Do you have a picky pup at home? Many pooch parents find it difficult to entice their canine companions to finish their doggie dinners.
Thankfully, food toppers can provide an excellent way to improve the taste of boring kibble so that your mutt finishes all of his meals. They can also provide a great way to sneak some additional nutritional value into your dog’s diet.
There are plenty of places to buy high-quality dog food toppers, but you can also make some at home! We’ll share 23 of the very DIY best dog food topper ideas below.
16 Single-Ingredient Homemade Dog Food Toppers
Here are some of our favorite single-ingredient toppers you can use to spruce up Spot’s food if you’re in a pinch. These quick and easy toppers are all safe foods for dogs and humans to share and most of them contain additional nutrients to keep Fido feeling his best.
Most dogs go ga-ga for blueberries, so they make a super quick-and-easy dog food topper when you’re pressed for time. Blueberries are absolutely packed with vitamins A, C, and K, and they’re also full of antioxidants, so they provide a nutritional boost as well.
They are, however, kinda expensive, so be prepared. I personally buy Spicy frozen blueberries so that she can enjoy them throughout any season at a fraction of the cost.
If your canine craves an extra crunch, cucumbers might make the perfect low-calorie topper. These hydrating vegetables contain potassium and magnesium helping your hound feel his best. You can cut fresh cucumbers into small, diced pieces to make it easy for your mutt to munch on.
Just be sure to avoid pickled or seasoned cucumbers since these products contain seasonings like garlic or onion, which are both toxic to our furry friends.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is safe for dogs and can help your pooch achieve a strong and beautiful coat. This cupboard staple contains omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E, helping your dog’s skin stay moisturized. Plenty of dogs also love the taste and texture that olive oil adds to dry food (plus it softens up dry dog food, which some pups appreciate).
Just be careful not to overdo it, since olive oil is very rich in fat and calories. It’s generally recommended that you provide your pooch with no more than one teaspoon of olive oil per 20 pounds of body weight per day
4. Fish Oil
Many dogs take fish oil as an added supplement, but this can serve as an excellent kibble topper as well! Fish oil is an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids which is a fat that supports your pup’s brain and body. Plenty of pooch parents turn to fish oil to help with their hounds’ flaky skin or dry coat.
Most dogs love the taste of this oil as well, so you can certainly add a couple of drops to your canine’s kibble to make it more enticing and nutritious.
5. Shredded Cheese
Dogs can have cheese in moderation and most canine companions go crazy for this savory treat. Cheese can also have nutritional value since it’s packed with protein, B vitamins, and vitamin A.
However, cheese can be high in fat, so you’ll want to select a leaner variety like mozzarella or goat cheese, and sprinkle the shreds into your dog’s food. Also, some dogs tolerate dairy better than others– if your dog experiences tummy troubles after trying out this topper, it’s best to seek out a different option.
6. Small Amounts of Unseasoned Meat
Cooked, unseasoned meat is a great source of protein, zinc, and B vitamins for your furry friend. Plus, most dogs naturally love the taste of pure meat, making this a great food topper for picky eaters. You can top your dog’s kibble with a couple of strips of cooked chicken, beef, pork, or turkey to create a delicious topper.
If your canine companion needs to take it easy on the calories, look for leaner cuts of meat, like turkey and chicken.
7. Unseasoned Broth or Stock
Unsalted and unseasoned broth or stock is a great way to make dry food more appetizing. Bone broths also contain collagen which helps support joint health for your canine companion. You can use any meat broth that doesn’t contain any seasoning, or cook your own for an extra labor of love.
Just be sure that homemade broths don’t contain any bone or bone splinters before serving to your sweetheart.
Dog-safe yogurt makes a fantastic kibble topper, and it is packed with probiotics that can help support digestion. Make sure you select a plain, unsweetened yogurt, and opt for Greek if at all possible, since Greek yogurt has lower amounts of lactose.
Only add a spoonful or so of yogurt to the top of your dog’s dry food, since this topper contains quite a few calories.
9. Peanut Butter
Most pups simply can’t resist the allure of peanut butter, making it a great kibble topper. You can use unsalted, unsweetened dog-safe peanut butter to liven up your dog’s food, but make sure the recipe is made without the sweetener xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.
Honestly, it’s best to just stick to peanut butters that’re made solely from peanuts (and potentially a bit of oil).
