Subscribe
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
We’re reader-supported. Our team independently researches, tests, and rates the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links. We never accept free or gifted products. Learn more.
healthy canine living

Testing the four best food toppers for pups 📷: Sara Ondrako

While dry food is a cheap way to give your dog the nutrients they need, sometimes kibble needs a little boost. That’s where food toppers come in. A food topper, which can be sprinkled atop your dog’s normal food, is a tasty way to help incorporate more nutrients into your pet’s diet.

Because picking the right dog food topper can be overwhelming, our team carefully reviewed several top products to find the best option for your dog. We ranked and rated each food topper based on a number of criteria, like safety, affordability, ease of use, the quality of the ingredients, and more. Here’s what we found.

Food toppers we tested

Our top pick

Native Pet’s Organic Bone Broth is an all-natural, high-quality food topper that features just a few pup-safe ingredients, like broth, sunflower lecithin, and organic sweet potatoes. This product is easy to use and loaded with flavor and collagen. Your pup will love it, and so will you.

  • Ingredients. Limited ingredients do the trick! Native Pet’s Bone Broth comes in a beef and chicken flavor, both of which are made with human-grade broth and contain just a few additional ingredients depending on which flavor you choose.
  • Nutrition. Bone broth can benefit a pup’s liver and joints. Limited ingredients also ensure there’s nothing bad in the broth for your pet.
  • Flavor. This bone broth topper comes in two flavors — chicken and beef — both of which our tester pups gobbled down.
  • Ease of use. This powder just needs a cool, dry place to call home. No refrigeration is required.
  • Consistency. This product is best served atop dry kibble or mixed with hot water for a hydrating, gravy-like treat. The granules don’t completely dissolve unless you use hot water, so just make sure to let the mixture cool before serving it to your pup.

What our vet thinks

Broth contains a healthy amount of collagen, which is good for dogs’ joints. Because of the limited, responsibly-sourced ingredients, our vet didn’t express any health concerns. The granules are easy to mix and help to entice even the pickiest of eaters. We definitely recommend this one!

Best for sprinkling

With a variety of choices, you can find a Flavors Food Topper for even the pickiest of dogs. We liked how this product is easy to shake over Fido’s food for a tasty and easy dining experience. Though it’s marketed as a gravy, we found that this one doesn’t mix well with water. We preferred to use it more like a seasoning instead. It’s also important to note that this pick is simply a flavor booster — not necessarily a dietary supplement.

  • Ingredients. Limited, human-grade ingredients make this topper an awesome mealtime addition that’s perfectly safe for your pet.
  • Nutrition. Real meat gives your dog some extra protein and collagen for healthy joints. With no sugar, added fats, grains, or fillers, this is the perfect addition to your picky pet’s food.
  • Flavor. We were impressed that this product relies on real meat for taste, rather than added flavoring. There are also a variety of tasty choices to suit your dog’s preferences and needs.
  • Ease of use. If you need to precisely measure your pup’s calorie intake, this might not be the topper for you. We found it difficult to fit a spoon or measuring cup into the container, meaning it was hard to determine exactly how much we were giving our dog. We also found that it doesn’t mix very easily with water.
  • Consistency. The finely ground ingredients sneak into your dog’s food, making it almost impossible to pick out the good stuff and ignore the kibble.

What our vet thinks

The powdered form makes this topper super convenient to quickly shake over a bowl of kibble. Our vet Dr. Alleyne also likes this pick since it can easily be sprinkled over either dry or moist food, making it as versatile as it is delectable.

Best for dogs with upset tummies

This convenient pumpkin powder can be added to water to form a puree or served dry sprinkled on top of your dog’s food. With only three ingredients, we like this topper for what it contains as much as what it doesn’t. In general, however, we felt like most dogs might prefer the taste of Native Pet’s Bone Broth Topper.

  • Ingredients. Organic pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, and apple make up the perfect trio in this simple powder. Native Pet sources their ingredients from North America and claims to maintain accountability from their suppliers.
  • Nutrition. Pumpkin is a great natural supplement that promotes digestive health. This amazing vegetable is an excellent source of fiber, zinc, and vitamins A and C.
  • Flavor. Pumpkin! Some dogs like this flavor, but others don’t find it as tempting as meat-based options.
  • Ease of use. This powdered pumpkin topper is a great alternative to canned pumpkin because it’s easier to mix with food and stays fresh for longer once opened. And the best part? No refrigeration is required.
  • Consistency. This topper comes in a powder form that can be sprinkled over food or mixed with water to create a pumpkin puree.

