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There’s a major push in the dog food industry to address the call from pet parents for all-natural, whole-food ingredients in dog food. Part of this call to action involves the incorporation of superfoods into a dog’s diet. Although research about the health benefits of superfoods in canine diets is still evolving, many still believe that certain nutritiously dense foods that are best for humans are also for our canine counterparts.
Some human foods, including superfoods, aren’t safe for our pups. So, what are the best dog superfoods? Blueberries, carrots, and chia seeds for starters. But what’s the best way to incorporate them into your pup’s daily diet? Superfood dog food could be your best bet. We’ll share all you need to know to feed your furry friend the most nutritious food possible.
At A Glance: Best Superfood Dog Food Brands
|The Farmer’s Dog
What Makes Superfoods So Super?
As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a superfood is “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.” While this definition is fairly broad, there’s a consensus among nutritionists and other experts about what makes a food super. According to the Cleveland Clinic, superfoods are particularly nutrient-dense and provide exceptional health benefits, even compared to regular healthy foods.
The concept of a “superfood” dates back to a marketing campaign for bananas in the early 1900s. In the 21st century, the term has exploded in both the human and dog food industries. Although no regulations exist about what can be labeled as a superfood on packaging, some foods are widely recognized as superfoods. Many of these are considered super-healthy for both humans and dogs, but some make the perfect choice for our furry friends.
10 Best Superfoods For Dogs
Below are the top canine superfoods as determined by experts. These super foods for dogs can help reduce the risk of diseases and promote optimal health. We also share the special health benefits and feeding guidelines and tips for each to help you incorporate them into your pup’s diet.
Probably the most well-known superfood, blueberries pack a powerful low-calorie nutrient punch. They’re rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. They’re also excellent sources of fiber, vitamins C and E, and manganese and have anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries (and cranberries) are good for urinary tract health. Dogs can safely have a handful of blueberries every day, but be sure to cut them up for small dogs because they can pose a choking risk.
Our Personal Experience
Our Cavaliers LOVE blueberries as treats. You can freeze them so they aren’t as messy to eat (and they last longer). It’s a nice, sweet treat in the summertime. We also like to mix them up with yogurt or peanut butter in a frozen mold to make frozen treats too.– Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
2. Bone Broth
A nearly perfect dog superfood, bone broth contains a host of nutrients derived from animal bones and connective tissue. As you might imagine, bone broth is high in protein and collagen but low in fat and salt. It also contains anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting amino acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, making it a fantastic addition to your pup’s diet for joint health.
Although a bit time-consuming, you can make your own bone broth at home with raw or cooked bones. You also have many commercial options to choose from. See our reviews of the best bone broth for dogs, which also includes a homemade recipe and more detailed information about health benefits.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. They can help boost your pup’s immune, eye, skin, and coat health. They’re also high in fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system. Carrots (cooked or raw) are a great low-calorie snack and can be a healthier alternative to some commercial training treats. Also, chewing raw carrots is great for your pup’s dental health. Just make sure to chop them up into bite-sized pieces.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a trendy superfood for humans, which are perfectly safe for dogs and offer multiple health benefits to our canine counterparts. These tiny, mild-tasting seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. A daily dose of chia seeds can boost your dog’s immune system, support joint, brain, and intestinal health, and improve skin and coat health.
They also help regulate blood sugar and absorb water, making dogs feel full for longer. These properties make chia seeds fantastic for dogs who are prone to weight gain or trying to lose weight. Our furry sidekicks can have up to 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight daily.
5. Dark, Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy green veggies like kale and spinach are just as healthy for our pups as they are for us. And science backs up this claim. A 2005 study found that consuming dark green leafy vegetables at least three times per week helped reduce the risk of dogs developing cancer by 90%. These powerhouse foods are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, E, and K, calcium, iron, potassium, and fiber.
You can feed your pup raw leaves (make sure to wash them first), but some dogs may not care for them raw. Alternatively, try steaming or sauteing some in a bit of olive oil and add them to your furry friend’s regular food.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods you can feed your pup. Not only are they packed with protein, but they also contain amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and other important nutrients. They’re also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of eye diseases like cataracts.
Most dogs digest eggs very well, although some may be allergic. They’re also fairly high in calories and have moderate fat content, so keeping portions small is best. Large dogs can have one egg per day, while smaller dogs should stick to 1/4 of an egg.
7. Oily Fish
Oily fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These fatty acids can improve your dog’s skin and coat and support joint, heart, and brain health. They’re also fantastic sources of protein, calcium, vitamins B12, D, E, and K, and minerals such as zinc.
You’ll want to look for wild-caught oily fish to avoid higher levels of mercury, and canned sardines or anchovies should be packed in water rather than oil. An excellent alternative to feeding your pup fish is to give him high-quality fish oil or salmon oil daily. This can help reduce the fat and calories.
