Can Adding Water To Dry Dog Food Cause Diarrhea?

Can Adding Water To Dry Dog Food Cause Diarrhea 1

Much like us, even dogs who are on the best diets will get the occasional bout of diarrhea. 

In this article I will look at whether adding water to dry dog food can cause diarrhea.

This is an important consideration for those of you who are looking to moisten dry food to make it more enticing for your dog or for those of you who have already done this: only for your dog to suffer from loose stools.

So is there any evidence that adding water to dry food will cause diarrhea?

You will be pleased to know that there isn’t any evidence to suggest that if you add water to your dog’s food it will automatically lead to loose stools.

But, there are some situations where adding water to dog food will increase these risks.

Here is what you will learn from this article:

  1. Three reasons why adding water to dog food causes diarrhea
  2. Five benefits of soaking (dried) dog food
  3. What type of dog should eat dog food that has had water added to it?
  4. How long should you soak dog food?
  5. Should I add warm water to dog food?
  6. Can I add chicken broth to dry dog food?
  7. How else can dry dog food be made more appealing?
  8. Four main causes of diarrhea in dogs?
  9. What are the alternatives to soaking dog food? 

Three reasons why adding water to dog food causes diarrhea

Here are the key reasons why adding water to dog food may lead to diarrhea:

The bowl is contaminated

A common cause of canine diarrhea is poor-quality dog food contaminated with bacteria or mold. The bowl is often the source of this contamination because it contains bacteria from saliva, feces, and urine that fall into it when your pet drinks or eats out of it.

The following are some of the germs found in dog food:

  • Salmonella: This causes bloody diarrhea with mucus and blood-tinged mucus. Some dogs may also have fever and vomiting along with bloody diarrhea.
  • Campylobacter: Dogs with campylobacter will have bloody stools mixed with mucus and sometimes pus too!

The water is contaminated

Water contamination can occur from several factors. The most common are:

If your dog’s bowl is near your pet’s litter box or another animal’s food bowl, the pathogen that may be present in those areas can get on his dish and cause illness. 

Rain, snow, and fog contain chemicals that can contaminate your dog’s water dish if it’s not cleaned regularly. 

Was the water fresh? Is there chlorine in your tap water? It can cause diarrhea in dogs. If you suspect that’s the case, try using bottled water instead.

The food is contaminated

Dry dog food is not as susceptible to spoilage as moist dog food but can still become contaminated. If you buy it in bulk and store it properly, your dry dog food should remain safe and unspoiled.

Moisture from the air can lead to mold growth, which is usually a problem with large quantities of dry dog food stored for long periods. However, even small amounts of moisture will cause spoilage if left undisturbed for long periods.

Having examined those scenarios where the risk of diarrhea will be increased, it is now time to look at the benefits that adding water brings. 

Five benefits of soaking (dried) dog food

The benefits of soaking dried dog food are numerous. It can be done with all commercially available dry dog food, including kibble and canned food. Here are the benefits:

During the weaning phase

During the weaning phase, or when switching to a new type of food, you must mix the new food with the old one. To do this effectively, soak them together for 10 minutes before feeding, making it easier for your dog to chew and digest both types of food at once.

If your dog has dental problems

Soaking dried food can help reduce plaque build-up and tartar formation. This is because the water helps wash away bits of food that could otherwise get stuck in the teeth or gums.

Prevent digestive problems

To help prevent digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation, soak the dry food in water until soft before serving it to your pet. This will increase its nutritional value; make it easier to digest, and reduce the risk of tooth decay or gum disease by removing bacteria from the kibble.

If your dog suffers from digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation, you can use this method to help manage them effectively by soaking dry kibble in warm water before feeding them to your dog.

If your dog is at risk from bloat

Dried kibble is designed to expand your dog’s stomach, which means eating too quickly can lead to bloat. If your veterinarian has told you that your dog may be at risk of bloat, then soaking the kibble can help prevent this.

