10 Easy Homemade Dog Food Toppers to Make Your Dog's Dinner Fun
Has your dog started to turn up their nose at the dry kibble you are putting in their bowl every day? If that is the case, you aren’t alone. Often, dogs get bored with the same kibble day after day and refuse to eat. So what should you do? Make a homemade dog food topper! Dog food toppers are fun, nutritious, and often extremely easy to whip together.
Don’t Quit the Kibble
One thing to keep in mind is that if your dog is a bit picky, don’t overthink it if it’s just once or twice. If your doggo turns up their nose, they might not be too hungry, or their tummy is a little funny. Before ditching your dog’s current kibble, check to see if there may be an underlying reason they’ve stopped eating.
If their lack of appetite persists, it is time to see the vet. Your dog might have some health issues that are reducing their appetite. The vet can also check to see if a sore tooth or infected gums are making it painful for your dog to chew their kibble.
Kibble provides many benefits
Well-balanced, high-quality kibble provides a nutritious diet for your dog, providing the right proportion of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Dry dog food also helps to scrub your best buddy’s teeth as they eat, which can lead to fewer dental problems in the long run.
Check the Date on Your Dog’s Dinner
While kibble will last a long time on the shelf, it doesn’t last forever. So if your dog stops digging in, check to see if your dog’s kibble has passed its expiration date. If so, the fats might have turned rancid and that could affect its appeal to your dog.
How to Increase Your Dog’s Appetite at Mealtime
Some dogs thrive on variety. Others just aren’t hungry. If you’re wondering if a homemade dog food topper is worth your time, check these other approaches to increasing your dog’s appetite, first.
Keep your dog’s feeding schedule regular
Dogs, like many people, are creatures of habit. Feed them at the same time or times each day. They will get used to the schedule and be ready to eat when the food is presented to them.
Let your dog eat or not
When it is time to eat, put their food out. If they aren’t hungry, they won’t eat, but leave it out so that they can eat it when they do get hungry. Of course, for a multi-dog home, this might not be an option because the other doggos might get to it first.
Reduce your doggo’s snacks
Why did your mom make you eat your meal before she gave you dessert? So you would get your nutrients before your stomach was full. The same is true for your dog. If you give them too many dog snacks and treats, they might not have an appetite come mealtime.
Treats are made to be tasty (and many are nutritious, too), but they won’t provide the right balance of nutrients, and they are usually high in calories.
Walk before you feed your pupper to stimulate their appetite
Try taking your doggo for a brisk walk before dinner. Sometimes the additional activity will stimulate their appetite, making them more likely to eat the kibble that you give them.
Not only does walking release happy endorphins, but when your dog has been outside, smelled some wonderful smells and spent some quality time with their favourite human, they’re less likely to object to their dinner. They will be happy and a little tired, perfect state of mind for not fussing over a meal of the kibble that they have been eating.
10 Homemade Meal Toppers, Guaranteed to Make Your Dog’s Mouth Water
Dogs can’t talk, so they can’t tell you what to do or why they don’t want to eat that bowl full of kibble that they used to dive into, so you have to make some educated guesses. We suggest you begin with some basic meal toppers (especially if you’re short on time) then launch into a bit more flavour if needed.
1. Add a little liquid
Sometimes all it takes is a little moisture to get your dog excited about dinnertime. It will give the kibble a different feel and different smell–that might be all that it takes to get your dog eating. Not only that, but it will help keep them hydrated, which is important during hot weather.
You can start with just adding a little water to the kibble and giving it a good stir. The water will form a gravy that should stimulate your dog’s appetite.
If milk products don’t bother your doggo’s tummy, you can add a little milk. That will help provide additional calcium and vitamin D.
Meat broth can be either store-bought or homemade. If you buy it, make sure it is low in sodium so your dog doesn’t get too much salt.
DIY Homemade Meat Broth
It is easy to make your own broth–and a homemade approach allows you to control the ingredients that go in.
- Put the bones, any extra meat, and whatever veggies you would like in a pot, cover with water, and then simmer for a couple of hours on low.
- Check from time to time to be sure there’s plenty of liquid left in the pot.
- Strain the broth, and add any little chunks of meat and vegetable that you think your dog would like.
- Mix a little with your dog’s kibble. Refrigerate the leftovers.
When your dog finishes their meal, make sure that you wash out the bowl so that bacteria doesn’t grow. Bacteria could cause problems with your dog’s digestive tract.
2. Give Your dog a home-cooked meal
Food simmering on the stove or baking in the oven will fill your home with wonderful smells. You can bet that your dog will notice and that will stimulate their appetite.
If you’re eating something healthy, spoon out a bit before you fully salt the dish. Then mix a little of whatever you are having with their kibble. Just make sure that it is only a small amount so that they will still be getting the proper nutrients provided by the kibble.
3. Want yogurt with that?
Some dogs love yogurt! And luckily, it’s also something healthy that might induce them to eat.
Plain, low-fat yogurt will add vitamin D and live lactobacillus acidophilus for improved gut health. It is low in calories and will help your doggo with bowel movements, too. But watch for diarrhea–not all dogs can digest milk and milk products.
4. Freshening things up with fruit and veggies
There are a variety of fruits and veggies that you can add to get your furry friend to eat their kibble.
Experiment by adding some of the following until you find some that your dog can't resist:
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
The veggies work best cooked, and give them just a little to start with to make sure that it doesn’t cause problems with their digestive tract.
You can even double down and add some of these tasty fruits and veggies to some plain yoghurt for an irresistible kibble topper!
5. Add some eggs
Give eggs a try, either raw or cooked (although some dogs prefer their eggs cooked). Eggs are a good source of protein and will provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of essential amino acids and fatty acids.
Don’t forget that you can give them the shell too for added calcium.
6. Sardines: a secret superfood
Open a tin of sardines and mix a couple of them in with the kibble. They will add flavour and omega-3 fatty acid, too. You can be sure that your dog will notice the smell!
7. Spice it up with a few herbs
If your dog has a refined palate, provide a bit of variety with healthy herbs. Some you might want to try, include:
- Milk thistle
Avoid spices like comfrey, garlic, ma huang, pennyroyal, tea tree oil, white willow bark, wormwood and yucca.
8. Add watered-down peanut butter
Few dogs can resist peanut butter! If your dog doesn’t want their dinner, just mix a spoonful of peanut butter with a little water or cooking oil, then mix it with the kibble. Most dogs love the flavour–it is easy and inexpensive.
9. Mix with dried meat cut into small pieces
Cut or chop dried meat into small pieces and add that to the kibble. Some varieties of dog food already do this. Just make sure that your dog isn’t getting too much sodium.
10. Add wet or raw food
Most dogs feel canned food and raw dog food smells and tastes better than kibble, so if all else fails, give that a try. Remember to balance your dog’s caloric intake.
Toppers Turn Your Dog’s Dinner into a Delight!
Dogs, just like people, can get fussy about their food. And don’t forget that their tastes can change over time, too. Make sure that their lack of appetite isn’t caused by poor health or dental problems, then start experimenting until you find something that your doggo can’t resist. When whipping together homemade kibble toppers, just make sure that they aren’t feeding them so many “added” calories. And always check with your vet to be sure your dog is receiving a balanced, healthy diet.
Keep track of what they like and what they don’t and note those added treats that give them digestive discomfort. Soon you will figure out what they like and what they don’t and develop a few strategies to get them to eat properly. Your dog will love you for it, and you will be happy that you took the time and effort to find out what they really, really want.