Dry dog food enhancers, dog food mix-ins, or dry dog food toppers are meant to make your pup’s food taste better. These food enhancers are mixed with dry dog food in case your dog doesn’t like the taste and won’t go near it.
Enhancers for dry dog food are available in different forms. These are available in the form of gravy, powder, and chunks. Some people add food toppers, ready-made or home-made, to round off their dog’s diet and add whatever nutrients are lacking in their diet.
What Are Dry Dog Food Enhancers?
Wondering what are dog food toppers, and why dogs love their taste? These food enhancers are added ingredients that improve your dog’s palatability, add texture to the food, make it more nutritious, and add variety to it. These mixes can contain added vitamins, and while they are beneficial when your dog has a deficiency, adding too many vitamins to your dog’s diet can be detrimental to its health.
These enhancers can act like dry food seasoning. If you don’t wanna buy fancy food enhancers, homemade dog food toppers are a healthy alternative too for both weight gain and loss. You can add warm water or meat broth to your dog’s bowl. Alternatively, you can add boiled eggs, vegetables, and fruits to enhance dry kibble’s taste.
Ready-made food enhancers are also available in most pet supply stores. These products contain vitamins, flavor enhancers, as well as other natural ingredients. But, feeding your dog too much, especially food enhancers with added vitamins may lead to vitamin poisoning. Therefore, carefully check dog food topper recipes before you start adding them to your dog’s diet.
How to Choose the Right Dry Dog Food Enhancer?
The best dog food toppers often contain a variety of ingredients with the correct balance. This section will discuss the ingredients, taste, price, and varying requirements of dogs when it comes to food toppers.
The healthiest dog food toppers contain a healthy mix of protein, vegetables, and fruits. They use chicken, salmon, turkey, lamb, or beef as the primary source of protein. Premium brands use 90% meat, as well as bone and organs. They are also grain and gluten-free. Most brands also contain some combination of minerals, vitamins, Omega-3 acids, and other nutrients. Premium brands use ethical methods and organically source all the ingredients for their mixes.
The recipes also include other ingredients, such as artificial flavors, and filler ingredients such as corn, soy, and wheat. These synthetic chemicals and filler ingredients provide no benefit to your dog, therefore try to go for brands that use natural and nutritious recipes.
One of the primary benefits of dog food mix-ins is taste enhancement. If your dog refuses to chomp on his food at mealtime, try mixing something tasty, or adding gravy to dry kibble. This is a sure-shot way of improving your dog’s palatability.
The secret behind improved taste is in the ingredients. Dog dry food enhancers contain some form of meat, as well as added flavors in some brands. Because of improved taste, using dog food topper for picky eaters is really effective tactic to make your pup finish its food, rather than throwing away half-eaten kibble.
Another reason why food enhancers are so popular is because of their price. You can find good quality mixes for as little as $5 to $10.
But, these mixes are to be used with proper dog food since they aren’t stand-alone dietary supplements. Therefore, the cost of a food enhancer can be considered an addition to the dry kibble you purchase. Many people who can’t afford the best dog food in the market prefer using these taste enhancers with whichever dry food they buy.
Your dog’s requirements may vary depending on its age, breed, size, and any preexisting conditions. For example, the best puppy food enhancers will be rich in protein, whereas food enhancers for adult or senior dogs will focus more on nutrients such as fish oils. Moreover, food mixes for smaller dogs have a smaller kibble size and contain added glucosamine and chondroitin to aid in joint support.
Similarly, some dog breeds are lactose intolerant and react negatively if fed dairy products. If your dog suffers from this condition, make sure to read the labels, there should be no dairy products such as cheese or yogurt. Moreover, if your dog has other allergies or preexisting medical conditions, it’s better to consult your vet before adding anything to your dog’s diet.
5 Best Dry Dog Food Enhancers
Check out these five dry dog food enhancers to stimulate your dog’s appetite with their dry food.
1. Stella and Chewy's Dried Meal Mixer
Stella and Chewy’s meal mixer is one of the most popular freeze-dried dog food toppers. The formula includes chunks of freeze-dried protein (beef, chicken, duck, or goose), blueberries, bananas, strawberries, as well as added probiotics for optimal digestion. This meal mixer is available in four sizes: 3.5 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz.
If you’re looking for sustainable and safe toppings for dog food, this is it. Stella and Chewy’s claim they source ingredients from trusted farmers and fishermen and make everything in their US kitchen that is a testament to safety and sustainability standards. Moreover, they claim that their 100% organic dog food mix is good for healthy digestion, vibrant skin, healthy teeth, and gums, and improves stamina and vitality.
While this meal mixer has stellar reviews for the most part, it is expensive. Moreover, as with other food products, sometimes these mixes just don’t suit a dog. Therefore, try getting a small pouch to test, and only order the large packet if your pup reacts positively to it.
2. Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Beef Toppers
These beef toppers are one of the most effective dog food toppers for picky eaters. The beef topper has the ultimate blend that can be used as a complete meal, supplement, or topper. Moreover, all the ingredients are sourced from the USA and slow-cooked to retain nutritional value. The Vital Essentials beef topper comes in 6 oz resealable bags that are easy to store and keep the topper fresh for longer.
Vital Essentials beef topper is safe and nutritious for dogs. It’s packed with healthy natural ingredients and is free of gluten, grain, and GMO. It contains vitamins and minerals that have the following benefits:
- Soft, silky coat and reduced shedding
- Freshens your dog’s breath
- Reduces allergies, itchy skin, and rashes
Unfortunately, the taste of this food enhancer doesn’t sit well with all dogs. Some dogs dislike the taste of these beefy chunks and have been reported to reject the food enhancer as soon as they sniffed the bowl.
