We now have more knowledge than ever about how to keep our dogs healthy. This is undeniably a great thing—with this knowledge we can help create the conditions for our dog to live into old age. However, with so much advice out there how to do so, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by information overload. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to the top 5 foods you should incorporate into your dog’s diet that will give their health a boost.
It may seem like probiotics are somewhat of a luxury addition to a dog’s diet. After all, if their gut seems to be working perfectly fine, why should you change up their diet? The thing with gut health is that it can be quite temperamental. Think about all the times you’ve had stomach issues happen seemingly for no reason. It was likely something to do with an imbalance in your gut.
Your dog’s gut health can also change. The difference is that unlike you, they won’t be able to easily communicate that they’re having an issue with it. As Doggy’s Digest points out, when your dog’s gut health is imbalanced, their body “fails to receive the nourishment it needs to sustain all physiological operations. In addition, the stability of your dog’s gut flora (bacteria) is compromised as inflammatory bacteria overwhelm and upset your dog’s GI tract.”
The best way to avoid such problems is to proactively attend to their gut health by feeding them probiotics. Whether you choose to do this by giving them probiotic-rich foods, such as yoghurt and fermented foods, or probiotic tablets is up to you.
Another food your dog will thank you for incorporating into their diet is organ meats. While they may not look too appetising, they sure pack a punch in the health stakes! Think of these meats like an all-in-one health booster that will help your dog get the vitamins they need (particularly vitamin B), as well as a number of essential minerals.
If you’ve never fed your dog organ meats, you may not know where exactly to start. Angela Stringfellow from Safe Sound Pet recommends liver. “Liver is a great all-rounder in terms of nutrition,” she says. “Not only does it have vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, it is also a fantastic source of iron and protein.” And if you’re wondering where to get these meats, your supermarket will have them, as well as your local butcher. If you’re lucky, they may just give you some complimentary cuts with your serve of bacon!
A Source of Omega-3
Omega 3 rich foods should also be part of every dog’s diet. These foods supper their brain, heart, and kidney to function optimally, and can help with their skin and eye health too.
Just like probiotics, you can either ensure your dog gets their Omega-3 dose by fresh food or supplements. If you want to go down the former route, make sure you give them small, oily fish such as sardines. Anchovies are also an excellent source of omega 3. For those who prefer the convenience of supplements, be sure to read up on how to pick the best ones. VCA Animal Hospital has a very helpful article on the topic that is a must-read given the number of considerations that owners should keep in mind before buying.
Vegetables are equally important for your dog to eat, so long as they are given in the right doses. When given correctly, they are a potent source of micronutrients. When not, they can throw off the balance of your dog’s diet.
So what is the right vegetable dose? Care highlights 10 vegetables you can start giving your dog, as well as their benefits and advised quantities. For instance, they note that raw carrots have a plethora of benefits such as reducing anxiety, cleaning teeth, improving eyesight, and strengthening their immune system. But they also emphasise that it should only be given either finely chopped or puréed. Keep their recommendations in mind and your dog will see the benefits for years to come.
The final food on our list is eggs. They made the cut because they boast so many benefits it’s hard to know where to start. Rich in vitamins, amino acids, protein, omega 3, and antioxidants, there’s much to love about the humble egg.
It’s safe to feed bigger dogs one egg a day, but of course, if you find that too much, half an egg or an egg every so often is also fine. For smaller dogs, half an egg per day is more than enough. If you can, try to treat them to free-range eggs as these eggs have a relatively higher dose of all of the benefits we mentioned above.
Kristin Hitchcock is a frequent contributor at Pet Life Today. She was born and raised in Tennessee and currently lives there with her husband and toddler. Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents weave a fulfilling and enriching life for their pets by educating them about lesser-known topics and helping them make the best decisions possible for their pets. She owns three dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard.