Are you tired of watching your dogs walk away from their food too? Often at times, as pet owners we get bummed when our beloved fur buddies seem disinterested in the food we prepare for them. Not only that, most of us constantly worry about our pup’s health and are on the search for a good, cost-effective solution. If you are concerned about these issues as well, dog food toppers might be exactly what you are looking for!
As all pet-lovers know, proper nutrition for pets is essential for their well-being. However, the higher the nutritional value of dog food, the more expensive it becomes. Such costly items are not always affordable, especially if you have multiple dogs and need a lot of food on a daily basis. Dog food toppers, as the name suggests, are additional food items that you can add to your dog’s food to make it more palatable and delicious.
If you want to know more about the delicious and healthy dog food toppers, read on!
Best Dog Food Toppers Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Choosing Dog Food Toppers
Just like dog food, there are many things to consider while choosing food toppers. It’s not as simple as choosing the one that has the most attractive packaging. The better and more suitable food topper you will buy for your dog, likewise you’ll see improvements in their health.
One very important thing you have to keep in mind is that a food topper is an added part of your dog’s usual diet, so there is a possibility of overfeeding and hence obesity. It is important that you subtract the number of calories you are providing as a food topper from the main diet so that your dog stays healthy.
Here are some of the factors you should consider while buying a food topper:
The age of your dog has a really important influence on the type of food topper it needs since dogs of different ages require different amounts of proteins and calories. For example, puppies need a higher amount of proteins and calories as they are still growing, while adult and senior dogs do not need as much. They also need higher amounts of water as dehydration is known to cause deficiencies or illnesses, so a liquid food topper which is packed with proteins might be the way to go for you.
However, if your dog is overweight, you could consider using a powder food topper which usually has a really low-calorie count.
- Breed Sizes
Bigger breeds are often the most active ones, while the smaller ones are more likely to be couch potatoes, so obviously, different breeds of dogs will have different necessities.
If you own a bigger, active breed that is always running and jumping around, try to get it the food toppers that are packed with proteins. Their nutritional needs are the most, hence you can never have the “best” nutritional meals for them.
On the other hand, smaller breeds have lesser needs in terms of proteins, but they can use some extra vitamins, minerals and probiotics, so try to get one that has more of these for them.
Practice Reading the Label and Ingredients
As consumers, we almost always read what’s written on the packaging but fail to understand them. If we look carefully, we would get to know way more about the product than what meets the eye.
For example, there are many words in the labels that have hidden meanings. Phrases like “Chicken for dogs” means that the item has a total of 70% chicken, or 90% chicken excluding the water. Similarly, words like “chicken nuggets” imply that it should have only 25% of chicken. On the more extreme sides, “with cheese” or synonymous phrases mean that it should contain a minimum of 3% of that ingredient.
The “beef flavor” on the other hand, signifies that only trace amounts are necessary. If you know these words properly, you’ll know just how much of protein your dog is going to get from the topper.
While decoding labels is a trickier job, reading the ingredients listed on the body of the food topper should be something you make a habit of doing. The list shows all the details you need to know: the ratio of each ingredient, calories they contain etc. Even though dogs are omnivores, their meals are usually based on meat, so make sure you choose a food topper that has a meat or a meat meal as the first ingredient (unless your dog has been specifically advised otherwise).
Benefits of Using Dog Food Toppers
The first and most important advantage of using food toppers is that it GREATLY increases the palatability of food.
When it comes to feeding our pets, it is very hard to find a good dog food that is both healthy and cost-effective. Even if you do end up finding one, how long can you feed it to your dog without tiring him/her out? No one likes to eat the same food for days after all!
Increasing the quality of dog food often means that the food will be tastier, but that is not always affordable. Hence, if you invest in a few dog food toppers, you’ll be able to mix it up and change the menu often.
Your dog isn’t eating? Pour some liquid food topper or sprinkle some powder ones on top. Your dog is losing weight? Add some extra, nutritious raw food topper that will greatly enhance the calorie count of the food. Want to give your dog a treat after exercising? Why not freeze some broth made from food topper and water and serve them, instead of buying separate treats? There’s only so many ways you can utilize a dog food topper if you get creative.
However, attracting your dog to food is not a food topper’s only job. They often contain important nutrients such as canine glucosamine, omega fatty acids, probiotics, minerals and vitamins which greatly benefit a dog’s health.
Food toppers have been seen to greatly improve the coat and skin of dogs, making them look shiny and healthy. They also help to stabilize a dog’s digestive system, making it less prone to bowel problems. Furthermore, food toppers have been seen to relieve joint pain and stiffness issues as well. Many toppers have anti-inflammatory effects as well.
Q: What are dog food toppers?
