicken/beef broth or plain water. I like to use bone broth like this from Amazon as a treat sometimes, or I keep the water after making chicken or rice for my dogs and use this instead.
Whatever you use to soak your dog’s kibble, make sure there’s no salt or additives in there.
Heating up the liquid before soaking kibble warms the fats in the food, which makes the kibble smell better. And something that smells better always tastes better.
Helps with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues
If your dog is prone to vomiting, diarrhea, or other digestive issues, soaking their kibble can help cut down on many of these tummy issues.
Liquid softens the food, which makes it easier to swallow and easier to digest. If you do this, your dog’s digestive enzymes don’t have to do nearly as much to digest the food.
Gets your dog to drink more water
Some dogs just don’t like drinking water. Maybe the water in the bowl gets too warm (here’s how to keep it cool), or the outside water bowl is full of bees (here’s how to keep bees away), or perhaps your dog just doesn’t realize they’re thirsty.
Whatever it is, your dog needs to drink enough water, and soaking kibble is one way to help your dog to take in enough liquids.
A dog needs to take in 1 ounce of water per day for every pound of dog weight. This can be from drinking water, from wet dog food, or from the liquid used to soak kibble. If you soak your dog’s kibble, your dog will naturally drink less water from the water bowl as they are getting liquid from their food every day.
Improves a dog’s urinary health
If a dog doesn’t drink enough water, they can suffer from kidney infections or urinary tract infections. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important for a dog to take in enough liquid every day.
Here’s a table showing how much water your dog needs to drink each day based on body weight:
|Weight in lb||How much water a dog should consume per day in oz||Weight in kg||How much water a dog should consume per day in ml|
|1 – 10 lbs||1 – 10 oz||1 – 4.5 kg||30 – 300 ml|
|11 – 20 lbs||11 – 20 oz||4.6 – 9 kg||300 – 600 ml|
|21 – 30 lbs||21 – 30 oz||19.1 – 13.5 kg||600 – 900 ml|
|31 – 40 lbs||31 – 40 oz||13.6 – 18 kg||900 – 1,200 ml|
|41 – 50 lbs||41 – 50 oz||18.1 – 22.5 kg||1,200 – 1,500 ml|
|51 – 60 lbs||51 – 60 oz||22.6 – 27 kg||1,500 – 1,800 ml|
|61 – 70 lbs||61 – 70 oz||27.1 – 32 kg||1,800 – 2,100 ml|
|71+ lbs||71+ oz (1 oz for each lb of body weight)||33+ kg||2,100+ ml (30 ml for each 0.5 kg body weight)|
Soaking kibble in warm water can help a dog that’s prone to these types of infections not to get them anymore, and soaked kibble can help a dog avoid these types of infections altogether.
Makes food easier to eat
If your dog has problems with their teeth or has lost their teeth for whatever reason, soaking their kibble makes eating easier, especially on the gums which can get raw and painful.
Helps overweight dogs lose weight
Adding water to your dog’s kibble can help your dog lose weight. Obesity can cause severe problems for a dog, so if you want your furry best friend to live their best life, you need to keep them at a healthy weight.
Adding water to a dog’s dry kibble introduces more water into their diet. This, in turn, helps the dog feel fuller quicker and stop eating. When your dog eats less, your dog takes in fewer calories and should slowly start losing weight as a result.
This is a simple way to put your dog on a diet without them actually feeling like they’re on a diet.
Makes switching foods easier
If you’re switching from one brand or type of dog food to another, you should make the switch over the course of a week or two – don’t ever suddenly change your dog’s food.
Click here to get my easy 1-week step-by-step food transition plan to follow, which is summarized in this table:
Adding water or a tasty liquid when mixing dog foods should make the switch much easier for your dog.
This is because the liquid will make the mixed food taste better, so your dog keeps on eating. It also makes the food easier on the dog’s digestive system, which can cause all sorts of problems when changing dog food.
Good for puppies being weaned
A weaning puppy is a puppy that’s moving from drinking its mother’s milk to eating solid food. A puppy starts weaning naturally when it’s about 3-4 weeks old. Soaking kibble for weaning puppies can make this transition easier for the puppy.
Trying to transition puppies directly from their mother’s milk to dry kibble is a hard transition to make: Dry kibble can be hard for a puppy to eat, and it’s tough on their tiny tummies.
If you go straight from one to the other, you’ll probably be dealing with some nasty tummy issues for days.
Try soaking dry food to make the switch smoother. You can use this trick again when it’s time to move your puppy over to adult dog food.
Note: You may still see a few digestive issues, including diarrhea or constipation. One or two unusual bowel movements is nothing to fear when changing a dog’s food. But if your puppy has more than that, starts throwing up, or becomes dehydrated, see a veterinarian immediately as these could be symptoms of a more serious problem.
Good for dogs who eat too quickly
Dogs who eat too quickly are prone to digestive issues and vomiting because they often swallow their food whole instead of chewing it. That’s why you sometimes see entire food pellets in dog vomit.
If your dog is a fast eater, click here to find out what to do about it and why you need to do something.
Adding liquid to your dog’s kibble makes the food softer, so it breaks down more easily and there aren’t any hard pellets for your dog to swallow. Plus, some dogs physically slow down and ‘search’ for their food as it floats in the water, which slows down their eating time – my dogs play this game with their food.
May reduce the risk of bloat
I wasn’t sure if I should include this benefit or not as it’s not scientifically proven to be true.
In fact, some people think adding water to food may increase the risk of bloat. But many pet owners and veterinarians agree that adding water to food is actually good for dogs that are prone to bloat.
After some research, it seems that eating and drinking quickly and going for a walk right before or after is actually the leading cause of bloat.
When dogs have water in their food, they’re less likely to eat a lot of food at a time and then turn around and drink mouthfuls of water on top of it, which is something veterinarians believe might be a cause of bloating in dogs.
Just be sure to take a long peaceful break after mealtimes, and that your dog doesn’t run around or jump a lot before the food has had time to settle.
As I said, there’s no science to back this up, but if you have a deep-chested dog breed that’s prone to bloat, it may be worth talking to your veterinarian for advice.
While not everyone agrees that water or other liquids should be added to dry kibble, I’m a firm believer in it. There are too many benefits to doing it and very few disadvantages.
Adding liquid to kibble can help puppies, senior dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs with dental or digestive issues. It can potentially even reduce the risk of bloat. As a dog owner myself, I plan to continue soaking my dog’s kibble for as long as I have dogs (which will be forever 😊).