Can dogs eat superfoods? With health and nutrition becoming an increasingly prevalent area of focus for so many of us today, it’s no wonder we would also like our pets to have the best of healthy foods. You might be surprised to know that most of the superfoods that are good for humans are also great for dogs!
These are nutritionally dense foods that can pack a punch in terms of the health benefits they offer. We already know what superfoods can do for us. As for our dogs, not only do these foods help maintain overall good health, but they also help fight off diseases through their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
What Is A Superfood?
Superfoods are called so for a reason. What makes them “super” is the higher amount of nutrition they have and the numerous ways in which it can benefit the person consuming it. So, there is no reason why human and dog superfoods can’t be the same right? That’s where things get a little confusing. While dogs do have a diet similar to humans, they have more restrictions on what their bodies can and cannot handle.
Can Dogs Eat Superfoods?
Of course! So long as you feed them the superfood their body can digest and in the amount healthy for them.
The secret to a healthy coat is salmon!
If you want to add more protein to your dog’s diet, salmon is the superfood you want to go for. The reason salmon makes it at the top of our list is that it’s full of omega 3 fatty acids that will keep your dog’s skin and hair in great condition. Salmon also makes for a protein-rich source that you can include in your dog’s diet. Don’t worry, it has low fats so your dog’s weight remains stable.
The best way to feed your dog salmon is to cook it and include it in little amounts as part of their meals. Cooking the salmon kills the bacteria that can cause salmon poisoning and result in diarrhea, vomiting, and many issues in your dog.
“Fatty acids are an important factor for your pet’s overall health,” says Randy Kidd, a holistic veterinarian. “Either as a regular part of your pet’s diet or as a supplement, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids together provide a natural way to alleviate or cure skin and other conditions, while being key to developing and maintaining a healthy hair coat.”
Do you want to keep your dog healthy and away from diseases? Then add those tasty blueberries to their diet.
Blueberries contain antioxidants but in large amounts. Blueberries can stop cell damage and help fight cancer-causing free radicals in humans as well as dogs. They are also anti-inflammatory. The tiny little berries can be a great snack for your dog and are easy to include with meals.
“Blueberries are low in calories and high in vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (chemical compounds in plants that have been found to help fight cancer in humans),” says Ellen Malmanger on blueberries and other fruits your dog can eat. “Blueberries have been shown to improve night vision, help prevent cell damage, and help with mental function in aging animals.”
Interesting fact: Studies suggest blueberry consumption post heavy workout can help reduce oxidative stress in dogs.
This is a breakfast staple that you can share with your dog!
How many times have you thought of eggs when someone told you to add more protein to your diet?
Eggs are the first choice for healthy and safe proteins and are rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K while being full of amino acids and fatty acids. They are also easy to cook — simply make them how you always do but without onions or garlic. You can also use them as a comfort meal when your dog has an upset stomach and won’t eat anything else.
Here’s what Dr. Hector Joy says about ways to cook eggs for your pet — “Dogs can eat hard-boiled or scrambled eggs. The main objective is that the eggs need to be cooked. Do not feed raw eggs to dogs.”
If you’ve heard about the benefits of soluble fibers then you will want to add this superfood to your dog’s diet.
Pumpkins contain vitamins A, B, C, calcium, carotenoids, and potassium. The high soluble fibers are excellent for treating diarrhea and help address poor absorption of nutrients in the stomach. It retains water in the stomach by absorbing it and slows down digestion. This, in turn, allows your dog’s digestive tract to absorb nutrition from the food it eats. Beta carotene is also essential for the normal development of bones and the reproductive system while helping prevent diseases and infections.
Carrots are the perfect combination of healthy and tasty for your dog’s snack menu.
Carrots contain vitamins A, K, minerals, potassium, and beta carotene. They make for a great snack to give your dog when they are hungry. Carrots are low on calories and healthier than other store-bought treats.
But can dogs eat superfoods raw? Depends on the food item. Carrots can be prepared in a variety of ways, including raw or steamed. Simply add them to the meals or snacks in moderation and your dog should be fine.
“High-calorie treats are the equivalent of human junk food,” says Dr. Jaime Shriver on tips to keep your pet fit and trim. “The size of treats is often excessive and can be a significant portion of your pets’ daily recommended calorie intake. Consider less calorie-dense alternatives such as ice cubes and carrot sticks OR give your pets regular food instead of treats.”
The sweetest vegetable for your puppy’s tummy.
