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Superfoods for Dogs:  Top Choices to Boost Your Dog's Health and Vitality

What are the Best Superfoods for Dogs?  By Janice Jones
Last Updated 04-11-2024

We’ve heard a lot about superfoods, and a quick internet search may reveal how interested people are in these beneficial foods. 

A gigantic 131,000,000 results come back, mostly from health and nutrition blogs.  But is there such a thing as superfoods for dogs? Absolutely, and based on my personal experience, dogs love these foods!

A collage of superfoods for dogs in a pin image.

The human nutrition market is spilling over into the canine world, and new supplements are popping up daily  But what exactly is a superfood.

The Oxford English dictionary defines a superfood

“a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially
beneficial for health and well-being.”

On the other hand, the Merriam-Webster dictionary omits any reference to health and defines it as

“a super nutrient-dense food, loaded with vitamins, minerals,
fiber, antioxidants, and/or phytonutrients.”

A Little History of Superfoods

Where did the term originate?  It seems we’ve been using it for a long time, but it turns out that we can trace the word back to 2004.  

Dr. Steven Pratt, a best-selling author, ocular surgeon and healthcare, nutrition and lifestyle specialist, first used the word in his 2004 book, SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.  According to Dr. Pratt, some nutrient-rich foods play a significant role in achieving optimal health.

Since dogs can eat a large number of foods that were initially termed, people food, it goes to reason that these superfoods would improve the overall health of dogs too.

Naturally, there are some exceptions such as cocoa for example.  Chocolate has been identified as a superfood for humans, but dogs should not eat chocolate as it can be toxic.  The same is true for avocados.  Don't share your guac with your dog.

What are the Superfoods fo Dogs

Certain superfoods can improve dogs' overall health by boosting the immune system, increasing energy, and targeting specific organ systems such as the heart, liver, or kidneys.

However, while incorporating superfoods into a dog's diet, monitoring the pet's health, introducing new foods gradually, and consulting with a veterinarian before making significant dietary changes are crucial. Here, we will discuss seventeen superfoods that can naturally boost your dog's health.

1. Blueberries

fresh blueberriers on wooden table

The blue color comes from anthocyanidins, potent antioxidants, and phytochemicals that give the fruit its characteristic color.   The berries also supply vitamins C and E, fiber, and manganese. If fresh blueberries are not in season, frozen berries are readily available in food stores.

These can be served raw, washed, and whole or crushed. Avoid serving too many as it can cause diarrhea.

2. Broccoli

Fresh brocoli on wooden table

Raw or cooked, broccoli is an excellent anti-carcinogen and can help prevent the onset of skin and heart problems amongst older dogs. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential to the diet.  It is high in vitamin C and folate, a vitamin that can reduce the risk of heart disease, and some cancers.

Serve it steamed or boiled and finely chopped to ensure easy digestion. Avoid serving it raw as it can be difficult for dogs to digest.

3. Carrots

Fresh bunch of carrots on a wooden table

Carrots make a healthy crunchy snack for dogs. They are bursting with fiber, carotenoids, vitamins C and K, which is needed for blood clotting, and potassium. They also contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and most of the B vitamins necessary for energy production.

They can be served raw or cooked. If raw, grate them or chop them into small, manageable pieces to prevent choking. If cooked, boil or steam them and then mash or finely chop them.

4. Chia

Chia seeds in a wooden spoon

This traditional grain has many of the same benefits as the more well-known flax seed.  The nutritional benefits include protein, antioxidants, calcium, omega fatty acids, and fiber. They also can hydrate the body.

It can be sprinkled directly onto their food or soaked in water to form a gel, then mixed into the food.

5. Eggs


Eggs are original superfoods for dogs and people,  packed with proteins that help promote healthy digestion build healthy bones, and provide vitamins A, D, E and K. Eggs should be cooked to prevent the possibility of salmonella poisoning.

They are best served cooked, either boiled or scrambled, without any butter or oil. Raw eggs can risk salmonella exposure.

6. Fish

Oily fish such as anchovies, mackerel, sardines, salmon, and herring are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for a dog’s brain, coat, and skin. They also limit inflammation that causes pain associated with arthritis and other chronic canine ailments.

Fish is an excellent protein source, as well as many essential vitamins and minerals.  Salmon, in particular, provides a massive amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, especially important if you want to thicken your dog’s coat and relieve the itching that accompanies allergies and improve the integrity of the skin. 

Fish should be cooked thoroughly to kill any harmful parasites and always de-boned. It can be baked, steamed, or grilled without any added seasoning.

7. Kale

A bowl of fresh green kale

Kale is a supercharged leafy vegetable that contains an abundant number of vitamins, including A, E, and C. It is an excellent source of antioxidants and helps the liver detoxify the body. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. As superfoods for dogs, kale is one of the best.  Dogs with certain types of bladder stones or kidney disease should not eat this food. 

Kale should be lightly steamed and finely chopped or pureed before adding it to a dog's meal.

8. Nori


Nori is a dry, edible seaweed used in many Japanese dishes such as sushi. It contains protein, galactans (a starch and type of soluble fiber.  Nori is also packed with vitamins including C, E and B vitamins.  Minerals such as copper and zinc are also found in Nori.  This superfood for dogs is helpful in improving immune functions and aids in fat metabolism.

