Dog food toppings are additions to your pets’ food to change up the flavor, encourage picky eaters, or provide nutrition.
“Dog food toppers are great to use for picky dogs,” veterinarian Sarah Ochoa said. In fact, she uses them on her own dog’s food. “A dog food topper is the only way that I can get my dog to actually eat her food.”
But not all toppers are created equal, and some are much better than others for dogs.* Some toppers are nothing but dog food mix-ins in the form of fats and fillers. “When looking at a topper, make sure that they actually contain ingredients that are beneficial to your dog’s health,” Dr. Ochoa said.
As the market for dog food add-ons continues to expand, many pet parents have no idea which one is best or how to use them. This guide will answer those questions, along with discussing the benefits of dog food toppers and what to look for and avoid when giving dogs food enhancements.
What Are Food Toppers For Dogs?
In general, food toppers or dog food mixers can be pretty much whatever you want them to be. You can consider anything edible that you add to your dog’s food as a food topper — homemade dog food, eggs, rice, cheese, another wet or dry commercial dog food, etc. Some commercially made food toppers are intended to be meal replacements, not enhancements — these should have identifying label information such as which life stages the topper is intended for and that it meets AAFCO standards. With that said, our conversation focuses on dog food toppings designed to enhance your dog’s diet. Dog food toppers come in two forms, dry and wet. Here’s a closer look at each of these types.
Wet dog food toppers
This type of food topper includes gravies, broths, and sauces, typically high in protein. Because wet food toppers are a good water source, they add moisture to your pet’s food, improving the food’s taste or texture. You can find these ready-made toppings in cans or resealable bags. Some require refrigeration, so check the labels to prevent exposing your pet and family to salmonella.
Dry dog food toppers
There are a few different types of dry food toppings, such as freeze-dried (contains raw meat) and powder. Popular ingredients include meats, vegetables, and fruits. Because freeze-dried toppers have raw meats, you must handle them carefully and wash your hands.
When using dog food topping, keep a few things in mind:
- If adding human foods, ensure they aren’t toxic to animals. You must also ensure your pet doesn’t suffer from food allergies (yes, that’s a real thing).
- Only serve the recommended amount. Overindulgence can cause obesity in dogs.
- Read all dog food topper labels to make sure they aren’t full of fats and fillers, but rather contain natural ingredients and essential nutrients for your dog’s health.
- Introduce meal toppers slowly to prevent digestive upset.
- If you’re using dog food toppers to promote weight gain or for your dog’s health, consult with your veterinarian or an animal nutritionist.
Regardless of which topper you use, serving is simple. You can add or mix in either wet or dry dog food toppers to your dog’s meal. In the case of using dry toppings, you can opt to mix with water before adding to your dog’s food.
Some veterinarians recommend a food topper that is also a multivitamin supplement for dogs. The multivitamin food topper has the added benefit of being easy to give to your dogs (or cats), because it’s easily sprinkled over their kibble.
Benefits of Meal Toppers for Dogs
What’s the point of enhancing your dog’s food with a meal topping? Healthy dog food toppers can bring several benefits to your pet, such as:
- Increase hydration (when using a wet food topper)
- Help encourage fussy eaters to eat more (sometimes change is a good thing)
- Add protein, vitamins or nutrients for pets that refuse to take pill vitamins (look for enriched meal toppers for issues like “joint health” or “shiny coat”)
- Add fruits and vegetables
- Introduce your pet to new flavors (look for a variety of flavors your pet is not accustomed to eating)
- Flexibility and convenience when feeding your pet on the go (freeze-dried or powder meal toppers can be stored and served easily while away from home)
Best Dog Food Toppers
The best dog food topper for your pet depends on many factors, such as what issue you’re addressing, your pet’s food preferences, and your budget. Whether you are looking for a dog food topper that helps promote healthy joints, a shiny coat, improved vision, or brain function, the veterinarian-approved Evolved Paws Multivitamin Powder and Omega Supplement Powder are specifically formulated with essential nutrients for dogs and cats. Simply sprinkle over your pet’s food or mix with water before adding to their meal.
*The information in this article and throughout BarxBuddy’s blog is for informational purposes only, and should never be mistaken for professional veterinary advice.