No one is really sure when we began calling dogs ‘man’s best friend’, but everyone is sure why – there are few other animals that can claim the kind of relationship that dogs and humans have shared for centuries. In nearly every field of work or walk of life, dogs have at some point been there to lend a helping paw, accomplishing some things better than humans ever could and others that humans simply could not have done alone.
Humans have reciprocated, creating an entire industry for the sole benefit of dogs; no matter what breed or age you have, there are endless varieties of toys, treats, and housing accouterments available for your furry friends. Even ordinary food, for instance, is tailored to the individual needs of every dog; you’ll find it sorted by breed, size, activity level, age, and a host of other factors that are all intended to ensure that your dog gets nothing but the very best of what it needs.
Many people ask why we go to so much trouble over dogs; after all, they are hardly picky eaters, and won’t come complaining to the manager if they don’t get their preferred dish. Going to such exceptional lengths to ensure that they get such a narrowly defined diet, often with servings calculated to the last gram, might seem to border on obsession, at least to the objective observer.
For working dogs, of course, the answer is simply that they need to stay in peak physical condition, and that includes the strictest adherence to a dietary regimen no less demanding than that of our star athletes and emergency forces. Such a diet in both humans and dogs is often supplemented with a considerable amount of exercise and practicing the critical skills to make them able to perform above and beyond their own personal bests.
When it comes to less active dogs, the answer is more complex, but no less universal – dogs are capable of an emotional bond with humans on a level that the rest of the animal kingdom has rarely, if ever, managed to replicate. We go to such lengths to treat dogs kindly because we form genuine friendships with them, and for your best friend, it’s unsurprising that you should be willing to make an extra effort.
As close as they are to the human psyche, though, the dog’s palette seems to be far less developed; pellets of macerated animal matter are still great for any dog, regardless of how its human feels towards it. What dog in its right mind would walk away from a tasty meal of chicken, beef, or fish?
It turns out that one of the many emotional similarities that dogs bear to humans is boredom; the dog can certainly learn and keep to a routine, but would much rather be moving on to the new and different as much as possible. This attitude extends to the meals in its bowl; your dog may love its kibble now, but can and will lose interest in the same thing every single day.
Additionally, it is a common misconception that regular kibble is made of all animal matter; the majority of kibble includes a substantial amount of filler, such as rice or flour, and are almost invariably made from inferior parts of an animal such as bone or gristle. These parts are tough on the digestive system and contain relatively little nutritional content, so it is a small wonder that your dog may eventually tire of them.
|1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
|2. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
|3. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Formula
|4. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Base Mix
|5. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE
|6. Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
|7. Olewo Itch & Allergy Relief Dehydrated Healthy Weight
|8. Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters
|9. Merrick Backcountry Raw Real Beef Recipe
|10. Cesar Loaf & Topper
|11. Nutro Ultra Variety Pack
|12. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
|13. American Journey Wild Alaskan
|14. Sojos Mix-A-Meal
|15. TruDog Boost Me Mighty Meaty Beef Booster
In contrast, dog food toppers are made from the choicest bits of the animal and undergo as little processing as possible on their way to the buyer. This helps them retain both the taste and texture that your dog instinctively loves to find in its food, as well as preserving the natural nutrients that make it such exceptional food for people and dogs alike.
Dog food toppers come into play when your pet begins to refuse its ordinary fare; by applying them directly to a simple bowl of kibble, you will immediately pique your dog’s interest and make sure that they keep eating enough to stay full and happy, without needing to entirely change your choice of pet food. Food toppers can make great rewards as well, giving your dog something to look forward to beyond either audible rewards, physical affection, or even ordinary kibble.
Depending on your dog, you may also be able to use a dog food topper for veterinary purposes; the stronger taste of the dog food toppers can mask the taste of various medications and convince your pet to take medicine more willingly. Depending on the condition you wish to treat, some dog food toppers may even contain the medication you need to administer; tick removal formula, for instance, is commonly found in the form of dog food toppers, making it that much easier to get your pet pest-free.
All of these come together to make dog food toppers a great trick to have up your sleeve when your pet’s mealtime comes around – simply drop a few into the bowl and your dog will dig in with gusto. It’s a fast and easy way to make mealtime enjoyable again for a dog that may have been losing interest for a while.
The many advantages of dog food toppers have made them part and parcel of the culture that produces dozens of varieties of any given item related to dog care; you can find an astounding variety of dog food toppers on the shelves, each one claiming to be the best for your pet. While you might be gratified to have such a selection available to you and your four-footed friend, it can be difficult to pick which one you want to trust to get your dog eating again.
