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Can You Warm Up Dog Food? Vet Approved Facts & Tips

Written by: Samantha Reed

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

feeding bowls filled with wet food

Can You Warm Up Dog Food? Vet Approved Facts & Tips


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg  Photo


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Nobody likes cold, refrigerated food unless it’s meant to be cold. Like us, our dogs can be sensitive to chilled or cold food. Even if you think your dog’s can of dog food is room temperature, chances are it could still be cold due to where it was stored. If you’ve noticed your dog not eating as much food on colder days, the problem might be that your dog is sensitive to the cold.

Dog food companies recommend serving canned food at room temperature, but sometimes, it needs extra help to reach that point.


Can you Heat Up Wet Dog Food?

You can, and sometimes should, heat up your dog’s canned or wet food. According to Purina, serving food at room temperature makes it smell and taste better. If you store your wet food in the fridge, they suggest removing it up to an hour before feeding or microwaving it to bring it to room temperature. They emphasize that pet owners need to ensure that they do not overheat their dog’s food since they could risk burning their dog’s mouth.

Warming up your dog’s food is generally a good idea. In fact, we recommend heating your dog’s food if you have a picky eater, a sick dog, or a furry friend in their senior years.

woman using microwave
Image Credit: NavinTar, Shutterstock

Why You Should Heat Up Your Dog’s Food

While companies say to serve your dog’s food at room temperature, there are a few benefits to heating your dog’s wet food. Typically, warming up dog food increases the scent and the overall flavor of the food.

Here are a few cases where you should consider heating your dog’s food before serving it to them:
  • If your dog is often cold, you should consider heating their wet food. While some breeds have thick, double-insulated coats, some also have thinner coats that are not enough to keep them warm. If you find yourself putting your shivering pup in a sweater during the colder months, warming up your dog’s food can help them raise their core temperatures.
  • If your dog is sick, chances are they might be refusing food. Warming up their wet food is a great way to incentivize your dog to eat. As we said earlier, the heat increases the scent and flavor of the canned food. Your dog might find the difference in scent and flavor enough to convince them to eat more.
  • If your dog is a picky eater, warming up the dog food may increase their interest in it. Some dogs are picky eaters and are difficult to feed, no matter their overall health. Your dog might not like the taste of the food, or they might not like the smell, but heating the food and increasing the scent and flavor can entice your dog into eating.

Feeding time issues may be resolved if you only slightly heat your dog’s food. However, you still need to be careful not to overheat it.

dog eating wet food
Image Credit By: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

How To Warm Up Your Dog’s Food

Most experts agree that warming your dog’s food in the microwave is not the best method. Some even say that using a microwave to heat your dog’s food can destroy essential nutrients. So, while heating up in the microwave is the easiest option, it is recommended to use warm water, a double boiler, or leave the can on the surface of a container you are heating instead.

The best method is to warm the food by using hot or boiling water. You don’t actually boil the dog food; you place the dog food in a safe container and immerse the whole container in boiling water. It should be warm enough for your dog if you boil it for 2 minutes.

You should test the food temperature on your skin. If it is too hot for you to touch, it is too hot for you to serve to your dog.


Final Thoughts

If you struggle with your dog during mealtime, heating their meals might solve your problems. Serving warm dog food has multiple benefits. If you wonder if heating the food will make a difference for your dog, you can always check with your veterinarian for their input.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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