Transform your pup’s regular boring kibble diet to a vibrant colorful and yummy version by adding superfoods. Which are the best superfoods for dogs? Part I
Imagine if you were made to eat the same food every day. After a certain point, you’d get bored and go looking for something delicious and different tasting. It’s the same case with dogs. When a pup has been provided the same meal morning and night every day, after a certain period of time, the dog is bound to get bored and may not enjoy mealtime like before. Super foods for dogs are a great way to add vibrancy to your dog’s diet as well as provide some extra nutritional benefit. In this article, I bring you the first part of superfoods for dogs. Read all the way till the end to understand the benefits and nutritional importance of every superfood discussed here.
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What are super foods for dogs?
Superfoods for dogs are basically vegetables which are packed with nutrition and are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers and so much more. Super foods are specific foods which have been publicly agreed upon to be amazing for enhancing nutritional health.
Super foods are known to contain the following nutrients:
Antioxidants are mainly responsible for delaying the aging process of cells as well as preventing cancer.
These fats are responsible for improving the cardiovascular system. They are also responsible for keeping the cellular integrity as well as prevent heart diseases.
Fiber works to prevent diabetes as well as keeps constipation at bay. Fiber is also helpful in preventing digestive disorders.
These are essential for proper nutrition as well as normal growth.
Phytochemicals have shown to possess amazing health benefits.
Cannabinoids are responsible for promoting homeostasis.
Every superfood that you choose may have a different combination of nutrients and different benefits. By adding a bit of these superfoods to your dog’s diet, you can make sure that your dog gets all the essential nutrients needed by his or her body.
Why are superfoods catching up as a great addition to a dog’s regular diet nowadays?
As dog guardians, we always select the best food for our dog. If you are feeding your dog, dog food from a premium brand, it might already involve some of the superfoods in it. However, just because the pack has the label of premium, it does not mean that it contains all the nutrition that your pup needs.
Even though a lot of dog food manufacturers would claim that their brand contains all the nutrition that your pup will ever need, we all know how much processing and drying goes into the process of making commercial dog food. The process of freezing, drying as well as packaging takes away a lot of the good nutrients from the food.
Therefore, it is our job as the dog guardian to replace the lost nutrients and to supplement our dog’s diet with the proper level of nutrition for a happy and healthy life. Giving your dog fresh super foods will allow him or her to gain access to raw and best nutrition.
Best dog super foods
Remember, these super foods are not only good for your dog, they can provide amazing benefits to your health as well. These super foods can make great treats for both you as well as your dog. Let’s explore these amazing super foods:
It’s hardly ever seen that a dog does not like Blueberries. Blueberries can be fed to dogs in raw form, frozen or pureed. You might need to chop them into small bite-size pieces if your dog belongs to a small breed.
Blueberries fall in the category of amazing dog food. However, do not feed your dog too many blueberries at once, as it may cause diarrhea. When presented in small portions, blueberries can have amazing beneficial effects. The following properties of blueberries make it an amazing superfood:
Antioxidants: Blueberries can act as amazing antioxidants and prevent formation of free radicals. Free radicals are the ones which cause premature aging and cancer. Therefore, blueberries have the potential to prevent cancer formation.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is known to improve dog’s as well as human’s immune system. It has been observed to reduce cognitive aging as well as inflammation.
Vitamin K: vitamin K is essential for production of blood clotting factors and promotes clot formation.
Manganese: Manganese is not produced naturally in dogs. However, dogs do need manganese for the purpose of metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins as well as to produce energy. Manganese is also needed to make fatty acids and is responsible for the maintenance of bone and cartilage.
Fiber: Additional fiber to your dog’s diet prevents constipation and promotes good health. Fiber also helps in digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea as well as colon issues. Check out this blog post to understand dog constipation
Copper: Copper has a vital role to play in absorption of iron in a dog’s body. Iron is very important for proper functioning of the red blood cells. Copper is also essential for the formation of melanin. Melanin is the pigment which gives your dog his or her characteristic skin and fur color.
In my previous blog post, I have discussed the amazing benefits of turmeric for dogs. The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin has been observed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, anti-bacterial properties amongst many more. Turmeric has also been observed to have amazing gastrointestinal benefits. It has shown to protect against neurodegeneration and prevent cancer.
fish oil is a supplement which is taken by both humans as well as dogs. Fish oil has been observed to help support glossy and smooth fur, kidneys, immune system as well as a healthy heart in dogs. The primary nutrient present in fish oil which is hard to find in any other nutritional supplement is:
Omega-3 fatty acids – Eicosapentanoic acid [EPA]: Fish oil basically contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids. One of these fatty acids is EPA which has been observed to reduce general inflammation due to injury. EPA has also been observed to reduce inflammation which is associated with other causes like canine dermatitis, dandruff, hotspot, itchy skin which may have been brought upon by allergies in dogs. EB has also been observed to reduce shedding in dogs
Omega-3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]: This agent has very important role to play in the proper development of your pup’s brain as well eyes. If a pregnant mother is administered DHA, it will be beneficial to the development of the offspring.
