Here is part 3 of 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: blueberries (and other berries)

Blueberries are considered the fruit highest in antioxidants. Although other (exotic)  berries and fruits can also score high in this respect, blueberries are readily available here in the Netherlands. That makes them very accessible.

The dark color is a sign of a high concentration of anthocyanins, and these are the substances we really want to have in the diet. They also contain a whole range of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. Studies in humans show that blueberries have a possible protective effect against dementia. Other native fruits with the same dark color are blackberries and blackcurrants.

Many dogs like blueberries and will eat them readily. Blackberries are commonly found in the wild in summer, and we often see dogs pick them for themselves from the bushes, carefully navigating the thorny branches.

All fruits have health benefits, though; they each have unique properties. Although dark berries are on the list, all fruits can be given in principle. Dogs do often have distinct preferences. Some dogs love tangerines and oranges, for example, while others do not like them at all. The only way to find out is to offer your dog a piece and see if he likes it.

For cherries, the fruit’s flesh is fine, but the stone contains toxins. So, if you give your dog cherries, please remove the stone first.

In the online space, we often hear warnings about apple pips, which are said to be toxic. But although they do contain traces of the poisonous substance cyanide, a dog would have to eat hundreds of seeds in one go to get to a toxic level. The few seeds in an apple core are no problem, but if you are still worried, there is no harm in removing them.

The only fruit that should NOT be given are grapes (including raisins and currants, which are dried grapes). Eating grapes can cause severe kidney problems.

Practical tip: you can buy frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cherries. Frozen is far more economical than fresh fruits, and the dogs don’t mind. You can give them frozen or thawed (they thaw very quickly on the kitchen counter); try what your dog likes best!

Feel free to give fruit daily. For example, for a 25-30-pound dog, a tablespoon of blueberries a day is fine.