I have recently been reading a book called "The Whole Pet Diet" by Andi Brown. I
It is a really good book, and while I don't plan on cooking all of my dogs meals myself like the book recommends, it did get me thinking about how I can make my dogs' diet healthier.
So I did some researching and reading in the book and online so now I am going to do this post.
So here are some great things to add to a dog's diet to give them a health boost:
Fresh vegetables are a great addition to dry dog food and even canned. A lot of dog food doesn't have much vegetables, and dogs should have some vegetables in their diet. Fresh veggies are especially good to add to dry dog food since the food is obviously dry. It adds some fresh nutrients that can be lost in the processing of dry dog food, dogs love the variety, and they have a lot of benefits for your dog.
Here are some good veggies (and herbs) to add to dog food:
carrots -good source of beta-carotene and it has been shown to contain a healthy oil that kill bad
bacteria in the intestines
celery- aids in digestion and it can help soothe inflammations and fight urinary tract infections in pets
parsley- helps keep teeth clean and fights bad breath, can even help prevent cancer
rosemary -helps keep the digestive system healthy
zucchini- good source of vitamin A
pumpkin (not the kind with added spices made for pumpkin pie!) - healthy and so are the seeds. The seeds help get rid of parasitic worms.
sweet potatoes- a SUPER FOOD! a good source of all kinds of vitamins and a good source of fiber!
So adding some veggies to dog food is great! Just don't overdo it! I give my dogs about an eight of cup of veggies in their food each day. You could do more, but you don't want to overfeed them. My dogs also have dry dog food that has a lot of vegetables in it already, so I don't give them a ton of veggies.
Veggies are also great for treats!!!!
Cooked chicken or turkey - something like this should already be the first ingredient in your dog food, but adding some fresh stuff is beneficial
Organs like liver and hearts- although it may seem gross, the organs the dogs eat help those same organs in the dog healthy! And dogs LOVE liver!
Tip: a good way to give dogs the benefits of something like liver without having to deal with cooking and preparing it is to purchase freeze-dried liver treats for your dog. Easy, convenient, cheap, mess-free, not as smelly, and the dog still loves it!
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
Dogs need their fatty acids. This should be an ingredient in your dogs food, but in dry and processed dog foods, it may get a bit lost. So..
Salmon oil- sold for dogs nearly everywhere!!! Gives dogs all the fatty acids they need. A good brand to buy is Lifeline. It is really premium quality for a pretty low price compared to other brands. Whatever brand you buy, make sure that it is in an opaque bottle (so no sunlight gets through) because sunlight will damage the oil. Also make sure that the oil is extra virgin (most nutritious) and cold pressed (best way to process it, keeps all the nutrients!).
Benefits of salmon oil- helps reduce shedding, supports a healthy coat, supports good joint function and mobility.
Tip: this stuff is great for cats too! It has all the benefits it does for dogs, and it can help with hairballs.
Another tip: their should be guidelines on the bottle to how much to feed your pet. For my dogs, they each get about a teaspoon in their food a day, for smaller dogs it would be less, and my cat gets about 1/4 of a teaspoon daily.
Fruits are great for dogs too. Just don't overfeed them. They make excellent treats!!!
Blueberries and cranberries as well as apples (avoiding the seeds!) make good additions to dog food in small amounts
Melons like cantaloupe make great treats!
Other good additions to dog food:
yogurt- a little bit of yogurt (regular, plain yogurt, no flavoring!) now and then is great for dogs. And cats too!
kelp- ocean kelp is awesome for dogs, especially senior dogs. It help reduce shedding and helps a lot with joint health. I recommend the Lifeline brand. It is organic and really good quality. My dogs each get a teaspoon a day and they love it!
garlic- garlic is good for dogs in small amounts! I wouldn't feed more than a small pinch a day. Too much can be upsetting for dogs, but in small amounts, it can help with parasites and it deters fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.
Note: when adding anything new to your dogs diet, do it fairly slowly, and make sure it agrees with them!