Improve Your Dog’s Health with Nutritious Smoothies February 09 2014
Those of us who are dog lovers and have taken one or more furry friends into our family know how deep the love between canine and human can run. Many people think of their dogs as precious family members and make their health a top priority. We want them happy, healthy, and with us as long as possible. Like humans, good nutrition is vital to a pet’s health and can add years to your dog’s life.
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There has been a lot of talk recently about the best way to feed dogs. Should we use purchased kibble or feed raw? Grains or no grains? Do raw meats put your dog at risk of ingesting dangerous bacteria or parasites? There are many questions and no one really knows the exact formula for the perfect dog food.
A combination of the possibilities can be an excellent option. Many pet parents have chosen to follow the raw food diets but many others simply don’t have the time or desire to make their own dog food. Another factor is that manufactured kibble offers consistency which is often hard to duplicate in raw diets you make yourself. If you choose a manufactured kibble carefully, you can offer your dog a wholesome diet. Whichever diet you choose, however, delicious, nutritious smoothies help ensure that your dog is getting the best nutrition possible and your dog thinks of them as a yummy treat and a sign of your affection.
Why Smoothies for Dogs?
Smoothies are an excellent way to add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your diet and are just as nutritious for your pets as they are for you. They are also a great source of phytonutrients, special nutrients found only in plants that, when broken down, help build strong immune systems and play a vital part in long term fitness. The best way to release phytonutrients? By using a powerful 3 horsepower blender that is capable of fracturing the cellulose that traps the phytonutrients inside the plants. If that is not broken down enough the beneficial phytonutrients are never released and the body fails to ingest those hidden healthy resources.
It’s easy to make smoothies for yourself or your pets. When making smoothies for your dog, choose a base of plain, unsweetened low-fat or fat-free yogurt, low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese, low sodium chicken or beef stock, or water. Smoothies may be served to your pet just as they are, mixed in with their regular food, or you can freeze individual servings in ice cube trays for a frosty treat. Here is a recipe for one of my dog’s favorite smoothies.
Before we further discuss smoothies for dogs, though, let’s take a look at how to choose a commercial kibble that will be the most beneficial for your dog. There are so many choices on the market it can be difficult to figure out which food is best. The secret to selecting the healthiest dog food is learning to read the labels
How to Select a Manufactured Dog Food
Like human food, the ingredients are listed on dog food labels in the order of amount of content, highest to lowest, so the first five ingredients are what make up the majority of the food. Dogs are carnivores so it is important that a meat protein is the first ingredient. It can either be listed as meat or meat meal. The difference is meat meal has had most of the liquid removed from it so it can be weighed more accurately.
There is an ongoing controversy over whether dog food should include grains or not. Healthy grains like brown rice or oatmeal are good sources of carbohydrates and easily digested, however, it is often advised that grains like corn, soy, and wheat be avoided because they offer little in the way of nutritional value, are hard to digest, and many dogs have developed allergies to those particular grains. Grain free foods often substitute potatoes or peas as an alternative source of carbohydrates.
It is most beneficial for your dog to eat as natural a diet as possible. Artificial dyes and preservatives are best avoided. If you choose to feed commercial kibble, select one that is holistic or organic. Look for a food that is rated four or five stars on a reputable dog food rating site.
Berry Banana Smoothie for Dogs Recipe
1 container plain yogurt (8 ounces)
1 cup blueberries
1 ripe banana
5 hulled strawberries
1 tablespoon organic honey
1 cup ice water
Place all the ingredients in your high performance blender and puree until smooth. My dog loves frozen treats so I like to freeze this in ice cube trays to make individual servings. It will keep in the freezer for up to six months or can be stored in the fridge in its liquid state for one week.
Remember, whenever you offer you dog new foods start with small amounts and be alert for allergic reactions. Most dogs can eat fruits without any issues and enjoy healthy benefits when it is added to their diets.
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