Feeding your dog a completely raw diet can be time-consuming, expensive, overwhelming, and maybe just isn't right for you right now. That's okay! There are a lot of fresh foods, many of which you probably already have around the house, that you can add to make your dog's meals immediately more nutritious!
You know when you go to Jamba Juice and they ask what boost you want in your smoothie? Think of these as boosts, or supplements, for your dog. You don't necessarily need to feed them all—in fact, you should choose ones that target specific health conditions your dog has or their breed is prone to have. For example, many bully breeds, have joint issues as they get older, and bone broth is a really great source of chondroitin, which can reduce joint pain.
Here are 8 fresh foods below that can make your dog's meals immediately more nutritious!
Just like how fiber helps us poop, pumpkin is a fiber-rich food that can help with your dog’s digestion, especially if they have constipation or diarrhea issues.
According to the AKC, canned pumpkin (but NEVER canned pumpkin pie, which may have ingredients like xylitol which are toxic to dogs) is actually better than fresh pumpkin, because canned pumpkin has less water content and a higher concentration of fiber. Another potential benefit is weight loss, as it helps your pup feel fuller faster.
Canned pumpkin was actually the first supplement I ever added to Kono's meals when he was still eating kibble, and he LOVES it. There are different recommendations as to serving size. You can feed it every day, but you should consult your vet in case your dog has specific health issues and should avoid too much pumpkin.
For Kono (who's 100 lbs), I usually feed about 1 tablespoon of pumpkin twice a day, a couple of times a week. Some weeks I don't add pumpkin at all to his meals. The easiest way I've found to prepare it when I do add it is to freeze the canned pumpkin in silicone paw molds, and then pop one out at a time to add to his meal prep.
2. Raw eggs
When feeding the whole egg (including the shell—a good source of calcium!), make sure they’re organic eggs. Grocery store eggs are required to be washed with a chemical sanitizer before being sold, so check out that local farmer’s market next time you’re getting eggs for your dog!
3. Goat's milk
Goat’s milk is full of probiotics, or friendly strains of bacteria that live in the gut, which help support your dog’s immune system and ease digestion. It can also be used as a natural anti-inflammatory. When bad bacteria comes in and causes inflammation, probiotics kick the bad bacteria’s ass (not actual scientific terms) and relieve discomfort.
Lots of health issues originate in your dog’s belly, so it’s important to have a healthy gut and plenty of good bacteria to protect against the bad bacteria. In fact, people around the world have been adding kefir to their own diets for thousands of years to promote better health.
You can add kefir directly on top of your dog’s meals, or freeze it in a silicone paw mold with a stick in the middle for a doggy popsicle!
Sardines are also lower in mercury than other fish and easier to feed because of their smaller bones (if you’re using canned sardines, make sure they’re packed in water and not oil!). If they're packed in tomato sauce, it's fine to feed them to your dogs as long as you wash them off first and make sure they're not packed in SPICY tomato sauce. Nobody likes spicy poops, not even your pup.
6. Golden paste
Created by Doug English, an Australian vet, golden paste is made of turmeric powder, water, coconut oil, and cracked black pepper (though there are many variations of this recipe).
The turmeric in golden paste has strong anti-inflammatory properties (good for dogs prone to joint pain), and has even been shown to have a positive effect on cancer cells!
7. Fruits & veggies
Antioxidants (found in blueberries, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli, & more) protect against free radicals that cause aging and disease in your dog’s body (and yours—so eat your fruits & veggies!)
Phytonutrients in veggies can help with gut health, reduce inflammation, and protect against other diseases.
Ideally, veggies and fruits should be cut or crushed to make them easier to digest.
8. Bone broth
Bone broth also helps promote a healthy gut by protecting the intestines from bad bacteria that comes in.
And if your dog is sick and doesn’t want to eat, bone broth is a great (and delicious!) way for them to get their nutrients as they’re transitioning back to solid food!
Want more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox?
Sign up for Kono's Pack below for the newest The Bork Magazine articles.
Follow us on Instagram @itskonoskitchen.