Build a Better Pet Food Bowl
Think about which you’d rather eat: a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream, or an ice cream sundae with fruits, syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry on top! Now imagine if all the toppings on the ice cream sundae had real nutritious benefits…... that’s what building a better bowl is all about!
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Many pet food companies offer mixers and toppers that are generally not considered complete, balanced diets themselves but can help enhance the nutrition and taste in your pet’s bowl. As their names suggest, they are meant to be mixed into or poured on top of kibble. Let's explore a "better bowl", starting at the base.
Dry kibble is the mainstay of most pet's diets. It’s probably the most convenient type of food, because it’s always ready to serve. The important thing is making sure to feed a complete and balanced food based on AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) standards, the feeding guidelines for a pet’s age and size.
What would it be like to eat the same thing every day? Besides getting bored, we would probably run the risk of not meeting all our nutritional needs. Well, the same could be said about our pet’s daily diet!
If you're feeding only dry kibble, feel free to mix it up a little. While sticking with your same base food, you can build a better bowl by adding a little wet food, a sprinkling of raw diet, or a topping of a “smoothie” equivalent! Any of these can boost the taste as well as the nutrients.
There's probably no easier way to enhance a bowl of dry kibble than by pouring bone broth on top. (Of course, it's important the broth isn't loaded with onions, garlic, sugar, or salt as many broths would contain if made for the human palette!) Bone broth immediately adds flavor, texture, smell and numerous health benefits. It aids the digestive system, the liver, joints, and many other bodily functions over all life stages from puppies to seniors.
Why not also add a little wet food over dry kibble? While the kibble provides a complete and balanced meal, the toppers can provide extra protein, additional hydration, and exciting flavors. The additional moisture, texture, and “fresher smell” of the wet ingredients are sure to entice even picky pets to chow down!
Gently Cooked Food
Many of our customers feel guilty that they don’t invest the time and money to cook up small batches of food, using the same ingredients they’d use for their own meals. Other customers think they're cooking healthy meals for their pets, but they might not be preparing meals that are “complete and balanced” (per AAFCO standards).
If you're in one of these categories, then “gently cooked pet food” might be the answer you're looking for. You’ve probably heard radio ads for some of these brands, or seen their ads on social media. While the ingredients may sound great, many people eventually think they are too expensive to continue, especially when there are multiple or large pets in the family. (Shipping this type of food in the proper temperatures is extremely costly!)
Meals For Dogs is a brand of “gently cooked foods” that's made locally in Ft. Lauderdale. We’ve actually watched as the freshest human-grade ingredients are cooked together with USDA meats. Since our van picks up the frozen packages, you save the expense of having a company ship it to you! (To learn more about this wholesome food, check out their website.)
These “gently cooked, small batch” foods make excellent, complete and balanced meals for small dogs. Alternatively, you can use these foods as a topper that can be easily mixed into your dog’s bowl to boost nutrients and flavor.
The concept of raw food is this: Since there's no cooking involved, all of the nutrients remain available, and since dogs and cats can digest nearly all raw food, there's complete absorption of the nutrients. This results in far less poop and lots of healthy benefits!
We carry several brands of raw foods in both freeze-dried and frozen varieties. This simply refers to the way the food has been preserved. Freeze-dried foods have the moisture removed to retain freshness, while minimizing the mess that feeding raw can bring. Freeze-dried foods should be re-hydrated before mealtime; frozen raw foods just need to be defrosted.
The ingredients in raw food provide several benefits, among them: natural enzymes that keep the mouth clean and fresh; good digestion; healthy skin and coat; sustained energy without spikes and lows. While everyone wants these benefits, feeding 100% raw is not for everyone because (a) it can get expensive and (b) it’s not nearly as convenient as feeding packaged kibble. But who says you need to feed 100% raw to get the benefits?
At Jake’s we like to say, “A little raw is better than no raw”. Your pet can get the benefits just by having some “raw toppers” mixed into their food. Popular brands make it easy to mix their raw food into the kibble you already use. Check out Stella & Chewy's freeze-dried Mixers or frozen Morsels, Primal Pronto, or Nature's Variety Frozen Bites.
Goat's Milk is easily digested by dogs and cats, and it's a simple way to boost the nutrients and hydration in your pet's bowl! You can pour it directly over dry kibble, just as you would pour milk over cereal. Alternatively, you can offer it in a separate bowl, or freeze it in ice cube trays to offer as a refreshing snack on a hot day! However you serve it, goat's milk will provide many of the "raw benefits" discussed earlier. Also, goat's milk helps to inhibit yeast growth, and acts as a natural antihistamine for dogs with allergies.
As the "cherry on top", spoon some of these whole-food toppers into your pet's bowl. Like a smoothie from a health food cafe, these toppings are made up of ingredients that target particular health needs including immunity, mobility, and digestion.
Just like bone broth, goat's milk, wet, or raw foods, whole-food toppers provide moisture, texture, and flavor that will supercharge your pet's taste buds and nutrition level. Have fun experimenting to see what combination best suits your pet! For some suggestions about how to start, take Primal Pet Food's "Build A Better Bowl" challenge.
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