What our vet thinks

While pumpkin does have some health benefits, our vet Dr. Alleyne isn’t sure that this topper can live up to its claim of preventing diarrhea. That said, he does like how convenient it is to mix in with kibble.

Our gravy pick

Honest Kitchen Bone Broth Food Topper resembles a hearty gravy more than a thin broth. Chunks of vegetables and beef add variety to your pet’s diet with no artificial ingredients. We like how this food topper is easy to pour over kibble and that it doesn’t require any heating or mixing.

  • Ingredients. All of the ingredients in this product are human-grade, non-GMO, and all-natural. This option contains only broth, meat, vegetables, herbs, and tapioca.
  • Nutrition. Honest Kitchen recipes don’t contain meat byproducts. The meat adds protein and the vegetables contribute fiber and vitamins.
  • Flavor. This topper comes in several different flavor options, including beef, fish, chicken, and more.
  • Ease of use. These meal toppers come in a small cardboard carton, which is easy to open and pour over food. Just be sure to refrigerate any leftovers.
  • Consistency. The chunky vegetables and meat give this meal topper the consistency of thick gravy. We also think the tapioca might contribute to the pudding-like texture.

What our vet thinks

Our vet recommends this product because it’s a quick and palatable way to add human-grade nutrition to your dog’s diet. However, the shelf life may be shorter than powdered options, so be sure to check the expiration date.

Our research process

Why you should trust our reviews

  • Dr. Dwight Alleyne helped us formulate this list — Dr. Alleyne gave us his thoughts on each product. After ranking them according to nutrition, ease, and taste, he preferred Native Pet’s Bone Broth as a universally nutritious topper for all dogs. However, he didn’t have any critical objections to any of the other products on this list and pointed out the pros and cons of each.
  • We ordered and paid for these products — At betterpet, we want to provide pet parents with honest, objective feedback about all of the products we test. Because of our commitment to quality, we don’t accept sponsored or gifted items for review. We bought these products with our own resources to provide you with our unbiased feedback.
  • We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field – Our expert product reviewer, Sara Ondrako, personally tested all of these products with her own dogs. Her experiences with her fur babies inform her reviews.

How we picked

We scoured the internet for the most popular food toppers on the market, making sure to avoid added sugars, fats, and unwholesome ingredients like GMOs and meat byproducts. Our veterinarian also helped us narrow down our list before we purchased our selections. We then bought the products and sent them to our reviewer to see how they worked. After putting each topper to the test, our expert and vet then picked their favorite. Our “top pick”  is the product that ranks the highest in all of our criteria.

At first glance

Here’s a glance at how the toppers stack up against each other.

Toppers ranked according to price per ounce, from lowest to highest

Product *Price Amount Price per ounce
Native Pet Organic Pumpkin $19.99 8 ounces $2.50
Native Pet Organic Bone Broth $19.99 5.4 ounces $3.70
Flavors Food Topper $11.65 3.1 ounces $3.76
The Honest Kitchen Topper $26.99 5.5 ounces $4.91

*price at the time of our review

How we tested these products

Our veterinarian analyzed the chosen products for nutritional value and determined whether the ingredients were safe. Below are the categories we thought would be most important to dog parents when choosing between similar products:

  • Ingredients. Both our veterinarian and our product reviewer made sure all of the ingredients were safe for your pet.
  • Nutrition. We evaluated the ingredients to see what health benefits they provide  — and noted which products might be best for which pups. For instance, the Native Pet Pumpkin Powder might be a helpful additive for pups that suffer from indigestion, while Native Pet Bone Broth works for all dogs.
  • Flavor. We described the flavor of the toppers and recorded how the reviewer’s dog responded to each product. Every dog’s taste is different, but higher-ranking products were often better received by the reviewer’s pet.
  • Ease of use. We made sure the products were convenient for busy lifestyles and listed any potential drawbacks in packaging or design.
  • Consistency. Our reviewer noted how thick each topper was and what form it came in, be that gravy, powder, or liquid. Consistency is an important factor to consider, especially for picky pups.

