Does Kibble/Dry Food Make Dogs Thirsty? [Veterinary Advice]

dry food make dogs thirsty

Are you like me and too busy to prepare wet food for your furry friend? If so, you’re probably feeding them dry food. It’s easy to buy, store, and serve, but it comes with a huge issue – does it make your pet thirsty?

In general, kibble or dry food can make dogs thirsty due to its low water content, high sodium content, and the need for dry food to rehydrate to digest. But fear not, there are solutions to this problem. Adding some liquid, encouraging your pet to drink water, and mixing canned and dry pet food can help. Additionally, consider reducing dry, salty, and sweet foods in your dog’s diet.

So why does this happen? What should you do if kibble or dry food makes your dog thirsty? What kind of foods make dogs thirsty, and what foods can quench their thirst? Stick with me, and let’s explore this topic further!

Can kibble/dry food make dogs thirsty?

Yes, they can. This is due to several reasons and let’s check what they are.

1. They contain less water.

They may need more water because of the lack of moisture in kibble. Dry dog food generally contains about 10% water compared to wet, canned dog food, about 80% water.

A dog fed an exclusively dry diet will need more than his basic needs than a dog fed an all wet diet.

2. They contain high sodium

Foods with high sodium content will also cause your dog to drink more. Sodium loves water.

Because of that, when Sodium is absorbed from the digestive tract, it always takes water along with it. So this causes dehydration.

3) Dry food needs to rehydrate to digest.

Dry dog food, as we all know, is dry. Once eaten, it needs to mix with water and rehydrate to digest. Because dry food lacks water, they use dogs’ stomach fluids. So this can lead to a dehydrated dog.

What to do if kibble/dry food makes your dog thirst?

Dry dog food is dried for easy storage, and this is the main reason owners prefer them over wet food. But if that makes your loved one thirsty, it can cause a lot of issues.

So you might wonder what you can do as a solution. However, there are a few things to do since kibble is not necessarily meant to be eaten dry.

1) Adding some liquid.

Adding hot water to dry food and allowing it to sit for 10 minutes will allow it to soften and soak. It will also release the aroma of the food.

This turns their normal kibble into a meal-like gravy. They will also swell up.

Just like water, you can also add watered-down low sodium chicken stock. It will also allow the kibble to puff up and absorb the liquid.

This will help to keep water without dehydrating. In addition, it will also make them feel more full!

However, if your dog is likely to bloat, you should think twice before doing this. The additional water, most of the time, helps prevent bloat but can increase it in some dogs.

So consult your veterinarian before you consider adding water to your dog’s food.

2) Give Treats for Drinking Water

This is another way to keep your dog from being dehydrated if he eats kibble.

When he starts drinking, say the word “water,” then reward him with a treat within 2 seconds after he finished drinking. Eventually, you could cue him to drink if you feel he needs more.

3) Mix canned and dry pet food.

Another way to increase the moisture content in dry food is to add canned wet food. It will increase the water content and also enhance the flavor of the meal.

You can try various wet foods too! However, talk to your veterinarian about the suitable ratio of dry to wet food for each meal.

Here are some suggested articles.Can large dogs eat small breed food? and vise versa
♦ What to do when you accidentally bought adult dog food for a puppy?
♦ What to do when you accidentally bought puppy food for an adult dog?

What foods make dogs thirsty?

Very increased thirst can be a medical illness. If that’s the case, you should definitely contact the vet.

However, this thirst could be correlated to his meals too. There may be something in their meals that makes them thirsty. 

1) Dry foods

Dry foods like kibble, crackers, dry doggy biscuits can cause a noticeable increase in water consumption.

Wet dog food has an average water content of 75%. That provides a significant amount of fluids to the dog. In contrast, dry dog food contains only 10% moisture.

2) Salty foods

Just like salt makes us humans thirsty, it has the same effect on your dog.

Also, just like processed human food, processed pet foods are often high in Sodium because there is not a maximum sodium content recommended toward dogs.

This is because of the mechanism regarding Sodium I have mentioned above. In addition, it is said that large amounts of salt can be poisonous to your pet.

So don’t give very salty and human foods like processed meats, chips, or bread to your pet.

3) Sweet foods

Not only salt but other ingredients, such as sugar and certain spices, can trigger thirst in dogs the same way salt does. So beware of giving them people ice cream, biscuits, or other sweets.

Suggested Reading: What to do when you accidentally fed your dog twice?

What foods quench the thirst of dogs?

So now you know what kind of foods make dogs thirsty. Now let’s see what food can make them reduce this thirst.

1) Vegetables and fruits

Although they are naturally meat lovers, this is a great way to cool them down.

Usually, vegetables and fruits have a water composition above 90%. Some well hydrating ones are cucumber and watermelon.