Sweet potatoes contain lots of fiber that can help build up and support your dog’s digestive health. It also has prebiotics and probiotics that are known to help the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Sweet potatoes also contain iron, magnesium, and vitamins A and C that are known to help build up immunity.
Make sure to cook the sweet potato before you feed it to your dog. And only in small quantities as the fiber can also be too heavy on their digestive system.
“Magnesium is classified as an essential macromineral,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates. “The word “essential” in nutritional circles simply means that the body cannot manufacture it (or manufacture enough of it) to meet the body’s needs. Therefore, it must be included in the diet in sufficient amounts to avoid deficiencies.”
Little treats from the sea with lots of nutrients.
Similar to salmon, sardines are high in omega 3 fatty acids. They are also packed with vitamins like B12, D, E, and K. Sardines contain zinc and calcium that, along with omega 3 fatty acids, make them a powerhouse of nutrition.
This is a great addition to your dog’s meal. Sardines will help improve their coat, eyes, bone strength, and energy levels. It also has less mercury content than other fishes so you can feed it to your dog in smaller amounts without any worry.
You can add a few sardines to alternate meals to ensure the diet is varied and under control.
The only food you need with super healing abilities.
While bone broth isn’t exactly in the same category as other items on this list, its benefits are arguably even better.
Bone broth is made by cooking animal bones for 24 long hours. This gives you a broth rich in antioxidants and minerals. What’s unique about bone broth is the collagen or gelatin derived. When consumed regularly, it is known to build up the damaged lining of the digestive tract. If you’ve got an irritable bowel disease, then bone broth is the best solution for it.
Now, its healing effect is not just restricted to humans. Dogs can benefit greatly from consuming bone broth regularly when sick or healing from a disease.
Introduce it to your dog by giving them a smaller quantity during their meals.
The health benefits of eating green leafy vegetables are not limited to humans.
Kale contains vitamins A, C, and K along with iron, potassium, and calcium. These help the body strengthen its immune system, improve blood quality, and provide nutrients for bone development. Kale and other vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and cabbage are fibrous vegetables. Meaning, they do a good job of cleaning the digestive system when one is suffering from constipation, be it you or your dog. These veggies are also high in antioxidants.
The best way to feed picky eaters is to puree the greens and add them to their meals in small quantities.
“Fiber can be useful in canine diabetes, however, there are various types of fiber which can have different properties and benefits,” says Dr. Deborah Linder, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. “Insoluble fibers, such as cellulose, add bulk and can slow digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrate, which can be a benefit to sugar regulation for diabetic dogs.”
Match whole-grain diets with your dog for a whole meal.
Bringing quinoa to your dog’s diet should be a slow process. The grain is a common allergen among dogs and can cause negative effects like diarrhea and vomiting if given too much at once.
However, quinoa can help add proteins and carbohydrates to your dog’s diet. The grains help prevent life-threatening diseases including cancer. It also contains riboflavin, antioxidants, magnesium, folate, and B vitamins. Dogs that are found to be deficient in riboflavin will suffer from stunted growth problems, anorexia, and severe weight loss.
Pet Health Expert Richard Rowlands talks about choosing dog food with grain and says, “Quinoa is also called the Mother Grain. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, and calcium, plus it’s gluten-free. This means that incorporating it into your pet’s diet will aid growth and development, management of diseases, and prevent medical conditions associated with gluten.”
Tips to Remember When Feeding Superfoods to Your Dog
Cook a superfood meal for your pup the right way:
- Check ingredients in canned and packaged food.
- Measure the portions according to your dog’s weight.
- Consult the veterinarian before you start feeding your dog anything new.
- Start with smaller portions first to test how the dog’s body reacts.
- Look for changes in weight, mood, coat color, etc.
- Keep switching up the diet regularly.
- Change cooking methods if your dog doesn’t eat its meals.
Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog
Just like knowing what to feed your dog is important, so is being aware of what not to feed them. Here’s a list of food items you should keep away from your dog:
- Raw eggs
- Onion and garlic
- Coffee and tea
- Dairy products
- Raw meat and raw fish
- Ice cream
- Macadamia nuts
- Fatty foods
Can dogs eat superfoods? Yes.
To keep your dog healthy, you must keep three things in mind — diet, exercise, and rest. Diet including meals, snacks, and treats, and all three should be planned well to include diverse food types to complete their nutritional needs. And like diet, exercise should also include new activities that require the use of all muscles in their body and their brain.
Feeding your dog the right food and fulfilling their energy requirements is the best way to ensure your pet’s health and happiness.