Sometimes, I soak my dogs’ dry food in warm water for 15 or 20 minutes before I feed them.
I do this for a couple of reasons. My older dog has had a few dental extractions, and doesn’t chew up his food as well as he used to – not that any dog grinds up much of the kibble he or she eats; unlike ours, canine teeth are not much for grinding. Mostly, a few of the kibbles get crunched, and more likely get swallowed intact. My younger dog is prone to eating way too fast – just bolting down all his food whole in less than a minute (unless I put it in a slow feeder or snuffle mat) – and I am guessing that it will put less of a strain on his digestive system if the food arrives even slightly pre-moistened.
And I know that feeding both of them soaked food makes them feel more full. Dry foods are so nutrient-dense, that the volume of the amount of food that is calorically appropriate for their weight might not come close to filling up their tummies. If their meal is full of water, it definitely increases satiety – that sensation of fullness. They quit walking around the kitchen looking unsatisfied after their meals when their food is soaked.
If you’ve ever soaked your dog’s food, you’re aware of how much dry dog food expands when immersed in water. It’s a little horrifying, actually, to realize how much more space a certain amount of food will require in a dog’s stomach and gut once the dog’s digestive juices hydrate the individual kibbles. It nearly doubles in volume. The kibbles are like little sponges – some more than others. I’ve noticed when soaking food for various foster puppies that some kibble is more resistant to soaking than others.
Neither of my dogs are reluctant or picky eaters, but adding water can definitely increase the palatability of dry food for some dogs.
However, one shouldn’t moisten food and leave it sitting out at room temperature for very long – I would start being concerned about bacterial growth in moistened food that had been left out at room temperature for more than an hour.
Many people believe that feeding soaked food will help prevent bloat. I’m not sure there’s ever been a study that looked at just that, but it would make sense to me. I’m super cautious about exercise for a couple of hours after feeding, too, for the same reason.
Out of curiosity: How many of you moisten or soak your dog’s dry food?