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How Moisture in Pet Food Can Greatly Affect Pet Health

For the last few decades, the number one form of pet food for most dog and cat owners has been dry kibble. Pet food was first manufacturered in the early 1860s and was a dry biscuit made out of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and beef blood. Since then, the formula has changed and it's only very recently that the premiumization of pet food has started to come into play.

As the humanization of pets rises in popularity, pet owning consumers are searching more than ever for ways to amp up their feeding regime. However, as many pet owners are used to feeding the convenient diet of dry kibble, it's safe to say the pet food industry won't be seeing a mass change-over from dry to wet food any time soon.

While many pet parents are learning that wet food may provide a higher quality diet for their pets, they just aren't ready to make the switch for one reason or another. 

Although high quality dry cat and dog kibble, such as Applaws' dry cat food, can provide much of the nutrients pets require, it's still missing one major component: moisture.

Adding moisture in pet food will not only change up a dog or cat's eating habits and make food more interesting, but it will also fill a gap in their diet that dry kibble just simply cannot provide.

Why do Cats and Dogs Need Moisture?


It's a well-known fact that many mammals require water to stay hydrated and healthy. In fact, proper hydration is required in order for mammals to digest food properly. Without the right amount of liquid, the body has a lot of trouble making up for the lack of water.

Our pet's bodies will compensate for this by taking water from other parts of the body, such as tissues, and sending it to the digestive tract. The dehydration that this causes may result in bloating, long-term problems with digestion, respiratory issues, and many other problems. 

Unfortunately, over the years, many vets have found that dogs and cats generally do not get an adequate amount of hydration from water alone. This is either because they don’t drink all that is offered, or the owners don’t keep their bowls full.

Additionally, although dogs are generally pretty good about lapping up the amount of water that they need, cats are notorious for not drinking enough water on their own. Plus, dogs will lap up lots of water very quickly after a meal, and the speed may cause even more issues such as unneeded stress on the organs to process this diet.

Related Article: Promoting Healthy Pet Food to Fight Rising Pet Obesity

In short, hydration serves to help lubricate the GI tract and support the digestive process. The more moisture in pet food, the less that's needed from sources in the pet’s body to digest the food.

The Relationship Between Dry Kibble and Added Moisture

According to the 2016 Pet Owners survey, dry kibble is fed by 85% of dog owners and 78% by cat owners, which is an increase from the year previous to that and demonstrates a growth in dry food sales. Although kibble is growing, pet owners are largely still unaware of the true risks of dehyrdation of their pet. Additionally, there hasn't been enough emphasis on the benefits of adding the extra moisture to pet food. 

Adding moisture to kibble increases palatibility by releasing the digest or flavor coating often sprayed on the food during manufacturing, and moistens the food so that it travels through the GI tract more easily. Letting the kibble expand a little with additional hydration also helps pets feel fuller and can help increase satiety with the amount of food fed, and therefore reduce caloric intake. 

Related Article: 6 Pet Food Trends Every Pet Professional Needs to Know

What Options Are There for Adding Moisture to Pet Food?

Over the years, pet food manufacturers have identified the dehydration problem among pets and have worked to design solutions to address it. Consumers will use water, gravy, meat broth, and solid wet foods to incorporate more moisture into their pet's diets. We've highlighted some of the major liquid additions to dry kibble and their pros and cons to show some options to add moisture to pet food.


Water is an easy way to add moisture to any dry pet food. Like any other liquid, it makes the food easier to chew, slows eating down and makes them more full more quckly, prevents bloating, and helps the pet stay hydrated while eating.

However, water can also cause bloating within pets and has potential for breeding bacteria and spoiling if it's not eaten right away. Additionally, although water does not add any extra calories to the food, it doesn't necessarily make it taste any better or different, and may not improve a dog's willingness to eat it. 

Gravies and Broths (Humans)

Gravies and broths made for humans are also popular dry kibble additions among many pet owning consumers. It's popular because it adds extra nutrition and flavor to the dry food, making it more palatible for the dog or cat and ensures they stay hydrated while eating.

However, these gravies and broths can easily become too salty for pets, and therefore store-bought versions are never recommended. Homemade gravies and broths are great additions to pet food, but may not always be convenient for pet owners to have to make for every meal.

Gravies and Broths (Pets)

Gravies and broths formulated especially for pets is a newer, safer, and more convenient option to the human-grade gravies and broths. Fruitables has recently developed Broth Bowls, which is extremely low in Sodium (less than 0.07% by weight or about 17 mg. per ounce) and one of the best options for pet owners looking for a quick and efficient way to add moisture to their pet's food.

The vegetables and stock in the broth has micronutrients that are beneficial to the pet and do not upset the balance of nutrients in the complete & balanced food being fed. In a sense, it's extra all-natural goodness, in moderation. It's also extremely low in caltories at 1.5 per oz., so pet parents are not risking weight gain by adding to the meal. 


There will always be concerns about salmonella from hydrating food with moisture like water, broth or leftovers can be controlled by refrigerating or disposing of the uneaten portion within an hour or two of feeding.

One more way to ensure a pet owner is adding an adequate amount of moisture to their pet's food is by feeding a high quality, all-natural wet food along side a cat's or dog's regular meal. Feeding canned (or pouched, layered, ect.) wet food, such as Applaws cat and dog food, with or on top of their dry kibble is another great way to ensure the pet is getting the hydration they need to properly digest their food. It's important to note that adding extra wet food may require a decrease in the kibble, in order to prevent over-feeding the pet.

Related Article: The Benefits of Having Limited Ingredients in Pet Food


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Ashley Hoffman – E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Managerjoined the All Points family in April of 2015. Ashley brings a fresh outlook to the marketing industry as well as a constant desire for learning something new. She is dedicated to consistently improving her skills and efficiency in the marketing industry and using those skills to promote APM and all brands we represent. Ashley has grown up with many animals throughout her life and is currently the loving owner of two cats.

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