Do you have a picky dog at mealtime? I sure do. My boy Buzz craves 100% variety at mealtime. His sister Missy cares less about what makes it into her bowl, but Buzz will politely decline his meals if they aren’t to his tasting.
That’s what he would do back in our kibble feeding days when he had enough of one flavor or brand. He’d take a quick sniff at his bowl, look at me, and then walk away.
It took me a little while to figure out that there actually wasn’t anything wrong with him, but that he was just bored with his diet and needed variety at mealtime.
I do know that there are quite a few dogs out there who are like Missy – they could eat the same dry food day in and day out for several years (I know several of them through my pet sitting career), without ever walking away from their bowl until all of its contents would have been inhaled.
Ever since I made the switch to a homemade, and then raw, diet, my K9 gourmet Buzz has been excited about every single meal that has made its way into his bowl!
If you’re not ready to make as big of a transition quite yet, there are a few easy ways of adding more interest to your pups’ meals (although let me tell you that I can’t imagine any dog walking away from a bowl of scrumptious raw food, topped off with green tripe…yumm!).
What You’ll Need: Antioxidant Rich Produce
Adding fresh, pureed produce to your pups’ meals will add a new flavor to their meal and pique their interest.
Less is actually more here because dogs are mainly carnivores (animals who eat other animals, i.e. meat), and would only find a small amount of digested plant matter in their prey’s stomach out in the wild.
Because of this, I only add about 5-10% of pureed produce to their overall food allowance per meal.
You can also rotate the veggies and fruit you add to your pups’ meals to keep them guessing even more – so you could add some pureed carrot one week, then try pureed celery the next, and so on.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, and apples are all great sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory qualities, and as such help prevent cancer, fight the effects of aging as well as infections.
Sweet potatoes & carrots also help support the digestive system because of the fiber they contain.
Fast forward to minute 19 of this interview with Pet Nutrition Blogger & Dog Naturally Contributor Rodney Habib to learn that 90% of bladder cancer can be avoided just by adding a little fresh produce to your pups’ kibble 3-4 times per week! Isn’t it crazy how incredibly effective small changes can be?!
Pureed Produce For Optimal Absorption
It’s important to puree the fruits & veggies you intend to feed your dog. The reason for this is that dogs don’t have the enzymes necessary to break down the cell walls of plants, i.e. digest whole fruits & veggies.
I experienced this firsthand when I used to feed Missy & Buzz peeled carrots as a healthy snack, and they both loved the taste, as well as the crunch factor, but the carrot pieces were always clearly visible in their #2 business…
So now I chop up the veggies & fruit, and then transfer them over to the food processor. You can also use a juicer or blender.
Pureed Produce Is Great for Weight Control in Dogs
Even if your dog is more like Missy and not a picky eater such as Buzz, pureed veggies & fruit can be used to supplement some of his regular food if he needs to loose some weight. Just consider it a filler with much less calories and fat!
Complete Quality Control
Since you’re the one buying the veggies & fruit, you know what exactly you add to your pup’s meals. I recommend buying organic produce since it won’t have been treated with growth hormones and pesticides, eliminating the chemicals that make it into our dogs’ bodies.
Small Batch For Guaranteed Freshness
I never make a huge batch of pureed produce because its antioxidant benefits are most prominent when it’s fresh, and because the pups don’t need a whole lot of it, as explained above.
Other food topper ideas for picky dogs
There is just no denying that fresh veggies & fruit have a yummy fragrance about them, and bring variety to any dog’s diet, but I’ll be honest and say that pureeing my own produce is not a daily thing in my kitchen.
Here are a few other food topper ideas to get your picky dog to dig in again:
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