This is a subject that means a lot to me. I am really interested in both food therapy and food medicine. It is a daily topic of discussion with my patients.
The health of your dog can be improved by feeding it a variety of meals. No of the type of food you give your dog, they are all easy additions to make.
A lot of folks aren’t ready to entirely go from kibble to raw (which is my ultimate aim), but even if they aren’t, there are some very basic things they can add to the diet that may make a great impact in their dog’s health.
Food = Medical History
Food as medicine and medicine as food; let this be your motto.
Medical Pioneer: Hippocrates (The Father of Medicine)
Medicine has long been found in food. Contemporary mainstream medicine has wandered far from this over the past century or two, but luckily, it is on the way back.
Neither veterinarians nor medical doctors have traditionally received extensive dietary education. However, the training that vets do receive is often inadequate and may even be prejudiced. This is why many vets don’t give it much attention.
However, this does not diminish the need of good diet…
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
Psychological Benefits of Food
A healthy diet is essential to good health. Essentially, it’s what keeps you going and helps you mend and grow new tissues.
Because of this, food and nutritional supplements receive a lot of attention from holistic health professionals.
One of the first things I discuss with my patients, regardless of their presenting problem, is their nutrition and the state of their digestive system.
We need to be thinking about food as the most essential medicine we take every day. Feeding fresh, natural, minimally processed or unprocessed nourishment is vital in preserving your dog’s health.
9 Healthy Foods For Dogs To Support Health And Promote Healing
These are examples of the kinds of foods I frequently suggest to my patients. As a general rule, these are fantastic things that can be included to practically any diet for dogs.
1. Bone Broth
Dogs can reap incredible benefits from drinking bone broth. It’s actually a healing potion.
Simply put, what is bone broth? Its bones were cooked low for many days with apple cider vinegar. All of these nutrients are slowly dissolved in water, which makes them highly accessible to the body.
Bone broth has several health benefits, including:
- Benefits digestion and aids in the healing of “leaky gut”; the gut is the starting point for all diseases (autoimmune, allergies, asthma, chronic inflammation). When the gut barrier is compromised and toxins are able to enter the bloodstream, gelatin can help seal the lining of the digestive tract and restore its protective function. To put it simply, gelatin makes it simpler for the body to break down the protein and fat included in diet.
- Helps the liver cleanse itself since glycine is a building block for glutathione, itself a potent detoxifier. A lot of the body’s functions depend on the liver, which is why it’s such a hard-working organ. Toxins that our dogs are exposed to and need to clean out of their systems are its primary responsibility. Chemicals, hormones, and toxins are all flushed out. It supplies minerals, acids, and electrolytes that aid the body’s natural cleansing mechanisms.
- Inflammation is lowered because glycine and proline are potent anti-inflammatories.
Reduces inflammation and pain in joints New research suggests that the ingredients in bone broth may help reduce inflammation and pain in joints.
- Glycine is crucial for developing muscular strength, and it also helps strengthen bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It helps keep muscle tissue from degrading by blocking the breakdown of proteins (which helps prevent atrophy in aging dogs). Collagen’s proline, glucosamine, and chondroitin help maintain cartilage and act as a shock absorber for the body’s joints.
- Bone broth is high in macro-minerals (including calcium and phosphorus) and trace nutrients, and it also helps the body absorb those minerals better (magnesium and zinc). Bone broth aids in the assimilation of these minerals and provides the body with the means to increase antioxidant activity, both of which are beneficial in the fight against infection.
- Improves skin health – Collagen develops strong skin and prevents the skin from aging.
Supports brain function – Glycine is a key neurotransmitter in the brain. Bone broth helps boost cognition and memory and promotes better sleep.
2. Raw Goat Milk
Unpasteurized, or “raw,” milk is incredibly nourishing. Take a look at the nutrition facts:
- Vitamins A, D, and K2 are fat soluble and essential.
- Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) and Omega-3 Fatty Acids are examples of healthy fats.
- Digestive enzymes and probiotic amino acids and proteins.
- Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are essential minerals and electrolytes.
Raw milk offers a wide range of health advantages. Research shows that doing so might help your immune system and cut down on your allergy symptoms. Benefits to gut health from the probiotics and digestive enzymes are clear. Furthermore, it promotes improved skin health and aids in the healing of a leaky gut.
How about milk from cows? Even if there are some great qualities in cow milk, I find that goat milk is the best option for me. One of the characteristics of goat milk is:
Reduced lactose content and reduced allergy potential.
The smaller fat globules make it simpler for the body to break down and absorb the food.
Goat milk’s medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content is 30–35% higher than cow milk’s MCT content, which is just 15-20%.
Vitamin A, Zinc, and Selenium Levels Are Much Higher
If you’re looking for a rough estimate, little dogs should get around a quarter cup each day, medium dogs about a half cup, and large dogs about three quarters of a cup. To achieve these levels of success, it is recommended to begin with a lower initial investment.
3. Organ Meats
Organ meat is an essential part of the diet whether you feed commercial raw, handmade meals or something else. The 80-10-10 guideline (80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meats) is followed by many commercial diets and amateur cooks, however I prefer a bit more variety.
A lot of vital nutrients may be found in your organs and glands. In this category are organs such as the liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, pancreas, brain, stomach (tripe), and heart. Proteins found in organ meats, especially the liver, help build muscle (also known as blood builders). Blood tonics are what they’re called in TCM. We also know that carnivores place a high value on the organs; in fact, it’s the first thing they eat.