Another beta-carotene-rich food like carrots and sweet potatoes, pumpkin is also full of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, iron, and potassium. All of these nutrients boost immune, eye, skin, and coat health. But perhaps the best benefit for our furry friends is the high soluble fiber content, which helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and offers relief from diarrhea and constipation.
Low in calories, dogs can safely have a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin daily. Pure canned pumpkin (without spices) is the easiest way to give your pup this super fruit, but you can also feed your dog fresh pumpkin flesh (raw or cooked).
Our Personal Experience
My dog has had an occasional upset tummy, and my go-to cure is adding pumpkin to her diet for a couple of days. It always settles her stomach, plus she loves the taste of it. It’s a win-win!– Kimberly Alt, Coonhound mix parent
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another powerhouse superfood for humans that most dogs love. These root vegetables contain antioxidants, beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and iron. They’re also a good source of low-glycemic carbohydrates to give your pup energy. A few sliced, cooked sweet potatoes make an excellent low-calorie treat for your pup. Never give your pup raw sweet potatoes or potato peels.
Although technically not a food, turmeric has certainly reached “superfood” status for humans and dogs alike within the last several years. This golden spice contains a compound called curcumin, which has health-boosting properties. Numerous human studies have found that turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties.
A growing body of research in dogs has found similar benefits. It’s important to note that turmeric must be combined with ground black pepper and a healthy oil like coconut or olive oil for the body to absorb this super spice fully. Learn more about turmeric for dogs. We share the most up-to-date research into this ingredient, feeding guidelines, and more.
Best Dog Food Brands Containing Superfoods
While you can enhance your dog’s diet with superfoods from your kitchen, you must be careful not to overfeed your furry friend. Snacks, treats, or additional food outside your pup’s regular meals should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. That doesn’t leave a ton of room to ensure that your pup is getting all the superfoods you may want him to eat. So, the best way to ensure your dog is getting the optimal daily dose of superfoods is to find a dog food that contains some of these powerhouse ingredients.
Best Fresh: The Farmer’s Dog
Our favorite brand that offers fresh, human-grade dog food delivered right to your door, The Farmer’s Dog packs canine superfoods into each of its four grain-free recipes (beef, chicken, turkey, and pork). Whole-food ingredients vary by recipe but include superfoods like carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, salmon oil, and more.
All recipes are developed by board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) nutritionists and fortified with an ideal blend of vitamins and minerals for your pup’s life stage, size, and specific needs. In addition to personalizing your pup’s chow, The Farmer’s Dog also pre-packages meals for convenient feeding. If you’d prefer grain-inclusive fresh dog food, an excellent alternative is Ollie.
- Starting at $2 per day
In-Depth The Farmer’s Dog Review
Best Air-Dried: Badlands Ranch Superfood For Dogs Review
Badlands Ranch Superfood Complete dog food is just as its name suggests — rich in super foods for dogs. Both of the all-natural, high-protein, grain-free beef and chicken formulas contain organ meats, real salmon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, blueberries, chia seeds, flaxseed, turmeric, and more. All ingredients are slow-cooked and air-dried to preserve nutrients and freshness.
Founded by actress and animal activist Katherine Heigl, the company selects only high-quality, functional ingredients to support your dog’s digestion, immune health, skin and coat, and energy. The downside is that Superfood Complete is very expensive. If it’s out of your budget, we recommend Spot & Tango’s Unkibble, dehydrated fresh dog food that’s loaded with canine superfoods.
Badlands Ranch offers discounts if you purchase 3 or 6 bags at once. Shipping is free on orders over $50. Sign up for a free account with no subscription commitment for the price below.
- 24-oz bag: $39.95 (reg. $59.95)
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In-Depth Badlands Ranch Review
Best Kibble: Open Farm
Open Farm is one of our favorite brands due to its superior humane, sustainable, and food-safety practices. This brand is committed to high-quality pet food and completely transparent ingredients. All of Open Farm’s kibble formulas for puppies, adults, and senior dogs contain a ton of superfoods, such as kale, pumpkin, blueberries, carrots, fish oil, and many more.
They offer a vast range of grain-free and grain-inclusive kibble formulas featuring humanely sourced proteins such as beef, chicken, salmon, venison, lamb, and more. Open Farm also carries fresh meals, raw-mixed kibble, and stews that are packed with superfoods. All of their pet food is formulated by animal nutrition experts, and an independent third-party lab tests every batch.
You can save 5% off every order if you sign up for auto-shipping with Open Farm.
In-Depth Open Farm Review
What Other Human Foods Are Safe & Healthy For Dogs?
We have an ultimate guide for you on which human foods are safe or not to share with your furry friend. However, no matter which human foods you’re considering feeding your dog, it’s essential for you to consult your veterinarian to make sure it’s safe for your pup. Safe food for dogs can depend on your pup’s current health conditions, so consulting your vet is your best course of action.Tagged With: Comparison, Food Delivery