As pet parents, we’re all too familiar with the pains of hiding multivitamins in meatballs or food, only to have our furkids not eat them out of suspicion or miraculously cough up the pill.
Hence, here are 7 natural ingredients that you can add to your dog’s diet for that extra boost of nutrients.
Besides squeezing it out of Omega-3 capsules, most seafood would contain small amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, the fatter the fish, the higher its omega-3 amount. Here are some fishes that you could cook and add into your dog’s diet:
- Mackerel (ikan kembong)
- Wolf Herring (ikan parang)
- Lake trout
This one’s for the doggos who are allergic to fish and seafood products to not be left out from the additional boost of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and nutrients.
- Chia seeds are packed with Omega-3 essential fatty acids, calcium and protein, which makes this ingredient a power packed addition to your dog’s meal. Sprinkle over food or mix with a little water and freeze in ice cube trays for a deliciously nutritious iced dog treat.
- Flaxseeds are another great source of Omega-3 essential fatty acid and also high in fibre. Plus, flaxseed oil makes a beautiful, healthy addition to a dog’s meal by giving a magnesium and Vitamin B1 boost.
- Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, iron, potassium, fibre and healthy fats. They’re great roasted or fresh (yes, delicious for us, and our dog’s diet), and can be added to wet or dry food chopped, ground or whole.
- Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E, iron and copper. It is recommended however that you remove the black husk (or buy sunflower kernels) before adding it to your dog’s meals. Plus, they’re a delicious addition to baked dog-friendly cookies.
- Sesame seeds may be tiny, but they pack a punch when it comes to calcium and protein as well as those all-important Omega-6 essential fatty acids. You can toast them or serve raw, simply sprinkle over your dog’s dinner.
3. Grounded Egg Shells
If you’re making food for your dogs at home, this is a quick and easy way to add this important nutrient into their diets. Similar to us, calcium aids the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth in our dogs.
Simply crush the eggshells into powder (not pieces as it’s better absorbed in powder form) and mix in approximately 800 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium, or ½ teaspoon ground eggshell, per pound of fresh food. Don’t worry about making too much eggshell powder as this ingredient stores really well when kept dry.
Dogs are omnivores and a moderate serving of fruits makes a great way of introducing more nutrients to their diets. Some benefits of feeding your dog fruits that are safe for their consumption include:
- Boosting immunity with Vitamin C rich fruits like oranges and mangoes.
- Improving skin conditions with fruits containing biotin and Vitamin A such as bananas.
- Reducing inflammation with antioxidants from berries such as cranberries, blueberries, and cherries.
- Aiding digestion with fiber rich fruits like pineapple, apples, and cantaloupes.
However, the sweetness present in fruits means that it has a higher sugar content than vegetables. Hence, fruit consumption should be limited in overweight pets, and given sparingly to pets even if they are at a normal weight.
Check out this article for an extensive list of dog-friendly fruits as well as their do’s and don’ts!
In a balanced diet for dogs, it should also contain an amount of vegetables as a source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Some great and budget friendly options include:
- Sawi the green leafy vegetable contains more vitamin C than oranges which has great anti-inflammatory benefits to improve heart health while lowering the risk of diabetes.
- Spinach contains potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B9 and E. It also contains high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.
- Yams/sweet potatoes are great for digestive health because they’re high in fiber and rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene.
The flavonoids and antioxidants found in pet-friendly herbs can help the body’s immune system combat some of the diseases commonly associated with aging. This includes canine cognitive dysfunction, cancer, and reduced immune function.
Here are some easily found pet-friendly herbs you can use fresh or dried in a small sprinkle (a pinch for small dogs, a teaspoon for large dogs) for fresher breath as well as additional nourishment and health:
- Basil is well known for its delicious role in pesto and has antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
- Oregano is high in antioxidants and flavonoids and is reported as an antimicrobial. This non-toxic herb has been used to help with digestive problems, diarrhea, and gas.
- Parsley is a common herb found sprinkled on chinese dishes. Its tap root is a rich source of vitamin C and iron. As a general blood tonic and diuretic it helps with conditions such as bladder stones and gravel, prostate problems and joint stiffness. Parsley leaves on the other hand can soothe the lining of the bladder and help with cystitis.
- Peppermint leaves eases flatulence and colic and helps digestion.
- Rosemary has been shown to act as an antioxidant and is high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6.
- Turmeric is rich in bioactive compounds and antioxidants.
7. Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are a great ingredient to turn into a broth for your doggo. It contains 30 different enzymes and 10 amino acids as well as minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium. This ingredient should be served cooked as raw mushrooms can be toxic and difficult for them to digest.
They’re especially great for dogs who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatment due to cancer or tumour. Due to its white blood cells generating and circulation improving capabilities, shiitake mushrooms is said to be good for:
- Reducing the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
- Treating Cushing’s disease
- Soothing bronchial inflammation
- Regulating urinary incontinence
- Reducing allergy symptoms
PS: Here’s a helpful guide to making your own budget friendly pet food meal.
Introducing these new ingredients to your pet should be done gradually to check if they’re receptive towards it without developing any allergic reactions.
However, if you’re worried about serving portions and getting the right balance in your dog’s diet, the best thing to do is to make sure that these nutrients are already all in your dog’s meal to begin with.
Did you know that our Petchef meals are already nutritionally balanced with the right amounts of vitamins and fresh goodness that your dog needs? Yes, there’s the right ratios of protein, vegetables, herbs, and oils! And delivered right to your doorstep.
That means you don’t need to add extra vitamin doses or hide supplement pills into your dog’s meals. All you have to do is receive the meal deliveries, defrost the meal, warm it up and serve fresh to your furkids.
Note: If your dog has underlining health conditions or any illnesses, they may need a special diet with extra specific nutrients. So do check with your vet on that and speak to our friendly Petchef Advisors if your dog has prescribed medication and supplements.
Feature Image Credit: PetMD