• Kelsey Hansen

Water is the most essential nutrient for dogs and cats

Water is excreted from the body through urine, fecal matter, and evaporation from the lungs during respiration. Panting increases this and helps regulate body temperature. Exercise increases water requirements.

Fun fact: Dogs do not sweat like humans.

Water helps the body with:

✅ Absorption

✅ Digestion

✅ Hydration

✅ Regulate body temperature

✅ Circulation

✅ Transportation of nutrients

Adding water to kibble helps improve nutrient absorption, digestion, and hydration.

Add water to your dog or cat's kibble and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Letting it soak can help prevent bloat. Start with a small amount of kibble and water if your dog or cat is a picky eater. Do not let the kibble and water sit and be fed later if your pet walks away.

Water intake is done through food, drinking water, and metabolic water. Kibble can contain as little as 7% moisture (or water), whereas canned and raw food contains >84% moisture. When diets contain 67% moisture, dogs can maintain water balance without a source of drinking water. Cats, on the other hand, have a more difficult time regulating their body's water intake with a dry food-only diet, even if freshwater is available. This can lead to continual acute dehydration and therefore contribute to other serious health issues later in life. This is why I recommend a canned or raw diet over kibble for felines. Adding water to dry food and providing your pet with access to available clean water are essential for their health.


1. Case, L. P. (2011). Canine and feline nutrition. Mosby.

2. Stephens-Brown, L.; Davis, M. (2018, May). Water requirements of canine athletes during multi-day exercise. Journal of veterinary internal medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5980383/.

3. Zanghi, B. M.; Gardner, C. L. (2018, November 29). Total Water Intake and Urine Measures of Hydration in Adult Dogs Drinking Tap Water or a Nutrient-Enriched Water. Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00317/full.