To help you through that uncertainty, we’ve assembled a list of the best dog food toppers on the market. Pick one suitable for your pet’s characteristics and get ready to see a dog once again happy to be called in for a meal.
Our Best Dog Food Toppers Reviews and Comparisons
1. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
Named for the pair of pooches on the logo, this dog food topper comes in an astounding variety of flavors and is among the more popular brands currently on the market.
- Raw beef pellets
- 18 oz package
- 95 percent organic animal matter, percent vegetable additives
- Manufactured in the United States of America
What We Like About
This product is made almost entirely of animal matter to simulate the diet a dog would get in a natural state, with a small number of fruits to introduce vitamins and antioxidants that your pet might otherwise not be taking.
What We Don’t Like About
The freeze-drying process causes the nuggets to become hard and crumbly, making them both difficult and unappetizing for the dogs
- A broad variety of flavors and bag sizes
- All organic material
- Dry nuggets don’t leave as much mess
- Plant-based vitamin and mineral enhancements
- Premium American beef
- Unpleasantly hard and dry
- Nuggets crumble easily
2. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Formula
This brand uses a painstakingly limited list of ingredients, each one is chosen to provide a very specific benefit to your dog.
- 26-pound bag
- Bison and sweet potato mixture
- Includes peripheral supplements such as attention boosters and skin improvement
- Highly selective ingredients list
What We Like About Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Formula
In making this product, the manufacturer takes care to include only those foods scientifically proven to address a specific problem in your dog.
What We Don’t Like About Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Formula
Manufactured as it is out of several uncommon ingredients, this food topper may not adhere to the traditional view of what will perk up the dog’s interest.
- Chemically balanced snack
- Includes doses of Omega-3 fatty acids
- Complex protein and carbohydrate sources for added nutritional value
- Minimal chance for allergic reaction
- Relatively large package
- The topper comes in chunks too big for pups or small dogs
- Overpowering aroma, even to humans
3. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Base Mix
The produce used in this food topper is of the same grade you would put on your own plate, right down to the directions for cooking it up for our dog.
- All-vegetable composition
- Requires rehydration
- Powder mix to be added to other food
- 7 pound package prepares roughly 29 pounds of food topper
What We Like About The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Base Mix
Many dog foods focus more on meat content – or at least flavor – than balancing out your dog’s nutrient intake. This topper is made entirely with fruit and vegetable matter and is specifically intended to provide your pet with the nutrients they may have been missing out on.
What We Don’t Like About The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Base Mix
The meatless nature of this product may make some dogs turn up their nose at it unless a meat-based kibble is used as well. Additionally, it requires considerably more human effort to prepare, and unlike dry food supplements, it is possible to get this mixture wrong.
- Supplies much-needed plant-based nutrients
- Relatively high nutritional value
- Helps rehydrate your dog
- Produce contains no preservatives or genetically modified plants
- Even a relatively small package yields a considerable amount of topper
- More preparation needed
- Dogs may not be attracted to produce
4. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE
This is a grainless food topper meant to deliver a nutritional boost to dogs of any description, especially those with various sensitivities to their food.
- 24-pound bag
- 8 main ingredients
- Dry kibble consistency
- Duck and sweet potato
What We Like About CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE
This product can be used both as a nutritional supplement for your dog’s ordinary fare or as a standard kibble for dogs with gastrointestinal issues or allergies to mainstream kibble recipes.
What We Don’t Like About CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE
Dogs with no specific reactions to ordinary kibble may find this unattractive, especially if it is being served as a meal instead of as an added food topper.
- Addresses sensitive dogs
- Eight all-natural components
- Multipurpose product
- No grains
- Soft enough for senior dogs
- Healthy dogs may not eat
- Relatively expensive if used as a kibble
5. Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
This topper makes use of rabbit meat to more accurately simulate the game that your dog’s digestive system is designed to handle, leading to an enjoyable experience and smoother ingestion.
- 20-pound bag
- 71 percent meat, 29 percent produce
- Internationally sourced ingredients
- Domesticated rabbit meat
What We Like About Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
You get more than just a good topper or kibble from this bag – your pet will benefit from a high produce content, as well as the finest ingredients from several countries and specially farmed rabbit to make the meat elements lean and rich in nutrients.
