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What Can I Add to My Dog's Kibble Every Day? - Dog looking up with dog food in a bowl next to them

What Can I Add to My Dog's Kibble Every Day?

Whether you have a picky pup who needs a little extra enticing, or you’re just looking to spice up your dog’s daily nutrition — you’ve been investigating “kibble toppers”.

(Your dog is very happy you’re doing this research, by the way.)

Did thomeone thay “Dinner”?

So what CAN you add to your dog’s kibble every day? Turns out there are plenty of exciting options.

Before adding anything to your dog’s food…

While most dogs are happy to scarf down anything in their bowl (plus anything they find on the street), it’s important to keep their diet properly balanced. So, before you go nuts on the toppers, let’s go over some ground rules.

Talk to your vet 🩺

Many dogs can tolerate the addition of a few “safe” snacks here and there. But if you’re going to be making long-term daily changes to your pet’s diet, it’s crucial to speak to your vet first!

Your vet can help you decide on the best food toppers for your dog’s health and lifestyle while ensuring their diet remains balanced. This is especially important if your dog is overweight, has any food allergies or medical conditions, or is on a prescription diet.

Read the label 🧐

Along with your pup’s regular kibble or fresh food, you’ll want to read labels on anything you’re planning to add. This is especially important if you’re adding any processed human foods to your dog’s bowl.

Tons of well-meaning pet owners have accidentally given their dogs food containing onions, garlic, high salt or sugar content, or other unsafe ingredients for dogs. Whether you’re doling out precooked chicken, bone broth, or a simple slice of cheese, be sure to read the ingredients and make sure it’s safe for your pup.

Stick to the 10% rule ✅

As a general rule, no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories should come from items outside of their standard diet (which you decided on with your vet… right?). This includes treats, snacks, and yes — food toppers. Feeding any more than this can push your dog’s nutrition out of balance and/or contribute to weight gain.

If you’re unsure how to calculate how many calories your dog needs, talk to your vet. You can also use one of these handy dandy nutrition calculators from the Pet Nutrition Alliance.

Got all that? Now let’s talk about what you can add to your dog’s bowl to make life a little more fun and interesting!

Safe Toppings For Dog Food

So what vegetables can I add to my dogs kibble you may be asking. Well,there are lots of fresh “people” foods you can add in small amounts to your dog’s food to give them a tasty treat, from fruits and vegetables to lean proteins. To keep things fresh and give your dog variety, try rotating items — AKA don’t give the same thing every day for weeks on end. 

Dog-Safe Fruits and Vegetables*

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin (cooked only)
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato (cooked only)
  • Zucchini

* Whenever feeding fruits or vegetables to your dog: Remove any rinds, stems, pits, or seeds. Cut item into small pieces. Keep portions small (remember that 10% rule!), and monitor for any signs of “tummy troubles,” e.g. vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, etc.

Dog with a banana right by its mouth about to eat it

Dog-Safe Proteins and Grains*

  • Chicken, turkey, or fish​​ — cooked, unseasoned, and with skin and bones removed
  • Beef — preferably low-fat cuts with no seasoning or bones
  • Eggs — deshelled, cooked, and chopped
  • Cottage cheese — in very small amounts (a teaspoon or two, depending on the dog’s size)
  • Quinoa — cooked and in small amounts (a tablespoon or two, depending on the dog’s size)
  • Rice — cooked, plain white or brown rice with no seasoning, stick to small amounts (a tablespoon or two, depending on the dog’s size)
  • Peanut butter — just a small drizzle, because peanut butter is high in fat. Always choose natural peanut butter with no added sugars or xylitol (xylitol is toxic to dogs!)

* Be sure any meats or fish are unseasoned and don’t have any skin or bones. Keep portions small, and monitor your dog for any signs of an upset stomach when introducing new foods. Dairy products can cause digestive issues for some dogs, so use extra caution.

In addition to adding your own fresh fruits, veggies, or proteins to your dog’s food, you can also find various fresh food toppers at pet stores and some grocery stores.

These are typically sold in a refrigerated case. They usually contain a mix of pre-cooked meats, grains, and vegetables that are intended to be reheated and added to your pet’s food.

As always, it’s important to check the label and talk to your vet about what’s right for your pet’s individual nutritional needs.

Broth Toppers for Dog Food

Broth is a great way to add some extra flavor and hydration to your dog’s dinner with little to no prep time. Dogs love that warm, brothy goodness!

It’s important to look for broths that are specially formulated for dogs, because many broths you’ll find on supermarket shelves contain waaay too much sodium — not to mention ingredients like onions and garlic, which can harm dogs.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of pet-safe broths sold at pet stores and sometimes even in supermarkets. Just skip the soup aisle and head to the pet food aisle.

