It can be hard to eat the same thing, day in and day out. Sometimes it is good to change things up once in a while. I am not talking about you, but your doggie.
Adding a little spice to their lives, or rather, more taste to their regular doggie food can help break up their sometimes mundane daily diet.
What to mix with dry dog food? Here are some healthy foods you can add to your dog’s dry food to make it more enjoyable for your doggie:
There is such a wide variety of foods that can be added to a dog’s dry food that the list is nearly endless, though there are a few precautions that should be taken.
We wanted to share with you some of the things that dogs like to eat that you can use to spice up their dry dog food. Keep in mind, however, that like humans, dogs have their individual tastes (and hopefully you know them best).
Related Reading: Wet Dog Food vs Dry, Which One is Better?
Best Foods to Mix With Dry Dog Food
There is such a wide range of things that dogs can eat, and I will get to the list of things to avoid as well, some of which may surprise you.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of adding in some real and wholesome foods into your dog’s diet.
For added protein, you can add things like chicken, eggs, or tuna. Each should be prepared appropriately.
- Eggs: You can feed a dog soft boiled, fried, or scrambled eggs, but you should not add oil, butter, or salt to the eggs. Just plain egg! Dogs do not need any added fats in their food and salt can be hard on their kidneys. A soft boiled egg is optimal as it cooks the egg white making it easier to digest but leaves the yolk uncooked.
- Chicken: Raw chicken is usually best to avoid due to the risks of Salmonella contamination. In theory, raw meat from chickens that have been vaccinated against Salmonella would be safe for your doggie, but it is likely not worth the risk. Try to stick to cooked and broken up pieces of chicken. You can also consider adding chicken broth to your dog’s dry food to help soften the dry food to mix it in better.
- Tuna: Canned tuna is fine for dogs in moderation. Just remember to buy the “in water” tuna for dogs as that extra oil can mess with sensitive tummies. For an added taste bonus, drain the can into their bowl with the tuna and let it soak into the dry food. Heating it up will make your house smell like tuna, but will make the aromatic food that much more appealing to your doggie.
As the American Kennel Club points out, dairy items can be an issue for dogs that are lactose intolerant. Not all dogs are, so this is something that you need to determine before you feed them dairy products (and it may be wise to consult with your veterinarian).
While gassiness may be one give away that your doggie is lactose intolerant, some dogs are naturally gassy, so it is not a guaranteed sign.
If your dog’s stool becomes very loose after eating dairy, then this may be a sign that dairy is not an ideal option for them.
If your doggie is able to tolerate dairy in moderation then here are some great dairy options for your dog:
Yogurt: This is a yummy treat that many dogs enjoy and it can easily be mixed in with different kinds of dry dog food. The key is to mix it in and you should avoid just pouring it on top and leaving it like that because some dogs may just eat the yogurt and ignore the dry food.
That is not to say some dogs won’t just lick off the yogurt and spit out the food, but there is certainly a lesser chance of it.
Cheese: There are a few things to keep in mind with cheese. First, when giving your dog cheese, you need to make sure it is real cheese. This means no processed cheese products like those American slices wrapped in plastic or those large bricks that don’t even need to be refrigerated.
Also, you will need to cut it small and mix it into the food. Otherwise, it will just be the treat on top that they will ignore the dry food to eat.
Cottage Cheese: Small curd is better and makes sure it is mixed in so most of the whey (the liquid) is covering the dry food. Most dogs love cottage cheese, but make sure that they are eating the dry food with it.
When mixed in, cottage cheese can offer a bit of change to their routine and add some extra calcium for growing bones in puppies.
Fruits and Vegetables
Different fruits and veggies can offer different benefits to your dog in the form of vitamins and minerals. Before you begin adding any fruit or vegetable to their food, make sure it is safe as there are a few on the list that are not.
While dogs can eat most of what we can, I have included a list of the” safer to avoid” types of food at the bottom of this post.
Another thing to verify before adding new food to their diet is if they will even like it. Fruits and veggies are where individual taste will really rear its head. Some dogs like peas, some like carrots, and some like neither.
Before adding the food to their food dish, let them try it at least 3 to 4 different times in isolation. This will allow enough time for them to determine if it is palatable to them or not.
In nature, dogs will try food and then see how it makes them feel. If they get sick afterward, they may never eat that food again, no matter what they thought of the taste, so go slow and small when introducing new foods.
While most dogs are willing to eat some things raw, others may not, as the raw form may be too hard to eat (especially for smaller breeds), or it may be unhealthy for them raw.
Things like sweet potatoes and other starches need to be cooked first, but other vegetables will mostly depend on the preference of your dogs.
Grains like rice and oatmeal can be very healthy and a nice addition to a doggie’s food dish. You can add in other flavours in the form of liquids as well to enhance the flavour.
Fruits can pair nicely with a little oatmeal, white rice can be cooked with a broth to add in extra flavour, vitamins and minerals, and left soupy to help soften the food (a great trick for older dogs with sensitive teeth).
Always cook grains before feeding to your dog. It can make it hard to digest otherwise and potentially make them sick.
Instant oatmeal only needs to be cooked for a minute or two and can be a great way to add in some flavour. Dogs don’t need the added sugar we need (well, not that we really need it), so you can just have soupy oatmeal left to soak into the food, add it hot, let it cool and then serve.
Foods to Avoid Adding to Dry Dog Food
Certain foods can be dangerous to dogs and should be avoided if possible.
Chocolate: Most people know about this one, but not necessarily why it should be avoided for dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a good chemical for us.
It is part of what we crave when we crave chocolate. However, our bodies can process it much better than a dog’s system can. Darker is worse, dark chocolate can kill a dog easier than milk chocolate can.
And remember to take extra precautions around the Holiday times as it’s easy to forget and leave chocolate out.
Grapes: For the same reason that grapes and wine can be heart healthy for humans makes it dangerous to dogs. Grape skins contain a substance that acts like a blood thinner in the mammalian body.
For humans, it is such a small amount, and our bodies process it quickly that it is safe. Like with chocolate, too much can kill doggies, so it’s best to avoid it.
Garlic and onions: While a small amount once in a while probably won’t do much, a large amount of consistent small amounts over a longer period of time can start to destroy red blood cells leading to anemia, at the very least.
If you are feeding treats off your plate, you don’t have to worry if they accidentally get some, but be cautious that it is not a large amount or too often. Also, certain breeds of dogs are more sensitive to garlic and can have more severe reactions.
Artificial Sweeteners: This is one that many pet parents aren’t aware of. While some artificial sweeteners are perfectly safe for dogs, there is one, xylitol, that can kill before you even realize your dog is sick.
This is why it is best to prevent your doggie from ingesting anything that contains artificial sweeteners in it. This can include things like peanut butter, gum, and some yogurts.
Additives: Things like salt, alcohol, or caffeine are not good for dogs and should be avoided whenever possible. NEVER add any of these items into food meant for your dog and be aware of how much they are eating from food prepared for humans.
Raw meat: Pork can contain parasites, and chicken can be contaminated with Salmonella. Both of which are killed by cooking it thoroughly. Although raw dog food diets have become increasingly popular, it’s best to proceed with such a diet under the guidance of a veterinarian.
This list and post was meant to be informative in nature and should not replace expert veterinarian advice.
As pet parents, it’s up to us to ensure we are well informed when making decisions for our doggies. I hope this list has helped clear up some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to mixing in foods to your dog’s dry food.