Much like people, dogs may tire of eating the same food day after day. Make your four-legged friend's food more interesting by adding a gravy or dog-food topper to that dry kibble. Bone broth is also an excellent topping for dry dog food, as it's packed with nutrients and minerals beneficial to your dog's health.
Homemade dog food sauce
Make dog food sauce by warming and thickening chicken stock or broth. Choose a low-sodium organic broth or stock with minimal ingredients, and preferably one that is free from garlic or onion, both of which are toxic to dogs. The fewer the ingredients, the less you'll have to wonder about whether the additives are safe for canines. (You can also make your own chicken broth without garlic or onions if you want to be extra safe.)
Heat 1 cup of broth or stock in a saucepan over low heat. In a separate bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder into an equal amount of cool water. Stir the arrowroot mixture into the broth, heating until the liquid thickens into a suitable dog-food gravy. Once the gravy is warm but not hot, pour several tablespoons on top of the dog food. Leftover gravy will keep in the refrigerator, sealed, for at least four or five days.
Bone broth for dogs
Bone broth, made by heating marrow-filled bones in a slow cooker, offers minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It's also great for your dog's digestive system and joints. Make bone broth as a homemade dog food topper that also jazzes up dry food, making it tastier for picky eaters.
Place beef marrow bones, still full of marrow, in a slow cooker, or use chicken feet or a combination of both. The number of bones doesn't matter; the more you use, the more broth you'll have on hand. Add enough water to cover the bones or feet by two inches. Add in several tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, which helps draw nutrients out of the bones. Cover the pot, set it to high for an hour, then turn it down to low for 12 to 24 hours. Check the pot after six hours to ensure there's still enough water to cover the bones. Add more water if necessary.
Allow the broth to cool to near room temperature, then strain the bones from the liquid. Keep the liquid in sealed containers in the fridge. Once the liquid chills, scoop off and discard the fatty top layer. The underlying broth should be jelly-like at this point and packed full of nutrients. Scoop several tablespoons out as a dog food topper for picky eaters, or for a dog that could use a little more variety in his diet. The broth keeps for at least four days in the refrigerator and can be frozen. Discard any broth that looks moldy.
Homemade dog food toppers
Dog-food toppers don't have to be a gravy or even a liquid. Scramble an egg in a pan without using any oil, butter or seasoning as a tasty treat for your dog. A hard-boiled egg once in a while is also good for your dog. Peel it and break it on top of the dry dog food. The cooked egg shell is also good for dogs, providing calcium. Fresh berries, apples, or bananas are also excellent dog food toppers for picky eaters.
Wash fruits before feeding them to your dog to remove pesticides and other residues. A sardine packed in water, not oil, also serves as a tasty topper for your dog's food. Larger dogs may be able to eat two or three sardines. Add such toppers slowly to your dog's diet to ensure they don't cause stomach upset. Remember that any topper also adds calories to his diet, so adjust the amount of food in his bowl as needed.