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If variety is the spice of life, imagine your dog’s joy when adding a pet food topper to his daily meals. Dog food toppers make food extra palatable and boast nutritional benefits, making them a win-win to spice up your pup’s diet. 

Maybe you want your dog to really enjoy his food, not get bored with the same meal, or perhaps add a bit of nutrition or hydration to his meals. Although a dog food topper is not a meal by itself, pet parents are saying “bon appetit” as they add this tasty addition to their pet’s food bowl.

Because dogs are members of the family, pet food and treat manufacturers cater to the needs and desires of dedicated pet parents. From pet food customization and snacking trends to meal mixers and dog food toppers, boring is out and nutritional goodness is in. 

What Are Dog Food Toppers?

Two dogs behind table waiting for food

Dog food toppers are exactly what they sound like: an item that “tops” your dog’s food. Topper varieties include freeze-dried, dry, moist (like gravies), and broths. 

No matter what type of food your dog eats—from raw to frozen, kibble to canned—toppers allow for an easy, nutritious way to add flavor and benefit to your pup’s meals. 

“They can be used as an appetizer, an aid in administering medications or supplements, and to enhance nutrition,” says Dr. Laurie S. Coger, veterinarian and founder of Healthy Dog Workshop

Dog eating food from a bowl in the kichen

As pet parents become more educated, realize the health benefits of a nutritious meal, and treat their dogs like family, pet food toppers are making their mark. According to PetBusiness.com, one of the driving factors in the growth of the dog food toppers and mixers category is their nutritional value. 

In human terms, you could sit down with a bowl of oatmeal every morning or add some nuts, grains, fruits, or syrups to the bowl for a flavor and nutrition boost. The same is true for dog food toppers, which are available in several formats including:

  • Freeze-dried raw
  • Gravy
  • Crunchy toppers 
  • Powders
  • Broths

Pet humanization, sometimes called anthropomorphism, is more common these days, with people feeding their pets “human-like” meals with “human-like” trends. PetAge.com says nutritious, good food is essential for people and pets. As a result, pet parents want products that are made with high-quality ingredients.

Benefits of Dog Food Toppers

Happy dog laying in the grass

In addition to pleasing your pup’s palate, there are nutritional benefits to dog food toppers. Wet toppers, such as gravies and broths, can provide hydration. Dogs who don’t drink enough water or get frequent urinary tract infections may benefit. 

Kibble can be hard on a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, but toppers and mixers add moisture to the diet. By adding a healthy topper, dry dog food may be more digestible. Dogs may grow tired of eating the same food—and who among us wouldn’t be bored eating the same thing day after day—so toppers encourage pets to eat and get the nutrients they need.

Dogs who are sick, are on medication, undergoing treatments, or aren’t feeling good may lose their appetite. Enticing a dog with pet food toppers may benefit even the most stubborn, finicky, or uninterested eater. As a bonus, dogs who are losing weight get more calories in their diet.

Dog eating food from a bowl

Senior pets and those with fewer teeth may do well on toppers. Some dogs lose their enthusiasm to eat with time, but toppers give pet food a boost. Some people use crunchy toppers as a delicious treat, to fill a Kong toy, or as a training reward. 

A few other benefits of pet food toppers include:

  • Additional protein for dogs who need an extra boost
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • More fruits and vegetables in the dog’s diet
  • Moisture added to dry food
  • Surprise your dog by rotating flavors 

Dog Food Toppers: What To Look For

Dog eating from dog food bowl

Like all pet products, dog food toppers vary in nutritional value. Coger advises pet parents to watch out for any toxic or dangerous ingredients on the topper’s label.

“I would also avoid cooked fats or overcooked meats, as the content of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) is implicated in degenerative diseases, premature aging, and some cancers,” she notes. “Statements such as ‘formulated by a veterinarian’ aren’t required by law or necessarily even fully truthful.”

In the same way some dogs prefer chicken over beef, the sniff and eat test is the best way to see if your dog enjoys a topper. Before adding anything new to his diet, always check with your veterinarian first. 

A few questions to ask yourself before adding a dog food topper to your pet’s diet:

  • How many calories per serving or topper? (Will you need to decrease the amount of food served due to the caloric boost?)
  • What type of topper will your dog like: broth or gravy, food rolls, canned dog food, dried kibble topper like freeze-dried or air-dried?
  • Are there extra additives, sugar, or salt in the topper that may do more harm than good?
  • Is a dog food topper necessary, or is it time to consider changing the dog’s food?
  • Does the product require refrigerated storage?
  • Cost considerations: Is a dog food topper in your budget?
  • Is it made and/or sourced in the United States?
  • Are there any specific safety certifications noted on the labeling?
  • Does your dog have sensitivity to any of the ingredients?

Pro tip: Read the label as you would a human food: with a close eye, scrutiny, and certainty that your dog will benefit in some way from consuming the product. 

