5 Superfoods For Your Dog
The term superfood is becoming more popular to describe foods that are nutrient-rich and provide a variety of health benefits. As it turns out, some of the same foods termed superfoods for us are also great for dogs. The Summer 2013 issue of Dog Fancy’s Natural Dog identifies the following foods and their benefits:
- Apple Cider Vinegar. This food star provides help in calming irritated digestive tracts. Many dogs don’t care for the taste or smell of the vinegar, so for feeding, it’s best to add to a food with a strong odor the dog loves. The recommended serving is a maximum of one teaspoon a day. Apple cider vinegar can also help skin problems. Add one cup of vinegar per gallon of water. After bathing your dog, pour the vinegar mixture over your dog and rub into his coat, work through his skin, then rinse.
- Blueberries. This food superstar is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Blueberries are considered to have anti-cancer properties, help control blood sugar and aid with healing. Because they contain a high amount of fiber, feed a small amount to your dog initially. Give small dogs no more than two blueberries to start, dogs 50 pounds and higher can have up to 12.
- Cranberries. This berry is great for urinary tract health in humans and dogs. Although they shouldn’t be thought of as a replacement for medication to cure a urinary tract infection, they can work as a complement to medication and as a preventative against future infections. A few fresh or dried cranberries can serve as a treat for your dog. If he doesn’t like the taste, a capsule suppplement can be used as a substitute.
- Kefir. Made from goat or sheep milk, kefir is filled with vitamins and minerals that help keep the immune system healthy and the intestinal tract in balance. A teaspoon daily for small dogs and a tablespoon for large dogs serves as a nutritional supplement. A half teaspoon can serve as a nutritional supplement for weaning puppies. Kefir is available in grocery store dairy sections.
- Pumpkin. Full of minerals and antioxidants, and a great source of fiber combine to make pumpkin a superstar. Because of the high fiber content, pumpkin is great for dogs that need to lose weight. Substitute a small amount of your dog’s regular food with pumpkin to reduce the caloric content of his meal. Pumpkin is also great for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts, and is often recommended by veterinarians when digestive problems arise. Canned or fresh pumpkin work, but if using canned, be sure to use pure pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie mix. If using fresh pumpkin, cut into pieces and cook, steam or bake it before feeding.
Dietary changes for your dog should be done gradually. If you notice digestive issues after introducing a new element to his diets, reduce the amount you’re feeding until his system gets used to the change. For questions you may have regarding your dog’s health, check with your veterinarian.