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8 Fresh Foods to Boost Your Dog's Meals
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8 Fresh Foods to Boost Your Dog's Meals

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!

1. Pumpkin

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

Eggs are a great source of protein, and also provide other nutrients for your dog such as Vitamin A, fatty acids, and riboflavin/Vitamin B2 (helps the body absorb other minerals).

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!

When it comes to salmonella or E.coli concerns, it's pretty rare for dogs to contract either disease. This is because dogs have shorter digestive tracts so bacteria doesn't have time to build up, and more acidic stomachs than we do, so it kills the bacteria faster than our stomachs would!

3. Goat's milk

Raw goat’s milk is a source of probiotics that can be more easily digestible than pasteurized milk. Goat’s milk also has lower levels of the alpha-s1-casein protein, which makes it less allergenic than cow’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.

4. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that’s made by adding different strains of yeast and lactic acid bacteria to milk. Fermenting the milk increases the probiotics in it, and can help fight chronic illnesses, IBS, ulcers, and more. 

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!

5. Sardines

Imagine a world where instead of putting a ton of different products on your face, you just needed to eat better for improved skin & hair health. That’s basically what sardines are for dogs. They’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can keep your dog’s skin moisturized, as well as lead to shinier coats, improved brain function and better eye health.

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.

If you're feeding raw sardines or raw fish in general, remember to freeze them first for about a week. Freezing the raw fish first will get rid of any parasites the fish may have and make them safe for your dog to eat. And if you're worried that freezing isn't enough, canned sardines are totally fine (which is what I normally feed Kono)!

6. Golden paste

Okay so it’s not exactly one single food, but golden paste can be made easily and added to your dog’s daily meals!

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

There are a wide range of nutrients found in fruits & veggies that can benefit dogs. A couple of examples include:

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

When bones are boiled down, it creates a stock that’s packed with nutrients. These nutrients include glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are important for joint health and reducing inflammation.

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!

I created this helpful guide on 8 Fresh Foods to Boost Your Dog's Meals that you can bookmark to reference or share on Instagram! Check it out below :)

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