10. Cooked Green Beans
If you’re prepping some of these nutritious veggies for yourself, be sure to set some aside for your furball. There are many great vegetables for dogs, and green beans are an easy win! Unseasoned, cooked green beans make a delicious yet nutritious snack for our canine companions, as they’re packed with vitamins C, A, and K.
It’s a good idea to cut up the green beans into smaller pieces so that your pooch doesn’t just pick them out of his dry food. You can even use vegetable juices like carrot juice as a great dog-friendly drink alternative to water (or rather, in addition to water) if your dog is in need of a little liquid variety.
11. Pumpkin Puree
Pure pumpkin isn’t just a doggie delight, it’s also a fiber-rich food that can help your hound with tummy troubles. You can add a spoonful of pure pumpkin puree to the top of your dog’s dry food to give him a fall feast he’s sure to love.
Just make sure you’re not confusing the puree with pumpkin pie filling — the two can look similar, but the pie filling contains sugar and other additives that won’t sit well with your canine companion.
12. Cooked Eggs
If you want to give your best buddy a breakfast he’ll adore, cooked eggs make an amazing topper. When cooked, eggs are perfectly safe for dogs so long as they are served unseasoned.
They also contain nutrients like iron, protein, and vitamin A to help your furry friend feel his best.
It’s important to avoid raw consumption as this can lead to salmonella poisoning, but just about any cooking method should be perfect for your pooch.
13. Grated Carrots
A colorful carrot or two might be enough to sweeten the deal for your discerning doggie diner. These low calorie treats can be served raw or cooked on top of kibble and provide a rich source of vitamin A.
If you’re serving them raw, it’s a good idea to grate the carrots in order to incorporate them throughout your dog’s dry food more easily. There are some homemade dog food crockpot recipes that uses carrots as a staple as well.
14. Watermelon Pieces
If your dog likes a bit of summer sweetness, watermelon pieces (without the rind or seeds) are tasty, hydrating toppers!
Watermelon is fairly low in calories and provides a bit of fiber and vitamin A for your picky pooch, making it a great bonus ingredient to mix with dry kibble.
Watermelon isn’t super nutrient-rich, but it’s very tasty for your furry friend and full of water, making it a great topper when used in moderation.
15. Cored and Sliced Apples
Apples are another fiber-rich food that can serve as an effective food topper. These low-calorie fruits are also a great source of fiber, as well as vitamins C and A.
Make sure you remove all seeds and cores of the apple before serving it to your furry friend. You’ll also want to cut the apple into small pieces to evenly distribute the tasty fruit over your mutt’s meal.
While this is more of a solution to use in a pinch, you can certainly crumble up some of your dog’s favorite treats as a makeshift food topper. It’s best to use treats that have a more malleable consistency so that you can easily crumble them up to disperse throughout your furry friend’s foods.
Pay close attention to the calories when using treats as toppers as these can become overindulgent for Fido fairly quickly.
7 Multi-Ingredient Homemade Dog Food Toppers
Are you seeking something a little more complex for your canine? Here are seven DIY topper recipes to really get your furry friend licking his chops.
Note that these food toppers are more time-intensive than the single-ingredient toppers but they’re great for the home cook who wants to provide something extra special for their furry friend.
1. Great Gravy
About: This two-ingredient gravy recipe from Cuteness is super easy to whip up and will leave your best buddy begging for more. Leftover gravy will keep for about four days, so this recipe can be made in bulk to save time.
- Dog-safe chicken stock or broth
- Arrowroot powder
- Heat broth or stock over low heat.
- Combine arrowroot powder with water in a separate bowl, and stir until dissolved.
- Mix in arrowroot mixture into broth until thickened.
- Served once cooled, or store the gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
2. Lovely Liver
About: Despite its unsavory reputation, liver is a favorite of many dogs — especially when used in this topper recipe from Modern Dog Magazine. This sauteed topper is easy to prepare and can be served a number of ways according to your pup’s preferences.
- Chopped chicken, turkey, or beef liver
- Place all ingredients in a small pan and saute for about 5 minutes, or until fully cooked.
- Once cooled, serve immediately on top of your dog’s dry food.
- You can also run the cooked liver through the food processor to create a sauce that may be more convenient to serve as a kibble topper.
