Antioxidants are important for your dog’s health and play a key role in their longevity as well as brain health (especially important for our aging pups). Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage to cells, which can lead to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and dementia. They are especially important for dogs, as they help to maintain muscle and joint health, and help support a healthy immune system.
Antioxidant vitamins that are found in real, fresh foods are the first nutrients to become ineffective when the ingredients used in ultra processed pet food are repeatedly cooked. This is why most commercial pet foods, even some of the high-quality ones, add synthetic vitamins and minerals. This allows them to meet the bulk of their nutritional requirements that AFFCO requires.
However, while AAFCO nutrition recommendations will certainly sustain life, they most definitely will not nourish animals in the way that they need. By adding real, fresh food to your dogs bowl of kibble, you will automatically increase the antioxidants in your dog’s diet, helping them thrive and live a much healthier life.
Here are just a few examples of fresh food options that you can offer to your dog or cat. These are nutrient-dense, and great to use as treats or meal toppers. There are lots and lots of fresh food options, but these are just a few of our favorites. All are rich sources of antioxidants and easy to add to your dogs bowl or give as a treat!
Blueberries (my dog's favorite!) are a healthy superfood and are full of antioxidants and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. They are best served fresh (but frozen is the next best thing!), so go ahead and sprinkle a few on their bowl!
Leafy greens like kale offers liver support (helping the body detoxify!) and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Kale also contains kaempferol, which is known for it’s antimicrobial, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer activities. Kale is super high up on the list of veggies sprayed with pesticides, so make sure to always choose organic and spray free!
Sweet Potatoes are an amazing snack! They contain phytochemicals that provide many benefits, such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, immune support, anti-ulcer and anti-cancer - seriously good stuff! Orange and purple varieties offer different phytochemicals, so it’s a great idea try different varieties. But make sure whichever color you choose, they are always cooked and you never feed them raw.