You should aim to incorporate some of the following organ meats into your dog’s diet:
- Liver: vitamin A, B, iron, folate, zinc, amino acids, ribonucleic acid. Research shows it’s great for building strength and endurance
- Kidney: vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, iron
- Heart: CoQ10, vitamin B12, amino acids, collagen
- Adrenal glands: vitamin C
- Brain: omega-3, selenium, zinc, vitamin B12
- Tripe (green, not bleached): digestive enzymes, probiotics, selenium, zinc, vitamin B12
The nutritional value of eggs has been widely recognized. They have a 100% bioavailability and have been named the most complete protein. They are a simple addition to your dog’s diet.
- High quality protein and amino acids
- Vitamins A, D, E complex B vitamins
- Calcium, selenium, zinc
Don’t believe the myths of the previous several decades that state eggs aren’t healthy for your heart; they’re actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Eggs are beneficial because their cholesterol helps keep blood cholesterol levels stable. Cholesterol is essential for the healthy functioning of the brain and liver. As a bonus, they are beneficial to the health of your eyes and skin.
Find eggs that have been allowed to roam freely. Just because something is cage-free doesn’t mean it was raised outdoors. Two times as much omega-3 is found in free-range eggs as in conventional ones, as well as three times as much vitamin E, seven times as much beta-carotene, sixty percent more vitamin A, and ninety-eight percent less salmonella.
Eggs eaten in their raw state are acceptable. One egg every day is ideal for a large dog, while half an egg per day is fine for a smaller dog. You might even choose to do it every other day if that is more convenient.
5. Omega-3 Oils
For omega-3 oils, I recommend feeding small, oily fish on a regular basis.
There are many health benefits to this including:
- Brain food
- Joint support
- Kidney function
- Heart health
- Skin and eye health
Due to their small size, sardines and anchovies have not had the opportunity to build up the poisons that are common in larger fish. They are more hygienic and provide an excellent dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid fish that has been grown in a tank.
You should probably ease into larger servings of oily fish rather than the other way around. One half of a sardine each day is fine for tiny dogs, and you may gradually increase the amount for larger dogs up to an entire can every other day.
Other sources of omega-3 oils:
- Krill oil – really bioavailable, but it’s over-fished so it’s not great for the environment
- Calamari oil – this has the highest concentration of DHA and EPA and it’s the most sustainable with the least negative impact
- Cod liver oil – comes from the liver of the fish. It’s a rich source of DHA, EPA, vitamin A and vitamin D
6. MCT Oil
MCT oil is another of my favorite medicinal superfoods to suggest to my patients. Medium-chain triglyceride, or MCT for short, is a healthy fat. It doesn’t easily oxidize at high temperatures since it has a strong thermal stability. That’s why it’s so perfect for the kitchen.
There are a vast array of health benefits:
- Brain food – improves cognition and helps decrease dementia
- Anti-microbial (bacteria and yeast/candida) – lauric acid
- Full of antioxidants and minerals
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts immune system health
- Good for skin and oral health
It is a healthy fat that aids in the battle against cancer. The inability of cancer cells to metabolize lipids is a well-established fact. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and sugars, both of which are essential for the survival of cancer cells. If we provide a diet with more healthy fats and fewer carbs, we can assist starve cancer.
Make sure the MCT oil you purchase does not include any lauric acid. The vast majority of canines approve of the flavor. An average daily dosage is 1 teaspoon for every 10 to 20 pounds you weigh. You need to ease into it and build up to it.
Kelp’s rich mineral content is beneficial to canine health. There is a growing need to find alternative sources of trace minerals as degraded soils threaten food security. These minerals are being supplied by the ocean. This substance is essential to all life on Earth.
Many of the nutrients needed by kelp seaweed are taken in through the leaves, rather than the roots. Sea veggies have 10-20 times more vitamins, minerals, and amino acids than land-grown plants. Additionally, it has a wealth of diverse phytonutrients and trace minerals.
Kelp is a good source of several minerals, including iodine, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. In terms of health, these nutrients provide a number of advantages, including:
- Thyroid health
- Metabolic health
- Nervous system health
- Digestive system health
- Immune function
One of my favorite vegetarian options that can be served every day is mushrooms. Every every day, I utilize them. Unique and powerful natural remedies can be found in mushrooms. Chinese herbal formulae have relied on them for ages due to the potent health benefits they give.
Some of the best mushrooms include:
- Turkey Tail
- Lion’s Mane
Beta-glucans, flavonoids, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants are just some of the vitamins and nutrients that may be found in medicinal mushrooms. The remarkable improvement in one’s health is a direct result of this advantage. You should include them in your dog’s diet since they are beneficial to his or her digestion and fight cancer.
9. Fermented Foods
Beneficial microorganisms are abundant in fermented foods (probiotics). They often include a greater diversity of bacteria than supplement probiotics, which contain a higher bacterial concentration. Also, they do wonders for bolstering the body’s defenses. Eating fermented foods can aid in the recovery from IBD and other digestive disorders by cleansing the colon of toxins and chelating harmful metals and chemicals.
Nutritional value is a major reason why fermented foods are so great. During fermentation, several byproducts occur:
- Vitamin C, K2 and B vitamins
- Acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter
- Choline – balances and nourishes the blood
- Enzymes support digestion and metabolic activity
- Lactic Acid – represses cancer cells
Some of the best options for fermented foods are:
- Fermented veggies
- Fermented fish stock
- Fermented fish sauce
To feed fermented foods, work up to 1 tsp per 10lbs of body weight per day.