5 Superfoods For Dogs That Can Help Boost Both Yours & Your Pup's Health
No matter how many times I tell my dog Hank that chocolate is just for humans, or that he really won't like the taste of a pickle, he insists on turning his saddest puppy eyes my way whenever I'm snacking on something. So many human foods are off-limits for pets, but it turns out, there are some superfoods for dogs that are great for both you and your pup to enjoy — which means less grocery shopping for you, and more quality time with your doggo.
"Adding superfoods to your dog’s diet will help ensure your dog receives optimal nutrition," Lindsay Tracy, pet expert and director of new business and product development at Redbarn Pet Products, tells Elite Daily in an email. "Not only will these tasty ingredients add to your dog’s excitement around new textures and flavors, but they’ll also nourish the skin, boost immunity, help aid in digestion, and so much more."
A lot of these superfoods don't need any extra preparation, so you can tend to your hungry little guy or gal in no time at all. "Pet parents may be able to treat their dogs to a snack straight from the fridge, like blueberries or carrots," Tracy explains. But you can also make those not-quite-as-easy-to-find superfoods part of your dog's diet by checking the ingredients lists on your dog's usual treats and foods, as brands like Redbarn sometimes make products with these ingredients baked in.
Whenever you switch up your pup's diet — especially if it's to incorporate your own leftovers into what they're eating — it's always a good idea to check in with the vet first, says Tracy, so that you know that whatever you're giving them is totally safe. "The pits in avocados, for example, are a serious choking hazard and full of persin, which may cause diarrhea and vomiting," she explains. "Garlic, a powerful antioxidant for humans, contains certain chemicals that may damage red blood cells in dogs and cats."
Additionally, you might be surprised to learn that dogs can experience food allergies just like humans can, and in fact, one of the most common allergies for our canine companions is chicken, according to Tracy. If your dog starts itching and scratching, or developing swelling, hives, sneezing, diarrhea, vomiting, and/or constant licking, Tracy suggests calling the vet immediately.
In the meantime, here are five tasty superfoods you can share with your pup.
Perhaps you've heard of salmon's magical ability to turn dull hair into moisturized, flowing locks. But personally, I've never really thought about whether salmon could nourish my dog's hair, too — apparently, Hank's really been missing out.
"Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which helps support a healthy skin and coat and overall joint health," Tracy explains.
Cranberries aren't just superstars at Thanksgiving; they're also great at keeping your pup's body super healthy. "Cranberries contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and help support a healthy urinary system," Tracy tells Elite Daily.
My childhood dog S'mores could never get enough blueberries, and I was always happy to oblige. According to Tracy, I was doing my girl a favor by indulging her snacking habit. Not only are they one of the most well-known human superfoods, but they're also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and are full of antioxidants, all working together to support your dog's joint and bone health, Tracy tells Elite Daily.
Chicory root extract
Unlike common superfoods like blueberries, chicory root extract is one of those ingredients you might not know about unless you go looking for it. It's rich in manganese, which can do wonders for your brain health, according to research published in the journal Brain Research Reviews. Tracy tells me that, in terms of your pup's health, chicory root can improve their nutrient absorption and balance their gut bacteria, thanks to the food's natural probiotics.
New Zealand green mussels
"New Zealand green mussels also contain omega 3 fatty acids and possess anti-inflammatory properties," Tracy explains. "More unique to them, green mussels are also a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, and lysine," which are great for keeping dog's joints working smoothly, she says. The more lubricated his joints, the more laps he can run around the dog park.