As a pup parent, you have probably realized that taking care of your dog can be expensive. Vet bills are one major expense, but the cost of food is another huge factor in your dog's upkeep. So what healthy foods should you feed your dog, and how much should they eat? Superfoods are foods that offer extra health benefits. These nutrient-packed and antioxidant-rich ingredients are categorized as the "elite" type of ingredients. The good news is that your pup can also benefit from the addition of superfoods to your dog's diet. Let's explore superfoods for dogs and learn how to keep vet costs and food bills down while still giving your pet the best possible diet.

A Welsh Corgi lies by his food bowl.

What are superfoods?

Superfoods are nutrient-dense, with the potential to provide a significant nutritional boost to your dog's diet. These foods typically contain health-supporting nutrients like phytonutrients. Superfoods are full of antioxidants, such as vitamins A or E and beta carotene. Essential fatty acids that can help support the body's metabolism and minerals are key components of superfoods. These foods are responsible for reversing cell oxidation and preventing cancerous cells from producing and spreading. They also contain numerous minerals and vitamins that help all aspects of your pup's body.

A pet parent feeds her dog a strawberry.

The 10 Best Superfoods for Your Dog

A dog's diet can make a world of difference in their health and happiness, but finding the right food for them isn't always easy. Luckily, there are some superfoods out there that will help keep your pup healthy with minimal risk. Read on to find out how many vitamins or minerals these delicious foods have for your dog.

A bowl of.blueberries

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a small but mighty fruit. As one of the most nutrient-dense fruits, they pack a powerful nutritional punch with high levels of antioxidants that slow down damage to the cells in your dog's body. As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, blueberries reduce the risk of some cancers. These tasty treats also promote urinary tract health due to their anti-inflammatory properties and protect brain function from oxidative stressors such as cognitive decline.

Use this food: Add some blueberries as a tasty treat in place of your dog's routine and likely less healthy snacks. You can also serve blueberries frozen for a cold, tangy dessert, pureed or raw.

2. Bone Broth

The benefits of bone broth are many, ranging from its ability to boost a dog's immune system and provide essential nutrients like calcium that help keep teeth healthy. It contains collagen, too, which helps heal the gut and maintain joint mobility for dogs with arthritis or other joint degenerative diseases, such as hip or elbow dysplasia.

Bone broth is a nutrient-dense drink high in protein. It contains anti-inflammatory amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The collagen from cartilage in bone also produces gelatin, which helps support a healthy digestive tract.

Use this food: Commercial bone broth is available at grocery stores. You can also make homemade bone broth from raw bones or bones leftover from your meals. Start with small amounts so as not to upset your dog's stomach. Pour the bone broth over your dog's meals, or feed it to your pup in a bowl.

A plate of salmon

3. Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in oily fishes like herring, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. The use of these oils has an incredible impact on a dog's skin, coat, cognitive function, and arthritic conditions such as pain management or chronic joint problems. If you're looking into supplementation with fish oil capsules, ask your vet about what might work best before purchasing them online. Currently, there's no regulation when it comes to buying fish supplements online, so you'll want the advice of a professional to choose the right one for your pup.

Use this food: First, purchase deboned fish, as small fish bones are a choking hazard for dogs. Do not season the fish; grill or steam it, then cut it up and mix it into your dog's regular food.

4. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, which enhances not only immune health but also eye health. A dog's coat and healthy skin are additional benefits of this superfood. Depending on its use for each condition, it contains a large amount of soluble fiber to relieve diarrhea or help with constipation. Pumpkins serve these purposes because they are both high in quality nutrients your dog needs. Some of the essential nutrients in pumpkin include antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and minerals calcium and iron.

Use this food: Pumpkin should always be served plain to dogs. Canned organic pureed pumpkin is best as it contains the most nutrients; however, fresh pumpkin is also good. Never give your pup pumpkin that includes seasoning or spices. Some are toxic to canines and can also cause significant stomach upset. Plain pumpkin, not a pie filling, is the only safe way to feed your pup pumpkin.

A chihuahua puppy hands with chicks and eggs.

5. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of highly digestible protein with amino acids that promote dogs' muscle growth and tissue health. They also contain various vitamins, including Vitamin D for strong teeth and B6, which helps maintain the nervous system.

In addition to eggs' superfood powers, they're easy on your puppy's stomach since they're less acidic than some other common proteins, such as chicken or beef liver. However, apart from the others, this superfood is its omega-3 fatty acids that regulate immune function while reducing inflammation throughout every organ system.

Use this food: You can feed eggs to your dog on their own scrambled or hard-boiled, but it's also a great protein-packed topping for food! Start slowly and work up in quantity over time. One large egg is 78 calories which you need to account for when adding this food to your pup's diet.

