When your dog doesn’t have an appetite, it can be worrisome and even frustrating. One of the easiest ways to encourage your dog to dig in (and to rule out a few medical reasons for your dog’s lack of appetite) is with a dog food topper. The right recipe can turn your picky pup into a ravenous Rover, and even help underweight dogs put on much-needed weight.
If your dog is on a meal strike, learn more about why they may be avoiding their doggie bowl and how you can create homemade meal toppers that will get their tail wagging!
Is Your Dog Picky or Is There a Need for Concern?
When a dog suddenly stops eating, there’s a good chance they may have an underlying health issue. So, if your dog’s lack of appetite is out of the ordinary and lasts more than a few days, there are a few medical conditions you and your vet will want to rule out.
A decrease in appetite may mean your dog simply doesn’t feel well. It could be a stomach ache, recent vaccination or medication, or toothache. However, some more serious conditions can cause a dog to stop eating. These include:
- Liver issues
- Kidney problems
Other Reasons Dogs Stop Eating
Of course, some dogs are simply picky eaters–but there can also be other reasons your dog is refusing their dinner. These include:
- Nervousness from the presence of another dog
- A change in mealtime
- Travel or motion sickness
- An unsavory dog bowl
- Expired food
- Too many treats throughout the day
DIY Dog Food Toppers
One of the easiest ways to turn a boring, ordinary meal into a doggie dinner delight is by adding a meal topper. We recommend these healthy yet delicious recipes to make mealtime more enjoyable for your best friend!
1. 'Keep It Simple' Sensations
For busy dog parents, making complex recipes just to add to your dog’s meals can be a challenge. Luckily, there are some one-ingredient recipes (if we even want to call them that) that will dress up your dog’s meals. Plus, many of these single-ingredient toppers are packed with nutritional benefits:
- Blueberries: Low in calories but rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C and K
- Cooked eggs: When it comes to meal toppers, it’s difficult to beat (pun intended) eggs! They’re a complete protein source for dogs, and they’re brimming with nutrients like iron and vitamin A.
- Fish oil: Aromatic to boost appetite and great for your dog’s heart, brain, coat and skin, and joints. Plus, you don’t need more than a few drops in your dog’s bowl.
- Plain broth: Unsalted broth is a great way to moisten kibble for dogs with dental pain. It also is rich in flavor and great for hydration, gut health, and joints!
- Plain Greek yogurt: A dollop of yogurt is great for probiotics and calcium.
- Plain peanut butter: It’s a fact that nearly all dogs adore peanut butter. But did you know that this tasty topper is also a great source of folic acid, B vitamins, and magnesium?
- Plain pumpkin: Canned, unsweetened pumpkin is delicious for dogs, and it’s truly a doggie superfood!
Best for: Picky dogs that like variety in their diet and busy dog parents.
2. A Meal Topper for Food-Sensitive Dogs
If your dog has some food sensitivities, finding a pre-made meal topper can be difficult. However, making your own is an excellent way to have greater control over your dog’s diet and give you peace of mind knowing exactly what your dog is eating. So, here is one of my dog’s favorite novel protein meal toppers:
- 4 Vroomies (adjust number based on daily serving size for your dog)
- 1 cup cooked carrots or sweet potatoes
- 2 cups of brown or white rice
- Cook your rice.
- Slice then boil your carrots or sweet potatoes until soft.
- Drain the carrots or sweet potatoes, but reserve about ⅓ cup of the liquid.
- Mix your rice and carrots or sweet potatoes with your rice.
- Crumble Vroomies into the rice/veggie mix and stir thoroughly.
- Add liquid a little at a time until the mixture becomes a porridge consistency.
- Top your dog’s food once cooled enough to safely eat then store the rest in the fridge.
Best for: Dogs with sensitive tummies and dental issues.
3. Yes, please! Cheese and More
It’s nearly impossible for dogs to resist cheese. This calcium-rich ingredient is the ideal meal topper for dogs that just don’t have an appetite. Shredded cheese makes a fabulous meal topper because it’s truly a delicacy for your dog, and it mixes easily with kibble or other forms of dog food.
Just be cautious because too much cheese can give your dog a bit of an upset stomach. So, keep the amount you give them to about 10% of their overall meal portion.
If your dog needs to watch their calories, you can substitute shredded cheese for low-fat cottage cheese. Cottage cheese also has less lactose than traditional cheese, which makes it a better choice for puppers with sensitive tummies.
Best for: Picky pups that are experiencing temporary loss of appetite.
Meal Toppers & Meal Prepping for Dogs That Won’t Eat
If your furry best friend is avoiding their meals, there could be a wide variety of reasons for their lack of appetite. If their hunger strike lasts for more than two days, give your vet a call to rule out medical concerns. Then, give one of these tasty and easy DIY meal toppers a try. Each one offers ease of preparation, so you don’t have to devote more than a few minutes to creating a culinary treat for your canine companion.
From the crew at Grubbly Farms, Bone appetite!