Is your dog a picky eater who turns up his nose at dull old kibble day after day? While dry dog food has many benefits, like dental health, convenience, and affordability, even the greediest dogs can get bored of the same dry food every meal. Fortunately, there are easy ways to make dog food more tasty and appealing so your pup licks their bowl clean at each feeding.
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What Makes Dog Food Taste Good to Dogs?
Dogs have around 1,700 taste buds compared to a human’s 9,000, but they can still distinguish different flavors. Their sense of smell is also highly acute, up to 40 times better than ours! So, enhancing flavor and aroma is vital to making dog food palatable. Meaty, savory flavors tend to appeal most to our canine friends.
What Flavor Do Dogs Like Best?
Chicken, beef, and fish top the list of flavors dogs enjoy. Turkey, liver, and eggs are also big hits. Adding broth, gravy, or meat drippings brings out savory notes. Canned dog foods often have a more pungent smell and taste because of their high moisture content.
What Can I Add to My Picky Dog’s Food?
If your dog is a fussy eater, you can mix in small amounts of human foods like chopped fruits, veggies, yogurt, eggs, herbs, and oils to add flavor, texture, and nutrients. Good options are carrots, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, green beans, eggs, plain yogurt, coconut oil, oregano, rosemary, and peppermint. Just be sure any human foods are pet-safe and account for 10% or less of their daily diet.
What’s Good to Mix with Dry Dog Food?
Add broth, gravy, or water to moisten dry kibble and enhance flavor. Canned wet food can also be mixed into dry food for added taste and aroma. Mash or puree the canned food to evenly coat the kibble. Leftover cooked meat or fish broths make tasty, nutritious mix-ins. Low-sodium chicken, beef, and vegetable stocks or bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water work, too. A spoonful or two of broth, gravy, or sauce over kibble adds lots of flavor.
What Can I Add to Dog Food to Make it Taste Better?
Here are some delicious ways to spice up bland dog food:
- Add warm water to moisten kibble and make it easier to chew and digest. Use 1⁄4 cup water per cup of dry food. Let it absorb for 3-5 minutes before serving.
- Mix in a plain, nonfat, unsweetened yogurt dollop for a healthy probiotic boost.
- Scramble or hard-boil eggs and mix them into kibble. The extra protein and fat make food more palatable.
- Sauté chopped fruits like apples, bananas, or berries and veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, or green beans. Mix a small portion into the kibble.
- Drizzle meat drippings, broth, or gravy over kibble to enhance flavor.
- Sprinkle minced fresh herbs like oregano, rosemary, or parsley over food. Avoid toxic herbs like garlic.
- Stir in a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil to add healthy fats and subtle coconut flavor.
- Transition from wet to dry food by gradually mixing the two over a couple weeks.
- Rotate between a few different dry foods to add variety.
How to Gradually Transition Your Dog to a New Food
To prevent an upset stomach when changing foods, transition gradually over 5-7 days by mixing a little more new food and a little less old each day. Here’s a sample schedule:
- Day 1: 75% old food, 25% new food
- Day 2: 50% old food, 50% new food
- Day 3: 25% old food, 75% new food
- Day 4-7: 100% new food
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, stretch the transition over 10-14 days. Go slowly and watch for vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite, in which case, extend the transition period. Feeding the same bland dry kibble daily risks your dog rejecting that food entirely. With a bit of creativity and care when preparing your dog’s food, you can turn boring bowls of kibble into tantalizing doggie dinners your pup will gobble up. Tasty and appealing food keeps your dog interested at mealtime.