Home Leisure & Lifestyle The Truth About Viral TikTok Dog Feeding Hacks – 2 Experts Weigh In

The Truth About Viral TikTok Dog Feeding Hacks – 2 Experts Weigh In

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TikTok’s #petcare hashtag has more than 15 million views, many of the videos featuring “hacks” for dog care and feeding, with novice owners and experts alike sharing what they think is best for their dogs and yours.

So, it’s no surprise that pet owners looking for solutions and the best pet parenting hacks for their precious pooch online – especially those on a budget – may find it hard to discern which of the tips can be trusted, and which were made for virality only.

Nutritionist for vet-approved dog food brand Barking Heads Sarah McNamara shares which TikTok feeding hacks are to be believed, and those that should be avoided at all costs when they pop up on your For You Page. ITV This Morning and Barking Heads’ resident vet, Dr Scott Miller, also explains why some hacks work better than others and the health benefits or risks attached to these nutritional tips and tricks.

Hot water on kibble enhances meat scent and entices picky dogs

Sarah McNamara shares: “If you come across this tip, follow it. Especially if you have a fussy dog. Kibble should always be rehydrated with warm water to help prevent conditions such as bloating in your dog. In doing so, the warm water will release more of a meaty scent as it warms up the fats within the meat. This can entice fussy pups to give their kibble another chance. Remember to leave the kibble mixture to cool for a little while before letting your dog eat it.”

Dr Miller explains why fussy eaters might prefer rehydrated kibble. “When it comes to fussy eating, there are a range of issues that may be underlying, like an injury in the mouth, such as a cracked tooth, or gum disease. You may want to take them for an appointment with your doggy dentist (aka the vet) to get their oral cavity and dental health assessed so your dog can get back to enjoying their meals.” 

Eggshells as a food topper give your dog more calcium

“As a supplement to your dog’s diet, eggshells are an excellent addition to boost their calcium intake. Calcium is incredibly important for puppies and pregnant dogs in particular, as it helps maintain strong bones and teeth for those need states,” says nutritionist Sarah.

Dr Miller continues: “If you are going to give your dog eggshells as a supplement or topper to their meals, prepare them properly to avoid the risk of injury to your dog. I suggest washing the shells thoroughly and boiling them to make sure they are bacteria-free. Let them dry completely by baking them for 10 to 15 minutes before grinding them to a fine powder. Add a teaspoon to your dog or puppy’s food for a calcium boost.

But a complete balanced diet, like Barking Heads, will contain all the calcium that your pooch could possibly need, so although I appreciate the sentiment, there really is no need to add eggshells to your dog’s diet if it has been given “complete balanced diet” approval by a nutritionist.

Raw eggs will improve your dog’s skin, teeth and bones

Sarah McNamara says: “Eggs can be extremely beneficial for dogs when fed in moderation. A chopped-up, boiled egg sprinkled on top of your dog’s kibble or wet food can help with a dog’s skin and coat, as eggs are rich in protein, vitamin B and vitamin A. Some owners on TikTok share clips of them feeding their dogs raw eggs, but like with humans, raw eggs put your dog at risk of salmonella. So, I would recommend you cook them before feeding.”

Dr Miller adds: “Raw eggs can put your pup at risk of salmonella. If you’re going to feed your dog eggs, make sure to do it infrequently and always boil the egg, rather than frying; the oil puts your pup at risk of obesity. Keep their eggs cooked as plainly as possible.”

Adding kefir to dog food adds good probiotics and is more hydrating for your dog

Sarah McNamara explains, “I’m all up for making sure your dog gets probiotics. Many owners will pay a premium for branded probiotic supplements, but you can give your dog a spoonful of plain, unsweetened yoghurt or kefir mixed into their food to do the same job.

“One thing to be aware of is whether your dog is lactose intolerant. There are some kefirs made with a coconut milk or water base, which are great alternatives to get those probiotics into your dog’s diet.”

Dr Miller says: “Dogs can reap many benefits from probiotics. The added bacteria to their gut can aid digestion, help them absorb vitamins more effectively, and boost their immune system. Probiotics are also great if your dog suffers from diarrhoeabut I would always suggest visiting your vet to find out which is best as dogs need a specific species of bacteria that best suits their guts.”

Kibble was made for our convenience, not with the pet’s nutritional needs in mind

“This claim is just not true,” says nutritional expert Sarah. “When a brand is making kibble they must follow strict guidelines on what goes into the food in order for it to be a complete meal for a dog and saleable.

“Every ingredient that goes into your dog’s food has to provide a macro or micronutrient to ensure they get everything they need. Your dog comes first during formulation, and most brands’ kibble production is highly sustainable as all meat ingredients in the food come from the human food chain.”

Kibble is the dog equivalent to eating at McDonald’s every day

On this final viral TikTok hack, Sarah says: “Based on the carbohydrate content of the kibble you give your pup, this can be true in some cases, but not all. Carbohydrates aren’t particularly bad for dogs as they provide a source of slow-release energy in the same way humans need carbs. A low amount of carbohydrates in their diets helps your dog break down glucose.”

While carbohydrates can do good for a dog in small doses, Dr Miller explains why they can be detrimental: “You’ll sometimes see that in dogs with high carbohydrate intake that they display more excitable behaviour compared to dogs on a diet with more protein.

“Food allergies can be caused by a number of elements of diets, not just carbohydrates, with some proteins such as beef, milk or even chicken leading to gastrointestinal upsets and/or skin problems when consumed by some dogs.”

For any advice you spot online – especially if it seems too good to be true – remember to consult a nutritionist or vet before following it. For the most part, experts online are sharing invaluable advice, but it’s always worth doing some follow-up research when it comes to the health and well-being of your beloved pooch.

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