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Home / Advice / FAQ's / Dog Nutrition FAQ's / Issues with eating and digestion / Should I soak my dog's dry food?


Dog Nutrition FAQ's


dog nutrition faq

Q: Should I soak my dog's dry food?


Unless your vet has specifically advised soaking your dogís food or recommended feeding it dry, there are no hard and fast rules about whether you should or shouldnít soak it. A lot depends on the individual dog!

Soaking the food may be beneficial if:-

a) The dog is prone to taking a long drink after a dry meal, since a belly full of water on top of a belly full of dry food may increase the risk of bloat.

b) The dog is a rapid eater, because soaking the food makes it easier to adhere to the base of an anti-gulp bowl to help slow down the rate of ingestion (an anti-gulp bowl is made to a special design with obstructions inside that the dog has to eat around to get to the food). Eating too quickly may also increase the risk of bloat.

c) The dog is prone to a sensitive digestion. Soaking the food softens it, and so eases the initial work of the digestive enzymes which may well be struggling during illness or a period of recovery. If a dog suffers from acid reflux or is recovering following episodes of vomiting, soft food is kinder on the oesophagus which may be inflamed and irritated.

d) The dog finds the kibble size too small or too large. Soaking the food until it is soft enough to mash with a fork renders kibble size of much less importance; although we produce a variety of products in varying sizes and shapes, so there should be something to appeal to every dog.

e) The dog is not a very good eater. Some dogs prefer a softer consistency to their food, and soaking it with warm water will bring out the smell.

f) The dog has dental problems. Soft food is easier on a sore mouth.

g) The dog is a puppy! Very young puppies may find soft food easier to manage, especially if teething.

Some people still do say that crunching on kibble is better for the teeth, but these claims can be rather exaggerated. It is actually the antioxidants in the food that have the greatest benefit to oral hygiene (especially vitamin C), and these are "active" whether the food is served wet or dry. There are plenty of ways to help keep the teeth clean that are more beneficial than simple crunching including brushing, anti-plaque preparations and dental toys.

If soaking your dogís food, make sure it isnít steeped for too long (up to half an hour is generally fine) as fermentation can occur. The food is also attractive to flies (especially in the warmer weather) so keep it covered whilst itís being prepared. Soaked food is not ideal for dogs who like to go back and forth to their bowl to eat rather than finish a meal soon after it has been given for the reasons above. Dry food is quicker to serve, and cleaner. But even if your dog licks his bowl until it looks sparkling clean; do bear in mind that it isnít! Dog bowls should be washed after every meal as there are lots of bacteria that inhabit your dogís mouth and some are invariably transferred to the bowl! Dry kibble is convenient to carry around and makes an ideal packed lunch on a doggy day out.

You might wonder why itís worth bothering to soaking kibble when there are plenty of wet dog foods on the market. The main advantage is cost. Dry food is generally much more economical, and this is because it is more calorific due to its much lower moisture content. Dry feed portions are subsequently smaller than commercial wet food. Soaked dry food may therefore be a more suitable option for dogs that are unable to tolerate large volumes of food very well.

So with regard to soaking or not, do what you feel is best for your dog based on his or her individual circumstances.

Ness Bird RVN


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Should I soak my dog's dry food?



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