Or, if you’re feeling particularly Martha Stewart-y, you can make your own dog broth food topper.

Sauce and Gravy Toppers for Dog Food

Similar to broth toppers, sauces and gravy-like toppers are often sold in pet stores and grocery stores. These typically contain a mixture of ingredients, like thickened stocks and pureed meats and vegetables. Some even come in chunkier, stew-like consistencies for the true canine culinary connoisseur.

If you have a particularly picky pup, sauce toppers can be a great option, thanks to a ton of different flavors, textures, and smells to choose from.

Sprinkle Toppers for Dog Food

Another form of dog food toppers you can find in pet stores or online is sprinkle toppers. These typically contain freeze-dried or dehydrated mixtures of broth powders, pulverized meats, and/or vegetables.

You’ll find endless varieties of these — but one of the most common and loooved by dogs is liver sprinkles. (Yum for dogs, total yuck for humans. 😋🤢)

Hold your breath when you open your pup’s liver sprinkles, because their stinkiness is a big reason dogs love them! Extra-aromatic toppers are sometimes recommended by vets to help entice dogs who have a low appetite.

Vitamin and Fish Oil Toppers

Another great way to enhance your dog’s food with something delicious and nutritious? Vitamin and fish oil toppers. Convenience-wise, these liquid toppers are easy to add to food, and tasty in the ultra-smelly way dogs love.

Remember, always talk to your vet first about whether your dog could benefit from vitamins or fish oils.

Fish Oils for Dogs 🐟

Packed with omega-3s to support a shiny, healthy coat and help reduce inflammation in joints, fish oils are a great way to boost your dog’s nutrition — AND they make a tasty topper.

Our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil (perfect for fish-loving pups) and our Omega-3 Fish Oil (a less smelly option for the pickier pooches among us) are made from 100% premium, wild-caught fish. Read more on some similarities and differences of salmon oil and fish oil to make a better option for your dog. 

A pump or two of fish oil on your dog’s food daily can help reduce symptoms like dry skin, shedding, and achy joints. Plus, omega-3s support their eye and brain health. 

Liquid Vitamins for Dogs 💊

If you feed a novel diet like raw, homemade, or vegan, or your vet has recommended added vitamins for your dog, a liquid vitamin product can be a great topper.

Our Liquid Vitamins For Dogs contains a vet-approved blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, prebiotics, probiotics, and more to help your dog feel their best. It also has an irresistible bacon flavor that’s been known to make dogs lick their bowls clean.

Paramount Pet Health Supplements - Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, Glucosamine (Hip & Join), and Vitamins for Dogs

Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs 🦴

If your pup suffers from joint pain, mobility issues, stiffness or soreness, a liquid glucosamine product can be a great way to help get the pep back in their step.

Our Hip & Joint Formula is made from naturally derived, science-backed ingredients and is super-easy to add to your dog’s food. You can also easily mix it with other broth, sauce, or gravy toppers.

Tl;dr: Choose wisely

There are lots of vitamins and supplements on the market for dogs and the industry is largely unregulated so it’s important to do some research. Look for products that are backed by science, approved by vets, and made from safe ingredients.

One last note: you’ll probably come across food topper blends that contain a mix of foods, vitamins, and herbal supplements. These “wonder toppers” promise to do everything from calming down anxious pups to curing allergies or even “detoxing” your dog’s liver.

Yep, these are some bold claims (especially considering that your dog’s liver, much like your own human liver, does all the detoxing it needs on its own).

While some herbal remedies have their place in pet health, it’s very important to talk to your vet first and be wary of any products making bold claims that use words like “cure” or “detox”.

David knows “detoxes” are full of BS.

Final Tips for Food Toppers

Now that we’ve covered lots of ingredients your dog can have, I want to mention a few things they CAN’T have.

Never feed your dog grapes, raisins, cherries, unripe tomatoes, onions, garlic, avocados, chocolate, macadamia nuts, bread dough, or anything with artificial sweeteners (like xylitol) in it.

Xylitol, which is sometimes labeled as birch sugar, is highly toxic to dogs. It’s a common ingredient in sugar-free baked goods, nut butters (look out for peanut butter especially), candies, and chewing gum.

Steer clear of adding any foods that are fatty, salty, or sugary to your dog’s diet. These can contribute to medical conditions like obesity, pancreatitis, diabetes, and others.

If your dog decides to go full gremlin mode, snatch something off your plate, or dig through the kitchen trash for one of these forbidden snacks, contact your veterinarian or pet poison control right away.

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