Today I’m continuing my mini series of blog posts about superfoods you can start adding to your dog’s bowl today, whether you feed a diet of kibble, canned, cooked,  raw or a combination of those.  Every single one of the foods I will write about has special attributes that can contribute to better health and longer life. I’m really excited to share these with you!

But first: although all the foods I will describe are suitable for dogs in general, every dog is an individual, and not every dog may be able to tolerate extra additions to the diet. My advice is to be extra careful when the dog has known allergies (consulting with your veterinarian is always a good idea) and introduce new foods slowly and in small quantities. Make a note of what, how much, and when you give novel things so that possible adverse reactions can be interpreted correctly.

Superfood: green tea (decaffeinated) 

Green tea has a host of health benefits, not just for us but for dogs as well. However, before I expand on those please note: for dogs we need to make use of decaffeinated tea. Caffeine is problematic for dogs and we should avoid it. Luckily there is good decaf green tea available.

Anti oxidant activity

Green tea has a remarkable antioxidant content (polyphenols and catechins to be specific). These two are powerhouses to help the body’s defense against free radicals, something that our dogs need every day. The more, and the more diverse, anti-oxidants we can provide, the better the chances of health. And another benefit: as green tea provides no calories, this is a source of anti-oxidants we can easily provide even if we need to be careful with our dog’s weight.

A Sharper Mind

Green tea isn’t just about physical health; it has a potential role in nurturing mental well-being too. The amino acid  L-theanine, found in green tea leaves, can have a calming effect on the mind. In humans this has also been found to have potential in enhancing cognitive function.  And while this has not been studied extensively in dogs, the potential is there, and anything we can do to nurture the brain is a good thing.

Cancer Prevention 

While research is ongoing, there’s intriguing evidence that green tea might help prevent certain types of cancer. The superstar here is EGCG, a catechine  known for its ability to neutralize free radicals that contribute to cancer development. Studies in humans have explored its role in reducing the risk of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. The results are very promising. Since free radicals are probably involved in the development of many types of cancer, it is highly likely that the use of green tea will benefit our dogs as well.

How do we use it? 

Simply brew a cup of decaffeinated green tea, let it cool, and give one or two tablespoons per day for an average 30 kilo dog. For a small dog you might use teaspoons, and bigger dogs obviously can have more. You can pour it over your dog’s food, even with kibble. Or add a little broth, or joghurt or another addition your dog likes, for an extra snack. My own dogs get it added to their mushroom mix (see previous blog about mushrooms) with a little wet food mixed in. And whatever is left of the cup of tea I have made, I have myself, as I love to have all those benefits for my own body too!