Over time, dog parents and dog lovers have become increasingly aware of the merits of dog food toppers. They help you save on the money while still providing all the nutrients your dog needs.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll take it one step at a time. First…
What Are Dog Food Toppers?
Dog food toppers are anything (basically additives) designed to make your dog’s food tastier and more nutritional. They are usually added to dry dog foods to give them a strong and more appealing aroma and make them easier to chew.
Dog food toppers could be anything from home-made broth to commercially packed dog food toppers. If it is something that is added to your dog’s food then it qualifies to be a dog food topper.
Another thing dog food toppers do for your dog is give them variety. There are different types of food toppers and by adding them, you can give your dog’s food a slightly different aroma or taste. So your dog no longer feels like he is eating same old same old.
Best part is you can do this for him without having to break the bank. Oh the wonders of dog food toppers!
Why Dog Food Toppers?
1. Low Protein
A good number of dry foods either do not contain real meat or do not contain enough real meat. And seeing that dogs are basically carnivorous, they need all the protein (meat in particular) they can get. So, dog food toppers.
Dog food stoppers should come in to boost the protein level in the food. So, you have to be sure that you’re not topping up with more carbs. That kind of defeats the whole purpose.
2. Appetite Loss
Dog food topper basically improve the aroma and taste of dog food. So, normally, adding some food toppers to your dog’s regular food should cause him to salivate enough to try eating again.
So if you have a dog that has refused to eat because he is sick or even old, you could try out food toppers.
Dog food stoppers are an excellent way to introduce your puppy to adult food. It puts the food in a position where it is neither too soft nor too hard. Which is perfect for the weaning process.
Types of Dog Food Toppers
Like we said earlier, there is a decent range of things that can be regarded as dog food toppers. But Patsy Pet Market helps us narrow down this variety of options into a few categories.
1. Freeze Dried Dog Food Toppers
This seems to be the most generally accepted type of food topper and for good reason. It is the best way to instantly upgrade the nutritional content of your dog’s food.
Freeze-dried dog food topper is basically freeze-dried meat and a couple of other things like fruits, vegetables, and essential oils. What better way to up your dog’s protein consumption than giving him meat?
Also, the freeze-drying process helps to preserve the meat’s nutritional value and give them a longer shelf life without having to resort to preservatives. So you’re not getting some washed-out, chemically infused excuse of a meat but real meat.
Another good thing about the freeze-dried dog food toppers is that it can be easily crumbled. So it blends right in with your dog’s regular food.
2. Canned Food
Canned food is a category of dog food toppers that can actually stand alone. For some dog parents, it is a better option than dry food because of its aroma and palatability. (Click here to read more about the canned dog foods).
However, if you don’t want to feed your dog exclusively canned food, you can use it as a food topping. The canned food will lend its delicious aroma to the dry food making it more enticing for your dog.
One very important thing that canned food adds to dry food is moisture. Softening the food for dogs who have dental issues and cannot chew properly.
The moisture is also good news for those dogs that do not take in as much water as they should.
Gravy is all for adding flavor and moisture to your doggie’s food. But you want to be careful that you don’t get something that contains onions and or garlic. Those things are absolutely terrible for dogs.
Not many people are excited about gravy. In fact the lazy raw feeder says this is a no no, not necessarily because there is anything wrong with gravy, but because manufacturers of gravy as a dog food topper add in too many chemicals.
So, it smells enticing but might not have much in terms of nutritional value. This is not saying that gravy is totally bad news.
Some manufacturers are actually nice enough to want to give you value for your money. So you can actually find gravy that is free of chemicals. Just be sure to read the ingredients before you toss something in your shopping cart.
4. Dehydrated Food
Dehydrated food is food that has been preserved without moisture. In most cases, dehydrated food can be a stand-alone food. All it takes to get it ready is to “moisturize” it and you’re good.
It can also be added to regular food to provide the extra nutrient. However, from the term used you can see that you won’t be getting much by way of moisture from this topper.
5. Goat Milk
Not everybody is on-board this goat milk boat but it sure is something you could try. It is said to boost a dog’s immune system helping them become even better resistant to some of the diseases that seem to be constantly flying around.
