dry dog food in bowl and scoop

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Do you ever add a dash of water to your dog’s kibble? What if this simple act could upset their stomach? You care for your furry friend’s wellbeing, so it’s important to understand the impact of dietary changes. In this article, we’ll explore whether adding water to dry dog food can cause diarrhea.

Understanding Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, is a popular choice for pet owners due to its affordability, convenience, and long shelf-life. But what is it exactly? It’s made from a mixture of proteins, grains, and vegetables that are cooked, ground together, and then dried.

Why Pet Owners Add Water to Dry Dog Food

Pet owners add water to dry dog food for a variety of reasons. Some do it to make the food easier to chew—especially for older dogs or dogs with dental issues. Others do it to increase their pet’s water intake, particularly in those who don’t drink enough water on their own.

The Nutritional Impact of Dry Food and Water

Adding water to dry dog food doesn’t alter its nutritional value, but it does change its texture and could potentially make it more palatable for some dogs.

The Digestive System of Dogs

To understand the impact of adding water to dry dog food on a dog’s digestive system, we need to know a bit about how dogs digest their food.

How Dogs Digest Food

The canine digestive system is designed to process meat and bones. However, domesticated dogs have evolved to handle a variety of foods. Digestion starts in the mouth, goes down to the stomach, then to the intestines, and finally, the undigested material is eliminated.

Impact of Dietary Changes on Dogs

Dogs’ digestive systems can be sensitive to sudden changes. This includes not only changing the type of food but also changing the texture or temperature of the food.

Adding Water to Dry Dog Food: The Pros and Cons

Let’s dive deeper into the possible benefits and drawbacks of adding water to dry dog food.

Benefits of Adding Water

Adding water can help make food more appealing to dogs, ease chewing, and increase hydration. It can also help dogs who eat their food too quickly to slow down, which can prevent choking and digestive issues.

Potential Drawbacks

However, there are potential drawbacks. Adding too much water might make the food too soggy and unappetizing for some dogs. Plus, if the wetted food isn’t eaten right away, it could spoil and lead to bacterial growth.

dog sitting next to bowl of dry food

Can Adding Water to Dry Dog Food Cause Diarrhea?

The Role of Water in Digestion

Water is essential for digestion. It aids in breaking down food so nutrients can be absorbed and used by the body. Without sufficient water, digestion can become difficult.

Possible Causes of Diarrhea

Food Intolerance

Some dogs might not tolerate the change in texture when water is added to their dry food, which could lead to diarrhea. This is more about the dog’s individual preference and sensitivity than a general rule.

Sudden Dietary Changes

Dogs have sensitive stomachs, and sudden changes in diet, including changes in the texture or temperature of their food, can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea. Therefore, if you decide to start adding water to your dog’s dry food, it’s important to introduce this change gradually.

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How to Safely Add Water to Dry Dog Food

If you’re considering adding water to your dog’s dry food, here are some tips to do it safely and minimize the risk of diarrhea.

Gradual Introduction

Begin by adding a small amount of water to the dry food, allowing your dog to get used to the new texture gradually. Over time, you can increase the amount of water if needed and if your dog seems to enjoy it.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Reaction

Keep a close eye on your dog after making dietary changes. If you notice any signs of digestive upset, including diarrhea, it may be best to stop adding water or consult with a veterinarian.


So, can adding water to dry dog food cause diarrhea? It depends. While water is crucial for digestion, sudden changes in a dog’s diet can lead to digestive issues, including diarrhea.

If you decide to add water to your dog’s dry food, do so gradually and monitor your pet closely for any signs of distress. If in doubt, always consult with a vet.

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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