How To Soften Dog Food: 7 Easy & Proven Tips

Senior Dog

Hot Water | Yogurt | Milk |  Broth | Wet food | Food topper | Vegetables | Why soften Dog Food? | FAQ

If you have a dog who cannot chew dry dog food or is a picky eater who makes a lot of fuss eating it, you must know how to soften dog food.

A picky eater dog might not eat dry dog food due to its hard/crunchy texture. Similarly, a senior dog who is more likely to have dental/oral issues will prefer a soft dog food diet.

We tried a few methods to soften the dog food of our Pug (Cookie) who is a picky eater. It resulted in him chowing down all of his dog food at once. We have shared 7 such proven methods below.

how to soften dog food fast & easily?

1. softening dog food with hot water

The most convenient and cheapest way to soften dry dog food is to add water to the dry food kibble. You can usually add around ¼ cup of water per meal to make sure it does not become too mushy.

Also, make sure to add fresh lukewarm water to the meal. They may not like the meal if there is an excessive amount of water added. A few things you need to consider while adding water are:-

Using the right bowl– Choosing a clean, food-safe bowl that is large enough to hold the dry food and water while leaving enough space for expansion and making it easier for your dog to gulp it.

Adding an appropriate amount of lukewarm water– Measure the appropriate amount of dry dog food for your pet’s meal and place it in the bowl. Pour lukewarm water over the kibble, ensuring it is completely submerged. Please make sure the water is not too hot.

Allow Soaking Time– The soaking time can vary depending on the size and type of dry dog food. In general, 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient for small kibble, while larger pieces may require longer soaking.

Stir and Serve-  After soaking, use a spoon or fork to stir the softened dog food gently. Check the consistency to ensure it meets your dog’s preferences, and then serve the meal.

If you’re introducing softened dog food to your dog for the first time, do it gradually to allow them to adjust to the new texture and taste. Check If your dog doesn’t finish the softened food in one sitting, discard any uneaten portions to maintain freshness and avoid spoilage.

Softening dry kibble with water offers a straightforward approach to boost your pup’s daily water consumption while also slowing down their eating pace, potentially reducing the risk of bloat.

2. softening dog food with yogurt

Adding yoghurt is one innovative and delicious way to soften dry dog food. Not only does this simple trick soften the kibble, making it easier for your dog to chew, but it also brings a delightful burst of flavour and a host of health benefits. Yoghurt offers a lot of nutritional benefits that can contribute to your dog’s overall health.  

Choose Plain Yogurt– Opt for plain, unsweetened yoghurt without any added flavours or sweeteners. Avoid yoghurt with artificial sweeteners like xylitol, as they can be harmful to dogs.

Measure the Yogurt– Depending on your senior dog’s size and dietary needs, measure an appropriate amount of yoghurt to add to their regular portion of dry food.

Mix Thoroughly– Pour the measured yoghurt over the dry food in a bowl and mix it thoroughly. Ensure the kibble is well-coated with yoghurt to soften it evenly.

Allow Brief Soaking– Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes to soften the dry food and infuse it with the yoghurt’s delightful taste.

From supporting digestion with probiotics to providing essential vitamins and minerals, yoghurt can contribute to your dog’s overall well-being and help in softening dry food.

As with any dairy product, it is essential to seek advice from a veterinarian before giving your dog yoghurt, especially if they have a history of food intolerances. Opting for Greek yoghurt is preferable as it typically contains lower lactose levels, making it gentler on your dog’s stomach.

3. softening dog food with milk

This creamy twist of adding milk to soften dog food not only enhances the texture and taste of the kibble but also offers various health benefits. Many dogs love the taste of milk. Softening dry dog food with milk for dogs is a simple process:

Choose Low-Fat Milk– Opt for low-fat or fat-free cow’s milk or lactose-free alternatives. Avoid sweetened or flavoured milk, as they may contain harmful additives.

Measure the Milk- Depending on your dog’s size and dietary needs, measure an appropriate amount of milk to add to their regular portion of dry food.

Mix Thoroughly- Pour the measured milk over the dry food in a bowl and mix it thoroughly. Ensure the kibble is well-coated with milk to soften it evenly.

Allow Brief Soaking– Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes to soften the dry food and infuse it with the creamy goodness of milk.

