What Are Dog Food Toppers Anyway? A Helpful Guide

Three Minutes
Aug 11, 2022

As silly as it sounds, dogs do get bored with their meals. You may be dealing with a picky eater who may prefer what’s on your dinner plate instead of what’s in their bowl. Fear not! There are ways to spice up your dog’s routine that you and your vet can figure out.

Consider additions like dog food toppers, which are simply any additions to “top” a meal. Think of it like a vinaigrette or sauce that you may add to your salads or meats!

Dog food toppers come in many varieties and price points. So what should you choose?

What Is the Benefit of Dog Food Toppers?

Dog food toppers on the market will make all sorts of claims, like they’re providing vitamins or aiding digestion. While it’s difficult to support these claims, there are some general things they can offer:

  1. Moisture: Most dog food toppers at the pet store are gravies, soups, or steamed meats. These sorts of toppers are excellent sources of water, and they can improve the texture of your pet’s meals and entice them to finish their plates
  2. Variety: If you opt for a premade topping, get a handful to sample. Keep an eye out for sales on a variety of packs of dog food toppers. Try introducing your dog to seafood, veggies, and other proteins that they don’t normally eat like lamb or beef liver. Soon you’ll have some go-to favorites that your pal will enjoy!
  3. Supplements: Keep an eye out for toppers that are enriched with specific vitamins and minerals. Key phrases to look for are “joint health,” “healthy digestion,” or “shiny coat.” This means that the developer added vitamins or crafted the recipe to enrich your dog's diet.

It’s important to discuss these sorts of additions to your dog’s diet with your veterinarian because they understand the nitty-gritty nature of the pet food industry. Listen carefully to their suggestions and monitor your dog’s health. After all, treats and toppers shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their diet!⁴

Types of Dog Food Toppers

Whether you want to start introducing your dog to yummy treats or they’ve decided they don’t like their meals — here are some ideas on where to start.

Homemade toppers at home

There are plenty of human foods your dog can eat, so next time you’re preparing your dog’s dinner, consider adding the following on top:

  • Bone broth
  • Boiled eggs
  • Steamed carrots and green beans
  • Shredded chicken and rice
  • Sardines in water
  • Plain mashed sweet potatoes

There are plenty of options available to you once you know what’s safe. Test out a few different meal mixers to learn what your dog likes; this will break your pal (and you) out of the mealtime rut you are in.

Dry dog food toppers

If your pup likes kibble, fear not — there are dry food toppers, too! These products may be a mix of fruits and vegetables or just plain old chicken. Look for high-quality products that are freeze-dried because these typically last longer on the shelf, which may prove more cost-effective if you have multiple dogs to feed.

A woman reading a bag of dog food with a small dog in her arms.

Wet food toppers

This one is a no-brainer! Choose a high-protein breakfast for your pup that’s water-based or covered in gravy. If you choose to buy something ready-made, the packages are usually resealable or in a can. It’s important to follow storage guidelines closely to avoid exposing your dog to salmonella (which could be passed on to other family members).⁵

Toppers on the go

On-the-go snacks for your pal should be quick, portable, and dense enough to keep their bellies full. The freeze-dried products are a good option here if you’re going somewhere without a cooler during a long hike or some other outing.

The best dog food toppers will probably be pre-packed fruits and vegetables. Take a few moments to cut up some of these dog-safe treats in containers to carry with you. This will take the guesswork out of what you’ll feed them when you’re on vacation or away from home.

Top Off Your Dog’s Care With Insurance

The sky's the limit when it comes to dog food toppers, so take your time and have fun exploring new foods with your best friend. When in doubt, stick with homemade treats so you can control the additives and sodium levels in their diet. Chat with your vet about the current trends in the dog food industry. They can recommend additions that may improve your dog’s lifestyle.

While you’re at it, top off your dog’s care by adding dog insurance into their life. Metlife’s MetLife’s Pet Insurance policies often cover wellness care visits where you can discuss your dog’s diet to ensure they can play for years to come.¹’²

Protect your Dog

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¹ Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MGIC”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MGIC’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MGIC to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

² Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

³ “Why Your Dog Isn't Eating and What to Do,” Preventative Vet

⁴ “Are You Feeding Your Dog The Right Amount?,” PetMD

⁵ “Proper Storage of Pet Food & Treats,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration.