Many dogs eagerly eat the exact same dry food day after day, even multiple times a day, and experts say dogs don't need variety in their food — in fact, consistency is best. However, when dogs become disinterested in their food and they have been seen by a vet to be sure they are otherwise healthy, it's time to make dry dog food more appealing. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that.
Add water or other liquid
Many people like dry kibble because it is easy to measure and cheaper than wet food. The simplest way to make dry food more appealing is to make it moist by adding warm water. Using 1 tablespoonful of warm water at a time, sprinkle the liquid over the dry food, stir once to bring the dry food from the bottom to the top and add another tablespoon of liquid if needed to moisten it evenly. Let the food sit for about 10 minutes to allow it to soften.
If your dog still doesn't dig in, try using chicken or beef broth, bone broth, or liquid from homemade soup. Let the liquid come to room temperature before using it because cold liquid does not soften dry kibble as well. Be careful that any liquid you add does not contain a lot of salt or fat or ingredients that are harmful to dogs, like onions or garlic.
Switch to wet or combine with dry
Wet food is easier to eat, especially for dogs with few or no teeth, and some dogs just prefer it. Canned dog food has more water content than dry, so dogs can eat more of it and still get the same number of calories. Therefore, ask your vet how much wet food you should give per day if you decide to switch exclusively to wet food.
Good-quality canned food is more expensive than kibble, however, so another option is to mix a little canned food into the dry food. Of course, you need to decrease the amount of dry food if you are adding wet food to it, and your vet can advise you of the ideal proportions for your particular dog's size, age, and health. It's a good idea to transition to a new diet slowly over the course of a week or so to avoid stomach upset.
Top it with healthy surprises
Another idea is to add a few other foods to the bowl of kibble. These should be healthy food toppers for dogs because not all human food is appropriate for canines. Try premade, healthy snacks for dogs or human food like meat, vegetables, or fruit. Meat should not be table scraps, however, because those are likely to have been cooked with onions, garlic, and other foods or seasonings that can make dogs sick or even be lethal.
Cook meat and fish thoroughly before serving it to your dog. Raw and undercooked meats and fish carry bacteria and parasites, and raw salmon in particular can cause salmon poisoning disease, which is up to 90 percent fatal to dogs if left untreated. If you decide to add vegetables or fruit, be sure to find out whether each food you are considering is safe for dogs to eat or if it could be toxic to dogs. For example, grapes, raisins, and avocados are toxic. The red tomato fruit is fine, but its green leaves and stems are toxic.
Make a fresh food diet for dogs with caution
Some pet owners believe they are caring for their dogs by cooking fresh food for them. However, it is difficult to provide the correct nutrients that dogs need when you design a diet yourself. Humans and dogs have different nutritional needs. Most homemade dog food diets lack some of the essential nutrients dogs need, a lack that could have dire consequences for a dog's health. Before deciding to pursue this option, talk to your dog's veterinarian about the best way to incorporate fresh food in your dog's diet.
Approach semi-moist food warily
It seems as if semi-moist food would be a great idea all around since it's already moist, and you just open the pouch and pour it in your dog's bowl. However, most semi-moist foods contain more sugar and salt than either kibble or canned dog food. Semi-moist dog food also tends to contain artificial color, flavor enhancers, and chemical preservatives. If you believe you have found one that doesn't fall short in these ways, check with your vet before buying it.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet's diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet's opinion.