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Functional Foods for Dogs

Functional foods are power-packed foods that do more than just satisfy hunger. They improve health, promote optimal well-being, and help ward off diseases. On the flip side, non-functional foods are the villains of the story, contributing to inflammation, chronic diseases, and even cancer. So, understanding the good and bad guys in the food world can make a world of difference to our furry friend's health.

Functional foods are often laced with beneficial botanicals, amino acids, vitamins, and phytochemicals that act as the superhero team, fighting off disease-causing genes and amplifying the good ones. Yet, it's not always black and white. Some foods can be tainted with chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics, turning them from heroes into villains.

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Let's dive into the components of our dog's meals...

 

Unleashing the Power of Functional Proteins

Protein is like the superhero of nutrients in your dog's diet. It's the master builder and repairer of muscles and tissues, and the backbone for skin, hair, nails, bones, joints, and more. It's no wonder dogs need a hefty dose of it to thrive.

 

But it's not just about protein quantity - quality matters too. Poor-quality proteins can contribute to inflammation and chronic diseases. So, to make sure your dog is getting the best, look for proteins that are:

 

  • Easy to digest and absorb.

  • Free from chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics.

  • Not likely to cause food intolerance or sensitivity.

  • Free from compounds that trigger unhealthy gene expression.

  • Non-GMO and minimally processed.

 

Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. Dogs need ten essential amino acids from their diet. While you don't need to remember all their fancy names, it's important to know that a variety of functional proteins will give your dog all the essential amino acids it needs.

Excellent sources of proteins come from dairy, eggs, fish, muscle meat and organs.  However, these should be offered in a high-quality form.

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Fueling Up with Functional Fats and Oils 

Functional fats and oils, like fish oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil, are another vital part of your dog's diet. They're a concentrated and digestible source of energy, providing more than twice the calories per gram than proteins or carbs. Moreover, they help your dog absorb fat-soluble vitamins and promote a healthy nervous system. And let's not forget, dogs love the taste of fats!

 

The Lowdown on Functional Carbohydrates 

Carbohydrates may not be essential for dogs, but they can still add some benefits. Functional carbs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote cellular health. Adding fruits and vegetables to your dog's meal can ensure they get these benefits. Consider including:

 

  • Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and parsley.

  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

  • Yellow and orange veggies like yellow peppers, carrots, and squash.

  • Fresh fruits such as apples, blueberries, and cranberries.

 

Whole fruits, although they contain simple sugars, also have healthy fiber. This fiber slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream and promotes optimal digestion and weight loss.

tumeric, coconut oil, mushrooms, blueberries, black berries, pomegranates, sardines, salmo

The Superheroes of Canine Superfoods 

Some functional foods are so beneficial we've given them superhero status. We love including:

 

  • Berries – blueberries, cranberries, blackberries.

  • Coconut oil.

  • Curcumin (Tumeric extract).

  • Medicinal mushrooms.

  • Milk Thistle.

  • Omega-3s.

  • Pomegranates.

  • Probiotics.

  • Spirulina.

 

In the quest for your dog's optimal health, these 'superfoods' can be powerful allies. So, let's make every meal count with functional foods!

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