Superfood is a term that’s been popularized to refer to foods that are dense in important nutrients. They are a source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that help keep us healthy. But superfoods are not only for humans—dogs can enjoy superfoods too. Let’s face it: Dogs love to eat anything you’ll give them, and feeding them superfoods instead of sugary treats is a better option for your pooch. But what superfoods are safe for dogs?
In this guide, we list 10 amazing superfoods that you can feel good about feeding to your beloved canine pal. Read on to discover your dog’s next favorite treat!
The 10 Amazing Superfoods for Dogs
Blueberries are among the easiest superfoods to feed your dog. They are small and can be given raw, frozen, or puréed. Blueberries contain a slew of nutrients, but it is their much-higher-than-average antioxidant content that often keeps them as the top superfoods in almost every list.
Take heed to only provide them in small amounts at a time, as feeding too many to your dog can cause gastrointestinal upset; eight to 10 blueberries per day should be fine. Certain commercial “premium” dog foods have blueberries in the ingredients, but some nutritional value gets lost during processing. With that said, go ahead and give your dog a few blueberries as treats.
Spinach is an excellent superfood to give your dog but only in small amounts and in moderation. Too much spinach could cause kidney problems due to the high level of oxalic acid. Your dog would have to consume a vast amount to cause any problems, but it’s still best to only give it in moderation.
Gently steaming spinach is a great way to prepare it for your dog because boiling it leads to the loss of various nutrients. That said, raw spinach is the best option. You should be safe adding 1–3 tablespoons of chopped, plain, steamed spinach or about double that amount of raw spinach to your dog’s food every few days.
- Related Read: Nutrition for Dogs with Kidney Disease
Carrots are high in beta-carotene and vitamin A precursors, and they are also a source of fiber and Lutein plus Zeaxanthin. Most dogs love carrots, and you can feed them raw or cooked; however, serve them without any seasonings or spices, as your dog certainly does not need these ingredients, and they can be harmful to canines.
Carrots are hard and crunchy, so you should consider your dog’s size and chewing style to determine the best way to provide them with these vegetables. You can’t go wrong by chopping or shredding a carrot and adding it to your dog’s food.
Not everyone is a fan of sardines and anchovies, but odds are your dog will love them. Anchovies are little saltwater fish packed with omega-3 fatty acids that make an excellent superfood for your dog. They only have roughly 8 calories each, and you can feel safe feeding your dog two to three per day. If you buy anchovies in pouches or tin cans, ensure there are no added oils, preservatives, or seasonings.
Sardines’ omega-3 fatty acids serve as powerful anti-inflammatories. They are also a source of vitamins, calcium, minerals, and protein, which will help keep your dog healthy. You can add a few sardines to your dog’s regular meals a couple of times a week.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and fiber. They can aid in digestion, promote a shiny and healthy coat, and help relieve constipation. They are also loaded with iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins.
It’s best to soak chia seeds before adding them to your dog’s food. You also don’t want to give too many in one sitting because of their fatty acid content. Sprinkle roughly ¼ teaspoon of chia seeds for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight.
Pumpkin is one of the most beneficial superfoods you can give your dog, and most love the taste. It’s a great source of fiber and popular for helping to smooth digestion.
Speaking of digestion, pumpkin is excellent to give your dog for an upset tummy because it adds bulk to the stool. Canned pumpkin is the easiest way to provide it. Just be sure the only ingredient is, in fact, pumpkin—look for plain versions.
You can add 1–4 tablespoons to your dog’s food, depending on their size, but the idea is to start small to ensure that it sits well with them. If your dog has an upset tummy, give them a couple of spoonfuls right out of the can.
Watermelon is a sweet and hydrating treat loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, and it’s low in calories. Lycopene is an antioxidant abundant in watermelon that is known for reducing inflammation. Preliminary studies suggest that lycopene may be beneficial during the treatment of osteosarcomas in dogs.
Before feeding it to your dog, be sure to remove the rind and seeds to prevent an intestinal blockage. Serve them frozen on a hot day, or provide them in chunks. You can even purée them if so inclined.
Apples provide added hydration, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. The sweetness of apples is usually a hit with dogs, and you can feel confident that your dog is getting essential nutrients when eating them.
An important note about apples, however, is you should only provide apples with the seeds and core removed, as these parts of the apple are toxic. Feel free to give your dog an apple slice or two, but don’t give too many because it could cause diarrhea.
9. Cooked Eggs
Eggs are high in protein and have many benefits for dogs. They are chock-full of vitamins and fatty acids, and dogs gobble them up. Only feed your dog one egg per day because too many can cause obesity. You can add the egg to your dog’s regular food.
Before feeding eggs to your dog, ensure that you gently cook them first without any salt or added seasonings. This way, the whites are more nutritious and digestible. Raw eggs should be fed to a dog only if they are in-shell pasteurized. Otherwise, they could contain harmful bacteria, which could make your dog sick.
10. Plain Boiled Chicken
While not considered a superfood for us, plain boiled chicken is definitively a superfood for dogs. It’s a great source of lean and healthy protein that supports their muscle development and maintenance. Sharing a few pieces of plain boiled chicken with your pup or using them as high-value treats is a great way to add to their nutrition.
As with any treat, only feed these superfoods in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be harmful, and the goal here is to provide a healthy snack or a boost to your dog’s food. All the superfoods listed in this article are not meant to replace your dog’s regular diet but rather provide your dog with a tasty, healthy snack or treat.
It’s wise to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog something new, and you should start out slow to see how your dog’s digestive system reacts.
Featured Image Credit: Daria Jahor, Shutterstock