Guest Blogger: The staff at Petagogy
It’s a new year, which always comes with new resolutions to eat healthier! One way to eat better is to incorporate superfoods into our diets, which can lead to healthier immune and digestive systems, as well as make us look and feel better. Our pets can also benefit from superfoods, and it’s a great time to start incorporating superfoods into their diets as well. Many of these foods can be found in high quality commercial pet foods and treats, or can be added as supplements to your furkids’ diets. For 2014, resolve to add these superfoods to your pup’s meals and snacks and you just might turn your regular dog into a super dog!
Chia seeds contain B vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, protein and fiber. The nutrients in chia seeds support your dog's skin, joints, vision, immune system, brain development, blood sugar levels, healthy digestion and weight maintenance. Try sprinkling a small amount of seeds onto your dog’s food or switching to a kibble that contains chia seeds, such as Solid Gold Sun Dancer.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals for both humans and dogs. The extra protein will keep your pup feeling full longer and will help maintain joint and muscle health. Many high quality dog foods, such as Fromm, Now Fresh and Holistic Blend, include eggs as an extra source of protein on top of high amounts of animal protein.
Fish that is rich in Omega-3 fats is just as beneficial for your pup as it is for you. From joint health to skin and coat conditioning to fighting cancer, adding fish and fish oil to your dog’s diet can only benefit his or her health. Try switching to a dog food that features fish as the main protein, such as Acana Pacifica, Orijen Six Fish or Zignature Trout & Salmon, let your pup snack on fish skin treats like Beams from The Honest Kitchen or add a few squirts of salmon oil to your pup’s breakfast or dinner.
Tripe is a delicacy for both humans and dogs! Green unbleached tripe contains a plethora of digestive enzymes that both aid in digestion and purify and cleanse the blood and remove toxins, parasites and fungus. The digestive enzymes found in tripe also improve metabolism, hormone function and boost the immune system. Tripett is a great canned green tripe that is available in a variety of different proteins, including beef, duck, salmon, bison, venison and lamb, that can be added as a supplement to you dog’s kibble.
The prebiotics in yogurt help our digestive systems produce friendly bacteria, which aids in digestion and helps ward off a multitude of problems ranging from constipation to other more serious conditions. Try adding a dollop of plain yogurt (with no sugar added) to your dog’s meal or give your dog a yogurt-based treat like YoPup’s probiotic blend cookies.
Virgin coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, of which the only other abundant source found in nature is in human breast milk. The fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother's milk and have similar nutritional effects. When ingested, coconut oil has been known to improve digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as alleviate digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and colitis. The bonus: it’s also great for skin and coat and immune health.
The recommended amount to give your pets is 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight, or 1 tablespoon per 30 lbs of body weight. Too much coconut oil can actually damage your pet’s pancreas, so it’s best to give it in small doses (about a quarter of the recommended amount), gradually building up your pet’s tolerance overtime. Any virgin coconut oil from health food stores can be fed to pets, but we love CocoTherapy’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Chips.
Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin
Not only are they loaded with antioxidents, but sweet potatoes and pumpkin also help improve your dog’s digestive system. The high amount of beta-carotene that gives both vegetables their orange color is greatly beneficial for helping to stabilize a dog’s blood sugar. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin also contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps eliminate waste from the body and absorbs water to slow digestion and aid in nutrient absorption. Insoluble fiber is considered a gut-healthy fiber that adds bulk to your pet’s diet, helping to eliminate or reduce constipation. Try giving your dog a Sam’s Yams chew made only of dehydrated sweet potatoes or simply add a tablespoon of pumpkin to your pup’s meal (the suggested serving size is 1 tablespoon per 10 lbs of weight as a daily food supplement).
Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Learn more at www.petagogypgh.com.