It’s important to note that some dogs may have lactose intolerance, making it difficult for them to digest milk.

Monitor your dog’s response to milk and discontinue use if any digestive issues arise. While milk can be a delightful addition to your dog’s diet, it should be offered in moderation. Too much milk can lead to digestive upset or weight gain.

4. softening dog food with Bone Broth

This is another delicious way to soften dry dog food. You can use chicken bone as the broth which is considered to be palatable and healthy.

The bone broth is packed with flavour, ensuring your senior dog stays hydrated while providing an abundance of nutrients that can benefit their gut, liver, and joints. Moreover, it is gentle on your dog’s stomach, making it a better option compared to milk and yoghurt.
Bone broth is packed with essential nutrients that can positively impact your dog’s well-being:

Choose Quality Bone Broth – You just have to make sure to opt for homemade bone broth or store-bought options with minimal sodium and no added artificial flavours or preservatives.

Measure the Broth – Depending on your dog’s size and dietary needs, measure an appropriate amount of bone broth to add to their regular portion of dry food.

Mix Thoroughly – Pour the measured bone broth over the dry food in a bowl and mix it thoroughly. Ensure the kibble is well-coated with the savoury broth for even softening.

Allow Brief Soaking– Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes to soften the dry food and infuse it with the delightful taste of bone broth.

Bone broth works wonders for dogs. It can boost their immune system, helping them fend off infections and illnesses. Helps to promote a healthy gut lining and aids in digestion which they need a lot.

dog food mixed with bone both to soften it

5. softening dog food with wet/canned food

This winning combination has already approved by many pet parents. It’s an easy way to soften dry dog food for senior dogs. Wet food’s alluring scent, texture, and flavour often make it a perfect choice for a picky eater as well. So if your dog is a picky eater he will lick this fantastic duo.

Select Complementary Flavours- Choose a wet dog food that compliments the flavour of your dog’s dry kibble. Look for high-quality brands with real meat as the primary ingredient and limited artificial additives.

Measure the Portions- Measure an appropriate amount of wet food to mix with your dog’s regular portion of dry kibble. Adjust the quantity based on your dog’s size, age, and specific dietary needs.

Mix Thoroughly- In a clean bowl, combine the measured wet food with the dry kibble and mix it thoroughly, ensuring the kibble is evenly coated.

Allow Brief Soaking- Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes to soften the kibble and infuse it with the delectable flavours of the wet food.

Combining wet and dry food ensures your dog receives a well-rounded and nutritious diet that supports their overall health and well-being. The higher moisture content in wet food contributes to your dog’s daily water intake, promoting proper hydration.

The softer texture of wet food can be gentler on your senior dog’s teeth and gums, reducing the risk of dental issues associated with chewing hard kibble. With this tasty pairing, mealtime is sure to become an enjoyable and nourishing affair for your dog.

dog food mixed with wet food to soften it

6. softening dog food with commercial dog food toppers

If you’re looking to enhance your senior dog’s dining experience and add a burst of flavor and nutrition to their dry food, consider using commercial dog food toppers. These delightful add-ons can help to soften dry dog food.

Measure the Portions- Measure an appropriate amount of the selected topper to add to your dog’s regular portion of dry kibble. Adjust the quantity based on your dog’s size and dietary requirements.

Mix Thoroughly- In a clean bowl, combine the measured topper with the dry kibble, ensuring the kibble is evenly coated with the enticing flavours and moisture of the topper.

Allow Brief Soaking- Let the mixture soak for a few minutes, allowing the topper to infuse the kibble and soften it to perfection.

Also when selecting commercial dog food toppers, consider looking for High-Quality Ingredients such as real meat, vegetables, or fruits, without artificial additives or fillers.

Choose toppers that complement the flavour of your senior dog’s regular dry food. Check the topper’s nutritional information to ensure it aligns with your dog’s specific dietary needs and supports their overall health.

7. softening dog food with boiled vegetables

These water-rich and nutrient-packed veggies add moisture and flavour to the kibble, offer numerous health benefits, and help soften dry dog food. But let me tell you, adding vegetables won’t add much nutrition to their meal. They will need additional protein as well. You might switch to veggies once a week so that your dog doesn’t get bored of having the same meal every time.

