Our #1 cheap tip for maximizing nutrition is to ADD MOISTURE.
If you’re feeding dry foods like kibble or baked, soak it!
Kibble contains 10% water, whereas meat and vegetables contain 75%-95% water. Mammals are meant to get their hydration at least partially through eating, and eating moist food makes digestion easier! It can also slow them down, and improve palatability (makes it taste better).
Some of our pet parents have noted their dog misses the crunch when they soak the food. If that your dog, you can either add a wet topper like canned food or soak the kibble then add a handful of dry to the top just before feeding.
So, how long should you soak their food?
We suggest a minimum 15 minutes in warm water, and no more than an hour at room temperature, to prevent bacterial growth. You can soak overnight in the fridge for maximum water absorption.
One easy tip is to start soaking their food right before a walk, then the food will be ready when you get home, and they’ll be nice and hungry after a walk!
What about dental health? Don't dogs need the crunch?
As we've said before, kibble is not the most effective or healthy way to clean your dog's teeth. Aside from dental-specific kibble, the little pieces don't get up near the gum line to scrape tartar where it does the most damage. Dental kibble may be more effective at cleaning teeth, but it is severely lacking in the nutrition category, often having rice or corn as the first ingredient.
Instead we recommend giving your dog a chew that lasts 3-5 minutes, 3-5 times a week. This will allow your dog to scrape tartar and plaque off the upper gum line, and also relieves stress and engages them mentally.
The cheapest "natural toothbrush" we have is a raw bone, learn about those here, or shop our chews under $10 here. If you're really concerned about dental health but don't want to sacrifice nutrition, adding a plaque busting powder, brushing their teeth every other day, and regularly assessing their mouth will provide the best results.
Do you soak your dog’s food? Leave us a comment below!