3. Pumpkin Rice N’ Oat Bites
About: If your pooch prefers a topper with a little bit of crunch, these pumpkin croutons from Breeding Business are sure to spice up his traditional kibble. These baked bites can be served as a topper or as standalone treats.
- Cooked brown rice
- Pumpkin puree
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with non-stick paper.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Roll mixture into about 10 equal sized balls.
- Bake balls for 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool and serve mixed into your dog’s kibble.
4. Pooch Puree
About: This pooch puree recipe from K9s Over Coffee is incredibly useful and can be used with just about any pooch-safe fruit or vegetable mixture. This simple topper is super cost-effective and easy to prepare as long as you have a reliable food processor.
- Dog-safe fruits and vegetables like (cooked) sweet potatoes, carrots, cored apples, and celery.
- Process desired fruits and vegetables in a food processor until you achieve a puree. Starchier vegetables like potatoes may be easier to puree after being cooked.
- You can try out multiple fruit and veggie combinations to mix it up for your furry friend.
- Just pour a small amount of the puree over your dog’s food at dinnertime.
5. Cheddar Bacon Treat Toppers
About: If your best buddy prefers a baked treat, then these cheddar bacon toppers are certainly worth considering. Note that these toppers are more caloric and fattening than other options, so it may be best to reserve this topper for special occasions.
- Rolled oats
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Unseasoned, cooked bacon strips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet.
- Combine oats, cheese, and bacon in the food processor. Once combined, add in the eggs.
- Roll out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet until it’s about ¼-inch thick.
- Cut dough into shapes and sizes according to preference.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Cool and serve mixed in with your pup’s food.
6. Hound Harvest Topper
About: This antioxidant-rich topper is sure to get your pooch excited about mealtime. The springtime recipe features fresh pitted cherries, fennel, and fava beans for your furball.
- Diced fennel
- Cooked fava beans*
- Pitted, diced cherries
- Plain, dog-safe yogurt
- Simply combine all ingredients with a spoon in a large bowl.
- You can also add cooked ground meat for a more enticing topper.
- Leftover topper mix will keep in the fridge for two to three days in an airtight container.
* Fava beans are a bit of a controversial ingredient for dogs. Many sources caution owners to avoid feeding them to pets, while other sources consider them nutritional ingredients (when fed in moderate quantities). Based on recent research that found them safe for dogs, we feel comfortable including this recipe here.
7. Boosted Bone Broth
About: This homemade bone broth recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge of the freezer to cut back on pooch prep. The glucosamine-rich broth is great for dogs that suffer from joint issues.
- Chicken or turkey bones
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon
- Place bones, vinegar or lemon, and water into a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Remove the foam that rises to the top of the mixture, and lower the heat to a simmer.
- Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for a full day.
- A few minutes before draining the mixture, add in the chopped parsley.
- Remove from heat and strain broth.
- Once cooled, serve broth or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Dog Food Topper Safety
In order to keep Spot safe, here are a couple of topper tips to keep in mind while whipping up some of these recipes for your furry friend:
- Only serve food that’s fresh. When picking out food or ingredients to use as your dog’s topper, make sure everything isn’t past due. You don’t want to serve your canine companion any food that’s expired. Also, opt for leaner cuts of meat if applicable to cut back on calories.
- Toss out any leftovers. Any fresh food, including home cooked toppers, should be tossed if left behind by your furry friend. When not in use, keep your toppers tightly stored and refrigerated to keep them fresh for Fido.
- Take it slow. It’s important to give your canine companion time to transition to his new food topper. Take the transition slowly and gradually add more of the desired topper to your dog’s food until you’ve reached the target amount.
- Adjust your food ratios as needed. While some toppers are more caloric than others, you’ll want to count any topper as a part of your dog’s daily nutritional intake. Adjust the ratio of topper to food according to your veterinarian’s recommendations.
- Contact your veterinarian with any tummy troubles. If your furry friend is experiencing any stomach issues like vomiting, diarrhea, or inconsistent bowel movements, it’s best to discontinue feeding the topper for the time being and contact your veterinarian for further instruction. You may have to try a few toppers to find the ideal solution for your dog.
Dog food toppers can be an excellent way to make your mutt’s meals more exciting and potentially provide some additional nutrients. Your furry friend may enjoy some toppers more than others, so it may make sense to test out more than one of these options!
Do you have a picky pooch at home? What toppers have worked best for your canine companion? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!