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How to Soften Dog Food: 16 Easy Vet-Approved Tips

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

dry dog food with water

How to Soften Dog Food: 16 Easy Vet-Approved Tips

VET APPROVED

Dr. Tabitha Henson  Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Tabitha Henson

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

If you have a picky eater on your hands, or if your dog is simply having trouble chewing their food, you may need to soften their kibble. There are a few ways that you can do this by adding other things to your dog’s food, and we’ve compiled a list of the best options below.

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The 16 Ways to Soften Dog Food

1. Water

dry dog food with water
Image Credit: BW Folsom, Shutterstock

The simplest way to soften dog food is to add a little bit of water to it. This will make the kibble easier to chew and also help your dog to stay hydrated. Just be sure not to add too much water, or else the food will lose its flavor and nutrients.


2. Chicken Broth

clear broth
Image by: Lisa Redfern, Pixabay

Chicken broth is another great way to soften dog food. Not only will it make the kibble easier to chew, but it will also add some extra flavor that your dog is sure to love. Just be sure to use low-sodium broth so that you don’t end up overfeeding your dog on salt. Also, enough the chicken broth has not been flavored with garlic, onions, or other spices.


3. Canned Pumpkin

canned pumpkin in white bowl
Image Credit: ArtCookStudio, Shutterstock

Canned pumpkin is a great way to add some moisture and nutrients to your dog’s food. It’s also a great source of fiber, which can be helpful for dogs that are having trouble with regularity. Just be sure to get pure pumpkin and not the pie filling, which has too much sugar for dogs.


4. Yogurt

plain white yogurt in a small glass bowl
Image by: Profet77, Pixabay

Yogurt is packed with protein and calcium, and it will add a little bit of creaminess to the food. Just be sure to get plain yogurt that doesn’t have any added sugar.


5. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese on a wooden stand
Image Credit: Lazartivan, Shutterstock

Cottage cheese is another great source of protein and calcium. It’s also very creamy, which can help to make kibble easier to chew. Get low-fat cottage cheese to keep your dog’s calorie intake in check.


6. Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes countertop
Image by: Rachel Loughman, Unsplash

Mashed potatoes are a great way to add some bulk and moisture to dog food. They’re also a good source of vitamins and minerals, making them a great choice if you’re looking to add some extra nutrients to your dog’s diet.


7. Eggs

Boiled Eggs
Image by: Bruno, Pixabay

Eggs are another great way to add protein and nutrients to dog food. They’re also a good source of fat, which can help to make the food more palatable for picky eaters. Cook the eggs before you add them to the food, as raw eggs can be harmful to dogs.


8. Peanut Butter

peanut butter on spoon
Image by: deborahmiller56, Pixabay

Peanut butter is a great way to add some extra flavor and fat to dog food. It’s also a good source of protein, making it a great choice if you’re looking to add some extra nutrition to your dog’s diet. Make sure to feed all-natural peanut butter that doesn’t have any added sugar or salt.


9. Cheese

piece of parmesan cheese on a wooden board
Image Credit: Nitr, Shutterstock

Cheese is another great way to add flavor and fat to dog food. It’s also a good source of protein and calcium, making it a great choice for dogs that need a little extra nutrition in their diet. Just be sure to get low-fat cheese to keep your dog’s calorie intake in check.


10. Tuna or Salmon

cooked salmon on plate
Image Credit: amenic181, Shutterstock

Tuna or salmon is a great way to add some extra flavor and protein to dog food. They’re also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for dogs, as well as vitamins and minerals, making it a great choice for dogs that need a little extra nutrition in their diet. Canned tuna or salmon that doesn’t have any added salt or oil is the best option.


11. Carrots, Squash, Green Beans, or Broccoli

Fresh green beans in bowl on wooden table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Carrots, squash, green beans, and broccoli are low-calorie options, making them a great choice for dogs that are trying to lose weight. Just be sure to get canned veggies that don’t have any added salt or sugar.


12. Applesauce

Apple sauce
Image Credit: Taken, Pixabay

Applesauce is a great way to add some sweetness and nutrients to dog food. It’s also a good source of fiber, making it a great choice for dogs that need a little extra help with digestion.


13. Commercial Pet Food Topper

woman giving dog food to her labrador retriever
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

Commercial pet food toppers are a great way to add some extra flavor and nutrition to dog food. They’re also a good way to add variety to your dog’s diet, which can be helpful if your dog is a picky eater.


14. Puppy Formula

wet food on a white plate on a wooden dark background
Image Credit: Elizabett, Shutterstock

Puppy formula is a good choice for dogs that are pregnant or nursing, as it can help to provide the extra nutrients they need. Just be sure to get puppy formula that doesn’t have any added sugar or salt.


15. Goat Milk

glass of goat milk on a wooden table and a white goat in the Altai mountains in summer
Image Credit: MargoLLL, Shutterstock

Goat milk is a good choice for dogs that are lactose intolerant, as it’s easier to digest than cow’s milk.


16. Baby Food

healthy baby food
Image by: MapleHorizons, Pixabay

Baby food is a great way to add some extra nutrition to dog food. It’s also a good choice for dogs that are picky eaters, as it’s usually very smooth and easy to eat. Also, avoid foods with spices like garlic powder or garlic.

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Foods to Never Give Your Dog

If you want to soften your dog’s food, never add these ingredients:

  • Milk: Avoid giving your dog milk as it can cause an upset stomach. Dogs are lactose intolerant, and milk can make them sick.
  • Sugar: Avoid adding sugar to your dog’s food, as it can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
  • Salt: Adding salt to your dog’s food is unnecessary and can be harmful. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and other health problems.
  • Oil: Adding oil to your dog’s food is unnecessary and can make them fat. Too much oil can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
  • Coffee: Coffee is a stimulant and can be harmful to dogs.
  • Tea: Tea contains caffeine and can be harmful to dogs. Avoid adding tea to your dog’s food.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and should never be added to their food. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs.
  • Alcohol: Avoid adding alcohol to your dog’s food, as it can be poisonous. Even a small amount of alcohol can be harmful to dogs.
  • Xylitol: Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs. Avoid adding it to your dog’s food, and keep them out of any sugar-free candy or drinks.
  • Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic can be harmful to dogs and should never be added to their food. They can cause anemia and other health problems.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain a substance called solanine, which is poisonous to dogs.
  • Grapes: Grapes contain a toxin called cyanide that can be fatal to dogs. They’re also a choking hazard.
  • Raisins: Raisins contain a toxin that can damage a dog’s kidneys.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts can be harmful to dogs and should never be added to their food. They contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, weakness, and paralysis.
  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits can cause an upset stomach and other health problems.
  • Moldy or Spoiled Food: Moldy or spoiled food can be harmful to dogs and should never be added to their food. If it’s too old for you to eat, it’s too old for them to eat.
  • Spices, Vinegar, Lemon and Lime Juice, Citrus Oils: Spices can be harmful to dogs and should never be added to their food.

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Conclusion

These are just a few of the many things that you can add to dog food to make it softer and more palatable. Just be sure to talk to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, as some of these options may not be suitable for all dogs.

Sources
 

Featured Image Credit: BW Folsom, Shutterstock

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