What We Don’t Like About Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
A large number of the ingredients can make some dogs shy away, and the large produce content can produce soft stools or gastrointestinal pains.
- Wild game meat element is naturally attractive to dogs
- Added produce content for a wider array of vitamins and minerals
- Finest of both foreign and domestic ingredients
- No grain included in the production
- Minimal processing before packaging
- Dogs may not like smelling so many ingredients in their food
- May cause messy droppings or abdominal aches in your pet
6. Olewo Itch & Allergy Relief Dehydrated Healthy Weight
Most dog food toppers rely on meat of some kind to draw the dog’s attention, and many promote how flavorful they are as opposed to what they are doing for your dog. This model takes a different angle, aiming to entice your dog with healthy and delicious beet chunks to stimulate a variety of natural processes.
- One pound bag
- Sole ingredient – dehydrated beets
- Some preparation work necessary
- Lasts a year and a half after opening
What We Like About Olewo Itch & Allergy Relief Dehydrated Healthy Weight
Using all-natural, unprocessed beets makes this topper capable of kickstarting the various digestive processes that dogs do not usually get enough of; because they are naturally inclined to eat meat, they only rarely trigger such processes as skin and coat repair, which rely on plant vitamins. This product is exceptionally durable and will last more than a year after it is opened if for some reason you do not finish it first.
What We Don’t Like About Olewo Itch & Allergy Relief Dehydrated Healthy Weight
Although marketed as a cure for itchy or flaking skin in your dog, there are a concerning number of reports of this topper having no visible curative effect. There are many dogs who will not be interested in the vegetable matter in the first place, and who will ignore this product for that reason.
- No additives
- Highly shelf-stable
- Relatively inexpensive
- Counters specific conditions
- Rich in antioxidants
- Will not cure all dogs
- Some dogs may lose interest quickly or refuse this product outright
7. Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters
This brand of dog food topper specifically packs as much pure protein as possible into every pellet to ensure that the dog is enjoying the greatest possible nutritional value in each bite.
- 70 percent raw turkey
- No grain content
- Two-pound bag
- Infused with plant-based vitamins
What We Like About Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters
You can use this product either as a full meal of its own or as an enhancer to a different brand of dog food; simply drop a handful into the bowl just as you set it out. Your dog will love the high-intensity meat flavor that is packed into every mouthful.
What We Don’t Like About Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters
This is a relatively small bag if it is to be used as a standard kibble and fairly expensive for a dog food topper. If your dog does not already eat a poultry-based kibble, it may not even recognize these pellets as food in the first place.
- High protein content
- Vitamin boost
- Versatile product
- Strong meat flavor to draw dogs
- Soft enough for both young and old dos
- Dogs may not recognize the smell
- Somewhat inconvenient bag size
8. Merrick Backcountry Raw Real Beef Recipe
In this topper, the manufacturer has found a clever way to ensure even more nutritional value gets into the same size bag, with the same size kibbles as well.
- 12.5 oz bag
- Cooked material included
- Beef-based pellets
- Strictly grain-free
What We Like About Merrick Backcountry Raw Real Beef Recipe
This topper uses both cooking and deboning to make sure that problematic parts of the beef, such as bone or gristle, are not included in the topper. This ensures that the only thing that goes into the topper is deboned beef, with nothing but meat for your dog to enjoy.
What We Don’t Like About Merrick Backcountry Raw Real Beef Recipe
Cooking tends to include throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or at least a significant amount of nutritional value. Additionally, dogs do not naturally seek cooked food and may not respond to this product for that reason.
- More nutritious than other beef toppers
- Contains fatty acids and Omega-3
- Coated pellets ensure the dog enjoys every last one
- Nutrient-rich enough to support a food reduction
- No artificial flavoring or preservatives
- Cooked material may interfere with raw kibble’s drawing power
- Extremely small package for the price
9. Cesar Loaf & Topper
These trays are great on their own as a smaller meal for overweight dogs or as a food topper for ordinary pets.
- Pork based kibbles
- Plastic tray with individual compartments
- Can serve as rewards
- Chewy texture
What We Like About Cesar Loaf & Topper
By putting every individual treat in its own compartment, the manufacturer has ensured that these will stay fresh for as long as needed; simply open the packaging one small compartment at a time to preserve freshness. This is an exceptional product for picky eaters, containing the flavors and tastes that even the most disinterested of dogs are sure to enjoy.
