Part of the reason your pup gets so excited about occasional treats or begs for scraps at the dinner table is that just like people, dogs like to have some variety in their diet. However, it is not practical for most people to constantly switch up their canine companion's regular food. Kibble toppers add some variety to your dog's diet and have other benefits for you and your dog.
In their most basic form, kibble toppers are something tasty you pour on top of your dog's regular food. These products come in a variety of flavors and are usually made from meat, vegetables, fruit or a combination of those ingredients. These products are available in both wet and dry varieties and can be shelf-stable or require refrigeration.
While most toppers are intended as a treat or meal enhancer, some varities, such as Stella & Chewy's Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties , can be substituted for your dog's regular food as a meal. However, if you are considering feeding a topper as a meal, you should check the label. Toppers labeled as being for supplemental feeding, should not be used as meal substitutes and it is recommended to limit them to no more than 10% of your dog's diet.
Just like people, dogs can get tired of eating the same food every day. Adding a kibble topper can restore your dog's interest in his regular food. Because kibble toppers are highly palatable, adding them to your dog's food can be a good option for enticing a picky eater to try her food. This can be particularly useful for pet owners who need to feed a special diet, for medical reasons, that their pet does not find appealing. Some toppers come with added supplements, such as glucosamine, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids or probiotics that can enhance your dog's health.
Kibble toppers are not just for dogs who have lost interest in their regular food. The products have several benefits beyond being a tasty treat for your pet:
Additional protein for your dog's diet
Wet varieties add hydration to dry kibble
Encourages adequate food intake in underfed pets
Adds fruits and vegetables to the diet
Increases vitamins and nutrients
Comes in many different flavors and textures, which can add variety to the diet
Wet kibble toppers are similar to wet dog foods and usually contain chunks of meat, fish or poultry in gravy or broth. Some products also include vegetables. Broth and gravy options, such as Merrick's Grain Free Bone Broth , are also available. Dry products contain many of the same ingredients as the wet versions, but have been freeze-dried, air-dried or dehydrated.
Wet dog foods are a bit more similar to what your dog might eat if she had to feed herself. Because dry foods do not contain the moisture that comes with eating raw meat or whole fruits and vegetables, if you feed an entirely dry diet, your dog must rely mostly on drinking water to stay hydrated. Some dogs do not drink enough water to maintain optimum hydration. Additionally, dogs with poor kidney function may benefit from more fluids in the diet. Adding a wet kibble topper to your dog's diet can help him stay hydrated.
Dry kibble can be less messy, less prone to bacteria growth and easier to store because it is shelf-stable. Some dogs may prefer the crunchy texture of products such as this one from Canine Caviar . Mixing a wet topper with dry food or vice versa could be a good way to give your dog the best of both worlds.
Semi-moist or dry toppers can be a good option if you want to use the product as a treat, because they can be hand-fed to your pet more easily than a wet food. A gravy or broth topper works well for adding flavor and nutrition to your dog's regular food, without making it overly filling.
Kibble toppers can either be poured on top of your dog's regular food or mixed in with it. Unless your dog needs to gain weight, you may need to decrease the amount of the base food to avoid potential weight gain. Check the package for nutritional information and serving size as a guideline for much you should feed your pet.
The best topper for you and your pet depends mostly on your and your dog's preferences. Check the labels for nutritious ingredients, such as high-quality meat, and avoid varities with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Experiment with different textures and flavors of toppers until you find the ones your dog likes best. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns or your pet has a health condition, is on a special-diet or needs to lose or gain weight. If you purchase a brand that contains supplements, such as this Stella & Chewy's product that contains added probiotics and antioxidants, be sure to clear it with your vet before you start feeding it to your pooch.
Whether you are trying to entice a picky eater, looking to boost the nutrition in your dog's diet or just want to offer your pet a tasty treat, kibble toppers can be a good option. With so many types and flavors on the market, you are bound to find one that your dog loves. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before changing your dog's diet.