Healthier dogs live longer, happier lives. A dog’s diet is a critical component of her overall health, particularly if she’s aging, overweight, or has a special condition. There’s a lot of noise around what shouldn’t be in your dog’s food (chocolate, anyone?) but you don’t hear much about what you should be feeding your dog.
We decided to ask our friends at Ollie. Ollie makes all natural, human-grade dog food which means it’s fit for you and I to eat (seriously.) Their custom meal plans are ideal for health-conscious dog owners and portions are tailored to dogs’ nutritional needs, helping keep pups from overeating.
So, what do the gut-focused vets over at Ollie say your dog food should include? Here are five ingredients to look for.
1. Quality Organ Meat
Well that’s…gross? Not if you’re a dog! Of course, meat should make up the bulk of your dog’s diet but organ meats are particularly rich in vitamins like A, B1, B2, B6, folic acid, and B12. They also have a whole host of much-needed minerals like iron and magnesium.
But watch out: Dog food manufacturers have wised up to the health benefits of offal and now use “organ meat” as an umbrella term for everything from liver (good!) to intestines (not so good.) Look for “human-grade” organ meat if possible, or a list of each organ individually. And keep in mind that most dry kibbles, even if they do contain organ meat, are processed at a high enough heat that they lose a lot of their vital nutrients along the way.
2. Root Vegetables
The term “root vegetables” is probably narrower than you think! You already know that onions are toxic for dogs, and technically they’re bulbs, not root veggies. Regular white potatoes are technically “tubers” rather than roots, plus they’re often not nutrient dense enough to be worth the carbs.
Sweet potatoes, though, are tubers that act like root vegetables. They’re chock full of vitamins C and A and healthy fiber, plus they taste delicious. Carrots are another root vegetable stand-out containing vitamin K, beta-carotene, and potassium. Mmmmm. Potassium.
Yes, fruit is good for dogs! A lot of well-meaning dog owners are scared off by the natural sugars found in fruit, but antioxidant-rich fruits can actually add a lot of dimension to most dogs’ diets. Aim for fruits that are particularly hearty in a specific nutrient or vitamin for your biggest ROI. Blueberries contain tons of anti-inflammatory flavonoids, for example, and apples are packed with satiating fiber.
4. Healthy Oils
Heart-healthy oils are so, so good for dogs. Not only can they reduce inflammation and boost kidney function, they can even make your dog’s coat shinier! Fish oil is an oldie but a goodie, rich in therapeutic compounds that can actually improve your dog’s cognitive function. Sunflower oil and flaxseed oil are both rich in omega-6 fatty acids which can boost the immune system and up your dog’s energy. The key to oils? They can go bad, so look for oils contained in fresh (not canned) dog foods and or in pills/liquids that can be kept in the fridge.
Superfoods have gone to the dogs. At least, they should have. Superfoods are “super” for a reason, and they’re just as good for dogs as they are for humans! The easiest superfood to find or include in your dog’s food is chia seeds, which are all about those omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also rich in protein and completely non-allergenic so, honestly, why haven’t you started feeding your dog chia seeds yet?
If the ingredients in your dog’s food are making you hungry, you’re doing it right. Just like the folks at Ollie, we believe in the healing, preventative benefits of excellent nutrition. What is your dog’s food missing?
Thanks to our friends at Ollie for their help on this article. Want to try Ollie’s freshly-made, specially tailored meals? Head on over to myollie.com/try/vetted to get a 50% discount on your first box AND a free bag of human-grade treats through 3/31/2019. (We love having friends in delicious places.)