A: In basic terms, dog food toppers are food items that can be added to your dog’s usual meal, such as kibble, to improve its overall value and palatability.
They can be either be sauces in bottles, solid pieces in pouches or even, powder in containers. Liquid food toppers can also be called dog food sauce or gravy, and most of the solid ones can be crumbled and added to water to turn them into gravy as well.
Dog food toppers are used to enhance the taste and nutrition of dog food, which can get bland and boring for dogs. They contain great cuts of meat (which can easily be seen raw toppers) and useful vegetables which are rich in vitamins, superfoods and probiotics.
Using food toppers also give pet owners the feeling of making something homemade for their dogs. In this busy world, not everyone has the time or opportunity to cook something for their pets, but we know EVERYONE loves their pet like their own child! Taking the time to mix up things and whip up something nice for your pet will give you a sense of accomplishment.
However, make sure that toppers are used as an additional item to meals UNLESS stated that it can be used on its own. Most toppers do not have the calories or proteins which make them suitable for whole diets.
Q: Will food toppers improve my dog’s health?
A: Yes, and no, depending on how you use them.
If your dog has a meal where he/she is getting sufficient nutrients needed for its good health, then food toppers will not have a significant effect on improving your dog’s health. However, that is rarely the case.
When you keep feeding the same dog food to your dog over a long period of time, you’re basically limiting the number and amount of nutrients your dog is getting. No food is perfect (no matter how much the advertisements claim them to be) hence your dog will always be deprived of certain necessary ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals. While most dog food has the required amount of proteins and calories, they often lack vitamins or probiotics due to the heavy processing they go through, which greatly harms their nutritional value.
On the other hand, food toppers are full of these beneficial items such as anti-oxidants, mineral, vitamins, fibre, fatty acids and what not. They also contain a lot of moisture, which is great for your dog’s hydration. The extra ingredients added by the food topper to the main meal help to make the coat and skin shiny, improve their digestion system and therefore, make their bodies run better.
Also, if you use a food topper that is suitable for your specific dog, it will have a bigger effect on its health. For example, if you have a big bully dog which is very active, a protein-packed food topper will give it a lot of extra strength. Or if you have a sick dog or a lactating bitch, a topper full with flavours and vitamins will make it more eager to have food and therefore improve its overall health.
Q: Can I add homemade food toppers to my dog’s food?
A: Of course, you can. Remember, anything that you add to your dog food can be a food topper. Homemade food toppers can prove to be a cheaper and healthier option amongst commercial food toppers IF they are made correctly and with appropriate proportions.
What we mean by proportions is that you definitely do NOT want to overdo any of the ingredients (beef or chicken or even too many veggies) as too much of anything might cause digestion issues, and neither do you want to give anything too less to the point that it has no value at all. But to make food toppers for your dogs you need to have extensive knowledge about their dietary and nutritional needs which requires expertise, not to mention that it’d be very time consuming.
However, if you can add the correct amount of ingredients, your food topper will definitely be much healthier as it will not go through any rigorous commercial processing and will have no sort of harmful chemical preservatives whatsoever. Since only you know best about your dog’s food habits: what they can or cannot, therefore there will be no chance of having any ingredient in the topper to which your dog is allergic (which is often the case with commercial food toppers).
Q: How often should I use food toppers?
A: As often as you want! It solely depends on you and your dog to be honest.
There are many dogs nowadays that REFUSE to eat their meals until their favourite topper is added. They will twitch their nose and walk away, without even looking at their food till they can somehow sniff the topper. If you are in such circumstances, then using food toppers in every meal might be the only solution you have.
On the other hand, you can use food toppers as occasional treats (the way we go out to eat once a week or two), this way you’ll be changing your dog’s menu once in a while without making much of a dent in your pocket. Many people use these as treats or prizes during their dog’s exercising hours or if it learns a new trick.
The frequency at which you use food toppers should also depend on your budget. If you’re living on a tight one, it is best to not get your furry friend(s) too used to having these toppers.
Q: Can I use food toppers as a whole diet?
A: ONLY if it is specified in the packaging. We’ll explain why.
Most liquid or powder based food toppers are meant solely as toppers, as they mainly either make dry foods wet (therefore more edible), increase the flavours or both. They definitely can never be used as whole diets.
With solid toppers, the calculation is a bit complicated. Many companies advertise that their food topper can be used as a whole diet on its own, but our research has shown that it is not very feasible. This is because, when you use a food topper as a whole diet, you will have to use a hell lot of topper. This greatly increases the cost, as you’ll be going through whole packets much sooner. Hence, dog food+ a bit of food topper is always the wiser and more cost-effective choice. Unless you’re travelling and feeding a pack of food topper is more convenient for you, in that case, you can use it as a whole diet if its packaging says so.