Also, it should improve their skin and coat quality, their appetite. It should also settle their stomachs as well (for those that have upset stomachs). So yea, you should try goat milk.
6. Bone Broth
This is, as the term implies, broth made from bone and bone marrow. Be careful that you’re not using the bones of diseased or dead animals.
You can buy bone broth from your local pet store if you want to save time. But it is probably safer to prepare it yourself so that you are sure of the content.
If you want to serve your dog home-made bone broth, you might want to get a recipe from your vet or animal nutritionist.
Dog Food Toppers And Health Improvement
With all the goodness that dog food toppers seem to bring, one is tempted to ask, “will dog food toppers actually improve my doggie’s health?” Breeding business calls this a loaded question and this is why:
However much we’d like to sing the praises of dog food toppers, there are some bad eggs. Not all food toppers are good enough. In fact, there are those that aren’t even good at all.
But if you can get the right kind, they will do fantastic things for your dog. Now, to get the most out of dog food toppers, there are a few things you should consider:
Active dogs should get all the carbs they need from their regular food. So what they need from food toppers is the protein and maybe some vitamins (but mostly the protein).
So your best bet for an active dog should be the freeze-dried dog food topper or canned food.
Pregnant And Lactating Dogs
We know that pregnant and lactating dogs are feeding for more than one. So they need extra helpings of nutrients.
The toppers you put in their food should be able to give them the extra nutrients that their babies need. So you want to give them food toppers that are balanced in nutrients. Freeze-dried dog food toppers are almost always right.
Dogs that are sick almost always lose their appetite. And we know that the point of sickness is probably the point when he needs to eat the most.
So what your dog needs primarily is food that is enticing so he can be tempted to eat. Then you should think of a protein-rich food topper.
Dogs That Don’t Drink Enough
If you know that your dog does not drink as much water as he should, you should monitor him and try to get him to. Another way to go about it is by adding food toppers that are rich in moisture.
This should give him at least a portion of the water he should be drinking. Canned foods are the toppers for this job. Bone broth is also a good choice.
If your dog is a senior, he probably has issues with eating. For some seniors, the problem is a loss of appetite. Some have digestion issues while others have dental issues. Whatever the issue, it is apparent that you have to encourage your senior dog to eat.
Senior dogs need food toppers that smell delicious and will entice them to try the food. The food toppers should also provide moisture so that the food is easy to chew and digest. Of course, the toppers should also provide necessary nutrients too.
Alternatives To Commercially Packed Dog Food Toppers
If you don’t want to go the commercial route, here are a few things Vittles Vault says you can add to your dog’s food that can serve as toppers:
1. Fruits And Vegetables: Fruits and veggies are excellent toppings you can add to your dog’s food. This is especially applicable if you don’t feed your dog a vegetarian diet.
Fruits and veggies will provide your dog with all the vitamins he needs and they are totally healthy. However, you should read our article on BARF dog food to know the fruits and vegetables your dog should stay away from.
2. Eggs: Boiled eggs could also serve as good alternatives. Don’t hard boil the egg. Remember that one of the reasons you are adding toppers to your dog’s food is to make it easier for him to eat.
Also, do not fry the eggs. You know the struggles with cholesterol. Just soft boil the eggs, mash them and mix them in with your dog’s food.
Some people say you can mix the egg in raw. However, some dogs might not like that idea.
3. Digestive Enzymes: if you have a senior dog or a dog who just has issues with digestion, you should consider topping with digestive enzymes. You can get those in yogurt or cheese.
4. Essential Oils: Though we don’t want you frying your dog’s eggs, you should be giving him some oils. He is probably not getting the oils he needs from his regular meals.
Some of the oils you could add are coconut oil and salmon oil. They contain fatty acids that will help boost your dog’s immune system, giving him stronger resistance to diseases.
Your dog needs all the nutrient he can get. There are some foods that can give him all the nutrients he needs in the right quantity. But those ones are usually quite pricey.
This is one of the reasons that dog food toppers are absolutely awesome. They allow you do right by your pup giving him all the nutrients he needs while not breaking the bank in the process.
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian whether you want to serve you dog store-bought toppers or home-made. Your vet is always in the best place to determine the type of food topping to give your dog. And they should be able to prescribe a recipe for you if you want to home cook the topping.