Many people enhance their diet by including superfoods in their everyday meals. It's a great way to improve your overall nutrition and general health. But did you know that your dog can benefit from superfoods as well?
There are plenty of great, nutritionally packed foods you can use to supplement your dog's daily intake, whether they eat home cooked meals or commercial dog food diet. The extra vitamins and minerals provided by these foods give your pup a necessary boost, and can help him stay healthier and happier longer.
A “superfood” can be considered any type of food item that has a larger amount and a greater variety of useful nutrients, while having a small serving size and low amount of calories with no harmful stuff. All superfoods are generally good and safe to eat.
There is no scientific or legal definition for what superfood really is, but most people consider any food packed with higher quantities of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to be a superfood in the diet, therefore, it's more of a marketing term than anything else.
Most superfoods for dogs are the same ones often recommend to people, with a few exceptions (those that may not be healthy or even toxic to dogs). Quantities of these superfoods for dogs should also be smaller when compared to a human diet.
11 Best Superfoods for Dogs That May Improve Their Health
Believe it or not, dogs love berries! Many will eat them as a treat on their own. Available in fresh or frozen forms, blueberries contain vitamins C and E, manganese, and fiber. They also have tons of healthy antioxidants.
Blueberries are a great choice for energetic, active pups. Just be aware that dogs should not eat too many blueberries at once – this can cause some digestive upset (aka, diarrhea). Introduce them slowly to your pet's diet, just like you would with a baby or child.
Carrots may seem like a standard vegetable to you, but they are a great nutritional boost for your pet. Carrots are especially great because most dogs love them, and will eat them as a plain treat! These veggies are full of potassium, carotenoids, fiber, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins B, C, and K.
Carrots are great for giving your dog a boost of energy! They also can help retain your pet's eye health. As an added bonus, they are nice and crunchy, meaning they help keep your dog's teeth cleaner.
Chia seeds have become very popular recently. They are known for their excellent quantities of fiber, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Chia seeds are expensive, but you don't need a lot for your pet to reap the benefits. They're also very easy to serve – just sprinkle some over your dog's dry kibble.
4. Coconut Oil
These MCTs also make coconut oil wonderful for the health of your pet's skin and coat. It's good for you too!
READ MORE: 12 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Fish is a main protein that is an excellent source of nutrients for your dog. Fish like herring, salmon, and anchovies have lots of good omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is great for skin and fur condition.
These fatty acids can also help dogs with chronic conditions, like arthritis, find some relief from their pain. It's also great for pets with skin irritation or allergies. The fatty acids can help reduce scratching and heal open wounds.
Kale is super popular among people as a superfood, and it's great for your pet too. Kale is very low-calorie, making it a nutritious choice for overweight or obese pets. It's packed with vitamins A, C, and E.
It also has plenty of antioxidants that help with inflammation in the body. Kale can be served raw or cooked. If you make homemade dog treats, it's a great addition.
Pumpkin is a popular ingredient in dog foods and treats. This is partly due to its easy digestibility. In addition to being a good choice for your pup's stomach, pumpkin has lots of healthy fiber, potassium, carotenoids, and vitamin C.
If your dog is feeling sick, pumpkin is a great way to get him some extra nutrition while not upsetting his stomach. Look for canned organic plain pureed pumpkin; avoid pie filling types as they have a lot of additives and sugar.
Grains are an important part of your dog's diet, but wheat and corn are not the best options. Quinoa is a good replacement, and it can be found in some dog foods or easily added to your pet's diet.
The best part about this grain is that it is also a complete protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids. This is great for your pet's overall health. The fiber makes it easily digestible, too.
FURTHER READING: 10 Best Natural Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipes
Seaweed may not seem very appetizing to some people, but it's an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. There are many different types of seaweed available – for the most convenient option, get some that is already crumbled so you can sprinkle it on your dog's food.
Seaweeds have all kinds of vitamins, including B, C, and E, and minerals like zinc and copper. It can also help boost your dog's immune function.
10. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato, like pumpkin, is great for sensitive stomachs. In addition to some fiber, these tubers also have lots of beta-carotene, antioxidants, and vitamin A and C for immune health.
Plain sweet potatoes are easy to cook up for your pup at home, or you can buy plain pureed sweet potato in cans for an easy addition to kibble. You can also dehydrate sweet potato slices for an easy, healthy snack!
It's great for digestion. In the summer months, freeze some dog-friendly yogurt for a special treat that has plenty of calcium, B12, potassium, and more.
Superfoods are a great way to boost a dog's nutrition, and it doesn't have to be difficult to add these foods to their diet. In addition to these options, there are lots of other superfoods available.
Look for dog foods and treats that already contain these nutritious ingredients, or simply pick up a little extra food for your pup on your next grocery trip. You'll notice your dog might start feeling better, looking healthier, and have more energy!