Hemp seed oil:
Hemp seed oil might just be the best superfood amongst all. Hemp oil is considered as a complete protein for dogs. It contains 10 amino acids which your dog’s body needs but cannot produce by itself. Hemp seed oil has been observed to be better than fish oil or flaxseed oil due to the presence of the 3:1 ratio of the two essential oils which is omega-3:omega-6 ratio. This ratio of fatty acids is the best for your dog’s health. The essential fatty acids observed in hemp seed oil are linoleic acid as well as alpha linolenic acid. These are very good for your dog’s heart.
Hemp seed oil has been observed to prevent skin issues in dogs like dandruff and eczema as well as promote good blood circulation.
Full-spectrum hemp seed oil contains components from the entire hemp plant and not just from the seeds. In order to make a full-spectrum hemp seed oil, the oil is extracted from the leaves, stalk as well as flowers of the hemp plant. Full-spectrum hemp seed oil has been observed to offer all the nutrients of the hemp seed oil along with the added benefits of CBD oil and some other terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids. Check out the benefits of administering CBD oil to dogs.
CBD oil, hemp oil as well as other cannabinoids promote formation of healthy and good endocannabinoid system (ECS) in dogs. All living creatures have ECS. ECS helps regulate important cognitive as well as physiological functions of the body like:
- pain sensation
- proper digestion
- inflammation and so much more.
Possibly one of the best-known superfoods for dogs are eggs. Eggs have been used for years to improve the fur quality of dogs. One thing to remember about eggs is that, they should always be served cooked in some form. Feeding raw eggs to your dog can cause biotin deficiency or salmonella infection. Furthermore, do not feed eggs too often as it may lead to obesity. To prevent your dog from becoming obese, feed your dog eggs a few times a week. The primary benefits of feeding eggs to your dog are as follows:
Protein packed: Protein contributes to your dog’s healthy skin, muscle development, tissue repair as well as shiny coat.
Folate: promotes proper absorption of food in diet
Fatty acids: Eggs are rich in omega-3.
Selenium: selenium is needed for keeping the immune system as well as thyroid gland healthy.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is not only critical for formation and growth of blood cells, it is also needed for a healthy brain as well as proper functioning of the nervous system.
Riboflavin: Metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
Iron: Iron has an important role in development of red blood cells and maintenance of hemoglobin levels.
Vitamin A: This is needed for ocular support and to keep their coats and muscles healthy.
Sardines and Anchiovies:
These are fishes with some amazing health benefits for dogs. They provide omega-3 to your dog which contains EPA as well as DHA. These omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for improving the condition of your dog’s skin, as well as to promote healthy growth of the joints, heart as well as brain.
These fishes are also an amazing source of calcium which helps in supporting your dog’s joint as well as bone health. Furthermore, they provide many trace minerals as well as primary minerals including zinc, vitamin B12, D, E as well as K. They are also low on mercury levels and are a great source of high-quality proteins.
Remember to feed these fishes to your dogs in moderation. Smaller dogs can safely consume around 2 to 3 anchovies the while large dogs can be given up to 5 anchovies per day.
If you are feeding canned sardines to your dog, you can feed the entire fish including the bones [bones help supply calcium]. One can of sardines contained around hundred calories. Therefore, for small dogs, give them half a can per week. Larger dogs can be given up to one can.
Bone broth is a nutrient dense treat which can either be administered individually or as a part of your dog’s homemade diet. Bone broth contain high levels of protein, amino acids, minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium as well as vitamins.
The collagen part of the bone and cartilage provides gelatin, which supports joint and bone heath. Bone broth also contains other compounds which can help your dog’s joints like chondroitin and glucosamine. These two compounds have been observed to reduce progression of joint diseases like arthritis and hip dysplasia.
You can either make bone broth at home by using raw bones or ones from leftovers. You can also choose to buy bone broth from the market. Remember to start small. The sudden change in your dog’s diet may lead to an upset stomach. Feed the bone broth over your dog’s regular food.
Carrot is one superfood which is probably loved by all dogs. It contains beta-carotene which is known to support eye health, boost immune system as well as support the dog’s coat and skin. Carrots also have a large amount of fiber which works in promoting healthy digestive track and can act as a low-calorie snack. Remember to give your dog the dog carrots in raw form and not cooked.
If your dog does not like raw carrots, you can either boil or steam them. You can also puree boiled carrots and mix it into your dog’s food.
To know about more superfoods, you can add to your dog’s diet, check out part II of this article which will release tomorrow.
Depending on the availability, a variety of superfoods can be added to your dog’s diet. You do not need to add all superfoods, a few of these should be enough. To know exactly which superfoods, you should add to your pup’s diet, a consultation with your vet might help. The addition of any superfood will depend upon a variety of factors like your dog’s prior medical history, any medications that he or she is currently on and finally the taste buds of your dog. One thing I know is that I cannot feed Delta (my body) any item that he does not wish to eat.
What superfoods do you add to your pup’s diet? How frequently do you administer these superfoods? Which ones are your dog’s favorite? Let me know in the comment section below. I would love to know your side of the story. If there is a story or anecdote you wish to share with the world, feel free to contact me on any of the social media channels or my email. I will be happy to share your stories and experiences with the world. Hopefully, we can all learn something from one another.
See you in my next blog post