Did you ever think that there is a reason why your dog loves to counter surf? That savory and delicious food that you enjoy each day has flavor and variety whereas their kibble is bland and boring. Let’s be honest, given the choice, you would try and snag a bite of that juicy steak too! More importantly, your dog may be craving a different diet because theirs is fundamentally lacking.

Kibble has all of the essential nutrients that our dogs need to survive, but these animals are omnivores. Before we domesticated them, canines enjoyed a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and of course, protein. That is why Rocking Paw Dog Trainer Viktoria Haynes recommends that pet parents consider elevating their dog’s mealtimes by adding toppers to their diets! 

Dog Toppers
Photo Credit: Viktoria Haynes
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First and foremost, it is important to note that toppers are not considered a healthy diet on their own. These are a supplement to their kibble. Therefore, they should “make up no more than 10% of your dogs daily meals,” Haynes stated. She advises adding one fruit, one to two vegetables, hydration, protein, and any veterinarian recommended supplements to one feeding each day. Here are the safe and healthy options that you likely already have in your fridge to add to their dinner menu!

Fruits

Dogs & Fruit
Photo Credit: Viktoria Haynes
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Fruit is a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals that also adds a burst of flavor to their meal! However, Haynes noted that “with all fruit, only give a small amount due to the high sugar values. Moreover, remove all of the peels, rinds, seeds, and stems and make sure that the pieces are small enough to not pose a choking hazard.”  Finally, canned fruits are loaded with unnecessary sugar so avoid giving these to your pets. 

Top Options to Choose From:

  • Apples 
  • Banana 
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cooked Cranberries 
  • Pears 
  • Watermelon
  • Berries (Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) 

Vegetables

Dog Toppers 2
Photo Credit: Viktoria Haynes
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Just like with humans, vegetables add lots of nutrients and fiber to a pup’s diet. These should never be seasoned and if you choose canned varieties, make sure that no salt is added.

Top Options to Choose From:

  • Broccoli (Raw or Cooked)
  • Brussel sprouts (Cooked)
  • Asparagus (Cooked)
  • Celery (Raw of Cooked)
  • Cucumber (Raw)
  • Carrots (Raw or Cooked)
  • Green beans (Raw or Cooked)
  • Sugar, Snap, or Snow Peas (Cooked)
  • Regular & Sweet Potatoes (Cooked)
  • Pumpkin (Cooked)
  • Canned Pumpkin (Must be 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling) 

Hydration

Bone Broth For Dogs
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In terms of hydration, make sure that your pups are getting plenty of water throughout the day, especially in the scorching summer months. In addition to this, you can also add bone broth that is specifically tailored for dogs. This detail is extremely important because the varieties made for humans have onions and garlic in the ingredients, which are both dangerous for dogs. Chewy and PetSmart both carry pet safe brands for an affordable price!

Furthermore, goat’s milk and kefir are other great options to help your dog stay hydrated and aid with their digestion. These are both loaded with probiotics. Just remember that a little goes a long way. Aim for two ounces or less of goat’s milk for every 20 pounds of pup! Kefir should only be one to two teaspoons per 16 pounds. 

Protein

Eggs
Photo by Morgane Perraud on Unsplash
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Approximately 18% of an adult dog's diet should be protein, with puppies and active dogs requiring even more. Adding protein to one of your dog's meals can help to supplement what is missing from their basic kibble.

However, please don't forget that if you choose to feed them raw meat, remove the fat and any bones (these can splinter and are therefore not safe). Moreover, make sure that you are meticulous with the cleaning of your hands and their feeding bowls before and after serving these types of foods.

Top Options to Choose From:

  • Cooked egg
  • Cooked Ground Turkey or Lean Beef
    Canned Fish (Sardines, Mackerel, and Salmon) – MUST BE CANNED IN WATER
  • Freeze Dried Raw Meats

Finally, make sure to check out the list below of foods to NOT feed your dog. 

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