Dog food toppers are the perfect complement to any mealtime.
Dog Food toppers are a great option as they add more variety to your dog's diet, they also help entice picky eaters.
As parents of a Japanese Akita and Tibetan Mastiff, we know how picky and stubborn some dogs can be when it comes to getting them to eat.
One is None and Two is One
Regarding dog food toppers, it's crucial always to have multiple options. For Many dogs, it might work one day but not the next. So, always having multiple options available ultimately causes less stress around mealtime for both you and your dog.
It can be highly stressful when your dog doesn't want to eat, and that, in turn, causes them to stress, which causes you more stress, and the cycle continues.
Dog Food Toppers are also a great option for dogs with certain medical conditions, where getting the dog to eat becomes increasingly difficult.
Dog Food Toppers treats and chews should ideally not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories, except in the cases of avoiding Cachexia, where getting them to eat anything you can within reason is more important.
Dog Food Topper options
First on the List is Bone Broth. Do not, however, buy most bone broths for humans as many of them contain too much salt, and often contain onion, which is toxic to dogs.
Bone broth is also a great topper option as it doesn’t add many calories to your dog’s diet relative to many other dog food topper options.
Be aware that many products labeled as bone broth are just expensive stocks, and some broths include thickening ingredients to make them appear to be thicker than they genuinely are. This also happens with yogurts and ice cream both for humans and dogs. Authentic bone broth will have a jello-like consistency when thawed in the fridge.
You can also make your bone broth at home. Simply add any combination of bones and then add a little apple cider vinegar to a stockpot or slow cooker and allow it to cook for preferably 48+ hours.
If you are going to add other things to the bone broth, we suggest adding them at or near the end so that the heat doesn’t kill off the phytochemicals that are heat-sensitive.
We will soon be offering powdered bone broth for dogs. We currently offer frozen bone broth for dogs local to Orange County, California
To read more about the nutrient content of bone broth and how your choice of bones influences the nutrient content, read the blog post on bone broth here.
Due to the phosphorus content of bone broth other dog food toppers may be a better option for dogs with CKD, especially if you don't filter out the sludge that settles at the bottom. The Sludge is where most of the minerals are located.
Raw Goat Milk, Kefir, and Goat Yogurt
Raw goat’s milk is a fantastic option. Raw goats milk also provides beneficial bacteria which can support a healthy gut microbiome. Goats milk does contain less lactose than bovine milk making it easier for some dog to digest.
There are now many companies selling raw goat’s milk, Kefir, and we do sell freeze dried goat yogurt for dogs. You might be able to ask the vendors at your local farmer’s market to find raw goats milk that is local to you.
Now, some kefirs may not be all that they are made out to be as far as containing the Colony Forming Units CFU’S that they claim. For more information read the blog post What’s in your Pets Kefir.
If you want to, you can add water to our freeze-dried frozen yogurt to make it more of a liquid and then add it to the food.
Dry dog food is usually around 10 % moisture. So adding Goats milk, Kefir, Goat Yogurt, or Bone broth are great options to increase the moisture content of their diet. They are also great options for dogs with extremely sensitive stomachs.
Raw eggs, do not include the shell if it is store-bought, or you can cook up some scrambled eggs for your dog. You can also give them quail eggs, which are much smaller. If you want to find fresh quail eggs, you can once again ask a vendor at your local farmers market. The other option is to search Craigslist as quail is one of the most common animals raised by urban farmers. So not only are the quail eggs likely cheaper, but you also get truly fresh quail eggs and get to support someone in your local community.
Fish Oil- Krill, Salmon, Sardine, or Anchovy oil are all great options, especially as they are rich in Omega 3 fatty Acids. Krill Oil is unique as much of it is in phospholipid form instead of ethyl ester. There are scentless options if you don’t like the smell, but it is possible that it might not be as effective at enticing the picky eater to eat their food.
Frozen Sardines or Canned Sardines
If you go the Canned route, make sure they are canned in water. You might want to feed them outside as the smell can linger.
Both Fish Oil and Sardines are great options as they are rich sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, specifically Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These will help bring down the Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio of your pet’s diet, which AAFCO allows to be as high as 30 to 1. In comparison to humans, most recommend a ratio below 5 to 1. They are also a source of iodine.
Raw Green Tripe smells appalling, but that also makes it highly appealing to your dog after Athena’s spay Green Tripe was the only thing that could get her to eat. As with Sardines, you may want to feed them outside. More and more stores are carrying Green Tripe, from a variety of brands, but Petkind also makes a canned Green Tripe.
Commercial Food Toppers
There are also commercial dog food toppers. None of our food toppers is single ingredient, because, ideally food toppers should be more nutritionally balanced than just chicken breast or some other single ingredient option.
Our Dog Food toppers are single protein, with the ability to customize. Our customization options are one adding in Salmon, two adding in our antioxidant boost, or option three adding in both the salmon and the Antioxidant Boost. you can read more about our antioxidant boost at Antioxidant Boost.
All of our food toppers are freeze-dried powders, which makes it an effortless addition, and allows for it to be thoroughly mixed in with their food, so they cant pick out only the topper.
What makes our toppers different than many other Dog Food toppers on the market is that they aren’t simply treat leftovers that are ground up into a powder.
While this is an excellent way to cut down on waste, some companies, in our opinion, charge far too high a price for something they would have otherwise thrown away. Many of them are also single ingredients ie, Beef Liver, and this isn't ideal as a food topper.
Homemade Dog Food Toppers
The more economical way is to simply set aside or cut off a portion before you start seasoning and cooking the meat. Some dogs may prefer it raw, and others might prefer it gently cooked. You can either add this to the dish to be given during mealtime or refreeze and feed at a later date. You can also combine it with other meats at a later date.
If you do go the homemade route, we recommend adding in some organ meat such as liver, heart, spleen, kidney, etc, as well as some vegetables. We also encourage rotating between a variety of different meats.
Most grocery stores carry a limited amount of organ meat. However, most ethnic stores will carry a wider range of organ meat. You can also speak to the meat department or the vendors at your local farmers market, and many will gladly help you.
Rotating between different dog food toppers, both commercial and homemade, will not only keep your picky dog eating but also add more variety to their diet. Which in turn can help diversify your dog's microbiome.
This only makes rotating between different dog foods easier, and that applies to all feeding formats: Raw, Dry, Wet, Gently Cooked and freeze-dried.
Note if your dog is an incredibly picky eater, it can be the result of certain medical conditions, so it is essential to have a conversation with your veterinarian.