All of us want to give our dog’s the best nutrition possible. However, we all have budget limitations. While store bought kibble is very convenient and relatively low priced (compared to canned or fresh diets) it does have several nutritional shortfalls. In this guide, we’ll discuss 5 low cost ways to make any dog food better.
1. Add Sources Of Fresh Protein
Surprisingly, most kibble contains less than 25% protein. That means that most dry foods contains carbohydrates in the neighborhood of 50-60%, despite that fact that dogs have zero biological need for carbs. Carbs are simply low cost fillers that allow pet food companies to increase the caloric intake without adding substantial cost (fresh real meat is expensive!). For this reason, the single most important way to improve your dog’s diet is by boosting the protein levels.
Avoid meat sources that contain excessive salt or are heavily processed. Our favorite add ins are:
- Raw or cooked eggs
- Chicken breast
- Ground beef or lamb
- Freeze dried meat toppers – Unlike processed pet foods, freeze-drying meat leaves intact the nutrients, making it more bioavailable and usable by your dog’s body.
Just remember that fresh meat will add some calories, so you should consider reducing your dog’s kibble by a bit.
2. Add A Splash Of Water
Here’s one tip that will cost you nothing! Adding some water into your dog’s bowl will keep them better hydrated. The ancestral diet of dog’s contains significantly more moisture than kibble, which contains almost no water. An added bonus is that adding water enhances the smell and taste of bland dry food.
Finally, many dog owners find that soaking kibble in a bit of water helps your dog feel full, which could assist in helping your dog lose a few pounds.
3. Add Colorful Freshly Chopped Veggies
Remember this tip: feed your dog the rainbow! 🌈 Each color of fruits and veggies provides valuable phytonutrients that are not found in kibble due to the heavy heat of cooking and processing.
Our favorites colorful veggies are:
- Bell peppers (rotate green, red, orange, and yellow)
- Green beans
- Sweet potatoes (cooked)
- Yellow Squash (cooked)
Remember, your dog gets more value from many colors than from one. So rather than feeding 3 green veggies, keep it colorful with variety.
But wait, what if your dog won’t touch fresh veggies!? If your picky pooch won’t tolerate freshly chopped vegetables in their bowl, consider using a freeze-dried mix of meat and veggies, such as the Happy, Health brand.
4. Add Colorful, Cancer Fighting Fruits
Blueberries are our absolute favorite fresh fruit add on! Many studies have shown that blueberries contain anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties due to their high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids.
You can add crush fresh or frozen blueberries over your dog’s kibble or buy a freeze dried meal topper that already contains blueberries.
Some of our other favorite fruits for dogs are:
- Apples (minus the seeds)
⚠️ Just remember, there are some toxic fruits and veggies you need to avoid. Never give your dog grapes, raisins, tomatoes, and onions.
5. Add Freeze Dried Meat Toppers
For many pet owners, its not always possible to have fresh meat or freshly chopped fruits and veggies on hand every single night. For this reason, freeze dried toppers have exploded in popularity over the last few years. In fact, they’re one of the fastest growing products in pet stores today!
Freeze dried toppers offer substantial benefits over processed kibble because freeze-drying gently locks in nutrients. It’s about as close to fresh as you can possibly get!
Plus, there’s an added benefit of freeze dried topper: dogs go absolutely crazy at meal time! We like the Happy, Healthy brand of toppers because it includes chicken or beef, probiotics (helps the transition), blueberries, kale, and carrots for additional nutrition.
Unlike kibble, no heat is used with a freeze dried product, so the meat is as close to nature as possible. The addition of a small amount of fruits and vegetables helps increase your dog’s intake of natural vitamins and valuable phytonutrients that are not found in dry dog food.
When we taste tested this topper in the iHeartDogs offices, 10 out of 10 dogs went CRAZY for it over their regular kibble. The topper coats your dog’s existing kibble, boosting the flavor and the nutrition.
You can learn more about the toppers here.
Need some other ways to boost protein? Considering adding an egg (cooked or raw) over your dog’s kibble, and reducing their portion a bit to account for added calories. You can also serve up some shredded chicken or turkey breast. Just be sure to avoid deli-meats with too much added salt or processing.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.