Canine nutrition is a hot topic amongst dog lovers. Despite all the opinions on what the best dog food is, all dog owners want to help their dog live a long, healthy life.
No matter what food you choose to feed your dog, there are some ways to spice up their food bowl, add some interest, and valuable nutrition. Even the pickiest pups are sure to find something they like on this list.
One word of advice, when adding toppers to your dog’s meal, a safe rule of thumb is to limit toppers to 10% of their total caloric intake, unless creating a balanced, homemade diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
Here are some ideas to make mealtimes more exciting and nutritious:
Having a supply of hardboiled eggs on hand is one of the easiest ways to add quality protein to your dog’s dish. An egg contains about 6 grams of protein and around 70 calories of pure nutrients. Eggs are also a good source of Omega 3’s and choline, an important macronutrient. You can also add a raw egg as a good source of biotin to your German shepherd’s meal to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat
2. Yogurt, Kefir or goats milk
Plain yogurt, kefir, and goat’s milk are full of probiotics that benefit gut health. But be sure to buy only sugar free, as natural as possible, and should contain only milk and yogurt cultures. Yogurt is a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamins D and K2, and essential fatty acids. More good news about yogurt, some lactose intolerant dogs can tolerate kefir or goats milk without digestive upset. Start with a teaspoon full to see how your dog likes the tangy flavor.
Some good grains such as chia seeds or hemp seeds add interest and are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. They also contain protein, potassium, and magnesium. However, dogs can’t metabolize grains as well as meat so if you’re adding to the meal only for Omega 3’s, sardines are a better choice.
Water packed sardines are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Dogs love to gobble up these stinky little fish that don’t live long enough to absorb the toxins that other wild caught fish can. Sardines are also a good source of taurine for heart health.
Pumpkin is not only good for digestive upset. Cooked pumpkin is full of fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, zinc, iron, vitamin A, E and C, which helps to protect the immune system. Dogs also love this vegetable. If you buy canned, be sure to get plain cooked pumpkin and not pie filling.
6. Bone broth
Dogs love bone broth and it’s a treat that is cheap and easy to make. It’s great for the gut, joints, skin, fur, appetite stimulation, and hydration. This tasty topper can also be used as a base for healthy soup toppers.
7. Dog Stew
Making a pot of dog soup is an excellent way to add yummy nutrition to your dog’s meal. Made with bone broth, it’s even healthier. To make add chopped, healthy vegetables and meat of your choice to the broth and cook, just as you would for yourself (but without salt). Some vegetable ideas include carrots, celery, peas, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and kale.
8. Meat protein
Dogs love meat and by adding a small amount of meat protein to their food bowl makes them very happy. Most dogs can safely tolerate beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, bison, and goat. For dogs that need a low-fat diet, be sure to choose the leanest cuts and remove all fat.
Dogs don’t need added sugar but fruit in small amounts can be very healthy and contain lots of antioxidants. Some dog friendly fruits include apples, blueberries, peaches, honeydew, and watermelon. Always remove the seeds and keep portions small.
Gently steamed or sautéed vegetables can add a powerhouse of nutrition without adding fat or many calories. Great veggie options include carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale, celery, lettuce, green beans, and squash. Try mixing meat and veggies to make it extra tasty.
11. Coconut oil
Organic, cold pressed coconut oil is a great source of healthy fats, in small quantities (apx ¼ teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight-less if it causes weight gain). Coconut oil is great for the skin and fur but also brain health. It can also be safely applied topically to relieve dry, itchy skin or used as a toothpaste.
We hope you enjoy these tips and hope you’ll pass them along to your dog loving friends.
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