Can Dogs Eat Gravy

Photo by Shawn Rossi on Flickr

Dogs love gravy, and adding some to their food makes it more tasty and palatable.

After a delicious roast dinner, it can be tempting to let your furry friend have some of the leftovers.

However, this may not be a good idea because some ingredients in gravy can be detrimental to your dog’s health.

Both broths and gravies make great additions to your pet’s dry kibble, and they are especially good for making dry dog food more appealing to dogs.

Whether you’re tempted to let your pet enjoy some yummy roast dinner, or you want to encourage your dog to eat by adding some gravy to their food.

Before doing that, here are some things you should know about dogs and gravies.

Can you put gravy on dog food?

That will depend on the type of gravy.

Gravies usually contain high levels of salt and fat, which are unhealthy for dogs.

High levels of salt can lead to sodium poisoning, while excessive fat intake can lead to obesity or acute pancreatitis.

Gravy also contains certain spices including onions and garlic which are also toxic to dogs, these spices contain a substance (n-propyl disulphide) that is known to cause anaemia in healthy dogs.

What kind of gravy can I give my dog?

No matter what you feed your dog, whether dry kibble, canned wet food or homemade meals, adding warm gravy will make it yummy and have your dog gulping down the food, even licking their plate.

But be careful, because not all gravy options are healthy for your pooch. 

The three major gravy options are homemade gravy, store-bought gravy granules and commercial dog gravy, and here’s what you need to know about how each one affects your dog. 

Can dogs eat commercial gravy granules?

While store-bought commercial gravy granules are great for you, never give them to your dog because they have concentrated levels of onion, garlic, salt and fat.

They also contain many other ingredients that your dog’s digestive system may struggle to digest, which can cause a serious case of diarrhoea.

Most commercial gravy granules, such as Bisto, contain ingredients that are unhealthy or even toxic to dogs. 

Here’s the list of the common ingredients found in many commercial gravy granules;

  • Refined wheat flour: unprocessed whole wheat flour can be okay for dogs, but refined wheat flour is rich in carbohydrates and high in calories. Refined flour can cause digestive distress in dogs, such as bloating and inflammatory bowel syndrome. 
  • Sugar: some commercial gravies contain sugar, and too much sugar in your dog’s meal can make your dog overweight, cause diabetes and dental problems overtime. 
  • Skimmed milk powder: milk is generally not toxic to dogs, but some dogs are lactose intolerant and will find it very difficult to digest foods that contain any form of milk.
  • Palm oil: palm oil is not toxic to dogs, but in some cases it can cause heart problems and pancreatitis.
  • Potato starch: this is the starch extracted from potatoes, it’s used as a binding agent to thicken instant gravies. It’s mostly empty carbs and only adds more calories without nutrients.
  • Garlic and onion powder: these spices contain n-propyl disulphide, which is toxic to dogs. In a dog’s body, n-propyl disulphide binds to the red blood cells, replacing oxygen. This affects the ability of the red cells to transport oxygen, and when this happens, the dog’s body identifies the red blood cells as invaders and destroys them, consequently leading to anaemia.

It’s important that you avoid feeding your dog any food that contains high levels of salt and fat, and some of the ingredients listed above.

If you use store-bought gravies very often for your own meals, do not share them with your pet for their own safety. In this case, you’d be doing them a favour.   

What are the ingredients in dog gravy?

If you have no time to cook and want something quick and easy for your pooch, you can find canned gravy or bone broth that are specifically made for dogs.

And because they are made for dogs, they do not contain any of the ingredients that can be potentially harmful to dogs. 

Commercial dog gravy granules are the perfect alternative to store-bought gravies for humans. They are also excellent additions and toppers for your dog’s food, you can get a good one for less than $10 or a little above $30 for much pricier ones. 

Ingredients in these products usually include dehydrated bone broth, dehydrated vegetables, potato starch, natural flavours, etc.

They often do not contain refined flours, onions, garlic, palm oil, milk or sugar. Plus, they have very low-calorie and low-sodium per serving.  

Homemade dog gravy

The best gravy for your dog is no doubt the one you specially made for them.

When making homemade dog gravies, you take your dog’s needs into consideration, which makes it even better than the commercial options.

Home-made gravy contains the freshest ingredients and is certainly the healthiest for your dog.

And the best part is that it doesn’t take much time to make.

It only requires fresh meat, this can be boneless chicken, turkey or beef, and some fresh vegetables.

It doesn’t contain fillers, neither does it contain additives, preservatives and unhealthy spices. 

How do you make homemade dog gravy?

To make homemade dog gravy, here’s a quick and simple recipe for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Coconut oil (optional)
  • 1 lb lean ground or minced turkey
  • 4 oz. boneless chicken (alternatively, you can use chicken liver or gizzard)
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped green beans
  • 3 cups of water

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Place the turkey and chicken in a pot cover with water and cook thoroughly
  2. Add the carrots, green beans, and coconut oil, cover and let it simmer for 30 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely
  4. Transfer the mix to a blender or food process and blend until smooth
  5. Now it’s ready for your dog to enjoy, serve it with dry kibble or wet food. If the gravy is too thick, you can add water to soften it and get the texture you want.

