One of the saddest statements I hear from dog owners is this:
"My dog eats a prey model diet and doesn't need fruit."
I want to show you how this belief could shave months or even years off your dogs life.
Fruits, and especially blueberries, are the superheroes of the food world.
Research has linked blueberries to better health and longer lives in dogs.
"The Antioxidant Power Of Blueberries"
Oxidation is the common cause of cellular damage and aging. Over time, metabolic byproducts build up in your dog. These substances are called reactive oxygen species....or free radicals. free radicals accumulate in your dog's cells and organs.
And free radicals damage your dog's cells. In fact, they're the main cause of aging and degenerative diseases.
The damage free radicals cause to the body is called oxidative stress. When free radicals build up in large amounts, they harm the cell membranes and even DNA. This leads to age-related diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and kidney disease.
And the damage to DNA leads to cell mutations and cancer.
Free radicals aren't only a byproduct of metabolism. They can also build up when your dog is exposed to toxins, pollution, chemicals and drugs. The food your dog eats can also generate free radicals. The main offenders include foods containing preservatives, starches and rancid fats.
The biggest problems with free radicals is that they're thieves. They steal electrons from neighboring molecules. When an electron is stolen from a molecule, it's called "oxidation." And if the oxidized molecules don't find a new electron, they become new free radicals.
And if left unchecked,will build up quickly in the dogs body... like a toxic rust.
This oxidative damage leads to severe diseases developing in dogs. This is especially true for older dogs...who are more vulnerable to the effects of oxidative stress.
To make matters worse, your dog's immune system has no protection against free radicals.
The Only Way To Control Them is Through Your Dog's Diet.
Antioxidants are molecules from foods that can help stop free radical cascades...and the oxidative stress the cause. Antioxidants are only found in plants...they don't come from animal sources.
And the best source of antioxidants is fruits and especially berries.
Blueberries contain a large amount of a special antioxidant that's not found in many other foods.
Blueberries can also inhibit tumor growth, prevent mutations, lower blood sugar and decrease chronic inflammation. A study on older humans showed that eating 2 cups of blueberries a day improved mobility. In other trials, people who drank blueberry juice had lower blood sugar levels.
Blueberries are also nutritious. They're rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as trace minerals.
But these aren't the only health benefits of blueberries.
How Do I Give My Dog Blueberries?
There are two types of blueberries: Wild and Cultivated. Wild blueberries are much smaller than their cultivated counterparts. And they're often darker in colour.
The dark colour means they contain more anthocyanins... more than twice the amount. Wild blueberries can be grown organically. This prevents harmful pesticides and herbicides from getting into your dog ... where they produce more free radicals.
Blueberries are a food, so the amount you give your dog doesn't need to be precise. Try adding fresh blueberries as 5% of a fresh diet. If your dog eats dog biscuits, he'll need a lot more antioxidants, so double the amount to 10%.
Most dogs including mine, don't mind the taste of blueberries ... but if your dog is on the picky side, you can give him freeze-dried blueberries. With the water removed, you'll only need 1/10 the amount, so it will be easier to hide in his food. A 1/4 teaspoon for medium or larger sized dogs should be enough.
A Tip: In summer, I make frozen blueberries and yoghurt modes. I use Yoplair Greek Style Natural Yoghurt & put one blueberry in. My 4 Mini Schnauzers love them as a treat on a hot summer day & we so do we as well.