Flaxseed, blueberries, and oatmeal are some of the foods experts recommend we eat to stave off illness and maintain peak health and wellness. You naturally may have wondered…Does this apply to dogs, too? Are there certain foods you can feed your dog to keep disease at bay? Here are some disease-fighting foods you can feed your dog.
1. Fish Oil
Foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been studied extensively for their role in controlling inflammation in a variety of species. These fatty acids have been shown to help in the management of kidney disease, joint disease, skin inflammation, and more. Many pet foods contain omega-3 fatty acids but not all of them. In addition, the amount added to [over-the-counter] products may not be sufficient to provide the desired beneficial effects.
If you’re not a fan of supplements or your dog food doesn’t contain omega-3s, consider steaming, grilling, or baking a piece of fish for your canine companion. Be mindful of the type of fish you choose, as some varieties are higher in mercury than others. Salmon is a good option since it is typically high in omega-3s but low in mercury.
Leafy green and yellow-orange vegetables, such as carrots, may decrease the risk of bladder cancer in certain dogs, according to a study. Scientists suspect bioflavanoids, dietary fiber, plant sterols, and other anti-carcinogenic substances (known as phyto-nutrients) present in these vegetables may inhibit or slow down the progression of cancer.
Yellow-orange vegetables used in the study (aside from carrots) included pumpkin, squash, and sweet potato. Leafy green vegetables included lettuce, salad greens, spinach, collard greens, and parsley. Try giving dogs swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, kale, and dandelion greens.
Mushrooms contain polysaccharopeptides (PSP), which researchers believe have tumor-fighting properties. There is some evidence that they can improve immune responses.
If you do want to offer your canine companion mushrooms, it’s important to keep in mind that some types of mushrooms are poisonous for dogs. Always talk to your veterinarian before adding mushrooms to your dog’s diet.
In some cases, veterinarians may recommend feeding oatmeal or lentils as part of a high-fiber diet. Flax, psyllium, or chia seeds can also be used to supplement your dog’s diet. Fiber can help your dog feel full, and ultimately aid with weight loss. Keeping your dog lean is important. Obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan, and is linked with an assortment of diseases, including joint, liver, and respiratory disease.
Fiber is also essential for maintaining gastrointestinal health, as it helps support the gut microflora. A healthy gut is linked with strengthened immunity, a factor in warding off disease.
Veterinary nutritionists will often recommend that their clients feed fruits to their dogs as part of a sound nutritional plan. This is because fresh fruits and vegetables may provide trace nutrients or compounds that we have yet to discover, or that are not abundant in commercial pet food.
The phyto-nutrients contained in blueberries and other fruits may help prevent cancer. Giving fruits and vegetables over commercial pet treats ensures that an owner knows exactly what it is and where it came from. It can be difficult to identify the sources of all the ingredients – some of which have questionable nutritional value – in commercial pet treats.