When it comes to us humans we love a list of superfoods. We pop chia seeds in breakfast smoothies, crunch on cruciferous veg as part of our 5-a-day – and tell ourselves that a piece or two of dark chocolate is, in fact, a healthy necessity.
But what’s a superfood for our dogs? Are they the same or should we treat them differently – because a superfood’s a super food, right?
Well no, not exactly. Chocolate is toxic for dogs, especially dark chocolate. So is garlic, and most nuts (we’re looking at you, Macadamia) are well avoided. To avoid any doubt, here’s our full list of harmful foods here.
The good news is there are heaps of natural, vitamin and mineral-rich foods dogs can eat as a healthy snack. Here are our favourite superfoods heroes that make the top ten.
Tip: If you’re new to giving your dog these as part of their dinner or as a treat, start with a very small serving so there’s less chance of your dog getting an upset stomach. And remember to try one type at a time, not everything all at once.
The hedgerow favourite, as Head Vet Sean says, “Berries are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, potassium and a powerful source of antioxidants in particular plant polyphenols. The powerhouse of the antioxidant world!”
The sweet little purple berry sure packs a healthy punch, with cell-protecting antioxidants to boost immune function. Dogs love the flavour, too.
Did you know? Blueberries are also a source of some Omega 3.
Anything that’s dark green is in superfood territory, and broccoli – as well as being vitamin and mineral rich – is also full of fibre for a healthy gut.
Raw or cooked, carrots are rich in beta carotene (an antioxidant) which dogs need to produce the vitamin A they need for their eyesight and healthy immune systems.
This superfood is all about vitamin C and antioxidants, a sweet treat dogs love. We serve these berries in small amounts as treats, baked into Head Vet Sean’s crunchy Apple, Cranberry and Peanut Butter Biscuit bone treats from The Happy Dog Cookbook.
Salmon, oily fish and the gift of Omega 3
We’ve written more about Omega 3 here but for us, salmon is our superfood all-rounder that’s super digestible, and great for dogs of all ages – from growing puppies to seniors.
Another dark green superhero, spinach is also a source of vitamins A, C, K, and B6, folate, manganese, magnesium, fibre and potassium.
Squash and pumpkins
Not just for Halloween, squashes (butternut, not Robinson’s) are great cooked or pureed as a fun treat for your dog, and a good source of vitamins A, C and E and B vitamins: thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and B6.
We don’t know where to start with sweet potato. The orange wonder is rich in fibre, potassium and riboflavins – we slow bake ours in the oven for a delicious go-to treat that’s all natural!
Ok it’s not a superfood, but when you know your dog’s nutrition is being looked after down to the very last bite. Yes, that’s all their meat, fish or veg proteins, slow-release carbs including sweet potatoes or brown rice, vitamins, healthy fats, and more are totally taken care of, then it deserves an honourable mention.