Any leftover should be properly stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It should be consumed within 3 days.

Having looked at both how suitable human gravy is and explored how great dog gravy is, I want to move on and look at a closely related issue.

A reason why many dog owners start thinking about feeding their dogs gravy is because they are looking at ways of making a dull bowl of kibble more interesting.

And so in the next section, I find out ways of doing exactly that. 

What are the best ways of making dog kibble (dry food) more tasty or attractive to a dog?

If you have a pet who finds dry kibble too plain and boring, and would sniff without eating. Then, you may be wondering what you can do to make the food more attractive and appealing to your dog. Here are a few tips you can try:

Top with canned wet dog food: dry kibble can become more appetizing if you top with a little canned wet food. But to do this, you have to reduce the portion of dry kibble, and replace it with wet food. This is to ensure that you maintain the same quality of food you serve your dog, so your dog doesn’t get too much food.

Add some bone broth: another option is to add a little amount of bone broth. This can either be commercial bone broth for dogs or specially-made bone broth for your dog that doesn’t contain any unhealthy spices, herbs and seasoning.

Top with vegetable smoothies: dogs love vegetables, and you can lure them to eat with a healthy vegetable smoothie made with a combination of spinach, pumpkin, carrots, green beans, sprouts, chard and kale. Wash and steam the vegetables for a few minutes, then blend them together to form a healthy green smoothie. You don’t have to use all the vegetables at once, if there are specific vegetables that your dog prefers, then those are what you should use. 

Add some tasty toppers: commercial dog food toppers are tasty treats and food additives made from dehydrated bone-broth, gravies, dried fruits, meat treats, etc. Adding these to dry kibble makes it more palatable and yummy for dogs. Dog food toppers come in many flavours and varieties, if you find one that your dog likes, it will help their food taste better and encourage them to eat.

When it comes to jazzing up kibble, I think that my suggestions have given you all more than enough food for thought…

But what about if your woes go a little deeper than merely making a bowl of dry food more attractive?

Supposing that your dog is in a downward eating spiral and is not merely a bit unenthusiastic but is a fully fledged picky eater.

What can you do about this?

Hints to help make a picky eater less fussy

When it comes to dogs most picky eaters are dogs that are offered a variety of different foods or treats.

Be that a bowl of kibble, some chunks of chicken or a great big dog chew.

And therein lies the problem- these dogs have learned that they don’t need to eat what’s in front of them because sooner or later they will be offered something else.

And because their resolve is stronger than yours that is exactly what happens.

And before you know it, you have a cupboard (or a fridge) full of loads of different foods or treats that the dog no longer wants to eat. 

When it comes to feeding, dogs need consistency. 

In fact you could almost say that about every aspect of your dog’s life- or my life come to think of it. 

Dogs are not like humans, who need to eat a variety of foods each day or week in order to have a balanced diet. 

Dogs can get everything they need from the same can of wet food or the same scoop of dry food- as long as it is labelled as a complete diet.

Giving your dog different food options will create a picky eater, it can also lead to digestive problems like diarrhoea or vomiting. Dogs rarely reject food, and a healthy dog will only reject their food if they know that they can get something better. 

However, if you already have a picky eater, here are some tips for discouraging pickiness;

  1. Ensure that you never give your dog scrapes from the table, and don’t share your food with them. This will not only encourage pickiness, but is also unhealthy for your dog, since their nutrient requirements are different from humans.
  2. Serve your dog their usual meal and leave it out for only 15 to 30 minutes. If they don’t eat within that time, take the food away.
  3. The next mealtime, serve them a fresh bowl of the same food, and they still don’t eat for more than 30 minutes. Remove it and repeat the same thing at every mealtime, whether they eat or not. This works because they will eat if they’re hungry, dogs don’t starve themselves

Also, find out if your dog is getting fed somewhere else. If your dog is eating elsewhere or raiding the bin for discarded leftovers, this may be why they ignore their food.

How long will a picky dog go without eating?

Puppies can only go for some hours without food (5 to 10 hours), but adult dogs are able to go for much longer. A healthy adult dog can go for up to 3 to 5 days without food. Therefore, if your dog is ignoring their food, and pretending not to like it, don’t be alarmed because they will eat if they’re hungry. However, a dog not eating can also be due to a hidden medical condition. To be on the safe side, if your dog refuses their food for more than 2 days, take them to the vet for a complete medical checkup to rule out any health condition.  

Closing Thoughts

Dogs can eat gravy, but not all types, as some of them can be unhealthy. Store-bought gravy granules are not good for dogs because they contain ingredients that are unhealthy for dogs. Commercial dog gravy do not contain harmful ingredients because they are specially made for dogs. 

However, homemade dog gravy is the healthiest and safest option for dogs. If your dog is a picky eater, you can add homemade dog gravy to their food to make it tastier and more appealing. You can also add bone broth, vegetable smoothies or dog food toppers to get them to eat.