Dinner time for your dog! As soon as he hears that familiar rattle of the kibble hitting the bowl, he’s sure to come running. The trouble is, some dogs are pickier eaters than others. Some dogs look in the bowl, then turn away once they’ve given the kibble a sniff. What can you do? Should you try a different type of food?
Not necessarily. There are a lot of good reasons you might want to feed your dog dry food. By definition, kibble is typically cooked or steamed, which helps kill certain types of bacteria that may be present in raw foods. And dry dog food is easy to store and use, making it a choice that helps simplify busy lifestyles. Plus, kibble may help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.
If your dog has become bored with the taste or texture of plain kibble, there are some steps you can take. Let’s look at five easy ways to make dry dog food more appealing to the finickiest of eaters.
1. Keep it fresh.
Dry dog food is convenient and often more affordable than other types of pet food, partly because it’s easier to store and transport. But it is important you ensure the kibble stays fresh; consider storing the kibble in an airtight container in a proper location, like a pantry, closet, or garage.1
2. Add warm water.
A simple way to make your pet’s dry food more palatable is to moisten it with warm water.2 You can experiment with the amount—try just enough water to dampen the kibble, or add a little more to make a “broth.” Some dogs prefer eating their kibble this way, and it might be just enough incentive to spark the interest of a kibble snob. Keep in mind that chewing may provide some dental benefits. You might minimize those benefits by softening dry food with water. (However, you may be able to supplement with a dental chew.)
3. Try some yogurt.
Plain yogurt can be used as a topper for your dog’s kibble, and many dogs seem to enjoy the flavor and moisture it provides. Yogurt also has added digestive benefits. Be sure to use dog-safe yogurts.3 Check with your veterinarian if you have any questions.
4. Top with canned dog food.
A particularly picky dog might change his mind if you add a small amount of canned wet dog food on top of the dry food. This method is still more affordable than an all-canned food diet, plus the kibble will stay crunchy and retain its dental benefits. Mixing the two foods is also an excellent way to transition a dog between a wet and dry diet.
5. Make a broth.
You probably like a bit of gravy on certain foods, and your dog might too. You can make his kibble seem more appealing by adding a simple, low-sodium chicken broth to the top of your dog’s meal.4 The extra flavor might turn a ho-hum eater into a kibble fan! Just be sure the broth doesn’t contain any ingredients that might be harmful to your dog, like onions, certain herbs, seasonings, etc.
Remember, if you’ve added anything to your dog’s dry food, you can’t leave it out for extended periods. If your dog doesn’t eat everything, make sure to dispose of the leftover food promptly.
Finally, always be sure to discuss any potential dietary changes or additions with your dog’s veterinarian.
Sometimes a finicky eater just needs a little variety to their daily meals. With a few easy tricks, you might be surprised at how enthusiastic he will become at mealtime!
1. Arnold, Brandy. The Dogington Post. “How to Properly Store Your Dog’s Food,” 22 February 2019, https://www.dogingtonpost.com/how-to-properly-store-your-dogs-food/
2. Vetinfo. “Making Dry Dog Food More Enjoyable,” https://www.vetinfo.com/dry-food-enjoyable.html
3. Ripley, Katherine. AKC. “Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?” 11 May 2015, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-yogurt/
4. Harris, Laura. Here Pup! “Is Chicken Broth Good For Dogs? 8 Q&As About Dogs (& Broth),” https://herepup.com/is-chicken-broth-good-for-dogs/