What else should pet parents consider? 

Does your dog need a food topper?

That depends. Toppers are typically used to help entice a picky pet to eat or provide your dog with the nutrients they lack. Since some options can be high in fat, it’s best to use a topper as an occasional treat for added nutrition and hydration, rather than a long-term solution. Always consult your vet to determine what might be best for your dog. In addition, if your dog isn’t eating their normal meals, you should check with your pup’s veterinarian to see what might be going on.

👉  If your dog is truly just picky, our guide to food for picky eaters can help. 

The three different types of toppers

Toppers come in many different forms, so the best option for your dog will depend on their unique needs and preferences. Some toppers are designed to be mixed with water, while others are meant to be sprinkled on top of your dog’s daily meals.

  • Broth. Broth toppers are typically made from chicken, beef, turkey, salmon, lamb, or another type of protein. As long as they’re low in sodium and fat, they tend to be safe options. Some brands even offer variety packs so your dog can try out different flavors.
  • Powder. Food toppers can come in powdered forms, which can be sprinkled on food or mixed into a dog’s kibble. Broths can be powdered, allowing them to be mixed with a warm liquid. Some powders contain freeze-dried meat while others do not.
  • Gravy. Gravy food toppers have the same consistency and texture as the gravy we humans eat. That said, gravy tends to contain a lot of carbohydrates and calories. Obese and diabetic dogs should avoid these types of toppers.

Benefits of dog food toppers 

There are a few benefits to using food toppers to supplement your pup’s meals, some of which are listed below:

  • Hydration. Some toppers, especially those made from broth, can help hydrate your dog by adding moist, nutritious ingredients to their dry food. Dogs are natural carnivores, so they actually need much more water than their dry food can give them.
  • Nutrients. Toppers can add vitamins, minerals, protein, fruits, veggies, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber to your dog’s diet. You can pick the product that best fits their needs and provides them with whatever ingredients their food lacks.
  • Variety. Toppers are exciting and rewarding for your dog! They help mix up their daily meals and break up the monotony of chomping on dry kibble.

Tips for choosing the right topper

Here’s what you need to think about when choosing a dog food topper.

Check the ingredients — In general, the best dog food toppers have ingredients like organic bone broth and vegetables. You should avoid toppers that are high in fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. You should also avoid any broth-based food topper that contains actual bones.

Count your dog’s calories — Treats and supplements shouldn’t account for more than 10% of a dog’s daily calories. This will help keep your dog at a healthy weight and limit their risk of developing certain health conditions.

Start small — You should be especially aware of your dog’s food allergies and sensitivities if you’re considering feeding them a topper. You may want to give them a small amount initially to make sure there aren’t any issues. If your dog is allergic to a certain ingredient, you should also double-check the topper’s ingredient list.

Keep your pet’s history in mind — Dogs with a history of pancreatitis, obesity, or gastrointestinal disease should avoid using a food topper. These dogs tend to be on calorie-restrictive diets, so they really shouldn’t be given any treats or toppers. If you’re unsure what to feed your dog, always check with a vet.

Frequently asked questions

How often should you use a food topper?

Some toppers contain excess calories and can cause your dog to gain weight. Ideally, a food topper should be used in moderation to temporarily fix your dog’s pickiness or until you find a food they like. If your dog has a nutritional deficiency that the topper helps to address, then your vet may advise you to use it long term.

Are food toppers OK for puppies?

In small quantities, food toppers can be OK for puppies. That said, make sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure you’re feeding your dog the correct amount. Keep in mind that it can take a puppy some time to ease into a normal eating routine, so you should be patient with their diet.

Do dog food toppers work?

Food toppers can be a great way to entice your dog to eat their food! Toppers can also have lots of extra nutritional value for dogs. If your dog is still refusing their food even with a topper, there might be something else going on. This is a sign that you should take your dog to the vet.

What can I add to dry dog food to make my dog eat?

If your dog typically chows down on their food but suddenly won’t eat, they could be sick, so you’ll need to call your vet. If your pup ordinarily shows disdain for their dry food, however, then they might just be a picky eater. Talk to your vet about switching their formula to something they might enjoy more.

What fruits and vegetables are healthy food toppers for dogs?

Broccoli, strawberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all healthy, delicious toppers that your dog will love! If you want more suggestions, try asking your vet.