3. Basics Flavors Food Topper
Basic flavors food topper is a food enhancer that you can sprinkle on your dog’s food. It’s available in 3 and 6-ounce shakers with vibrant packaging. Basic flavors is a USA based company that uses all-natural, FDA approved, and human-grade ingredients. Moreover, it’s available in various delicious flavors: red meat, chicken, white cheddar, and peanut butter. It also comes in flavors and probiotics variety that contains added probiotics.
This meal enhancer checks all the boxes. They use ethical manufacturing processes and avoid using artificial or synthetic flavors, colors, or preservatives. Moreover, this recipe is grain-free – no wheat, corn, soy, or rice. This means the mix is packed full of nutrition. Last but not the least, this is one of the enhancers for a dry dog food that is low-calorie and low-sodium.
One shortcoming of this meal enhancer is its powdered form. The food topper will become useless if exposed to moisture. Moreover, if it loses its freshness, your dog will go nowhere near it.
4. Shake it Pup! Dog Food Seasoning
Shake it up pup makes yummy dog food seasoning in 4.5 oz bottles that are sure to turn ordinary food into a gourmet meal. The seasoning comes in seven delectable flavors: bacon & eggs, BBQ Chicken, Beef, Peanut Butter, Salmon, pizza fest, and turkey. Each bottle contains 60 servings and is backed by a manufacturer’s guarantee.
Shake it up is a class apart when it comes to quality and flavor. The ingredients are sourced and packaged in the USA, and the recipes are hand-made in small batches for unparalleled flavor. Moreover, the ingredients make up human-grade food topping, which basically means it contains no grains, gluten, added salts, chemicals, GMOs, or other fillers. Lastly, the meat used to make this seasoning is grass-fed, and hormone and antibiotic-free.
One minor snag some users have pointed out is the texture. This topping is has a flour-like texture, which some dogs don’t like.
5. ARFredo Supergravy
The SuperGracy gravy topper is the one for your dog if it loves dairy. This is a creamy mix made from greek yogurt and three different Italian cheese. Other primary ingredients are kelp, chia seeds, and dried vegetables. It comes in a 4.5 oz pack and makes about 30 servings of gravy. Just add some warm water and mix it up with some kibble to make a delicious dog meal. And, just like other good quality dog dry food enhancers, its GMO-free, grain-free gluten and glycerine free.
Clear conscience pet, the manufacturer of this gravy is the most awarded pet nutrition brand, which is a testament to their good quality products. The brand is a family-owned business based in the USA, so its ingredients are sourced and packaged in the states. Moreover, all the ingredients are carefully processed and slow-cooked in order to preserve their nutritional value.
Unfortunately, this gravy has a flavor that some dogs just dislike. Users have complained about their dogs completely turning down this meal. So, if your dog is a picky eater, order this one with caution.
Dry Dog Food Enhancers – FAQs
There are plenty of queries worth discussing when it comes to dry dog food enhancers, such as how to make dry dog food more appealing, are meal enhancers healthy, and whether they can be used as a separate meal.
What can I Sprinkle on my Dog's Food?
If you want to try natural, home-made food enhancers, there are quite a few ingredients that are beneficial for your dog, such as:
- Chopped up vegetables and fruits
All these foods are packed with nutrition. Eggs contain a lot of protein, while fish contain fish oils such as omega-3 that are essential for your dog’s healthy skin and coat. On the other hand, yogurt is rich in probiotics and vegetables and fruits such as blueberries are a healthy source of anti-oxidants.
Are Dry Dog Food Enhancers Good for my Dog's Health?
These enhancers can certainly benefit your dog’s health. Most food enhancers are suitable as seasoning/supplements, and not separate meals unless otherwise suggested by the manufacturer. These enhancers contain real meat, vegetables, fruits, and other nutrients such as vitamins and fish oils. These are all essential for your dog’s health. But, apart from rounding off and balancing your dog’s diet, they also help indirectly. When you add toppers to dog food, they enhance the taste, and thus, increase palatability.
Can I Make a Dog Food Topper at Home?
A dog food topper is just a mixture of ingredients that enhances the kibble’s taste and improves its texture. You can make food toppers at home too. Adding foods like eggs, chunks of meat, cheese, and vegetables is a good start.
But to really enhance the taste, you can prepare broth or gravy using red meat or chicken. Adding gravy toppers to your dog’s kibble can get your dog hooked onto the bowl during meal times. Pro tip: Add chicken broth to water in order to improve its taste. This will encourage your dog to drink more water and stay hydrated.
What to do if my Dog Only Eats his Food Topper?
If your dog won’t eat its dry food, don’t enable it by offering tasty snacks, toppers, or treats instead. Sometimes, owners get carried away with trying to get their dog to eat properly. They forget that it’s just a dog, and it will eat its food, be its wet dog food or dry kibble if trained properly.
Offer it the standard dry food bowl and give it time to eat, about 20 minutes. If the dog refuses to eat, take away the bowl until the next mealtime. Eventually, the dog will get hungry and start eating its dog food. Sure, you can enhance the taste of your dog’s food by adding dry dog food enhancers, but you shouldn’t spoil your pooch in the process of making its food taste better.
Whether it be for a cheap alternative to expensive food or just to help your dog have a tastier meal, dry dog food enhancers are a great benefit to your dog’s diet.