Choose Dog-Friendly Vegetables- Opt for dog-safe vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, or lettuce. Avoid onions, garlic, or any vegetables that may harm dogs.

Prepare the Vegetables- Wash the vegetables thoroughly cut them into small, bite-sized pieces, and boil them real nice so your dog can easily consume them.

Mix with Dry Food- In a clean bowl, combine the wet vegetables with your dog’s regular portion of dry kibble, ensuring they are evenly distributed.

Allow Brief Soaking- Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to soften the dry food and infuse it with the fresh flavours of the wet vegetables.

soften dry dog food for senior dogs with vegetables

why you need to soften dog food: The Benefits

1. fixing a picky eater

One of the major challenges pet owners of picky eaters face is the choice of meal. Few dogs will refuse to eat unless they get something they prefer.

Therefore softening the dry food with some delicious topping or something wet will enhance the taste and aroma making it more appealing and palatable.

Dogs are not picky eaters by preference rather, they have sensitive stomachs that do not respond well to hard kibble.
This is a major reason why we should soften the food for them.

Also, keep in mind when introducing a new brand or flavour of dry dog food to a picky eater, softening it can help ease the transition. The familiar texture may make the new food more acceptable to the dog, increasing the likelihood that they will try and enjoy it.

2. Dental/oral Issues

Senior Dogs with gum disease, tooth decay, bad or missing teeth find it difficult to consume dry dog food. They may avoid eating altogether or eat less to avoid the pain caused by chewing hard kibble. Dental issues in senior dogs can lead to a decreased appetite or reluctance to eat. Also, hard kibble can be abrasive and may irritate inflamed gums or cause injury to sensitive teeth.

Therefore softening the dry food makes it easier for them to chew and swallow, reducing discomfort during mealtime and they may continue receiving proper nutrition.

By softening the dry food, you make their mealtime more appealing, encouraging senior dogs with dental problems to eat and maintain a healthy weight. Also, they promote better digestion and nutrient absorption.

3.Making medications palatable

We understand with age the medications also increase for senior dogs. Softened food therefore provides an excellent medium for mixing medications, making it easier to administer prescribed drugs.

If your dog has recovered from any surgery or any kind of illness, they may need to have vet-prescribed medications. Softening the dog food to a semi-liquid or puree consistency will enable you to mix the medications in the food itself and feed it to your dog. 

We have experienced success with this particular method of giving medications to Cookie our Pug. 

4.Improved digestion

Softening the dry dog food can make it easier for dogs to chew and swallow. This, in turn, can aid in the digestion process, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort or upset. It also reduces the strain on the aging digestive tract and ensures better nutrient absorption.


1. Is it okay to soften dog food?

Yes, it is completely okay to soften dog food. Softening dog food makes it easier for dogs to chew and digest. It is especially helpful for older dogs with dental issues or puppies. There are no harmful effects in softening dog food. Rather it is beneficial to the intestinal health of dogs.

2. Should I soften my old dog’s food?

With age, your dog may experience dental issues or reduced ability to chew the dry kibbles. Softening food for your old dog can be a helpful strategy. It can make the food easier for them to consume. Therefore, yes you should soften your old dog’s food.

3. How can I soften my dog’s food fast?

Adding any warm liquid will help soften your dog’s food fast. 10 minutes is all it will take. Not just pouring the warm liquid, stirring it can also expedite the process. Ensure it is not too hot before serving your dog’s meal.

4. How long does it take to soften dog food?

It usually takes 5 to 10 minutes to soften dog food. The time may usually vary depending on the specific type of food and the desired consistency. You can adjust the time based on the temperature of the liquid you are adding to the dry food.

5. What do you need to consider before softening dog food?

Your dog’s individual needs and health conditions have to be kept in mind. Factors such as age, dental health and overall well-being also play a role. Accordingly, you should determine the appropriate texture and requirements before feeding a meal. You should also consider the amount of time you leave the food to soften.


Each dog has its distinct nutritional requirements and preferences. Discovering different ways to soften dog food for dogs that resonate most with your dog brings immense pleasure and satisfaction. Remember to consult with a veterinarian to address any specific health concerns and tailor the softening process to meet your dog’s individual needs. By taking these extra steps, we can help your dogs continue to relish their meals and maintain a healthy and happy life in their golden years.