When it comes to making sure your dog has plenty of nutritious dog food, there are some ways to make dinnertime a fun game for your dog, rather than a chore.
If your dog is food motivated, you can extend the fun of dinner time with a game. Introducing a slow feeder or puzzle bowl, snuffle mat or scatter feeding your dog can keep them mentally engaged for longer.
Dogs like a bit of variety in their meal times too. If your pet has gone off their food without reason, it could be a sign they are unwell and need to visit the vet.
However if your dog is just a bit picky, there are lots of ways you can spice up their dinner time and make it more fun for the both of you! Never feed your dog onion, garlic, salt, cocoa powder or nutmeg as these are toxic to dogs.
1. For a glossy, soft, healthy coat with less shedding…
Coconut oil has a high concentration of healthy fats, making it one of the most popular oils to add to your dog's dinner. Other popular oils include salmon oil, which is a natural way to get Omega 3 into your dog’s diet without having to feed whole oily fish each day.
2. For a boost of essential vitamins and minerals to promote overall health…
Adding a mixture of dog safe fruit and vegetables to your dog’s dinner is a great way to add essential vitamins and minerals, prevent cancer and repair damaged DNA cells.
Focus on adding foods full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against heart disease.
Fruit and vegetables can also provide an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, to improve digestion.
Make your dog a super healthy dinner by adding:
- Boiled carrots, parsnips, sprouts, broccoli, spinach, peas or green beans
- Raw carrots
- Lean parts of white meat
- Carrot or swede mash, without butter, salt or onions.
You could even add nutritional supplements like nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavour (and a boost of important nutrients!)
Dogs don’t need spices in order to stay healthy, and some are actually harmful to dogs. But certain spices provide nutritional benefits for our pets, particularly if they have specific health needs.
3. Support a healthy digestive tract…
Rosemary adds a woodsy flavour to your dog’s dinner, has a high nutrient profile and is beneficial to your dog’s immune system.
Belonging to the carrot family, rosemary is safe for dogs to consume in small quantities, and can even help to improve digestion and relieve gas. A great source of antioxidants, this herb can help to boost your pet’s immune system.
4. Take care of their heart to help them live a long happy life…
Cinnamon contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to counteract the effects of diabetes. A small amount of cinnamon in a dog’s dinner bowl can even lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
These dog friendly apple pie bites are the perfect autumnal snack for your dog!
5. Prevent car sickness with tasty gingerbread treats…
Ginger root can be a flavourful antibacterial and immune boosting treat for your dog. It can improve circulation, boost digestion, and even help to prevent nausea and motion sickness. Fresh ginger is a bit strong for some dogs, so you might find your dog prefers a sprinkle of dried or ground ginger instead.
If your dog is prone to being sick during car journeys, help settle their tummy by making these homemade gingerbread cookies ahead of your next road trip.
6. Beat the bad breath…
If your dog has some flavourful breath of their own, it may be worth introducing some of the following herbs into your dog’s meal time to naturally eliminate odours caused by dental problems.
While this is no substitute for properly brushing your dog’s teeth and attending regular vet check ups, there are a number of ingredients that can counteract the funky smell of your dog’s breath.
Oregano has many health benefits, due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties, making it a great addition to your dog’s diet.
The herb is also considered antimicrobial, and is used to help with digestive problems, diarrhoea, and gas. These homemade oat biscuits contain oregano to give your dog that minty fresh breath.
Another excellent herb for counteracting bad breath is coriander. This green, leafy herb freshens their breath and cleanses the palate.
The herb is also known to help to balance the blood sugar ratio, which may be helpful for small dog breeds that are susceptible to imbalances, like Chihuahuas.
Dogs can eat coriander as an ingredient in homemade treats, sprinkled on top of their meal and in small quantities to avoid stomach upset.
7. For strong joints and bones…
Arthritis affects many dogs as they head into old age. But the addition of basil can boost the immune system and protect against infection.
This fragrant herb is rich in antioxidants with anti-aging, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. It can help diminish the painful effects of arthritis, elevate the mood, and provide a remedy for stress and anxiety.
8. To help them keep lean and healthy…
Your dog should be at a healthy weight range to protect them from a variety of health conditions.
Turmeric, which comes from a root (like ginger), provides a boost to the metabolism and helps accelerate weight loss. It provides benefits for cardiovascular, joint, and brain health.
Turmeric is one of the most researched plants in existence today as a powerful antioxidant. The health benefits include:
- Anti-cancer properties
- Protects against radiation-induced damage
- Reduces unhealthy levels of inflammation
- Relieves allergies
- Acts as a binding agent, great for treating diarrhoea
High in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals
Turmeric can provide relief from arthritis, and has been used to protect against cancer and anaemia. A turmeric supplement specially designed for dogs is a great way to try these healing benefits or try baking your own turmeric dog treats!
Create a good dinner-time routine…
Sometimes dogs don’t eat their food right away because they know it will be there later for them to snack on. If your dog is a grazer, try picking their bowl up after 10 minutes. You can put it down again later if they seem hungry, but giving them a window of opportunity to eat is a good dinner time rule.
You can even introduce a bell at feeding times to let your dog know that dinner has started and then ring the bell again ten minutes later when you pick up their bowl.
After a few days of this routine, your dog will be eating their meal in their allotted ten minutes every time!
Shop around for a better quality of dog food…
If your dog is still not interested in their food and you are not over-feeding them, swap them over to a better quality dog food brand. You should do this gradually to prevent any digestive troubles as they adjust to a new dog food.
Your dog may need special dog food if their loss of appetite is due to their health, so be sure to book an appointment with your vet to make sure you’re feeding them the correct fright brand of dog food.