What Are Pet Food Toppers & Why Use Them?
Pet food toppers are additional foods that you can add to your pet’s bowl to increase palatability, health and variety. Pet food toppers can be a valuable tool for digestion and weight loss and can offer many other advantages, such as aiding with hydration, regulating diarrhea and constipation and adding nutrients to the diet. Besides the endless health benefits, they can bring a little surprise and delicious variation to your pet’s meals!
Toppers do not have to be expensive or complicated. However, don’t forget each dog and cat is different, and their individual needs may change.
#1 – Toppers Found in the Kitchen
Easy to add toppers from around the kitchen include apple cider vinegar, which can be used as a digestive aid, yogurt, which contain probiotics for gut health, as well as fruit and vegetables such as bananas, zucchini and apples. Here is an article that focuses on which veggies to use most, which to use in moderation and which to avoid. Puree vegetables to help your dog more easily digest them!
Other kitchen toppers can include coconut oil for its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties or pumpkin which is perfect for helping with upset tummies and supporting the digestive system. Even raw chicken eggs or raw quail eggs can be a great addition a few times a week!
#2 – Liquid Toppers
Add some moisture and healthy foods to your cat or dog’s diet with liquid toppers!
Goat milk is known as the “universal milk” and can be easily absorbed by a variety of mammals. Adding it to your pet’s food can help improve digestion, help with skin allergies and also decrease yeast issues, as it balances out the bacteria in your cat or dog’s digestive system. In addition, it helps your pet obtain their daily need for moisture. The bodies of both dogs and cats consist of 65% moisture and are designed to obtain water from the foods they eat. Raw goat’s milk is 88% moisture!
Primal Goat Milk uses healthy goats to produce their milk, while following strict testing regulations. Primal uses goats that are on a ‘Certified Humane’ family farm. All goats are raised hormone and antibiotic-free. Primal adds important spices and supplements to the all-natural goat milk including cinnamon (added as an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal and can assist with arthritis and muscular inflammation in older animals), ginger (added as a digestive aid and natural antioxidant) and turmeric (added as a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifier).
Other goat milk options we like: Honest Kitchen Goat Milk and Big Country Raw Goat Milk
Bone broth is made by slow cooking animal bones and connective tissues for long periods. The result is a rich broth full of amino acids, collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, electrolytes, calcium, and other minerals and nutrients. Bone broth has incredible health benefits, primarily for the gut and connective tissues. Bone broth can help to strengthen the lining of the entire digestive system, fight food sensitivities, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and control inflammation. The collagen in bone broth encourages healthy skin, hair and nails. Nutritious and a great solution for many pet health issues, bone broth:
- Supports the immune system
- Aids in digestion
- Supports liver function
- Suitable for joint health (high in glucosamine)
- Provides moisture
- High in vitamins and minerals
Borderland Bone Broths are available in a variety of flavours. Chicken, which is antibiotic free, organic and gently cooked to extract maximum nutrients. Beef, which is from Canadian farmers and ethically raised, as well as antibiotic and hormone-free. And finally bison and turkey which are both organically grown.
Other bone broth options we like: Primal Bone Broth and Open Farm Bone Broth
#3 – Healthy Supplements
There are many examples of healthy supplements that can be used as toppers to increase nutrient value of the meal as well as improve health. Here are a few examples:
Probiotics help support your pet’s skin, coat, digestion, immune system, and more. They can be added into dry, wet food, raw or home-cooked meals, suitable for dogs and cats.
Probiotics we like: Healthy Gut by Adored Beast and Feline Gut Soothe by Adored Beast
Greens / Whole Food Toppers
Whole food supplements contain many natural vitamins, minerals, and probiotics!
Nature’s Logic All Food Fortifier is a nutritious whole food supplement that you can use to augment your pet’s diet. The ingredients are 100% all-natural food sources such as chicken liver, sardine meal, egg shell, kelp, vegetables and more!
Carna4 Ground Sprouted Seeds is a food topper that can be added to your dog’s meal to boost the nutritional value or add essential vitamins and minerals. Inside each package contains 100% raw sprouted, organic barley, flaxseed and lentil seeds ground into a fine powder rich in live probiotics, plant enzymes, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1, fibre, omega-3, protein, manganese, lignans, fibre and much more. Giving your pet a boost in the maintenance and support of muscles, skin, coat, joints, digestion, kidneys and immune system. Made in Canada.
