If your dog is not fond of kibble, you might want to mix it with food he finds appetizing. And given that your dog seems to love anything you eat, it might as well be something you cook that goes into his kibble. But is that even healthy?
You can mix kibble with homemade dog food as long as the meal is nutritionally balanced and the home-cooked food is not unhealthy. Homemade dog food recipes approved by vets make cost-effective toppers for kibble and can encourage your dog’s appetite and facilitate digestion.
In this article, you will learn more about mixing homemade dog food with kibble, including:
- Pros and cons
By the end of this post, you’ll know if mixing homemade food with dry food is the best choice for you. So, let’s get started with a deeper look into the main subject.
Can You Mix Homemade Dog Food With Kibble?
You can mix a wide range of food items with kibble provided they are not individually harmful to dogs. If a dog can eat something solo, he can consume it alongside kibble.
Homemade dog food can be delicious and healthy for dogs, but it can overshoot in calories or lack nutrition (depending on the recipe).
Even though it may be difficult to imagine, many homemade recipes are typically not particularly nutritious for dogs. A study of 200 homemade dog food recipes found that most lacked vital nutrients. In fact, only 10 of the recipes had the correct canine nutrients.
Mixing a small portion of home-cooked food with kibble can help your dog take an interest in kibble. If your dog won’t eat dry food and is a fussy eater, you might take his rejection of kibble at face value. But if you’re wondering whether kibble can be mixed with dog food, you are on the right track.
Here’s how a mix of home-cooked food with kibble fares against dry kibble and homemade dog food as solo servings.
|Home Cooked Dog Food||Dry Kibble||Kibble Mixed With Homemade Dog Food|
|Not nutritious (unless expert approved)||Nutritious||Nutritious|
The right mix of kibble and homemade dog food can be appetizing, moist, and nutritious. However, the inconveniences of both kibble and homecooked dog food can also compound if you decide to serve a mix of both.
That’s why you need to consider the pros and cons of mixing kibble with homemade dog food to get the complete picture.
Should You Mix Kibble With Homemade Dog Food?
You should mix kibble with homemade dog food if your dog is a fussy eater and you’re willing to cook homemade food at a regular enough frequency for him.
Whether you should serve a mix of cooked food and kibble depends on your situation. As mentioned earlier, a look into the advantages and disadvantages of this approach will help you make a better choice.
Let’s get started with the pros of mixing kibble and homemade dog food:
- Mixed food is more nutritious – Especially when compared to homemade food alone, mixing cooked food with kibble is more likely to hit your dog’s dietary requirements.
- Mixed food is more appetizing – Kibble is nutritious but dry and lacks flavor and aroma compared to cooked food.
- Mixed food can improve digestion – A pure kibble diet of low quality can lack fiber and vitamins, which homemade food can add to your dog’s diet.
- Mixed food can be good for your dog’s confidence – When your dog watches you cook food for him, he can feel more valued. This effect is the opposite of what happens when a dog is fed scraps.
The cons of mixing kibble with homemade dog food:
- Mixed dog food is more expensive – You have to purchase kibble and additional ingredients to cook homemade food. This makes the mixed food option the more expensive one.
- Mixed dog food takes more time to prepare/serve – Aside from buying extra ingredients, you have to prepare the homemade dog food as well. Because of this, the mixed option is more time-consuming.
- You can get the mix seriously wrong – This is a potential drawback. If you don’t use a vet-approved recipe, you might accidentally prepare food that can upset your dog’s stomach, make him sick, and cause nutritional deficiencies.
With all of the above in mind, you have to decide whether a mix of kibble and homemade dog food is right for you. It is best to mix kibble and home-cooked food when its drawbacks are not as relevant.
You should mix kibble with homemade dog food if:
- Buying extra ingredients isn’t a serious financial concern
- You have the extra time to prepare the food and mix it at feeding time
- You can mix the food in proper proportions to balance the nutritional value
- You know enough about what a dog can and cannot eat
At this point, you probably know if you’re going to mix homemade dog food with kibble or not. If you are, then you can skip the next section and go to the “how to” section of this post.
