Can A Dog Eat Cold Food From Fridge? Is It Safe?

Can a dog eat cold food from the fridge? Does he care if his meal is warm or cold?

As humans, we prefer warm meals, especially during winter. This is why we assume that dogs also prefer having their meals warmed after being stored in the refrigerator. However, the question is this: does your dog even care about the temperature? We will answer this question to enlighten fellow dog owners who have the same concern in mind in this post.

can a dog eat cold food from fridge

Can dogs eat cold food?

Can dogs eat cold food

Instinct-wise, there might be a basis why dogs may prefer warm food over cold one. In the wild, canines hunt and kill for their food. The dogs will consume their catch immediately, which means the animal’s meat is still warm.

But overall, experts say that dogs don’t really care if their food is cold or warm as long as the dog can taste and smell the food.

The only exception here is during the winter season. Cold food will make your dog feel colder, so it’s best to warm it up a bit.

Most of the time, dog owners will just take the food out of the fridge and let it warm down to room temperature.

However, this only works if your fridge isn’t freezing. Thawing canned food straight from your fridge may take hours, so it’s not practical since it stands the risk of spoilage.

In this case, you can warm up your dog’s food in the microwave for a few minutes. However, make sure that you transfer it to a different container first.

If you don’t have a microwave, you can add a small amount of warm water to the food. The only downside here is making the food runny and diluted.

But if your dog doesn’t mind gobbling down the cold food, there’s nothing to worry about. As they say, don’t fix it if it hasn’t broken.

Also, it’s not safe to serve very hot meals to your dog. It will end up scalding your pet, which can lead to emergency vet visits.

When should I warm my dog’s food?

There’s no harm in making your dog’s food warm by heating it in the microwave or adding warm water. If you have the time and your dog prefers it that way, there’s no harm in doing so.

You may also want to warm your dog’s food if it’s recovering from an illness. Many dogs tend to be picky with food when they are sick. In this case, warming up the food will enhance its taste and smell, which appeals more to dogs with poor appetites.

Moreover, senior dogs may also benefit from having their food heated up. This is because old dogs often have a diminished sense of taste and smell.

Important warning when heating your dog’s food

One of the biggest disadvantages of warming your dog’s food is that the heat may destroy some nutrients. After all, canned food products are ready-to-eat and aren’t meant to be cooked.

Also, kibble or dry food can go bad in heat, significantly if warmed in the microwave. This is why you should refrain from warming dry dog food because it could bring more harm than help to your dog.

As for homemade food, there’s no problem with cooking. Just make sure that the meals aren’t too hot for your doggo to handle.

Aside from that, dog food manufacturers warn about heating their products. So it’s crucial to check for this part before you try to warm your dog’s meals.

When in doubt, it’s always best to consult the veterinarian about which is best for your dog.

Can cold food upset a dog’s stomach?

Growing up, my parents would often tell me to drink or eat something warm to avoid upsetting my stomach. This may also be true for dogs in some cases.

Chilled food can upset a canine’s stomach, especially those with sensitive digestion. Also, if it’s winter, your dog will be more unlikely to eat cold food. If your pet exhibits signs of an upset stomach after eating a cold meal, you should try giving it some warm broth. This will help reset your pet’s tummy.

How can you warm up refrigerated dog food?

how can you warm up refrigerated dog food

Unless you always have the time to thaw frozen dog food manually, you surely need some hacks on doing it fast. Below are some of the ways I recommend without destroying the nutrients of the food:

Warm it using warm water

If putting warm water on the dog’s food isn’t possible, you can soak the bowl in warm water instead. This will warm the dog’s food without making it too hot.

Overall, this method removes the chill from frozen dog food. However, if you need to thaw the food more, feel free to place it inside a vacuum-sealed bag, then soak it in warm water.

Use some warm broth

The warm broth is an excellent option to warm up cold dog food from the fridge. It will also enhance the flavor of the food, perfect for picky eaters.p

Just make sure that the broth is unsalted and plain. This is to prevent excessive salt intake among dogs, which can be quite life-threatening.

Steam it

For dog food that requires fast thawing, steaming is a good choice. You can place the dog food inside a steamer, but make sure you’re using low heat.

Aside from warming up the food, it will also add moisture. This will make your dog’s meals more appealing while voiding any changes to the formula.

Warming dog food doesn’t fix spoilage!

Take note that you can only store canned dog food in the fridge for up to three to five days. After that, the food needs to be tossed into the bin since it’s likely spoiled or contaminated.

Remember that spoiled dog food is dangerous for dogs and must never be fed. Even if you heat or warm it, the contamination will still be there.

This is why you should opt for small dog food cans. Smaller servings like these prevent large leftovers, which will be prone to spoilage.


Can a dog eat cold food from the fridge? Technically yes, as long as your pet can taste and smell the food.

However, some pet owners opt to warm up their dog’s food for various reasons. One of which is to enhance the flavor of the food, so it becomes appealing to finicky eaters.

Overall, you should warm or heat your dog’s food sparingly. Also, never heat kibble in the microwave or stove, whatever happens.

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