Other Whole Food Supplements we like: Carnivora Earth Greens, Adored Beast Phytosynergy, Missing Link, and Primal Elixirs
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3’s are useful for reducing inflammation and joint health. Think about the inflammatory conditions our dogs suffer: allergies, joint disease and heart disease. Daily omega oil supplements are a natural way to help take care of your pet’s health.
Omega supplements we like: Baie Run Omega Fish Oil, Grizzly Salmon Oil, Carnivora Omega Blend, Big Country Raw Herring Oil or Hemp oil, Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil
#4 – Wet Food Toppers
Add some moisture and nutrients with canned, pouched or tetra-pack toppers.
Honest Kitchen Pour Overs – Jazz up your canine’s dry food with The Honest Kitchen Pour Overs Stew. Made with just eight ingredients including turkey bone broth, turkey, spinach, kale and broccoli, this recipe serves as a delicious and nutritious stew that’s pourable too. With a wide variety of flavours to choose from, each slow-cooked stew is grain-free and made with 100% natural ingredients.
Other wet food toppers we like: Almo cans, canned whole sardines
Note: Some canned or pouch foods will list on the label they are for supplemental feeding only. These are not complete meals to be fed every day, but are a great choice as a wet food topper.
#5 – Dry Toppers
Dry toppers can include dehydrated, air-dried or freeze-dried products! If you see something labelled as a meal mixer, it likely falls under this category.
Crumps Naturals Beef Liver Sprinkles– Beef Liver Sprinkles are made from 100% Canadian beef liver ground into a granular powder. Make any food more palatable with a dash of this liver! This treat is all-natural, low-fat, grain-free, gluten-free, single-ingredient and high in protein. No additives, preservatives or artificial colours.
Yappetizers Dehydrated Herring– Herring are an excellent natural source of omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, minerals and essential vitamins. Yappetizers Herring makes a great food topper or treat for training and is sourced in Canada from federally inspected facilities.
Yappatizers Kangaroo– Kangaroo meat, sourced from Australia, is a good source of valuable b-vitamins, including vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.
Ziwi Peak air-dried food is fantastic healthy pet food. However, it can be over budget for some pet parents to feed at each meal, so adding this to your pet’s bowl as a topper can be a great compromise. Each bag is full of natural ingredients chock full of nutrients to help with skin, coat, joints, digestion and more. Ziwi Peak uses a natural air-drying process, allowing it to keep its vital nutrients while destroying harmful bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella. The results are digestible, palatable, rich in nutrients and a high protein recipe that all dogs of any age will love.
Ziwi Peak comes in a variety of flavours such as: Lamb, Venison, Beef, Chicken, Tripe and Lamb and Lamb & Mackerel.
There are many freeze dried products available that can be used as toppers, and most of them have short ingredient lists that consist mostly of meat.
Freeze Dried toppers we like: Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers or Superblend Meal Mixers, Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Mixer, Boo Boo Toppers and K9 Naturals Freeze Dried products
#6 – Other Toppers
Tripe is full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, digestive enzymes and protein. Green tripe can be great for putting weight on your pet and is particularly significant if your dog has gut issues, at it naturally contains probiotics. Even if your pup is fit, they will benefit from all this natural goodness because green tripe:
- Boosts the immune system
- Assists in building healthy muscle
- Supports healthy skin and coat
- Maintains and supports healthy digestion
K9 Natural Dehydrated Green Tripe– is made strictly with grass-fed beef tripe produced in and sourced from the lush and clean lands of New Zealand. Suitable for dogs of all breeds and life stages.
Other tripe options we like: Big Country Raw Tripe, Tripett Canned, Vital Essentials Tripe and Nammy’s Beef Tripe Burrito
Fun Ways to Incorporate Toppers
1 – Freeze bone broth, yogurt, pureed vegetables, or goat milk etc. into square ice cubes or fun shapes to provide your pet on a hot day.
2 – Change it up! Give them different toppers frequently. This provides an array of nutrients as well as variety for your pet.