10 superfoods for dogs from your own kitchen
Maintaining health and fitness is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. The growing popularity of natural pet foods and homemade treats indicates that pet parents are becoming more aware of what is healthy for their animal friends. Globally, the organic and natural pet food market has become a $22.8 billion industry.
Using research from various studies and internet resources, Native Pet has compiled a list of 10 superfoods found in most kitchens that can double as healthy snacks for dogs and their people.
In the United States, according to the latest available data from the American Bureau of Economic Analysis, pet owners in the United States spent more than $118 billion on their pets in 2020, and the American Pet Products Association, an industry trade group, estimates further growth. In 2021, the industry was valued at $123 billion. APPA found that dog owners spend an average of $287 on pet food per year.
But not all foods are created equal – dogs sometimes need a little something extra to keep their diet healthy. “Superfoods,” or nutrient-rich foods, have gained popularity in the 21st century, with the global market expected to reach about $215 billion by 2027, according to Mordor Intelligence, a market research firm.
Although there is no scientific definition of superfoods, they are generally believed to promote health or prevent disease due to their high levels of antioxidants, fiber, or other nutritional benefits, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit US academic medical center. These foods can complement a nutrient-deficient diet or serve as a tasty treat. However, even with nutritious “superfoods,” moderation is essential. The 10% rule, which states that foods should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories, is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Read on for 10 superfoods from your kitchen that dogs can enjoy.
These juicy fruits are rich in minerals and vitamins, low in calories and rich in fiber. They also contain the highest levels of antioxidants among the most commonly consumed fruits in the United States
Blueberries are a great remedy, but they should be moderate. The amount that dog owners give their pets depends on the size of the dog. For small dogs, 10 grapes is just the right amount. Larger dogs can have more, but the 10% rule should be followed.
Because blueberries are so small, a large dog can easily eat a lot of them. They often tend to swallow food without chewing, and this can lead to stomach pain or create a choking hazard. If the berries are swallowed or fed frozen, young dogs can suffocate, too. Manual feeding can slow it down and help prevent choking.
Bone broth is enjoyed by humans, and it is also gaining popularity in the canine world. This nutrient-dense broth is a great source of collagen, a protein found in the connective tissues of animal bones that helps regenerate skin, hair, joints, and leaky gut. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, glycine and glucosamine.
A healthy serving of bone broth is 1 ounce of broth for every 10 pounds of a dog’s body weight. For example, a single serving size for a 100-pound dog is 10 ounces, and your pet can have two servings per day. Dog owners can serve it as an afternoon snack or pour it over their dog’s meal.
Carrots are a low-fat, low-calorie treat that’s rich in vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, among other vitamins. Like other vegetables and fruits, it contains natural sugar, and excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity and tooth decay. They also contain high levels of fiber, which, if introduced too quickly, can cause an upset stomach.
Dog owners are advised to introduce this treatment slowly and provide enough drinking water. Carrots, like other foods, should make up less than 10% of a youngster’s daily calories. An average sized dog can safely consume two or three baby carrots per day. These carrots should be cleaned and peeled to remove any dirt or pesticides, and they should be cut into bite-size pieces to reduce the risk of choking.
Chia seeds have become one of the most important superfoods in the world. These tiny seeds are packed with many beneficial nutrients. Dogs only need a small amount: 1/4 teaspoon daily for every 10 pounds of body weight is a healthy serving of Fido.
The pleasant taste and aroma of chia seeds make them attractive to dogs, even picky ones. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber and are a good source of many vital minerals. These seeds aid brain function, help dogs develop strong and healthy bones, reduce inflammation, and keep them shiny and healthy.
Like blueberries and chia seeds, coconut oil has become popular as a superfood for humans. Still, there is some debate as to whether everything it claims to exist.
In dogs, coconut oil can boost energy levels, aid digestion, reduce allergies, and improve a dog’s skin. Coconut oil should be given to dogs once or twice daily with meals, and the size of the dog should determine the amount given.
Veterinarians suggest an initial dose of 1/4 teaspoon for small dogs and 1 tablespoon for large dogs. After two weeks, if your dog tolerates it well, it can be increased to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds. The great thing about coconut oil is its adaptability. Since it can be given orally, there is no need to worry if dogs lick themselves after applying it.
Cucumbers contain vitamins A and K, potassium and magnesium, all of which are essential components of a healthy dog diet. Cucumbers can help eliminate bad breath for dogs and keep their bones, kidneys and liver strong and healthy.
It is also a low-calorie vegetable made up of 95% water. One cup of chopped cucumber contains about 16 calories, which makes cucumbers a great choice for dogs who need to lose weight. While feeding your dog cucumber is completely safe, it is best to stick to the 10% rule to avoid digestive upset. These crunchy vegetables are a delicious, hydrating summer treat after a vigorous picnic.
Eggs are among the most nutrient-dense foods available. They’re full of amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins, and are an excellent source of nutrients for dogs – although the source of the eggs makes a difference. Free-range or pastured chicken eggs are healthier and rich in vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are easy to digest, good for dogs with sensitive stomachs, and can help keep dogs shiny and soft. Large dogs can have a whole egg per day, while small dogs should be limited to one small egg per week and no more than a quarter of an egg per day. There are some restrictions on eating eggs for dogs with pre-existing health conditions such as acute pancreatitis or diabetes. It is best to have it administered by a vet before feeding your dog their eggs.
Fish can be a nutritious addition to a dog’s diet, but only certain types of fish are healthy for dogs to eat. Fish can be an excellent source of easily digestible protein for dogs, especially those prone to an upset stomach. It is also an excellent alternative for dogs with allergies or intolerances to common pet food ingredients such as chicken.
Because it’s relatively low in saturated fat, it’s a great choice for dogs on a weight loss diet, and it’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and keep the skin and coat healthy. Fish contains vitamins and minerals that strengthen a dog’s immune system and can contribute to joint health. But be careful: the fish should be cooked without any additional oil or seasoning.
Green beans are not only safe for dogs, and vets recommend them as a nutritious snack as well. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, iron, calcium and vitamins B6, A, C and K. They are full of fiber and low in calories.
The “green bean diet” is a health trend that helps dog owners keep their dogs fit by replacing 10% of their dog food with green beans. After every two days, they increase the amount by 10% until half of the dog’s dry food is replaced with green beans. Dogs can be fed chopped, steamed, or raw green beans as long as they are regular.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and vital micronutrients, making it an exceptionally healthy snack. Pumpkin contains vitamins A, C, and E as well as minerals such as iron and potassium. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid cucurbitin, which paralyzes and eliminates parasites in your dog’s digestive system.
Pumpkin is a natural stomach calmer and helps get rid of excess water in the digestive system. Adding pumpkin is also a healthy way to increase your dog’s diet without adding many calories. Adding 1-4 tablespoons of pumpkin per serving to a large dog’s diet is enough to avoid adding too much fiber while meeting a dog’s nutritional needs. For small dogs, the maximum amount should be 1/2 teaspoon per day.
This story originally appeared on Native Pet and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.