What We Don’t Like About Cesar Loaf & Topper
There are relatively few treats, so you will need to get more of these sooner than you would have to restock on other products. The treats also create the genuine possibility that the dog will eat the food topper but nothing else.
- Convenient size to carry with you
- Individually wrapped treats
- Specifically made to entice picky dogs
- Soft texture for older dogs
- Made of fine United States of America pork
- Relatively little value for money
- Dogs can eat the topper without the rest of their food
10. Nutro Ultra Variety Pack
Not for nothing – variety is called the spice of life – this pack keeps your pet coming back to something new and delicious every time you open it, with a diverse blend of high-value proteins in each one.
- Individual food trays
- Food boosters based on turkey, salmon, and more
- Cases of 12
- 3.5 ounces per tray
What We Like About Nutro Ultra Variety Pack
Routine is what may have made your pet start to ignore mealtimes in the first place; with these food toppers, you’ll be able to surprise your dog over and over again with fresh tastes of chicken, salmon, turkey, and beyond.
What We Don’t Like About Nutro Ultra Variety Pack
These trays are relatively small and will need to be restocked far more frequently than one would need to buy more of a bagged product. Continual rotation in the dog’s diet can cause an upset stomach, and the dog may not like all the flavors one can find in these packs.
- Single serving convenience
- Experiment easily to find out what will get your dog eating again
- Comes with several servings
- All flavors are natural, high-yield proteins
- No soy or wheat included
- On the pricey side
- Cannot continue with a flavor the dog likes on a regular basis
11. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
This food topper takes an approach of minimal processing as well as minimal additives, ensuring that maximum flavor and nutrition remains in the food until it’s in your dog’s bowl.
- Lamb based topper
- 5.5 pound bag
- Useable both as standard food or as a topper
What We Like About Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
Air drying kills harmful bacteria in the lamb meat in the most natural way possible while leaving all nutrients still looked into the meat when it gets to your pet. The kibble is made with little processing beyond that, and as a dried food lasts far longer than most chewables would.
What We Don’t Like About Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
As a dried food, this may prove difficult for elderly dogs to handle, as it could be too tough or sharp for them to chew properly. Although it is extremely high in protein, it lacks many of the other nutrients that your pet will need, and so is recommended only in conjunction with other foods.
- Ethically sourced meat
- Air drying to prevent damage to the meat
- Versatile product that can be a treat or a steady diet
- High protein content
- Vegetable additives instead of fruit lower sugar levels
- Hard and painful for older dogs
- Minimal nutrients besides protein
12. American Journey Wild Alaskan
While most food toppers would require you to keep two bags on hand, this product lets you just give your dog’s food a quick nutrient bath without taking up more space in the house or bowl.
- Liquid product
- Naturally sourced salmon
- Squeeze bottle with drip-free cap
- 18 ounces per bottle
What We Like About American Journey Wild Alaskan
Using a liquid food topper is simpler for a number of reasons, starting with the greater concentration of nutrients for your pet and including the ease with which it can be stored and applied. It also makes it harder for your pet to only get the food topper while ignoring the rest of the meal, a common problem in dogs that need food toppers.
What We Don’t Like About American Journey Wild Alaskan
As a liquid, this product has the potential to be considerably messier than other food toppers if spilled. Additionally, it cannot be removed if overapplied or swept up and reused if spilled.
- Wild salmon oils boost pet skin and hair
- Easy to apply bottle
- Absorbs rapidly into the rest of the meal
- Suitable for dogs of all sizes
- Contains Omega-3 acids in quantities not found in other foods
- Does not contain similar protein contents to other toppers
- Much harder to clean up if spilled
13. Sojos Mix-A-Meal
There is exactly one ingredient in this product, so you know that your dog is getting only what you want it to be eating.
- Freeze-dried product
- Solid cubed beef
- Eight ounces per bag
- Globally sourced ingredients
What We Like About Sojos Mix-A-Meal
There’s a reason why the back of this bag simply says ‘beef-it’ being the only thing inside, with no additives, preservatives, or other ingredients trying to sneak in. Globally sourced meat allows you to get the same nutritional value for a relatively low cost, and Sojos’ ethical commitment to their ingredients means you can use this with a clear conscience.
What We Don’t Like About Sojos Mix-A-Meal
Because there is only meat in the bag, this product should not be used if you are attempting to balance out a nutrient shortage in your dog’s diet. It comes in relatively small packages as well, so you will need to buy several of them to keep your pet happy for any length of time.
