The word “superfood” is thrown around quite a lot when it comes to human diets. But is there such a thing as superfoods for dogs? Well, as it turns out, many of our superfoods are also pretty “super” for our pupper pals.
Feeding your pooch dog meals which contain superfoods like the following can work wonders for their health. From making their coat extra glossy to reducing the risk of developing certain health conditions, these powerhouse ingredients should be included in every pup’s diet.
#1: Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens are packed with nutrients that are highly beneficial to both us and our doggos. In addition to having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, leafy greens are rich in fibre, iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. The darker green the leafy veg is (think spinach and kale), the more nutrient-dense it is and the better it is for your pup.
They’re so good for them, in fact, that a 2005 study found that regular consumption of leafy greens reduced the risk of developing bladder cancer by 90%.
#2: Sweet potato
Yep, sweet potato is just as good for dogs as it is delicious! These orange-tinged root veggies are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant which is fantastic for maintaining eye health. These tubers are also high in vitamin A, which is also important for vision, heart health, and strengthening the immune system.
Sweet potato is extremely versatile, which makes it an easy addition to your four-legged friend’s diet. You can roast it, mash it, or even cut it up and throw it in the air fryer for some healthy chips for you and your pooch.
Even though cats are the stereotypical fish lovers, it doesn’t mean our doggos should miss out. In fact, oily fish in particular (think salmon, anchovies, and sardines) can be nutritional goldmines. These fish are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your dog’s heart, brain and bone health, along with the condition of their coat and skin.
And that’s not all. Oily fish also contain tons of protein, along with a decent amount of calcium, zinc, vitamins B12, D, E, and K.
The next time you add a little parsley to garnish your gourmet creation, save some for your furry friend. This popular herb not only adds flavour to food, but tons of healthy vitamins and minerals. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and also contains vitamins A, C, K, and folic acid. As an added bonus, it also helps freshen Fido’s breath!
One thing to note, however, is that you should only ever feed your pup common curly-leafed parsley. It’s also recommended they don’t consume too much, as it contains a compound that can be dangerous in large amounts.
Like sweet potato, carrot contains the immune and vision-boosting beta-carotene, along with fibre to aid in your dog’s digestion. It’s also a lot lower in calories than sweet potato, so carrot makes for a tasty, healthy snack.
To prepare some carrot for your pup, simply cut it into bite-sized chunks and serve on its own or with other food. Many dogs will be happy with raw carrot (it’s also good for their teeth!), but it can also be boiled or pureed if they’re not keen on the crunch.
#6: Chia seeds
Chia seeds rose to prominence as a popular superfood for humans several years ago now, but did you know these ancient seeds are also one of the best superfoods for dogs? These nutrient-dense seeds contain protein, antioxidants, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. That’s pretty impressive given their tiny size!
Incorporated into your pooch’s brekkie or dinner, chia seeds can boost immunity, improve joint health, and even regulate blood sugar.
The third orange veggie on our list, pumpkin is also rich in beta-carotene. It’s also packed with antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, and iron. All these goodies combine to boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and support vision, coat, and skin health.
Pumpkin seeds are also great for your four-legged friend as they’re a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants. That said, they should be eaten in moderation due to their high fat content.
This popular golden-hued spice is a tasty and easy addition to any meal – both for you and your pupper. Ground turmeric contains the chemical compound curcumin, which is a powerhouse in every sense of the word. It has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Basically, it really earns its title as one of the best superfoods for dogs.
Unlike us, dogs can’t absorb turmeric when it’s simply sprinkled on their food. In order for them to absorb it, it needs to be combined with an oil (e.g. olive or coconut) and turned into a paste. Simply add that to their food and they’ll start reaping the rewards.
It’s true – blueberries also make for a healthy, delicious snack for our canine companions! These tasty morsels pack plenty of health benefits into a tiny package. They’re rich in antioxidants, support urinary tract health, can reduce inflammation, and may even reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Both fresh and frozen blueberries can work wonders, so your pup can enjoy them all year ‘round. For a refreshing summer treat, simply puree some blueberries and pour into an ice cube tray.
A staple in Japanese cuisine, kelp (a subtype of seaweed) boasts a whole host of nutritional benefits. It’s rich in amino acids, fibre, iron, and potassium. It’s also a fantastic source of iodine, which is essential for thyroid health, which in turn regulates the production of metabolic hormones. In fact, an iodine deficiency is the number one cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in dogs.
On the flip side, too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), so it’s important to consume it in moderation.
How to introduce superfoods for dogs into your pup’s diet
If you are considering adding any of these superfoods into your dog’s meals, there are a couple things to keep in mind.
Firstly, introduce them slowly. Overhauling their diet isn’t something that should happen overnight – they may need a few weeks to adjust. It’s also worth introducing each superfood one by one to monitor for any allergies or adverse reactions.
Though these superfoods for dogs are largely healthy, the “everything in moderation” rule still applies – perhaps even more so. Because of how nutrient-dense these foods are, excess amounts can be dangerous.
Now that you know what not to do, go forth and broaden your pup’s culinary horizons!