2) A Doggy Smoothie

This is kind of a fun way to keep your loved one hydrated. You can use various ingredients. Keep in mind not to add any sugar.

First, steam the kale as raw kale can be hard to digest. Blend them all up and pour them into a bowl, and freeze, and your dog will love it! If you’d like, adding a small amount of yogurt is not a problem.

If you like, replace kale with spinach. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and apples are also good for dogs. Remember, smoothies should be about 1 tablespoon per 5 pounds of body weight.

3) Dog ice cream

Just like humans, dogs love ice cream too! But that doesn’t mean we can give human ice cream because it contains a lot of sugar!

But doggy-friendly ice cream will be suitable for them, and it will definitely quench their thirst.

Blend some frozen watermelon with some sugar-free yogurt. If you are not giving dairy to your dog, replace it with some water. He will surely love the ice cream made for him.

4) Frozen fruits and vegetables

Just like normal vegetables or fruits, frozen ones will also keep them hydrated.

Here are several fruits & vegetables you can put in the freezer and take out when your dog needs to quench their thirst.

  • Broccoli
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Melon
  • Steamed,
  • Frozen sweet potato
  • Blueberries.

5) Doggy popsicles

Who doesn’t like to gulp down a popsicle when it’s too hot? Just like us, dogs love popsicles which help them to cool down and get more water.

Remember, don’t add the wooden stick because of choking risks. And it’s easy to make too. Just freeze low or no-sodium chicken or beef broth and let him have it!

What are the other factors that cause dogs to be thirsty?

Now you know that dry foods can make your loved one thirsty. Just like that, there are other reasons that can result in this. Let’s see what they are.

1) Dehydration

Hot days, exercise, illness can lead to dehydration in dogs and make them drink more water. Other signs that your pet may be dehydrated are dry gums and tongue, thick saliva.

If you suspect your dog is severely dehydrated, seek veterinary attention ASAP.

If it’s mild dehydration, give your pet small amounts of water, for example, one teaspoon for a little dog, 2 tablespoons for a large dog every ten minutes.

Remember, don’t let your dog drink too much when dehydrated because it can cause vomiting.

2) Illness

Many medical conditions can lead to excessive thirst or dehydration in your dog.

For example, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, cancer, diarrhea, fever, infection, kidney disease, liver disease, heat stroke or hyperthermia, diabetes insipidus, hyperthyroidism, parasites, and hypercalcemia. Let’s see about some of them.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus causes high blood sugar. Excess sugar in the blood is released into the urine by the kidneys and at the same time drains the water.

Because of this, excessive urination can cause excessive thirst in dogs.

Diarrhea / Vomiting

A dog who has diarrhea or vomiting loses body fluids. So to avoid dehydration, the dog may drink more than normal.

Kidney Disease

Dogs with kidney problems can’t control their urine. They urinate a lot m, so they have to drink more. There can be causes of this, such as kidney infections or stones.


Pyometra means an infected uterus. This occurs in female dogs who have not been spayed. It is very dangerous and requires surgical treatment.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is caused because of excessive amounts of cortisol. Excessive cortisol increases thirst.

3) Medication

Just like people, sometimes it may be the medication that causes thirst in your dog…

These include;

  • Steroids and diuretics.
  • Seizure medications like phenobarbital.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone.
  • Heart failure drugs, like furosemide.

Discuss with your vet about your loving pooch’s medication and its side effects; if thirst is one, the vet may be able to lower the dosage.

Things to be aware of.

As I have mentioned above, now you know that dry food makes your pup thirsty. Keeping him hydrated has nothing but advantages. So what are the other pros of this that you should be aware of?

1) Helps prevent health problems.

Dehydration can badly affect every organ in the body. Blood circulation also reduces, and there is a chance for urinary tract infections too. So this is where hydration comes to the rescue!

2) Improves digestion.

As everyone can see, kibble is hard. It’s too hard that sometimes they swallow whole pieces rather than chewing them up, which makes them difficult to digest.

When you pour water into your dog’s kibble, it becomes easier & softer to digest, which means your pet will not get an upset stomach.

3) Makes them hungry!

If your pet is a picky eater, adding water can help stimulate their appetite. As I said earlier, when water is added, the kibble expands and releases its smell, which your pet loves.

In addition, it will be easier to chew too. But note that wet food can’t be kept out all day as it can increase bacteria growth and spoil within a few hours.


So now you know why kibble/ dry food makes your dog thirsty. I have mentioned what other foods can cause the thirst in your dogs and what can help fight this. Remember, if you feel like your dog is too dehydrated, take him to the vet ASAP. But if it’s mild dehydration, try the things I have mentioned above. Hope this will help you to make your life as a doggy parent easier and enjoyable.

Good luck!

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