Feeding & Treating Your Dog: The Sweet Benefits of Berries
Dogs love many of the same berries that we like for ourselves. Blueberries, Black-
berries, Cranberries, Raspberries & Strawberries can all be included in their feeding routines, or added as treats to compliment. Here at the Leaps & Bones® bakery we like to include naturally sweet ingredients to get those tails wagging! Fresh fruit, dried, juiced, or one of our favorite ways: pureed in smoothies!
Let’s start with a basic guide for feeding these sweet bits; it takes different enzymes for a dog to digest fruits, versus meats and vegetables. Berries and fruits are best served separately from the main meals, giving the stomach it’s due time to digest and absorb all the needed nutrients without competing enzymes. 20 to 30 minutes before or after a main meal is typically sufficient time. Of course, please consult your dog’s veterinarian before adjusting their feedings.
Berries Are Antioxidant Divas
Whether fresh or frozen, berries are good for dogs for the same reason they’re good for humans: free-radical fighting antioxidants.
These days many dogs are exposed to environmental pollutants and harmful chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, and cigarette smoke. These pollutants and chemicals cause free radicals to release and cause oxidation in the dogs’ bodies. Dogs who are fed commercial pet foods need supplements of antioxidants because such pet food contains only minimal amounts of antioxidants.
Antioxidants help slow the aging process, and protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic degenerative conditions. All dogs can benefit from supplements of antioxidants. In particular, aging dogs and those with the following health problems:
- Arthritis and joint problems such as hip dysplasia
- Skin allergies
- Eye problems such as cataracts
- Respiratory problems such as asthma
- Auto-immune disorders
- Chronic infections resulting in suppressed immunity
- Heart disease
Cranberry, The Sweet-tart
Cranberries are rich in vitamins including A, B1, B2, C, and many nutrients. They are full of minerals and antioxidants. They are an excellent supplement to your dog’s diet for the promotion of urinary tract health and they are good for you as well. This is definitely a berry that you can enjoy with your dog, so go grab a handful and enjoy them together.
Cranberry juice lowers the pH of the urine, making it more acidic. This action makes it a hostile environment for pH sensitive bacteria. Secondly, cranberries contain at least two agents that act as bacterial inhibitors. Consequently, many medications for urinary tract infections work in the same manner. Recent research suggests that cranberries may also offer oral health benefits by removing harmful bacteria from the teeth, slowing the formation of plaque and reducing the incidence of gum disease.
Let Sweetness Be A Reminder
The natural sweetness of berries is bound to entice most dogs’ appetite. Your dog may already be quite the berry picker on his/her own. Natural sugars are sugars none the less and should be moderated as a treat. With stringently developed food lines on the market today we hope you are not surprised to find cranberries, blueberries and natural fruits already in your dog’s daily kibble or wet foods. As with all treats, account for them in your dog’s daily overall intake. Your dog’s size, weight and condition should be considered in the portioning of berry treats.
The Leaps & Bones® bakery is proud to include real berries in our frozen smoothies for a fun, healthy and delicious dog treat.