Do you ever add water to your dog’s kibble?
It’s an extra step for your routine, and depending on how you do it, you might create a mushy mess that you and/or your dog find unsavory.
However, done right, adding water to kibble actually has some powerful health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Soaking Your Dog’s Kibble
- Urinary health. Increased moisture content in your dog’s food can reduce the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, and helps the kidneys eliminate waste through urine.
- Digestive health. Soaked kibble may be easier for your dog to digest. Have you ever seen “kibble vomit”? It often comes up nearly the same as it went down, just slightly larger as it will have expanded in your dog’s stomach. Some large dog experts believe that soaking your dog’s kibble can prevent bloat, but nobody is really sure why bloat happens. Depending on how long you soak your dog’s food, it may be already broken down by the time it reaches your dog’s stomach in a more digestible form. Also, the added water aids its movement through the digestive system.
- Weight loss. The added water increases the volume of your dog’s food without bumping up the calories, helping her feel more satisfied.
- Appetite. Use warm water, and your dog’s kibble will release those irresistible, meaty aromas. It’s also much easier to uniformly add tasty toppers to soaked kibble.
- Prevent gulping. Does your dog eat her kibble too fast, sometimes without even chewing? Digesting those whole pieces can be hard on the digestive system, and she may even vomit afterwards. Adding water to your dog’s food without soaking can slow down mealtimes, while soaking the food kicks off the digestive process.
For added nutrition, add bone broth, kefir, or raw goat’s milk to your dog’s kibble instead of water.
This powdered goat milk from Honest Kitchen (check price on Amazon) is easier to store and more affordable than fresh, yet it still has the same digestive benefits.
How To Add Water To Your Dog’s Food
You can adjust the ratios to your liking, but I’d suggest adding no more than a half cup of water to one cup of kibble.
The hotter the water, the faster it will soften the kibble. You could use the warmest water from your kitchen tap or heat the water in your microwave or kettle, just make sure the food has cooled to a safe temperature before serving.
Giving your dog a bowl full of water and food without soaking is called “floating” the kibble. It’ll slow down her eating, but it won’t do much for her digestion.
Soaking the food for at least ten minutes will likely be enough to soften it without turning it into mush, depending on the temperature of the water and the size of the kibble.
Do you rush in the mornings? You can also soak a double batch of food in the evenings and feed just half for dinner, and save the rest in the fridge for breakfast. This results in a mush the consistency of pate dog food.
Batching your dog’s soaked kibble makes it even easier to add fresh add-ins. You can throw in an egg, some chopped chicken, fish, beef, or even fruits and veggies for added flavor and nutrition.
Once soaked, dog food can go bad quickly, so pick up what your dog doesn’t eat after 20 minutes, and store leftovers in the fridge for no more than 48 hours.
Doesn’t Dry Kibble Clean My Dog’s Teeth?
One reason you may hesitate to add water to your dog’s food is because you may have been told that dry food cleans your dog’s teeth. Naturally, if the food is moistened, it won’t have that crunchy, tartar-scraping benefit.
However, it’s actually not true that kibble scrapes away tartar.
You see, kibble is typically high in carbohydrates, which break down into sugars, which stick to teeth to form plaque and feed oral bacteria.
Just as eating crunchy pretzels won’t clean your teeth, kibble won’t clean your dog’s teeth.
Studies on how diet affects dental health in dogs are conflicting. Some say that dogs who eat kibble, rather than canned food, have worse smelling breath and dental health, while others concluded that there is little difference.
We should also take into consideration that over 80 percent of dogs will have some form of dental disease by age 3. The majority of dogs eat kibble, so if it were really that effective at eliminating plaque, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of dogs with poor dental health.
What does this all mean? It means that you will need to brush your dog’s teeth, feed raw meaty bones, and have your vet check their teeth and schedule professional dental cleanings as needed… no matter what your dog eats.
Is Soaked Kibble Actually Healthy For Dogs?
When it comes down to it, kibble alone isn’t the best diet for your dog. Even though most kibble is complete and balanced with all of the nutrients your dog needs, it’s processed in a way that’s not easy for dogs to digest, and the high carbohydrate content has been contributing to an epidemic of both obesity and dental disease in dogs.
Freeze dried or dehydrated dog foods are a great alternative to kibble that are just as easy to prepare, yet much closer to fresh foods.