Domestic dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy and thrive. Meat is the main component, but grains, fruits, and vegetables can also provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good dog food should contain all of these components in the right proportions. It's perfectly acceptable to feed your pup a pure kibble diet, or you can mix it up with cooked or raw meat, fish, vegetables, and rice.
Your vet can help you determine the right amount of food and what type of food would be best for your pup. Berries are small but mighty when it comes to nutrition. Blueberries are especially beneficial for dogs as they contain high levels of antioxidants that delay cell damage in the body. The blue-red color of blueberries comes from flavonoid pigments called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Studies with mice indicate that fruits rich in anthocyanins, such as blueberries, may help counteract weight gain and the development of fat cells. Other berries that are beneficial for dogs include acai berries, strawberries, and blackberries. Anchovies and sardines are small fish that offer big health benefits for dogs. They provide high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can improve the quality and condition of your dog's coat and skin, as well as helping heart, brain and joint health.
Anchovies and sardines are also an excellent source of calcium, which supports the health of your dog's bones and joints, and provide a variety of minerals and trace elements, including natural forms of zinc, as well as vitamins B12, D, E and K. Look for canned, wild-caught anchovies and sardines that are packaged in water instead of oil with no added salt. Anchovies and sardines can be served as a snack or added to your pup's regular food. Bone broth is another nutritious treat for dogs that offers many health benefits.
It is made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue for 24 hours or more to create a nutrient-rich broth that is high in protein and contains anti-inflammatory amino acids, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Collagen in cartilage and bone also produces gelatin which helps maintain intestinal and joint health. Bone broth also contains other compounds that may help dogs' joints such as glucosamine and chondroitin which have been shown to promote joint health and slow or stop the progression of degenerative joint diseases such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. You can make your own bone broth with raw bones or with bones left over from meals or buy commercial bone broth at the grocery store.
Start with small amounts first to ensure that bone broth doesn't cause stomach discomfort to your pup. Carrots are another healthy snack for dogs that contain beta-carotene which improves immune health, eye health, skin and coat. Carrots also contain a lot of fiber which is good for the digestive tract. Raw carrots are best but if your pup doesn't like them you can try steaming or boiling them or puree boiled carrots to mix into their regular food. Chia seeds are an inexhaustible source of nutrients packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, iron, magnesium B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds boost your pup's immune system help improve skin and coat promote joints and intestinal health help maintain insulin function regulate blood sugar making them ideal for dogs on weight loss programs since they absorb water slowing down digestion helping them feel satisfied for longer. Eggs are packed with high-quality proteins amino acids essential fatty acids vitamins and nutrients making them a great addition to your pup's diet.
The health benefits of eggs include improved skin and coat making them ideal for puppies who aren't feeling well or recovering from an upset stomach. Squash is another orange-colored fruit or vegetable rich in beta-carotene which not only improves immune health but also improves eye health supports your pup's skin and coat. Pumpkin also contains a lot of soluble fiber which surprisingly can serve two functions relieving diarrhea helping with constipation making it a great seasonal treat rich in antioxidants vitamins A C E calcium iron. Peanut butter is a healthy safe treat for dogs to eat in moderate amounts as it is rich in protein healthy fats niacin vitamin B vitamin E however it's best to limit your pup's peanut butter intake as it is high in calories so if they eat too much too often it can lead to weight gain be sure to feed your pup natural unsalted peanut butter as salt artificial sweeteners especially xylitol are harmful. Yogurt is full of protein calcium digestive cultures making it a great way to improve your pup's digestive health be sure to feed your pup plain yogurt.