Dry dog kibble is the most convenient to feed, the first choice for most busy dog owners. It is the top-selling dog food around the world. However, when it comes to taste, kibble can be boring. We have had paw parents asking for help because their pups refuse to eat the kibble. So, here's the solution – adding fresh food and selected supplements to your kibble to make it appetizing and exciting again! And these dog-friendly hacks will even bump up the nutritional value of your kibble.
The liver is jam-packed with nutrients. It contains way more vitamins and minerals than muscle meat. Rich in vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, copper and zinc, this organ meat provides vital nutrients to many of your dog’s bodily functions – brain, eye, liver, bones, joints, immune, and red blood cells.
Simmer the liver in a pot of boiling water for 15 mins. Cool and diced into small pieces. Feed about 5% of your dog’s diet by weight. If your dog hasn’t had liver before, start with a smaller amount and slowly work your way up to 5%.
Another way to include liver into your dog’s daily diet is to make dehydrated liver treats. Slice the liver into ½ inch strips and dehydrate using a dehydrator. You can also use your oven if you do not have a dehydrator at home. Set the oven temperature to 75 degrees Celsius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place liver strips on the cookie sheet. Bake for three hours for pliable jerky, or longer for crispy liver jerky.
Adding fresh food to your dog’s diet is always a good thing. Fresh, colourful veggies contain phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. Veggies in bigger pieces won’t hurt your dog but they won’t provide much nutrients either. Dogs can’t break down the cellulose (fibre) in vegetables. This means they won’t be able to extract much of the nutrients contained inside these veggies.
You can lightly steam the vegetables to make them digestible or simply pulverise the vegetables in a mixer. Pulverise veggies are more digestible. It’s closer to how nature intended dogs to consume them, which is from the stomach contents of their prey, usually a herbivore. Even though vegetables are great for pets, try not to overfeed. Too much veggies and fibre can cause tummy upset. Feed not more than 20% of your dog’s diet.
Some dogs do not tolerate fibre very well, pulverising the veggies will help to break down the fibre. If your pup is still not doing well with pulverised vegetables, the alternative is to use a good quality, organic vegetable powder. The Four Leaf Rover (GREEN ROVER) Organic Greens to Maintain Healthy Liver Function Dog Supplements contains organic broccoli sprouts and other fermented greens from the earth and sea. The fermentation process helps to release the nutrients making them readily available to our dogs.
3. Digestive enzymes
You are not what you eat. You are what you can absorb, and this applies to our fur friends too. You can feed your pup the best dry kibble available in the market, but if he is unable to digest the dog kibble, he will not be able to extract much nutrients from the dog food.
Digestive enzymes help to break down the food your pup eats, releasing the nutrients within the food for absorption. Some kibble may have added enzymes. You can usually recognize an enzyme by words that end in –ase on the ingredient panel like lipase, amylase or protease.
For dogs with poor digestive health, supplementing with digestive enzymes may help to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Symptoms of poor digestion:
- Excess gas
- Weight Loss
Depending on your pup’s weight add a sprinkle of the NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Prebiotics Plus Probiotic Powder
onto her dry kibble. The digestive enzymes and probiotics found in this formula allow for proper digestion and absorption of important nutrients from your dog’s meal. Great for food transitioning and pets with sensitive stomachs.
Depending on the kibble dog food formula that you are using, your dog’s age, breed and activity level, you may need to bump up the protein level of her meal. Adding lightly cooked fresh meat is the best option here. If using a commercially prepared food mixer or topper, find a mixer that uses fresh meat like this Wellness 95% Grain Free Lamb Mixer & Topper Canned Dog Food. There’s no meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, artificial preservatives, colours, or flavours found in this dog food.
5. Bone broth
Bone broth is a nutritious and gelatinous stock made by simmering animal bones in water for up to 72 hours. As the bones simmer, they release all their nutrients into the liquid.
Bone broth is loaded with gelatine, calcium, silicon, sulphur, magnesium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid & glycine that benefits both digestive and joint health. Bone broth is definitely more flavourful than water. One of the easiest ways to get your pup to eat his kibble is to add some bone broth. Add about 100ml to 150ml for medium to large dogs, and about 30ml to 50ml for small dogs.
There are plenty of bone broth recipes on the internet if you plan to make your own. If buying readymade bone broth, buy only bone broth for dogs. Broth for humans may have added salt or other ingredients that are not suitable for dogs. Wholesome Paws Multivitamins Frozen Bone Broth is made locally in AVA licensed kitchen, using only human-grade ingredients. The broths are slowly simmered for 72 hours, and the end product is a golden liquid rich in nutrients that supports immunity, joint health, and liver detox.
Eggs are superfoods for dogs. They are a great source of selenium, iron, vitamin A, riboflavin, fatty acids, vitamin B12, and folate. The eggshell is an excellent source of calcium.
Eggs can be eaten raw but for dogs who have never eaten raw eggs before, it is best to feed them cooked eggs – soft boiled or hard-boiled. Eggs, though a nutrient-rich food, should never be fed as the main protein source. Eggs are for supplemental feeding only. This is because raw egg white contains a substance called Avidin. Avidin binds to biotin, a type of Vitamin B, making biotin unavailable for absorption. Eating a huge amount of raw egg white, over a period, can lead to biotin deficiency. Biotin deficiency in dogs appears as dry, flaky, crusty skin, hair loss, or dry and brittle hair.
Medium to large dogs can enjoy up to 3 eggs weekly. For small dogs, 1 egg weekly is safe. The eggs can be hard-boiled, chopped and added to your doggy’s kibble.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities. It is commonly used to reduce arthritic pain in dogs.
Today, turmeric is added to many different dog foods and treats, usually to take advantage of its’ anti-inflammatory properties. Paw parents are also incorporating turmeric powder and fresh turmeric paste, like The Barkery Golden Turmeric Paste Dog Supplements into their pup’s food as part of a healthy dog diet.
Turmeric can be fed freshly grated or powdered (organic turmeric powder). Start with 1/8 teaspoon per day for every 5kg of doggy’s body weight. Add the freshly grated turmeric or powder into your dog’s kibble.
Be careful when you’re working with turmeric. Its bright yellow colour can stain your hands, countertops and even your dog!
Finally, do not overlook the importance of having a good quality dog kibble as the base of your dog’s diet. Feeding your pup a poor quality kibble, one that is void of fresh protein, contains food chemicals – artificial flavourings and colourings, is the equivalent of feeding your child “junk food” for every meal of the day. Adding a little fresh salad at the side will not make it a healthy meal for your child.
Not every paw parent can feed raw. Do the best you can. Choose the best quality kibble you can find and then add a couple of fresh food and meal toppers to improve flavour and nutrition. Use different food toppers or mixers at different times to keep things new and exciting.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practising Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.