But if this section has convinced you not to mix kibble with homemade dog food, you can check out the alternatives below.
Alternatives to Mixing Kibble with Homemade Dog Food
Please refer to the table below to figure out an alternative that works for different reasons you might not want to mix home-cooked food with kibble.
|You don’t have the time to cook food to mix with the kibble but don’t mind buying extra items to mix with your dog’s food||Mix individual food items with kibble without cooking them. Read this post on what you can mix with dry dog food|
|You don’t want to mess up the nutritional balance of your dog’s food||Mix canned dog food with kibble. You can even mix different dog food brands|
|You want to make kibble more appetizing without spending too much||Add a topper of organic dog treats to the kibble or just add water to the dry food|
|You don’t want to feed kibble to your dog||Get a vet-approved recipe that can fulfill your dog’s daily nutritional requirements|
How To Mix Kibble With Homemade Dog Food
Mixing homemade dog food with kibble requires a basic knowledge of what’s good and bad for your dog. Onions, chocolates, grapes, raisins, avocados, cooked bones, anything with xylitol, and macadamia nuts can all be toxic to dogs. You have to be sure that the homemade dog food is 100% okay for your dog.
That’s why the first step is to get the right recipe.
Step 1 – Get a vet-approved recipe
You don’t need a vet to tell you that your dog can eat steamed chicken. However, most homemade dog food recipes aren’t single-ingredient ones. If you get your recipes online, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion. While dog food recipes online don’t include items toxic to dogs, they can be unhealthy.
The American College of Veterinary Nutrition has a directory of pet nutritionists, where you can have a remote consultation to get you on the right track.
Step 2 – Prepare homemade dog food
The next step in mixing cooked food with kibble is actually cooking the food. Make sure to cook no more than a week’s worth of food. Homemade food doesn’t have preservatives and can go bad relatively quickly. Even when stored in a refrigerator, homemade dog food has a short shelf life.
Learn How To Make Homemade Dog Food In This Video…
Step 3 – Add 1 part homecooked dog food to 3 parts kibble
I have tried various proportions of homemade food with kibble and have found a ratio of 25% homemade food to 75% dry dog food to be the best. It is palatable enough to get even the fussiest eaters to accept kibble.
At the same time, the homemade portion is not large enough to cause weight gain. Still, you might have to exercise your dog more if the homemade recipe is calorie-dense.
Step 4 – Add the mixed dog food to your dog’s bowl
The final step, of course, is to serve a mix of kibble and homemade dog food. You have to pour the mixed dog food into his bowl, and he will start eating, thanks to his standard conditioning.
If you’re using homecooked food at a topper, then you should add the kibble first, followed by a 25% portion of homecooked dog food, so it completely covers the kibble.
What To Do If Your Dog Doesn’t Like Kibble Mixed With Homemade Dog Food
If you’ve tried the approach above and your dog is still unwilling to eat his kibble, then you can try one of the following solutions.
- Increase the homemade food portion in the bowl – Since homemade dog food is more appetizing, reducing kibble volume compared to the homemade food content might help spark your dog’s appetite. Remember that the more homemade food there is in his diet, the more careful you need to be about its nutritional value.
- Change the food recipe – If it is the homemade food that your dog has a problem with, the solution is to change the recipe of the cooked food. Sometimes the recipe isn’t the problem but the way you store it can make the food dry.
Homemade dog food can make a great topper for kibble since it is more flavorful and appetizing. But since home-cooked meals aren’t regulated, some recipes can be harmful, and others may cause weight gain.
When you mix homemade dog food and kibble, make sure that the home-cooked food is in a proportion smaller than 25% of the mix. Above all, use recipes from approved sources such as your vet or a canine nutritionist.