How to Soften Dog Food: 2022 Guide for Seniors & Puppies

Some dogs have a rough time eating hard kibble, but there are a few things you can do to help them get the nutritious meals they need. It can be hard to know how to soften dog food, but we’re here to help.

One way to soften dog food is to make sure the food is at room temperature before serving it. You can also add a small amount of warm water to the food, or mix it with some wet dog food.

If your dog prefers his food crunchy, you can try adding a bit of vegetable oil to it to soften it without making the kibble mushy. Be aware that additional oil may increase your dog’s bowel movements.

Whatever method you use, make sure to always supervise your dog when he’s eating, in case he tries to eat the food too quickly and chokes on it.

Ultimately, the best way to soften dog food is to simply let it sit out for a while before serving. This will give the moisture time to evenly distribute throughout the food and make it easier for your dog to eat.

Read our related article on How to Get Your Dog to Chew its Food. Chewing is essential to the digestive health of your pooch. Learn more.

Different Ways to Soften Dog Food

Some dogs need softer kibble due to age or dental issues
Some dogs need food to be softened before they can eat.

How to soften dog food depends on what you have on hand and how much time you have to spend per meal.

  1. If the food is dry and hard, adding a bit of water can help to soften it up. Just be sure not to add too much, or the food will become mushy.
  2. Add broth to the food. This will add moisture and make the food more pliable. Broth adds additional flavor and nutrition.
  3. Use the microwave to heat the food for a few seconds. This will also help to loosen the food and make it easier to eat.
  4. Add some wet food to soften it up. Just be sure not to overdo it, as too wet food can make the dry food mushy.
  5. Another way to soften dry food is to grind it up into smaller pieces. You can use a food processor, blender, or even just a fork to crush the kibble.
  6. For canned food, heating it up for a short time can make it softer and more palatable for your dog. Just be careful not to overcook it, as this can make the nutrients less available.
  7. If you’re feeding your dog raw food, soaking it in water for a few minutes can help to soften it up. Always thaw frozen food before feeding it to your dog.
  8. Finally, there are special dog food recipes that are designed to be softer and more easily digestible for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Read our related article on How to Turn Dry Dog Food into Wet for more tips!

Effects of Softening Foods

Advantages of soft food

  1. It’s easier for them to eat: Soft food is much easier for dogs to chew and digest, especially if they are elderly or have dental problems.
  2. It’s more nutritious: With softer food, dogs can get all the nutrients and moisture they need without having to eat as much. This is important for them to stay healthy and maintain a good weight.
  3. It’s more appetizing: Let’s face it, most dog foods aren’t exactly gourmet cuisine. But when softened, it smells and tastes better, so your dog is more likely to eat it.
  4. You can add variety: When you soften dry food, you can add all sorts of things to it to make it more interesting for your dog – like vegetables, fruits, meats, etc.
  5. It’s gentler on their digestive system: Hard food can sometimes be tough on a dog’s stomach and intestines. Soft food is much easier on them and can help prevent problems like diarrhea and constipation.

disadvantages of soft food

  1. It can get sticky which can be frustrating for dogs to chew.
  2. Added ingredients can cause gastrointestinal issues.
  3. Softened food can go bad quickly, so it must be refrigerated.
  4. It can be messy to prepare and serve, making it less convenient than dry food.
  5. Softened food usually costs more than dry food, so it may not be the most budget-friendly option.

How Long Do You Soak Dog Food to Make It Soft?

Dog enjoys softened kibble
Dogs may be more comfortable chewing softened kibble.

Soaking times will vary depending on the type of food you are using. For dry kibble, we recommend soaking for at least 15 minutes in warm water.

For canned food or wet food, you can usually add a little warm water to the food, and it will soften up within a few minutes. If you are using raw food, there is no need to soak it, as it is already soft. Just make sure frozen food is fully thawed before serving.

If your dog is having trouble eating hard food, consider soaking their kibble in warm water or adding some wet food to their diet.

Soaking the kibble will make it softer and easier for them to eat, and adding wet food will provide them with additional moisture and nutrients. Both of these options are great ways to help your dog get the nutrition they need.

Soaking kibble in warm water or broth is an easy way to soften it and make it easier for your dog to eat.

When you are soaking kibble, always use warm water. Cold water can shock the digestive system, and hot water can damage the nutrient content of the food, so warm water is the only option for softening hard kibble.

If you are using a bowl to soak the food, stir it occasionally so that all the kibbles get wet.

If you are adding wet food to your dog’s diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, only add a small amount of wet food at a time. Adding too much can upset their stomach and lead to diarrhea.

Second, make sure to rotate the wet food you are feeding your dog. Giving them the same type of wet food every day can lead to health problems down the road.

Soaking kibble and adding wet food are both great ways to soften dog food. They are healthy and easy to do, and they can help your dog get the nutrition they need. Try out these tips today to help your dog get the healthy food it needs!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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