8 Best Dog Food Toppers

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Dog holding empty food bowl in mouth

Best Dog Food Topper: Overall Winner

Our pick: BLUE Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers 

Bag of Blue Wilderness trail toppers - wild cuts chunky chicken bites

Wild cuts of high-protein, natural wet dog food in a pouch make this the perfect addition to any meal. Available in beef, chicken, duck, and salmon, BLUE Buffalo’s Wilderness toppers can be mixed into a dog’s current diet. Individually packed, they are nicely priced and give dogs a reason to look forward to dinner.

Made with tasty bites of real meat and steeped in gravy, it can be mixed in with dry food or served as a wet snack. Thanks to its high moisture content, pet parents feel good providing a bonus source of hydration to their dog’s diet.

Highlights

  • Several whole meat varieties
  • Handy single-serve pouches that do not require refrigeration
  • Contains no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • Many pet parents say their finicky dogs loved the BLUE Buffalo food toppers
  • Can be used as a snack or in-between meal treat

Things to Consider

  • Mix thoroughly in your dog’s regular food so your pet doesn’t become a finicky eater
  • Can serve up to three pouches (depending on the dog’s weight) per day, which can become costly
  • Be sure to count the portions you feed so dogs don’t exceed their daily caloric intake and gain weight

Best Dog Food Topper with Omega Fatty Acids

Our pick: LickOChops

Bottle of Lick O'Chops dog food topper

Packed with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and microbials, LickOChops gives dogs a nutritional boost as they savor the flavor infused through their food. 

The omega-6 fatty acids in LickOChops come from chicken fat, making them highly absorbable to support your dog’s skin and coat. The omega-3 fish oils support a dog’s skin and immune system. 

Highlights

  • 10 strains of active microbials for digestive and immune health
  • Contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and helps skin/coat health
  • 90-day risk-free trial on your first order 
  • Serve 1-2 teaspoons with every cup of your dog’s food daily
  • Made in the USA with American ingredients

Things to Consider

  • Check with your veterinarian first if your dog is allergic to any of the ingredients in LickOChops
  • Chicken fat is the first ingredient for the omega-6s
  • Only available in an 8-ounce bottle at this time 

Best Bone Broth Liquid Topper For Dogs

Our pick: The Honest Kitchen POUR OVERS

Dog food topper of bone broth

Easy to pour and easy to store, dogs love the taste of bone broth. The Honest Kitchen bone broth POUR OVERS are perfectly made for puppies, adult and active dogs, as well as senior pets. 

With a wide variety of flavors to choose from, this slow-cooked, grain-free stew topper is 100 percent natural and made with eight wholesome ingredients, including chunks of real meat and vegetables in a tasty bone broth. Two servings are packaged in a BPA-free box for easy opening, pouring, and storing. Watch your dog’s face when you pour this over her meal! 

Highlights

  • Nutritious grab-and-go option to canned toppers
  • Made with limited ingredients under rigorous FDA standards
  • Contains no rendered meals, by-products, grains, artificial colors or flavors
  • Contains high-quality, non-GMO whole foods
  • Available in several varieties to be used as a topper or snack, but not as a whole meal
  • Made in the USA

Things to Consider

  • The unused portion must be refrigerated 
  • Start by adding a small amount of the product over your dog’s food to gauge his gut’s reaction
  • Is a bit on the pricey side

Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper for Picky Eaters

Our pick: Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers

Bag of meal mixers of super beef

Looking to add some nutrition, entice a picky eater, or boost your dog’s mealtime anticipation? Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers are raw freeze-dried pieces to promote healthy digestion, strong teeth and gums, vibrant coat, and more stamina in dogs. 

Dogs crave meat, so things like beef, beef liver, beef organs, and beef bone are the first ingredients. Also available in other varieties, a little bit of this product goes a long way. Small dogs get one ¼ cup scoop per day mixed into their food. 

Highlights

  • Made in the USA
  • Scoop, mix, and serve to kick start kibble or add to any dog diet
  • Contains no added hormones or antibiotics
  • Single-source animal protein
  • Offers the benefits of raw food with the convenience of freeze-dried nutrition
  • No grains, fillers, gluten, artificial preservatives or coloring
  • Contains 100 percent organic-certified fruits and vegetables

Things to Consider

  • The 18-ounce bag contains eight scoops, so it can get pricey
  • Can be stored at room temperature, but refrigeration is an option to extend freshness
  • Beef is sourced in the United States when available and Australia and New Zealand when not available domestically.

Best Wet Meal Toppers For Dogs

Our pick: Wellness CORE Simply Shreds

Bag of Wellness simply shreds dog food toppers

Some dogs prefer a wet meal topper, and Wellness CORE hits a homerun with several varieties of their Simply Shreds formulas. Crafted using five simple ingredients, this natural, grain-free wet food mixer or topper contains no meat by-products. 

