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!

The Best Dog Food Toppers

1 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Food Topper

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Food Topper
Key features:
  • Brand: Stella & Chewy’s
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 50 kcal/1/4 cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

Many people prefer raw food for their dogs which is why Stella & Chewy’s “Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixers” definitely stand out in our criteria of “best raw dog food topper”. As most of us know, preparing a raw meal is no easy task as it involves prepping a lot of meat or bones and that too in careful, fixed proportions. But with Stella & Chewy’s mix, all you need to do with this raw food is scoop up and serve!

This freeze-dried food topper contains 90% meat, organs and bones which are full of nutrients, alongside organic probiotics, vegetables and whatnot. It is important being a part of conscientious consumer society that we care about our environment. To put such concerns at ease, they guarantee that all their proteins are either grass-fed or wild-caught and all other vegetables used are “responsibly-sourced” in organic farms.

The manufacturers claim that this meal mixer can be used as both a food topper and a stand-alone meal, and customers have reviewed that it is true and their dogs have loved it as both. They also claim that the recipe and ingredients of this meal mixer work to improve your dog’s stamina, vitality, skin and coat, and also help to maintain a healthy weight, teeth and gums, and this has been proven true by their satisfied and happy users as well.

Ingredients:

Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries, Organic Spinach, Organic Broccoli, Organic Beets, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Blueberries, Fenugreek Seed, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Sodium Phosphate, Tocopherols (Preservative), Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid.

What others say about it:
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I’ve got a 13 year old dog that is starting to get pickier about his food. He’s even started to turn his nose up at some canned foods. So I decided to try mixing in some freeze-dried nuggets. I tried several different brands and he seems to like the Stella & Chewy brand the best. Glad to find something he’ll eat that’s made with good ingredients.

The nuggets are a decent size for dogs – not too big for a small dog, but not tiny for larger dogs. They do break apart easily or you can even crush them to make gravy like paste with water to mix in their normal food. You can put them on the food dry or add a little bit of water and hydrate it as well. My dogs like the beef, chicken, and turkey flavors – I haven’t tried the seafood one yet. I’ve even caught one of my cats grabbing the nuggets out of the dog dish to eat, so I’ve started getting the kitty version of the product for her.

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2 Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers Chicken Food Topper

Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers Chicken Food Topper
Key features:
  • Brand: The Honest Kitchen
  • First 5 ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Dried Apples, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Kale, Dried Blueberries
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 45.8 kcal/tbsp
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

Have you ever wondered whether humans can eat dog food, or if they will have stomach issues when they do so? While that might be the case with most dog-foods, it certainly is not for any product of the Honest Kitchen!

The proper toppers are so well-made from the best ingredients that they are fit for human consumption. They are made of 5 ingredients: a vegetable base of pumpkins, blueberries, apples, chard and a protein that depends on the flavour (Beef, turkey, fish and chicken). What you see is just what you get: we could actually see many of these ingredients in the small pieces!

The honest kitchen has quite a reputation when it comes to dog food, and users have said that they always deliver. Their proper toppers are claimed to have improved the digestion of 75% dogs (a huge number indeed!) amongst 6289 genuine customers.

This item can be used as a dry food topper, a whole meal when mixed with a little amount of water, or even as tasty treats!

Ingredients:

Dehydrated Chicken, Dried Apples, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Kale, Dried Blueberries, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

What others say about it:
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Healthy and my dogs love it. I have always tried to give my dogs the best nutrition and this brand gets a 10 for making my job easy.

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3 Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts

Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potato Starch
  • Primary Protein Source: Beef, Chicken, Salmon, Duck
  • Calories: 77 Kcals/pouch.
  • Flavor: Beef, Chicken, Salmon, Duck
  • Life Stage: Adult

One of the more expensive options, these food toppers will satisfy all your dog’s desires without ever making it bored! Unlike other food topper packages which come in a large pouch of 1 flavour only (which can bore your pet eventually), this variety pack comes with 16 small pouches: 4 each of 4 different flavours!

As these pouches are quite small, they can only be used as food toppers or treats; not whole meals. Customers have reviewed the product stating that their puppies and adult dogs love it when these toppers are added to their meals, and usually lick their bowl clean! And don’t worry, many picky dogs too have given these packs their approval.

Their products are wheat, soy and corn free, ingredients which have been known to cause allergy in many dogs. This is definitely one of the best dog food gravy topper we have on our list!

For more information on the brand, check out our Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Beef, Chicken, Salmon, Duck, Chicken Broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Carbonate.

What others say about it:
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My little monster is picky picky picky. She won’t eat dry dog food unless starving. She doesn’t like wet dog food but loves when they are mixed all together.

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4 FLAVORS Human Grade Grain-Free Dog Food Topper

FLAVORS Human Grade Grain-Free Dog Food Topper
Key features:
  • Brand: FLAVORS
  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Dehydrated Beef Broth, Potato Starch, Dehydrated Sweet Potato
  • Primary Protein Source: Beef
  • Calories: 18 kcal/teaspon
  • Flavor: Red Meat
  • Life Stage: Adult

If you want a hassle-free topper that doesn’t even require any measuring or prepping, then this powder topper is definitely what you are looking for! Not only is this topper incredibly convenient, it is amazingly versatile as well.

This powder of deliciousness can be used as a topper simply by being sprinkled on to the kibble, as a broth or gravy by being mixed with water in a fixed ratio, or as a hydration boosting technique by adding a tiny amount to drinking water. Another innovative way of using this is to add this to water and freeze it, turning them into ice-cube treats! In whatever way you use it, it guarantees taste and nutrition!