- Ethically sourced prime beef
- Relatively low cost
- Can also be used as an independent treat during training or playtime
- Freeze-dried to give a longer shelf life
- A natural blend of healthy fats and meat protein
- A small number of treats per bag
- Contains little besides meat protein and fat
14. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
Next time you go to feed your pet, you can grab a pouch of this and pop it into their bowl with no extra hassle – this topper uses a rich blend of nutrients and flavors packaged into handy pouches to save you time and effort.
- Three-ounce bags
- Comes in cases of 24 units
- Wet food topper
- Single serving per pouch
What We Like About Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
This product takes the guesswork out of using a food topper with single-serving pouches ready-made for your dog; just grab one and pour it into the bowl, with no need for the measuring and weighing that can make other food toppers so tedious. A hearty gravy surrounds the morsels of real meat to spread the flavor through your dog’s meal and make sure that they finish every bite.
What We Don’t Like About Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
Because portions are premeasured, there is no way to adjust your serving size for your dog’s particular needs; make sure that it is suitable for your pet’s size and weight before applying it to their meal. Since it is a wet product, you will need to refrigerate it after opening if you do not use the whole pouch, and it will tend to have a relatively short shelf life.
- Quick and easy to apply
- Wet elements absorb into ordinary kibble
- Variety of possible flavors
- Genuine wild-sourced meat
- Wet toppers can get messy with a rowdy dog around
- Cannot adjust the serving size
15. TruDog Boost Me Mighty Meaty Beef Booster
You don’t need to break the bank to love your pet. This is a cost-effective product that gives the same benefits of designer food toppers without the added expense.
- Beef material
- 3.5 ounce bag
- Freeze-dried chunks
- 99 percent animal matter
What We Like About TruDog Boost Me Mighty Meaty Beef Booster
Using this topper will give you the same nutritional boost as other beef-based food toppers but at as little as two-thirds the price of most brands. Premeasured pouches make it easy to give just the right amount of food every time, with no need to guess and check how much you should be giving your dog per meal.
You May Also Like: Purina Dog Chow Review
What We Don’t Like About TruDog Boost Me Mighty Meaty Beef Booster
Unlike more designer toppers, this product does not contain only meat – there are also elements of gristle, bone, and herring oil that make it of lower grade than other toppers. Because it is sold in small portions only, you will need to have a fair amount of these stored to keep your dog interested.
- Relatively affordable
- Herring oil adds fish-based nutrition
- Premeasured portions
- Health benefits to teeth and coat as well as overall health
- Boosts immune system
- Small packages
- Less refined than other foods
Final Verdict: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts
This topper includes multiple beneficial elements, using both meat chunks to give your dog something tasty to bite into and a liquid gravy for greater concentrations of nutrients that will be more readily absorbed into the rest of the meal. A series of exotic meat flavors will keep your dog coming back every time and introduce a rich and balanced set of nutrients to its diet, and getting a large case of small pouches solves both the need for a significant supply of pouches and the need to measure out your food topper each time.
It is worth noting that this is a wet topper, and so it will need to be refrigerated if, for some reason, you decide not to use the entire pack at once. Make sure to add it only to a bowl solidly balanced or firmly held, as a liquid food topper is considerably harder to clean up if spilled by an overexcited dog.
For a dog owner whose pet has started to ignore its meals, you want to make sure you are buying a topper that will get them back to cleaning their bowl every time. Here are some tips you can use to make sure you are selecting the one that will have your furry friend hungry again in a hurry.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that you are selecting the right food for their size, age, and breed; each of these is a significant factor in a dog’s diet, and getting any of these criteria wrong can rob your dog of the nutritional value it needs for an optimum lifestyle. Consider activity level as well; a dog with a largely sedentary routine will need different food than a working dog with regularly scheduled exercise.
If you are changing foods or toppers, take a moment to make sure no one in your household is allergic to any of the new food’s ingredients. However much your dog likes it, it shouldn’t be unpleasant to have around.
Make sure that your chosen topper properly addresses any health issues that you may have been noticing in your dog. While many dogs dislike medicine and will actively avoid taking it, a medicated or nutritionally infused dog food topper is a great chance to make sure your pet is getting the treatment they need without having to fight with them over pills, suppositories, or other methods of dosing a dog.
Check the packaging of your chosen topper for feeding schedules or suggestions as to how often to give your dog’s meal a boost. It may be beneficial not to use a topper in every meal; this will make it easier to ease your dog back into eating normally once its appetite has been restored by a few enhanced meals.