Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Should You Add Water to Dry Dog Food?

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

dry dog food with water

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If your dog eats a purely dry food-based diet, you may be wondering if you can add water to change up the texture from time to time. Adding water to dry food is perfectly fine, and is even beneficial health-wise in several ways. In this post, we’ll share all you need to know about adding a bit of extra moisture to your dog’s dry food.

divider 9

Why Add Water to Dry Food?

The very reason we buy dry formulas is their convenience—you don’t need to add anything, it’s easy to store, and it doesn’t smell or go off. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t add water to give it a “saucier” texture if your dog is getting fed up with dry food. In addition to changing it up, there are a variety of potential health benefits linked to adding water to your dog’s food.

Grain Free Dog Food
Image Credit: nadisja, Shutterstock

Increased Hydration

Wet dog foods contain more moisture which helps prevent dehydration, so if you don’t want to feed wet food for whatever reason or your dog doesn’t like it, adding water to dry food may be beneficial for dogs needing to increase their water intake. In some cases, certain health conditions—like urinary issues or kidney disease—make this necessary.

In cooler weather especially, dogs may drink less, which is pretty normal, but if your dog continues to refuse water or is persistently not drinking enough, please consult your vet as a health issue may be causing this behavior.


This is closely linked with better hydration. Adding more moisture to your dog’s diet may be beneficial for dogs with digestive problems, as water helps keep things moving in the gastrointestinal tract.

Oral Issues

If your dog loves their dry food but it becomes difficult to eat, for example, due to oral health issues or dental procedures, softening their favorite food with some water may make it easier for them to chew. The same may go for other, non-oral-related surgical procedures your dog is recovering from, but this depends on your vet’s advice.

French bulldog eating from bowl
Image Credit: Gryllus M, Shutterstock

What About Puppy Food?

Some puppy dry foods are designed specifically to have water or puppy milk added to them before feeding. It’s also recommended for weaning puppies (3–4 weeks and up) off their mother’s milk when the time comes, as going straight to dry, hard kibble would be a bit harsh for them. Your puppy food’s packaging may have instructions for how much to add but speak to your vet if you’re unsure.

a Maltipoo puppy eats from a metal bowl
Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

How to Add Water to Dry Dog Food

Adding water to your dog’s dry food should enhance their eating experience, so there are definitely right and wrong ways to go about it. Just pop clean and warm drinking water on top of your dog’s dry food and let it soak in a little before feeding. Give it a good stir to make sure the water is worked all the way through.

Avoid adding water that’s too hot or too cold—boiling water will burn your dog’s mouth and cold water will make them less likely to eat the food. Room temperature or comfortably warm water is the best option.

We don’t want to aim for a “soupy” texture, as this is likely to put your dog off eating, so just add enough water that it becomes “paste-like” or however your dog likes it. You may need to experiment a bit to find out exactly what kind of texture your dog prefers. Whether or not you add water to the food, be sure to keep a bowl of clean, fresh water around at all times as well.

Divider 5

Final Thoughts

Adding water to your dog’s dry food is a great way to aid their digestion, increase their water intake, and help puppies wean off their mother’s milk. There’s also the option of mixing dry food with wet food to add more moisture and variety to their diet, but always be sure to introduce new foods gradually over around 5–10 days. If you have any issues with changing up your dog’s diet in any way, please consult your vet for advice.

Featured Image Credit: BW Folsom, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database