In honor of National Pet Week, May 1-7, Peoples Rx is featuring a few of our favorite nutritional support tips, foods, and products to help keep your pets in great health into their advanced years!
Do you read the labels on your pet’s food? It may seem like a no-brainer for health conscious, pet-loving Peoples Rx customers, but worldwide, how many pet owners do you think really know what is in that bag of kibble they are feeding their pet? Most commercial dog food is full of jaw-dropping ingredients that barely qualify as edible. Imagine if more of us put the same care and thought into what we feed our beloved animals as we do with our human family members. Those companies would go out of business! The bottom line is: pets need a diet that fully meets their nutritional needs. Did you know that dogs and cats need over 30 essential nutrients including protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals? The goal is to feed the pet such that when caloric needs are met, all essential nutrients are consumed (complete) in the proper amount and ratios (balanced). This is referred to as “complete and balanced nutrition”.
Superfoods for our Super Pups (We will talk kitties next time!):
This supercharged leafy green contains loads of vitamins, including A, E, and C. It’s a good source of antioxidants and helps the liver detoxify the body. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. If your dog has bladder stones or kidney disease, ask your vet before feeding your dog kale; it may need to be avoided.
Crunchy and naturally sweet, carrots are loved by most dogs. They’re loaded with carotenoids, fiber, vitamins C and K (which aids in blood clotting to help wounds heal), as well as potassium. They also have magnesium, manganese, most of the B vitamins, and phosphorus, which is required for energy production, among other things.
Low in calories and high in soluble fiber, pumpkin helps maintain a healthy digestive tract. It is low in sodium and exceptionally high in carotenoids, potassium, and vitamin C; it also has some calcium and B vitamins. Canned organic pureed pumpkin can be found at grocery stores but be sure that it is pure and not a pie filling — it should have no sugar or spices added.
- Sweet Potatoes
These tuberous root veggies are rich in beta-carotene and boast 150% more antioxidants than blueberries. Sweet potatoes are also super high in heart-healthy vitamin A and packed with vitamin C to keep your dog’s immune system strong.
Oily fish like herring, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s can do wonders for your dog’s skin, coat and brain; they can also inhibit inflammatory processes that cause arthritic pain and other chronic canine conditions. (If your dog has any of these conditions, ask your vet if fish oil in capsule form might help too.) Fish are also an excellent protein source, with many essential vitamins and minerals.
- Nori (dried seaweed)
Dried edible seaweed is a Japanese staple. Often associated with sushi, nori is available in some supermarkets, especially those that stock Asian food items. It has protein, galactans (a soluble fiber), vitamins C, E and all the Bs, and minerals such as zinc and copper. It also contains some lesser-known sterols and chlorophyll, which may help regulate metabolism. Nori may also aid in fat metabolism, immune function, and anti-tumor responses. Be sure to buy low sodium nori to keep your dog’s salt intake in check.
- Chia seeds
The seeds of this traditional grain have several of the same benefits as the more well-known “super seed” flax. But unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits. You can simply sprinkle seeds onto your dog’s meals. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and even protein. They are also highly absorbent, which means they can help hydrate the body.
Commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a seed related to spinach. It’s a complete protein, supplying all eight of the essential amino acids and is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and many phytochemicals. One of the few non-meat sources of complete proteins, quinoa is a potent antioxidant and helps reduce the risk of diabetes.
Yogurt contains active cultures known as probiotics (a.k.a., healthy bacteria), which help keep bad bacteria away. It may improve gut function, contains a number of nutrients including protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, potassium, zinc, and iodine. It is also a fair source of other B vitamins such as riboflavin and pantothenic acid (required for enzyme action and energy production, as well as other cellular functions).
Loaded with phytochemicals, blueberries are a great treat for your dog year-round (you can buy them fresh or frozen). The deep blue color comes from anthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidants; blueberries also supply vitamins C and E, manganese, and fiber. It’s best to give your dog small quantities since gorging on this tasty fruit can adversely affect canine (and human) bowel movements.
A Few Other Healthy Foods For Dogs
In addition to these superfoods, there are many simple, fresh, wholesome foods that dogs and humans can thrive on, including: apples, green beans, papaya, leafy greens, liver and hearts, eggs, oats, bananas, wheat grass, cranberries, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, parsley, wheat germ, apple cider vinegar, and many more. For dogs, animal protein such as chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, goat, rabbit, pork, beef, fish, and venison should also be an integral part of their meals.
We can help make it as easy as possible to get all the essential nutrients in with our VetriScience products.
Check out the VetriScience chewable multivitamins and end the nutritional guesswork to provide all the daily values in one daily dose. Watch your beloved pets thrive and grow in happy kitty/puppy joy! My personal favorite VetriScience product is the Composure Pro Line chews. They are uniquely formulated in that they provide thiamine, theanine, colostrum, and tryptophan which support the nervous system and boost a healthy immune system by promoting a calm and settled sleep cycle which results in a more easygoing pup or kitty. These tasty treats are great for use in training the nervous newbie to the family, or just providing that extra support when pets face unavoidable stress.
VetriScience products ensure natural, nutritional solutions for the wellbeing and health of our beloved animals. The emotional support that our pets provide us is incomparable and is so important to safeguard. I’m proud to provide these products at affordable prices to our Peoples Rx family and their favorite four-leggeds!
Yolanda Calle, MATCM is available as a full-time nutritional consultant at our North Lamar location and is on the sales floor five days a week to support the wellness department customers with any nutritional questions.
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