Kibble, cooked food and even raw diets can sometimes seem a bit mundane for our dog. How would you like to eat the same thing every single day? And while these diets are balanced (or at least they should be), sometimes it’s nice to spice things up for our furry. And what better (and easier!) way to do so with some fresh foods.
Not only are we adding a special treat to mealtime, but adding real food to our dog’s diet can provide additional nutrients, helping boost their health.
It’s important to note that when incorporating fresh food into your dog’s meal to ensure you are decreasing their dog food; otherwise, your pooch may put on a few extra pounds, which could lead to obesity and a number of other health issues.
Here are a few very easy toppers you can add to your dog’s food. (Remember to consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist before introducing anything new to your dog.)
These little fish pack a healthy punch for our dogs. Sardines have amino acids, vitamins D and B12, omega-3s and coenzyme Q10, all of which are beneficial to our pups. The nutrients help boost your dog’s immune system, have anti-inflammatory benefits and provide energy. Plus, the protein dog food topper aides in building healthy bones and muscle. And because they are considered a short-lived fish, meaning they don’t amass toxins like mercury, over time.
When purchasing sardines, make sure you buy ones that don’t have any added salt. It’s best to go for fresh ones (though, watch out for bones). You can also purchase canned sardines, but stick to sardines packed in water. Crumble them on your dog’s food two to three times a week for a healthy topper.
This nutrient-dense vegetable is the perfect dog food topper for your pup. Rich in vitamin A, pumpkin not only can boost your pup’s immune system but protect it from free radicals and possibly stave off infections.
Potassium and vitamin C are heart-healthy, while the high amount of fiber can help your dog if she is constipated or has diarrhea.
Just put a dollop of pumpkin on your dog’s food. For canned pumpkin, make sure it is plain and not for making pumpkin pie (i.e. added sugar for the filling).
These protein crumbles have iron, vitamins A and B and folate, making them a very nutritious dog food topper. Plus, they can be served a variety of ways, including boiled, scrambled or over easy. Just avoid using butter or oil.
Some dog parents are comfortable giving their dogs raw eggs as there are added nutrients that you can’t find in cooked eggs, making them nearly a complete source of nutrition for your pooch. But keep in mind, raw eggs do come with risks, including salmonella and biotin deficiency.
You can also give your dog the shell, which has a ton of calcium in it. Just put it in a coffee grinder and sprinkle on top.
While eggs make a great topper for your dog’s food, avoid giving to your pup too much, as overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues.
A great source for probiotics, yogurt can be a yummy dog food topper for your best friend. While there are various opinions on probiotics benefits, many believe they can help with gut health, digestive issues and boost immunity. Also, yogurt is high in protein and calcium. Make sure your dog isn’t lactose intolerant before adding as a dog food topper. Also, when you buy yogurt, stick to low-fat or fat-free and the plain variety (artificial flavors may have xylitol, a toxin to dogs). Greek yogurt tends to have less sugar and sale, but more protein. And make sure it has live, active bacteria to reap the proactive benefits.
5. Fresh fruit
Fruits are an easy way to incorporate additional nutrients into your dog’s diet. Berries are great for antioxidants and phytonutrients. Watermelon and cantaloupe not only have beneficial nutrients but are also low in calories and a good source of water and fiber. But keep in mind, both are high in sugar so provide in moderation. Apples have vitamins A and C, along with fiber and are great for dental care. Pears are yummy, too, as they also fiber, along with vitamin C and K and copper. Bananas are great for dogs, too, especially for those who may have trouble chewing. Chock-full of potassium and fiber, along with being low in calories and cholesterol, they may be the perfect treat. But just like the other fruits, they are high in sugar so don’t go overboard.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.