Healthy Real Food For Dogs
As a dog owner, you pay close attention to what your dog consumes. You probably have a long list of items that are toxic or deadly to your dog pinned to your refrigerator with a pet poison hotline magnet. Your veterinarian has probably advised you numerous times that “people food” is not healthy for dogs. Sure, potato chips, breads, candy, cooked bones, and other items may be unhealthy or toxic to a dog, but there is a long list of safe and healthy foods that you can happily and safely feed your dog in moderation. When choosing foods for your dog or you, organic is always best. As with anything, moderation is key. If your dog has any underlying health issues, please consult with your holistic veterinarian prior to changing up his food regimen.
10 Healthy Foods For Dogs
- Apples– An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or veterinarian. Apples are not only safe for dogs but are also a healthy snack. Apples are high in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Fiber helps keep a dog’s digestive system healthy. Because apples are high in fiber and water, apples can be used to help fill your dog if you are needing to cut back on his food. To serve an apple to your dog, simple clean, peel, core, and slice into bite sized pieces. For even more fun, dehydrate them for longer-lasting dog treats. Apple recipes for dogs.
- Bananas– Bananas are a great healthy treat for dogs. Bananas have fiber called pectin, which helps a dog feel full. This fat-free fruit contains magnesium and potassium, making this fruit heart-healthy. Potassium helps to control blood pressure and aids in muscle health. Bananas are high in antioxidants that protect cells against the effects of free radicals. This cooling fruit helps nourish the intestines and can help the lungs and skin. Offering your dog a bite or two of banana or slice them in circles and dehydrate for a chewy snack. Banana recipes for dogs.
- Chia Seeds– Chia isn’t just an old commercial from the 70s. No, this little chia seed offers many health benefits for dogs. Chia seeds come in two varieties, white or black. Both seeds are pretty similar in nutritional values, and both have their benefits. However, the darker the pigment, the more anthocyanins it contains. Anthocyanins have an antioxidant property that help protect cells against free radicals. Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, M, E, and D; minerals, fiber, protein, and calcium. All these health benefits of chia seeds leads them to being a heart-healthy little seed. When preparing the chia seed for your dog, you can either feed whole, ground, or soak them in a liquid overnight. Use ¼ teaspoon per 10 pounds, 2 teaspoons maximum for large-breed dogs. Chia seed recipes for dogs.
- Strawberries– This heart-shaped fruit is a perfectly sweet snack for a dog. These sweet berries are actually from the rose family. Coming in at only 4 calories apiece, they make a perfect treat for any dog. But it’s not just their sweet taste that makes this dog-friendly fruit so good; the strawberry is actually packed with nutrition. These healthy berries contain high amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, antioxidants, and flavonoids. This cooling little berry can help boost a dog’s immune system, making them the perfect bite. To serve, either serve cut into bites, or dehydrate for easy-to-serve treats. Strawberry recipes for dogs.
- Butternut Squash– Butternut squash is not a vegetable. No, it’s actually a fruit. Butternut squash is brimming with healthy goodness for your dog. The bright-orange squash meat is high in antioxidant beta carotene. Beta carotene is a carotenoid and antioxidant, that not only helps protect a dog’s cells from free radicals, but also can help slow cognitive decline and improve lung strength. Butternut squash is loaded with phytonutrients, phytochemicals, or “phyto,” which are plant-based nutrients that have been shown to provide health benefits, such as improving cell function, organ support, aids in the immune system, and detoxification. Butternut squash is teeming with potassium, which is excellent for bone health, and vitamin B6, an essential vitamin for the immune and nervous system. To serve your dog butternut squash, cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Place the squash cut-sides down on a baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 90 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool. Fill an ice cube tray with squash mash and freeze. Serve a thawed cube a day or as desired for a snack. Butternut squash recipes for dogs.
- Almonds– Almonds are a safe nut for dogs. However, there are a few things to consider before feeding your dog an almond. Whole almonds, or any nut, can pose a choking hazard for your dog. Almonds are high in fats, and too much fat in a dog’s diet can lead to pancreatitis. Moderation is always key. If you are considering feeding your dog almonds for snacks, either use slivered almonds or sliced almonds. Check the ingredient label to ensure you are feeding 100% almonds and they do not contain any added salt or preservatives. Now, the health benefits of almonds for dogs. Those fats, when given in moderation, are actually good fats that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Almonds contain calcium and amino acids that help build strong muscles and reduce muscle fatigue. Almonds help dissolve phlegm and mucus while lubricating the intestines. 100% organic almond butter is a great alternative to peanut butter. Almond butter has lower saturated fat and more vitamins that peanut butter, making almond butter a great choice for dogs. Almond recipes for dogs.
- Crab– Yes, crab meat is a great healthy food for dogs. Did you know there are over 4,500 species of crabs? Out of all the species of crabs, 10 species may land on your dinner plate. These crustaceans have five pairs of legs, with the front ones being their pincers. You’ll want to watch out for those. These healthy creatures can be found across various shorelines and on land. Crab meat is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, making this lump meat a heart-healthy option for dogs. Not only are these omega-3 fatty acids beneficial to a dog’s heart, they also act as an anti-inflammatory, which improves joint pain, brain activity and cognition, and overall health. Crabs contain a good dose of vitamin B2 and selenium, which also contributes to good brain activity and cognition. You can feel good about feeding your dog cooked crab meat as his next healthy snack. Crab recipes for dogs.
- Apple Cider Vinegar– Apple cider vinegar, or ACV might not be a “food,” but it definitely deserves a place on this list. A happy gut equals a happy mutt. Apple cider vinegar is excellent for aiding in good digestion. ACV helps digestion by increasing stomach acid to break down food. When a dog’s food is properly broken down, he receives more of the vitamins and nutrients his body needs for good health. Not only does apple cider vinegar help break down food, it also can break up bladder crystals and kill harmful bacteria such as yeast. By killing off the bad bacteria, good bacteria and enzymes can move in and help balance a dog’s immune system, gut, and natural pH. For small dogs, try ¼ teaspoon with your pet’s meal or 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water. For larger dogs, start with 1 teaspoon per 50 pounds, and gradually increase to 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds. Apple cider recipes for dogs.
- Sardines– Sardines for dogs? You bet! These small, smelly fish may not look like much, but don’t let their size fool you. Sardines are chock-full of goodness such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, B12, amino acids, and coenzyme Q10. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), otherwise known as omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal health. EPA and DHA are the building blocks of tissue in the retina of the eye and brain. As your dog ages, his body produces less of these vital nutrients, which can lead to dementia and loss of eyesight. Omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce inflammation and improves both joint and heart health. Providing your dog sardines is a great way to provide healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are a small fish, which means they are lower in heavy metals. For small dogs, one small sardine would be healthful For the larger dogs, two or a larger sardine would be a good dose. Sardine recipes for dogs.
- Spinach– Popeye wasn’t wrong with his love affair with spinach. This super green food is not only safe for dogs but highly beneficial for their health. This leafy green is high in calcium, vitamins A, C, E, and K. Toss in a good dosing of antioxidants, flavonoids, manganese, zinc, selenium, and iron, and you have yourself a superfood for your dog. Spinach contains large amounts of phytonutrients, which boost good health and aid in preventing disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin is found in spinach, which supports optimal eye health. Spinach can be given to your dog raw or flash boiled. Spinach recipes for dogs.
Do you feed your dog a fresh food diet? Tell me in the comments.
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