Meaty shreds of premium protein are mixed with nutrient-dense vegetables in a rich broth. Packaged in an easy-to-serve container, this product is ideal for small, medium, and large dogs. 

Highlights

  • Suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Mix and match textures and flavors to keep your dog’s palate satisfied
  • Available in shredded and flaked varieties
  • Does not contain any added salt
  • Many reviews from pet parents boast their dog licking the bowl clean when using Wellness CORE Simply Shreds with their regular meal

Things to Consider

  • Wellness CORE Simply Shreds Grain-Free Chicken, Beef & Carrots Wet Dog Food Topper is made in Thailand.
  • Once opened, the unused portion should be refrigerated and fed to your dog within three days.
  • Not sold in a variety pack

Best Dog Food Topper For Puppies

Our pick: Instinct Grain-Free Healthy Cravings 

Box of Instinct variety pack of dog toppers

Growing puppies need a lot of things, but grain, potato, soy, corn, and artificial colors and preservatives aren’t on that list. Instinct’s raw-inspired grain-free pouches are available in beef, chicken, lamb, and salmon. Featuring cuts of USA-raised beef, cage-free chicken, and grass-fed lamb, each pouch is made with savory gravy.

This grain-free wet dog food topper offers supplemental nutrition designed to support a dog’s health from puppyhood to senior. Made with high-protein meat first, all wet recipes are crafted in the United States. 

Highlights

  • Easy-to-serve wet food pouches with real meat
  • Designed as a pet food topper or supplemental treat
  • Can be fed to puppies and adults
  • Reasonably priced
  • Available in a variety pack 

Things to Consider

  • This food topper is fully cooked
  • Must be fed along with a complete and balanced diet
  • Pouches are not resealable 

Best Powder Dog Food Topper

Our pick: Flavors Food Topper For Dogs 

Bottle of flavors food topper

Sometimes a sprinkle or two is all it takes to get a dog excited about mealtime. FLAVORS brand food topper is an easy-to-serve powder designed to blend well with kibble so dogs can’t separate flavors. It mixes easily with water to form a delicious broth over your dog’s food. 

FLAVORS recipes are low in calories, unlike some dog food toppers, and contain no artificial or synthetic flavors, preservatives, or colors. Pet parents can choose from red meat, chicken, peanut butter, white cheddar, or a variety pack. 

Highlights

  • Meat is the first ingredient in the meat-based formulas
  • Made with natural, human-grade ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Low calorie and low sodium 
  • Made in the United States
  • Beef formula contains bone broth packed with amino acids and collagen 
  • Affordable large size

Things to Consider

  • Must serve at least 1 teaspoon per 1 cup kibble
  • Some dogs may prefer a broth, so product can be mixed with water
  • Some reviews state hit or miss flavors depending on your dog’s palate

Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food Mixer or Topper

Our pick: Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters

Bag of wellness core bowl boosters dog food toppers

Some dogs need a single protein for a sensitive stomach, and Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters satisfy that requirement. Grain-free and made with 100 percent raw freeze-dried pieces of meat, Bowl Boosters are easy to serve and simple to add to a meal.

This pet food topper can be mixed in or placed atop the dog’s food. It contains one main ingredient, a single source of protein, along with ingredients to preserve freshness. It can be used as a snack and is rich in nutrients, flavor, and palatability. 

Highlights

  • Package contains about 1 cup to mix into a dog’s food
  • Raw freeze-dried meat is the main ingredient
  • Available in several varieties
  • Grain-free and protein-rich
  • Made in the USA

Things to Consider

  • A 4-ounce bag can be used up quickly 
  • The freeze-dried meat is raw
  • Pieces are about the size of a chickpea
  • Can be used a snack but in moderation 

Dog Food Toppers: Tips and Advice 

Dog smiling outdoors with tongue out

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, so ensure you are counting calories your dog consumes each day. Use a pet nutrition calorie counter to determine your pet’s recommended caloric intake and talk to your veterinarian for guidance when using dog food toppers.

A recent U.S. pet obesity survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention classified 55.8 percent of dogs as overweight or obese. A veterinarian should always examine dogs who aren’t eating or simply refuse their food.

Dog food toppers can be an enticing treat and easy way to mix up your dog’s meals, but use caution. Sometimes dogs can become finicky and refuse to eat their food when too many things are added too often. “I prefer fresh foods as toppers, whether meat, vegetable, bone broth, etc.,” Coger says. 

If you are thinking of making a homemade dog food topper, use the same scrutiny and discretion you would when adding anything new to your dog’s diet. Understand the types of food and ingredients dogs should avoid and what is nutritionally safe to feed. 

Here’s to happy, healthy eating with good ingredients and wholesome pet food toppers when needed! 

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