Foodies and scientists alike agree that superfoods are extremely beneficial for heath and well-being. These tasty nutrient powerhouses pack large doses of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. People nosh on superfoods in hopes that these nutritious foods may ward off chronic diseases, boost the immune system and prolong life, but can superfoods do the same thing for your dog or cat?
The benefits of whole food cannot be underestimated, says Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ, consulting veterinarian for Big Barker. “When it comes to pet nutrition, your pet is what he eats,” she says. “Superfoods provide a whole host of vitamins and minerals to your pet, as well as high-quality sources of fiber, calories, and prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes.”
Here are seven superfoods for optimal pet nutrition:
These tiny blue bursts of sweetness are antioxidant-rich superfoods. In addition to being packed with phytoflavinoids, blueberries contain loads of potassium and Vitamin C. Due to this stellar nutrition profile, blueberries for dogs may reduce the risk of chronic disease and cancer.
Blueberries can be fed directly to your pet as a tasty treat or with their regular food. Stella & Chewy’s Lil’ SuperBlends Meal Mixer offers pet owners a way to supplement their dog’s kibble with a nutritious raw food topping without any mess or inconvenience. This dog food contains 95% cage-free chicken, organs and bone, plus 100% organic fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries for dogs. The topping is also enhanced with probiotics to aid in healthy digestion, making this an ideal addition for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete is a kitty kibble that, in addition to chicken and salmon, contains superfood ingredients such as cranberries, blueberries, beets and pumpkin. This cat food also contains added vitamins and minerals that are suited to indoor cats’ unique needs.
Pumpkin for dogs is a wonderful addition to your pooch’s diet. Pumpkin is orange thanks to high amounts of beta-carotene, which is known for improving eye health and preventing heart disease. Pumpkin is also packed with vitamin K, which may also reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of minerals, phytosterols, L-tryptophan, zinc, vitamin E, and B vitamins. Research in humans suggests that pumpkin seeds may reduce certain types of kidney stones and inflammation caused to arthritis.
A scoop of canned pumpkin for dogs is a special treat, but it’s also a healthy component to many high-quality dog and cat foods. I and Love and You Nude Food Surf ‘n Chick Recipe is a grain-free, high-protein, heart-shaped cat kibble that features real cod as the first ingredient. It also includes superfoods like chia seeds, coconut oil, pumpkin and cranberries. With a low glycemic index plus digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics, this food is ideal for cats in all life stages.
Carrots for dogs make a great pet-friendly superfood. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin A and antioxidants. Carrots also contain a substance called retinoic acid, which may help maintain healthy skin. Like many superfoods, carrots are thought to help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Scientists believe that carrots contain certain nutrients that may help reduce fat and bile in the liver, improving this organ’s functioning.
Carrots for dogs are super healthy treats for medium to large breed dogs (be mindful of choking hazards in smaller breeds). Serve them like a chew bone and watch your pup happily chow down!
Eggs for dogs are among the best sources of highly digestible protein. They’re packed with a variety of amino acids and rich in vitamins and nutrients that help the eyes, brain and heart. Eggs for dogs can also serve as stomach-soothers for a sick pooch; serve him cooled boiled eggs or scrambled eggs until he’s well enough to return to his normal food. (Just remember that eggs aren’t substitutes for a vet visit when your pup is sick.)
Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Recipe contains fresh, deboned bison, healthy fats, whole grains, and a unique blend of 20 nutritious superfoods. This kibble includes dried eggs, salmon, apples, pumpkins, carrots, broccoli, almond oil and dried kelp, among other nutritious foods.
Broccoli for dogs is rich in many beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C. This green veggie encourages proper detoxification, reduces inflammation, protects eye health and supports heart health. It’s also known for its cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli for dogs can be served raw, steamed or roasted as a special treat. Broccoli is also a superfood in many of the cat and mentioned in this article.
Apples for dogs make a healthy and affordable treat. Be careful to remove the core, which can be a choking hazard, before serving apples for dogs. Crunchy apples help “brush” a dog’s teeth, freshening his breath and keeping his doggy smile healthy. Apples are also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, supporting the dog’s immune, musculoskeletal and digestive systems.
Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food is a superfood-rich choice for adult dogs; it is packed with farm-raised chicken, pasture-fed lamb, and salmon, as well as antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables plus whole grains and healthy oils. Superfoods in this kibble include apples, spinach, pumpkin and eggs, which help your dog maintain a strong immune system, healthy heart and sharp mind.