“Can my dog eat this?” is a perennial question that anyone who has been a dog owner has probably asked. It is also probably one of the more popular pet-related search strings. While dogs are not necessarily known as finicky eaters, there’s a whole list of what your dog companions can and cannot eat.
Food stuff that is great for humans are not always meant for your dog. However, some foods also offer the same benefits to our pet. Contrary to popular belief, meat and bone are not the only foods suitable for dogs. Some fruits can also be a great addition to a dog’s diet. Did you know that blueberries, which is famous for being a superfood for humans, can also bring great benefits to your pup?
Are Blueberries Good for Dogs?
The short answer is yes! There are studies that show blueberries are perfectly safe for your dog, as long as they are given in moderation. They are a great and healthy snack or treat that is low in calories. The fruit is packed with vitamins such as C and K, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Some benefits that blueberries may bring to your dog are improved vascular health, anti-inflammation, stronger immune system, and it can even aid digestive health. It is awesome for senior dogs, as it can also reduce the effects of brain aging. Who wouldn’t want that for our best furry friend?
How Blueberries Reached Superfood Status
The term ‘superfood’ only became mainstream in recent years, but it has been popularized in the ‘90s. Superfoods are considered as such because of their high nutritional density and low calorie count. They boast of being packed with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Nowadays, blueberries are already widely considered as a one of the healthiest fruits because of their very high antioxidant content.
However, blueberries weren’t always known this way. A fruit previously seen as a delicious ingredient for pie, its antioxidant superpowers only came to light in the mid 90s. A test from Tufts University, named ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), rated blueberries at the forefront in terms of antioxidant activity among fruits. When the rest of the world got wind of the results, the blueberry was elevated as the king of antioxidant foods, and is now one of the most sought-after fruits.
Related Article: Superfoods for Dogs
The Antioxidant Power of Blueberries
What exactly are antioxidants? A simple explanation would be that they are compounds that inhibit the oxidation process. Studies show that they protect cells from free radicals, a chemical reaction from oxidation, which damages cells and can play a major role in the onset of heart disease, cancer and even aging. Free radicals have also been linked to most inflammatory conditions. The body produces antioxidants naturally, but people are accessing it more and more through supplementary means, such as through vitamins and food.
Interestingly enough, the antioxidant power of blueberries lies in their color. The beautiful blue hue of these berries is due to a flavonoid called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is the pigment that gives red, purple and blue plants and fruits their coloring.
When Are Blueberries Bad for Dogs?
As with all other things in this world, blueberries should be taken in moderation along with your dog’s diet. If too much is consumed, the fiber found in the fruit can cause an upset stomach, indigestion, and diarrhea. Your dog’s pearly whites could also be affected, as the sugar present in blueberries can also cause cavities.
While blueberries are small and soft, they can also be a choking hazard for smaller dogs, especially if they are given in their frozen form, so ensure they are given the correct size and portion. Always keep an eye on your pup whenever they consume anything.
Artificial blueberries are not recommended, as they are not natural. They usually contain preservatives and other chemicals or substances that can be harmful to canines.
How to Safely Feed Blueberries to Your Dog
Blueberries can be given to your dog in raw or frozen form. However, always make sure that they are fresh and thoroughly cleaned. This is to make sure they are free of pesticides. Also, ask yourself if you would eat the blueberries. If not, then do not give it to your pet.
Introduce the blueberries to their diet, and do not give a handful in one go. This is so you can observe how your pet tolerates them. If no adverse reactions happen, such as vomiting or changes in stool, slowly add to the quantity of the berries. But always be careful not to go overboard. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian first, for good measure.
Consider blueberries as a special treat, and avoid giving it to them daily. Your dog’s total diet should also be taken into consideration. You want it to be complete and balanced. Figure out when blueberries can be added into the mix. For example, if your dog already has sugar in today’s diet, maybe skip the fruit for now.
Dog Treats with Blueberries
While blueberries are excellent treats on their own, you can also mix them with your dog’s favorite treats, especially when you are in the process of introducing it to their diet.
It’s no secret that dogs go crazy for peanut butter, so why not pair it with blueberries? A simple pat of peanut butter with the blueberries would be great, but if you want to pamper your dog, there are many recipes that marry the two together. Blueberries, peanut butter, oats are some of the key ingredients to whip up a doggy treat that is sure to make some tails wag!
As devoted pet owners, we always want to spoil and pamper our dogs. Along with that is ensuring we provide the best quality of life for them. We can show our love and care for them by providing them with a diet that can help them live a longer and fuller life with us. Blueberries, with all of its benefits, is one way to help achieve that. However, it is important to first consult a vet. When all is good, these fruits will be a tasty and healthy way to maintain a happy dog.