If your dog needs to drink more

Some dogs are born with a lower thirst drive than others. If you have a dog who doesn’t drink enough water, then soaking the kibble will help encourage them to drink more. It’s because when water is added to dry food, it becomes less dense and easier for dogs to swallow. Soaking also helps release some nutrients in the food, making them more available to absorb and encouraging them to drink more water!

What type of dog should eat dog food that has had water added to it?

Most dogs can eat food that has been moistened with water, but some dogs are better suited for this than others. For example, dogs with tooth problems may need moistened food.

A dog that is elderly or sick may also benefit from moistened food because it’s easier to eat and digest.

If you decide to give your dog moistened food, ensure it’s not too wet. A good rule of thumb is to mix up one part of dry food with three parts of water (by volume).

How long should you soak dog food?

You should soak your dog’s food for at least ten minutes. This allows the food to soften, making it easier for your dog to digest. The longer you soak the food, the more water will be absorbed into the kibble.

Should I add warm water to dog food?

Yes, you should add warm water. It is essential for the water used to be warm. This is because warm water helps soften the kibble, making it easier for your dog to digest.

Adding warm water to dry food helps your pet swallow it easier and makes it more palatable to older dogs who have lost their sense of taste.

When it comes to meaty foods, the smell is a big part of the appeal for dogs. So it makes sense to warm up their food with water.

You can use a drinking bowl if you don’t have a pet fountain.

Can I add chicken broth to dry dog food?

Yes, you can! You can add broth to dry dog food to make the food more delicious for picky eaters. It’s a great way to boost nutrients and moisture in the food to help keep your dog hydrated.

How else can dry dog food be made more appealing?

Dry dog food is often made more appealing to dogs by adding various meat, vegetables, and other ingredients. The most common method of improving the taste of dry dog food is by adding meat byproducts or meat meals. These ingredients can come from many sources: beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, cheese, and many more.

Another way to make dry dog food more appealing is by adding artificial flavors and colors, and these are not as healthy as natural flavorings but make the food seem more appetizing to your pet.

Adding just a simple, low-sodium chicken broth on top of your dog’s meal is a great way to make dry food more appealing. Allowing your dog to lap the broth off the top of their food will help them get a taste of moisture and flavor they may be missing from their dry food.

Four main causes of diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by several reasons. Here are some of the main triggers:


Parasites such as giardia, coccidia, and roundworms can cause diarrhea, and the most common symptom is a loose, watery stool that contains mucus or blood. If your dog is exposed to these parasites, it is essential to treat them early, so they don’t become chronic.


Dogs that live near or on farms are at risk of scavenging dead animals and eating their carcasses. This could lead to illness if the dead animal died from a disease like rabies or distemper virus.

Changes in diet

changing your dog’s diet can also cause diarrhea. Dogs with allergies and food intolerances can develop diarrhea when they eat food they are allergic to. The most common allergen is chicken, followed by beef, lamb, and dairy products.

Toxic exposure

Toxic substances like insecticides, antifreeze, or lead can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

What are the alternatives to soaking dog food?

There are various methods for making processed food more digestible and palatable.

Milk is another alternative to soaking dog food. Milk is a good source of calcium, promoting healthy teeth and bones in dogs and providing protein and nutrients that keep dogs healthy and happy!

Milk also makes softening kibble easier because it contains casein protein, the same type found in cheese, which helps increase digestion and absorption of nutrients like vitamin E.

Another method is mixing canned food with dry kibble. The canned food can be added directly to a bowl or mixed with water in a separate container before adding it to their regular diet.

Some pet owners prefer to mix canned food with fresh meat instead of using canned food alone because they believe that fresh meat helps improve their dogs’ overall health and well-being.

You can also add some wet ingredients, such as chicken stock or gravy, to improve the flavor and texture of dry kibble. Alternatively, you can add supplements such as probiotics or digestive enzymes that help promote healthy digestion in dogs with sensitive stomachs.

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!