However, a downside of this food topper is its packaging. It does not have a sprinkler which is ideal for getting small amounts out, and customers have reviewed that way too much falls out when you are trying to sprinkle it onto food. On the other hand, most users have said that is a huge hit with finicky eaters.

One added advantage this powder has is that it comes in a variety of unique flavours: Peanut butter and white cheddar alongside the usual chicken and beef.

Check out our review of the Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters.

Ingredients:

Beef, Dehydrated Beef Broth, Potato Starch, Dehydrated Sweet Potato.

What others say about it:
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My dog has become so picky. She was put on Reduced weight dog food and would refuse it. I bought the beef powder in hopes it would help and it worked. She is eating the food again. I mix it with warm water to make a gravy. Im a believer in this stuff.

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5 Brutus Bone Broth for Dogs

Brutus Bone Broth for Dogs
Key features:
  • Brand: Brutus
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Broth, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Vegetable Broth, Sea Salt, Chicken Flavor
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 5kcal/serving
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

If your dog is particularly fussy you ideally want to find something that can pile on the flavor without stacking the calories. Brutus Bone broth only adds a negligible 5 calories per serving to your dog’s meal, so it’s great for dogs that are prone to weight gain. This all-natural recipe is filled with Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements, which can help to reverse cartilage loss. These supplements can also help the cartilage tissue remain flexible and hydrated, making your dog’s bones more resilient against impact stress.

Using a bone broth with your dog’s food doesn’t only make it more palatable, but can help ease your dog’s digestion. Dry kibble is a common cause of constipation in dogs, especially if they don’t drink often enough. Adding Brutus Bone Broth to their food will provide your pup with the necessary hydration, as well as additional nutrients and vitamins to keep their digestive tract running smoothly.

Brutus Bone Broth is an ideal food topper to help keep your pooch’s teeth, skin, hair, and nails healthy. And when you use this broth for your dog, you’re also helping others. Brutus prides itself on the fact that with each purchase made, a portion of the profits will go to helping animals in need. Brutus also use eco-friendly recyclable packaging in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve the environment.

Ingredients:

Chicken Broth, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Vegetable Broth (Sweet Potato, Carrot, Celery), Sea Salt, Chicken Flavor, Chondroitin Sulfate, Yeast Extract, Modified Potato Starch, Natural Flavor (Contains Torula Yeast), Turmeric.

What others say about it:
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I’m one of those people that makes their own dog food and dog treats. You could say I am extremely particular with what I feed my dog. After some reading and research I learned that bone broth would a great way to supplement my dog’s diet to help ensure that the food I was making her was nutritionally complete. That’s when I discovered Brutus Bone Broth. I love that it is made with human grade ingredients and is 100% natural. As someone who does make their own dog food, human grade ingredients is extremely important to me and my dog really seems to like it. I will be purchasing again.

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6 Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers

Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers
Key features:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Chicken Heart, Carrots
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 244 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

Another expensive option (as reviewed by customers) is this range of soft, irresistible raw food toppers. These have been around for quite some now, and have proved their worth ever since.

This food topper can be used as treats, as dry toppers, or even as wet gravy by crumbling the pieces and mixing them with water. Instinct is a brand that promotes raw food for pets, hence they make sure that all their ingredients are whole, pure and as organic as possible.

We have seen that this food topper does a great job in improving any dog’s coat and skin, making them shiny and healthy, and customers have agreed that it did indeed improve their pet’s digestion too. If you want to participate in charity, then buying these food toppers is a good way to go as Instinct provides over a million meals annually to pets in Best Friends’ adoption centres.

Ingredients:

Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Chicken Heart, Carrots, Apples, Butternut Squash, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Broccoli, Mixed Tocopherols (for freshness), Apple Cider Vinegar, Salmon Oil, Rosemary Extract, Blueberries, Dried Chicory Root.

What others say about it:
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I use them as training treats as well as an additive to my Golden Retriever’s meals for a little variety. He loves, loves, loves them!!!! The lamb flavored for a training teat cannot be beat. It’s almost impossible to get him to release a ball even using “real food”, however he loves these kibbles and easily drops the ball. Cannot say enough good things about this food.

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7 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Chicken Broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product
  • Primary Protein Source: Beef
  • Calories: 77 Kcals/pouch.
  • Flavor: Beef
  • Life Stage: Adult

If you are a fan of the blue wilderness wild cut trail toppers but of A SPECIFIC flavour, then buying the variety pack will be a loss. We know, there are some dogs who stick to one particular taste and turn up their nose to walk away when they smell something else.

For those dogs, blue wilderness has another pack. These packs contain 24 pouches of the same flavour (one of chunky beef bites, chunky chicken bites, chunky duck bites and chunky salmon bites), all of 3 ounces each.

These pouches are in no way meant to be whole meals. They are appropriate as an additional wet supplement to make dog food more interesting or as special treats during the day. Picky dogs seem to like the taste a lot more and customers have claimed that it helped their dogs finish meals and gain weight.

Ingredients:

Beef: Beef, Chicken Broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Carbonate.

What others say about it:
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My dog can be a picky eater but when I start her dinner off with a Blue Buffalo topper, her appetite improves. It is a great addition to dry food & the boiled chicken breast that I feed her.

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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:

  • Age

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.

You may also like our review of Dog Food for Weight Loss.

  • 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.

Hungry dog

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.

Best Dog Food Toppers FAQ

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.

Read here our guide on Pet Food Containers.

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.

Hungry beagle dog

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, fiber, 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 flavors 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 favorite 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 flavors 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 traveling 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.

Eloise Hands

Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.

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