6. Carrots

Carrots are a healthy, low-calorie snack for your dog. They contain beta-carotene, which supports immune health and eyesight. This vegetable is also high in fiber and good for digestive tract problems like constipation or diarrhea. Raw carrots are also more than just a healthy snack --- they also help clean your dog's teeth and gums during the chewing process.

Use this food: Cut whole carrots into smaller chunks before feeding them to your dog. If your pup is not a fan of raw carrots, and most dogs are not, you can try steaming or boiling the carrot and then pureeing it before adding it to the dog's food bowl. This cooking method will still provide fiber as well as the nutrients your dog's body needs.

A bowl of chia seeds

7. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse with many benefits for your dog. Unlike flax, you don't need to grind them or soak them in water before adding it to their meal. Sprinkle some chia seeds over your dog's food, and they'll get all the goodness! Chia seeds contain fiber which can help keep the canine digestive system running smoothly. These seeds also have omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, and antioxidants. Additionally, chia is highly absorbent, so it promotes hydration in your dog.

Use this food: Add a few chia seeds to the top of your dog's food.

8. Quinoa

Quinoa is rich in fiber and protein, which provides many benefits for your dog's health. This superfood also helps maintain the digestive tract as well as muscle mass. The fiber found in quinoa can help regulate blood sugar levels while delivering essential minerals like iron or magnesium to your dog's body. Quinoa is an ancient seed that comes from the sustainable crop quino. Quinoa is seeds related to spinach, and they provide all eight essential amino acids. It also contains iron, phosphate, and many phytochemicals, including antioxidants, which help reduce your dog's risk for diabetes by keeping glucose-regulated in their body.

Use this food: Boil the quinoa and mix it into your pup's daily food.

Sweet potatoes on a white background.

9. Sweet Potatoes

The health benefits of sweet potatoes are endless. These tuberous root veggies boast 150% more antioxidants than blueberries and contain heart-healthy vitamin A to keep your dog's heart healthy and immune system strong. Plus, they're packed with vitamin C for optimum immunity, muscle function, and energy levels in canines. Potatoes are full of flavor and easy to chew; additionally, they have shown anti-cancer properties and are especially good for older and senior dogs.

How to use it: Thoroughly cook the sweet potatoes and remove the skins, as they are difficult for dogs to digest. You can mash, steam, or boil the potatoes and mix them into your dog's food. Baking or roasting the potatoes is fine, too; however, those cooking methods will cause a loss of some nutrients in this vegetable.

10. Apples

Apples are a favorite fruit for many dogs. They're full of natural sugars and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, C, and K. Apples also contain calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth. At the same time, the malic acid eliminates nasty doggy breath! The fiber in apples lends itself to healthy digestion. Most importantly, apples have antioxidants that combat free-radical cell damage, which causes chronic illnesses and disease. Additionally, apples aid in the reduction of inflammation.

How to use it: There are various ways to feed apples to your dog, including cutting pieces into quarters, cutting slim pieces and freezing them for snacks, or grating or chopping them and adding to your dog's meal. There are also healthy baked snack recipes for dogs that include apple as a primary ingredient. Sorry, pups, no apple pie for you as it's too full of sugar!

It's critical to remember to remove the apple skin, core, and seeds before feeding the apple to your dog. All three of these components will cause severe gastrointestinal distress due to the seeds' toxic cyanide compound. Also, apple seeds pose a potential choking hazard.

Keep canine health super with superfoods for dogs.

Canine superfoods are the best way to improve your dog's health, quality of life, and longevity. The nutritional benefits of these foods are valuable. Now that you know about these 10 super-healthy superfoods for pups, they will love eating them up! 

Remember, a healthy dog diet can prevent hefty veterinary bills in the future. If an accident happens, remember to have a pet insurance policy. Your dog will receive the best treatment possible, and you won't have to worry about the high vet costs. Pet Insurance Review gives you the best policy options available for your needs. Get your super dog a free quote today!

 

References:

1. Anne, M. (n.d.). What is the Most Nutritious Berry? Retrieved from https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutritious-berry-3169.html

2. Ciupka, B. (2020). Blueberry Benefits and Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.nfcr.org/blog/national-blueberry-month-health-benefits-and-cancer-prevention/

3. Frey, M. (2020). Egg Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfit.com/hard-boiled-egg-calories-and-fat-3495628

4. Robbins, O. (2018). Are Sweet Potatoes Good for You? Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://foodrevolution.org/blog/sweet-potato-health-benefits/

5. The Farmer's Dog. (2020). Top 14 Fresh Snacks for Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.thefarmersdog.com/digest/top-14-dog-friendly-snacks/

6. Williams, C. (2015). 8 Delicious Apple Dog Treat Recipes. Retrieved from https://blog.healthypawspetinsurance.com/apple-dog-treat-recipes

7. helloBARK! (2021). Can Dogs Eat Apple Cores? Retrieved from https://hellobark.com/advice/can-dogs-eat-apple-cores/