When To Stop Soaking Puppy Food? [Age Guide]

Your puppy is growing quickly, and small, sharp baby teeth are coming in. So, does this mean it’s time to stop soaking their puppy food in water?

When can you start feeding your puppy dry kibble?

when to stop soaking puppy food
When to stop soaking puppy food? [Age Guide]

Eventually, you do want to stop soaking your puppy’s dry food, and the trick is knowing the right time. Too soon, and you could hurt their little teeth and create digestive issues. We’ll cover the basics so the transition is easier on both you and your little canine companion. 

Why You Should Soak Your Puppy’s Food? 

For around the first four weeks, puppies exist solely on their mother’s milk. By the end of their first month, growing puppies need more nutrients than they can get from milk alone.

Transitioning your puppy over to dog food is necessary for healthy growth and development, but there are challenges that go along with it. Puppies around four weeks of age are only starting to get their baby teeth. They cannot chew the crunchy kibble. You also have to figure out how to entice your puppy to start eating dog food, since they’re not used to it yet.

Soaking puppy food in water softens the kibble so you can easily break it down into a consistency your puppy can lap up. Adding water to the mashed kibble also creates a gravy that can entice reluctant puppies to try the new food.

Soaking your puppy’s food in warm water can make it even more enticing and gravy-like. It’s hard to entice a puppy to eat cold, mashed kibble.

There are no hard and fast rules about how to soak your pup’s food. But, don’t soak the puppy food for longer than thirty minutes. The kibble can start fermenting and it is not good for your dog’s health.

puppies eating
Two puppies eating from their bowls.

How Long Do You Soak Puppy Food? 

Soaking kibble in water is a simple process and how long it takes depends on a few factors. It usually only takes a few minutes to soften hard kibble in water. It takes longer when puppies are still eating mashed food.

The type of kibble also affects how long it takes to start breaking down. Many brands of puppy food are soft enough for most puppies to eat after ten or twenty minutes.

You can also break down the dry kibble in a food processor by adding water (warm water will move things along faster!).

How Long Can You Keep Soaked Kibble? 

Soaked kibble is only good for a single meal. It’s not a good idea to store it in the fridge, even covered.

The moist kibble creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. During the manufacturing process, the kibble is baked to remove any moisture. It’s necessary for the longevity of the kibble. The high heat also kills any remaining bacteria.

Adding water to puppy food creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. It can also attract flies. An easy way to avoid wasting puppy food is by only making enough for one meal at a time.

Jack Russell Terrier with bowl of food
A Jack Russell Terrier looking at the camera with his food.

Should You Keep Soaking Puppy Food? 

It’s not going to harm your dog’s health if you continue soaking the kibble as they get older. If you enjoy mashing dry kibble, and your dog likes it, you can do it throughout your pet’s life.

Most pet parents look forward to eliminating the meal prep step as soon as possible. Not everyone enjoys the smell of wet puppy food.

Your puppy can also grow into the habit of always eating wet food. If you board your pet, it can create problems at mealtimes. Most pet sitters aren’t going to spend time soaking puppy food for every mealtime.

chocolate toy poodle eats food from a bowl
A chocolate Toy Poodle eating from a ceramic bowl

How to Get Your Puppy to Start Eating Soaked Dog Food? 

When your puppy is about four weeks old, start introducing them to kibble. Your pup is still going through the weaning process, so pay attention to the food’s consistency. You want the food soft enough for a puppy to easily lap it up.

Always choose dog food designed specifically for puppies. Your pet is not ready for adult kibble, even after soaking it in water. The nutrients differ in puppy and adult dog food. Puppy food also uses smaller pieces of kibble, making it easier to soften and mash.

Not all puppy food brands contain the same ingredients, so you’ll want to pay attention to what is listed on the label. To avoid triggering food allergies, look for grain-free puppy food with only a few ingredients – the first one should always be some type of meat.

It’s also a good idea to stick with one brand, once you find one your pup seems to enjoy. It’s easier on their developing digestive system to get familiar with one type, rather than switching every week.

blue eyed Weimaraner puppy
A blue eyed Weimaraner puppy lays on the ground.

How Much Soaked Food Does Your Puppy Need? 

Puppies need less food than adult dogs but require more frequent feedings. Most veterinarians recommend feeding puppies four small meals a day.

Multiple feedings ensure your puppy is getting enough calories to support healthy growth.

The amount of soaked puppy food in dog bowls differs for everyone. Your puppy’s size and the type of dog food you’re using will determine how much you give your pet. Most puppy food brands list serving size recommendations on the packaging.

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Choosing the best dog food for Poodles is tricky – got to look after that coat!

When to Stop Soaking Puppy Food? 

By the time your puppy is around two months old the weaning process is complete. Your puppy is only eating soaked kibble, but when can you switch to dry dog food?

Transitioning from soaked puppy food to dry kibble is a process, and it usually takes several weeks. It’s a similar process to weaning your puppy from its mother.

Give your puppy soaked kibble for a month or so, keeping portion sizes the same at each feeding. After four weeks, gradually start adding less water to your puppy’s food.

Don’t reduce the water content too quickly. It can turn your puppy off of the food. Puppies often do not like sudden changes in their diets. Switching too quickly to harder kibble can also upset your puppy’s digestive system.

Try reducing the water by about ten percent. Wait two or three days before reducing the amount of water you use by another ten percent. Keep repeating the process until your puppy is eating dry kibble.

Don’t be surprised if your puppy refuses to eat during the process. It often takes a while for puppies to get used to chewing crunchy food. Go ahead and add some water to get your pup to eat if they’re having trouble. It might take longer than expected, but they will eventually make the switch to dry kibble. 

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A beautiful Dachshund chomps down on dinner.


When to stop soaking puppy food varies from puppy to puppy, but most dogs are ready for dry kibble at around eight to ten weeks of age.

Gradually transitioning from soaked to dry kibble usually works best. It gives your puppy time to get used to eating harder foods. The best advice? Be patient, and pay attention to your four-legged friend’s eating habits.