Healthiest Foods for Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

This article provides an overview of the healthiest foods for dogs including carrots blueberries anchovies sardines bone broth chia seeds eggs pumpkin organ meats.

Healthiest Foods for Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Dogs, unlike cats, are not strict carnivores. While meat makes up the majority of their diet, domestic dogs can also get nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods aren't just fillers, but they can be a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good food for dogs will contain meat, vegetables, cereals, and fruits.

The best dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your dog's digestive system. Crunchy and naturally sweet, most dogs love carrots. This supercharged leafy green contains a lot of vitamins, including A, E, and C. Despite their small size, berries have a powerful nutritional contribution. Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, powerful compounds that decrease damage to cells in your dog's body.

Blueberries also promote urinary tract health (just like blueberries). The blue-red color of blueberries comes from flavonoid pigments called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They have been shown to help reduce the risk of some types of cancer and protect brain cells and memory function. Acai berries, strawberries and blackberries also contain anthocyanins. Mouse studies indicate that anthocyanin-rich fruits, such as blueberries, may help counteract weight gain and the development of fat cells.

Anchovies and sardines are small fish that offer dogs enormous health benefits. These fish provide high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can improve the quality and condition of a dog's coat and skin, and support heart, brain and joint health. They are also an excellent source of calcium, which also supports dog bone and joint health, and provide a variety of minerals and trace elements, including natural forms of zinc, as well as vitamins B12, D, E and K. Anchovies and sardines are also a high-quality, sustainable and low-mercury source of protein since they are at a lower part of the food chain than larger fish (they feed on plankton, not other fish). Look for wild-caught canned anchovies and sardines that are packaged in water instead of oil with no added salt. Touted for its many health benefits, bone broth is made from animal bones and connective tissue simmered for 24 hours or more.

The resulting broth is a nutrient-rich treat that is high in protein and contains anti-inflammatory amino acids, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The collagen in cartilage and bone also produces gelatin which is a protein that helps maintain gut health and joint health. Bone broth contains other compounds that can help dogs' joints such as glucosamine and chondroitin which have been shown to promote joint health and slow or stop the progression of degenerative joint diseases such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. You can make your own bone broth with raw bones or bones left over from your meals such as roasted chicken or turkey or bone-in meats. You can also buy commercial bone broth at the supermarket.

Start with small amounts (a few tablespoons) first to make sure the bone broth doesn't bother your dog's stomach. Feed your dog in a bowl or pour it over their regular food. Carrots contain beta-carotene a nutrient found in orange fruits and vegetables that can boost immune health support eye health and improve dog skin and coat. Carrots also contain a lot of fiber which is good for the digestive tract. Raw carrots are a healthy low-calorie snack (and chewing them is great for your dog's teeth and gums).

Be sure to cut whole carrots into small pieces before giving them to your dog. If your dog doesn't like raw carrots you can try steaming or boiling them or you can puree boiled carrots and mix them with your dog's food to increase fiber and nutrients. Chia seeds are an inexhaustible source of nutrients full of proteins fiber antioxidants calcium iron magnesium B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds boost your dog's immune system help improve skin and coat promote joint and intestinal health help maintain insulin function regulate blood sugar ideal for dogs who follow weight loss programs since they absorb water slow down digestion helping dogs feel full for longer. Eggs are full of high-quality proteins amino acids essential fatty acids vitamins nutrients improved skin coat highly digestible by dogs making them ideal for puppies who don't feel well or are recovering from an upset stomach. Like carrots other orange fruits vegetables pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene which not only improves immune health but also improves eye health supports dog skin coat pumpkin also contains a lot of soluble fiber which surprisingly can perform two functions relieving diarrhea helping constipation this seasonal treat is also rich in antioxidants vitamins A C E calcium iron. Bone broth provides enormous benefits for your dog what exactly is bone broth? They are bones simmered for several days with apple cider vinegar this slowly breaks down all these nutrients making them extremely bioavailable to the body you can make your own bone broth or buy it at many specialty pet stores. Regardless what you feed him whether it's raw commercial foods homemade food anything else organ meat is a crucial component many commercial diets home cooks follow 80 10 10 rule (that is 80% muscle meat 10% bone 10% organs) but I like more than that organs glands are nutrient-dense this includes liver kidneys adrenal glands pancreas brain stomach (gut) heart liver other viscera strengthen strength (they are also known as blood boosters) traditional Chinese medicine recommends feeding organ meats least once week.

Patty Rocchio
Patty Rocchio

General music nerd. Infuriatingly humble bacon lover. Amateur internet ninja. Typical coffee trailblazer. Incurable web enthusiast. Evil travel nerd.

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