Enhancing Dry Dog Food Palatability and Taste

Some dogs rather starve or show signs of displeasure when it comes to eating dry dog food. Have you ever tasted dry dog food? I have and I do not blame the dogs that do detest it. Some dogs have a finer palate, different taste preferences or simply just get bored of the same bland taste. For whatever reason, let’s help them out and talk about a few ideas to improve the taste..

Here is a overview of what you can do to enhance palatability:

  1. Switch brands or recipes
  2. Prevent the dry food from going stale with proper storage
  3. Add water
  4. Supplement the dry dog food with:
    • cooked human food safe for dogs
    • wet dog food
    • gravy or meat broth

1.  Switching Brands or Recipes

When switching brands you may want to consider

  • The types of meats the recipe is focused on. Example: Switching from Fish to Beef focused recipe.
  • Finding a recipe with increased amount of meats at the top of the ingredient list. Also, check the fat content too, perhaps a higher content of fat from meats improve the taste for dogs.
  • Finding a recipe with less carbohydrate filler such as corn, rice, wheat etc, which may mask off and dominate the flavor of meat

2.  Keeping Kibble Crunchy

Just like a bag of chips for humans, once its open it can quickly go stale within a few hours. Either way, if your dog is being picky about kibble or not, be considerate and store dry dog food in a sealed container. When I buy a large bag of kibble, I store a large portion of it in a well-sealed container. Then in a smaller container, I store the rest for use in the short term that lasts about a week or so. This way, I preserve the kibbles from additional moisture, and it makes access with the smaller container easier than the larger container. When depleted, I will refill the smaller container from the larger container to minimize moisture exposure to the larger reserve.

3.  Adding Water

Adding water may sound simple, but not so from my experience with a very picky dog. Factors to consider when adding water:

  • Water temperature
  • Timing / soak time before serving
  • Amount of water

Warmer water typically brings out the flavor of the kibble more, but bringing out the flavor may not help if the dog detests it. If so, cold or room temperature water may be more effective.

The amount of soak before serving will influence the amount of flavor that it will bring out from the kibble, and impact the crunchiness of the kibble. Your dog may prefer a crunchier experience thus back off on the soak time.

In some cases only a sprinkle of water is necessary to act as a lubricant, but to bring out more of the flavor or if your dog prefers a softer textures then more will be warranted.

As a tastier substitute to water, you can add meat broth or gravy, which is discussed in supplementing dog food section.

4. Supplementing dog food

This is a typically a big winner. There are various things to add, but try to keep it simple. You can add cooked meat that is cut up to the

  • Cut up pieces of cooked meat (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, etc..) However, DO NOT give them small brittle bones that may get jammed in their esophagus, such as chicken bones or fish bones. By adding cook meat not only you make the meal more appetizing, but it will provide a good source of protein with a balanced essential amino acids profile. Also, the fat from the meats will be helpful to for a dog’s diet. To piggy back the meat taste boast, you can try to throw in come cooked vegetables if you think your dog could use other or more nutrients.
  • Adding wet dog food. This will boast the taste without breaking the bank by completely converting to wet dog food.
  • A little bit of plain yogurt with no added sugar.
  • A little bit of sour cream. Consider sour cream with added probiotics too.
  • Gravy, but avoiding adding to much if it is a starch or flour based gravy if weight is a concern
  • Meat broth/stock. Make sure it does not have added sodium or the very least it is low in sodium. You can make a large batch and keep in the fridge for a few days.




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