Since it's already dried, it can be crumbled or cut into small pieces and sprinkled on top of your dog's regular food.

9. Pumpkin

Sliced pumpkin on a wooden table

Pumpkin might conjure up images of jack-o-lanterns, at least in the US, or pumpkin pie, bread, or soup, but there is no denying the nutritional value of this vegetable. High in soluble fiber and low in calories, pumpkin helps support healthy digestion.

It is also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium and iron.  It also has some B vitamins and calcium. Canned organic pumpkin is readily available in food stores, but be sure to pick a pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.

Pumpkin should be cooked, not raw. Canned, pure pumpkin puree or freshly cooked pumpkin, mashed or pureed, works well. This is my go-to food when one of my dogs gets an upset stomach.  Don't give pumpkin pie mix.

10. Quinoa

Quinoa, an example of a superfood good for dogs

Commonly considered a grain, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually a seed related to spinach. Quinoa is an exceptional source of a complete vegetarian protein supplying all eight of the essential amino acids and is also an outstanding source of fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and many phytochemicals.  Quinoa is an antioxidant and can help reduce the risk of diabetes. 

Quinoa should be cooked and cooled before serving. It can be mixed directly into their food.

11. Sweet Potatoes

fresh sweet potatoes on table

Sweet potatoes are a great superfoods for dogs, popular with the canine crowd,  and possess 150% more antioxidants than blueberries and contain a healthy dose of beta-carotene.  Also, sweet potatoes contain vitamin C for immune health and A for heart health. 

Sweet Potatoes should always be cooked – either boiled or baked – then mashed or cubed. Never feed raw or with seasonings, butter, or oil.

12. Yogurt

Bowl of yogurt on a wooden table

Yogurt contains active cultures of good bacteria, and these probiotics improve digestive function.  It also contains protein, calcium, iodine, zinc, potassium, vitamin B12, phosphorus.  Yogurt can also provide a decent source of other B vitamins such as riboflavin and pantothenic acid.

Serve plain yogurt as is.

13. Lean Meat (Cooked, Boneless, Skinless Chicken or Turkey

Fresh lean beef cut in cubes

Lean meats provide the essential amino acids needed for muscle building and energy supply. It's important to cook the meat well and remove any bones before serving.

14. Apples

Fresh apples placed on a wooden table

Apples are packed with vitamins A and C, providing dietary fiber that helps maintain a healthy digestive system. The core and seeds must be removed before feeding because of their toxicity to dogs.

Apples can be served raw and finely chopped or grated. Always remove the core and seeds, as they can be a choking hazard and are harmful to dogs.

15. Green Beans

Fresh green beans on a wooden table

These vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, fibers, and minerals like manganese and iron, making them an excellent addition to a dog's diet.

Can be served raw or cooked, chopped into small pieces.

16.  Spinach

fresh spinach on wooden table

This leafy green is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, manganese, and iron. It carries anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Spinach is best served to dogs cooked, either steamed or boiled, and finely chopped to aid digestion and nutrient absorption.

17.  Salmon

Fresh salmon on a cutting board

High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon supplies healthy fats boosting brain function, joint mobility, and promoting a shiny coat.

This fish should always be thoroughly cooked and de-boned. It can be baked, steamed, or grilled without any seasonings or oil for your dog.

What About Food Allergies

I think it's worth noting that some dogs do have food allergies and if your dog has a sensitive stomach, it's best to go slowly introducing any new foods.  Consulting a vet is always a recommendation. 

What are the symptoms of a food allergy?

Food allergies in dogs can manifest in several ways. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Itchy skin: This often focuses on the ears and feet, but can also affect other parts of the body. Continual scratching can lead to irritated, red, or broken skin.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: This can include vomiting, diarrhea, or consistent loose stools.
  • Excessive gassiness: More flatulence than normal can indicate an allergic response.
  • Chronic ear infections: Repeated ear infections can be a sign of food allergies.
  • Skin infections: Recurring skin infections that improve with antibiotics but then recur after the antibiotic treatment ends can be a sign of food allergies.
  • Poor growth in young dogs: If a puppy isn't growing as expected or loses weight despite a good appetite, they may be allergic to something in their food.
  • Persistent licking or chewing: Dogs often lick their paws or other parts of their bodies excessively when they are bothered by allergies. This can lead to discoloration in light-colored dogs.
  • Changes in skin: The skin may become darker or thicker due to constant irritation and scratching.
  • Change in appetite: Dogs may stop eating the food they're allergic to or eat less of it. Some dogs might also show increased appetite as some ingredients may trigger an increase in appetite but poor nutrient absorption.
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps: These are classic signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Excessive shedding or poor coat quality: This may indicate an underlying health issue, including potential food allergies.

To diagnose a food allergy, your vet may recommend an elimination diet to pinpoint the specific allergens. In case you notice these symptoms, it's crucial to consult your veterinarian.

Like humans, dogs have a variety of critical dietary needs. And with increasing concern over the ingredients in commercial dog food, over-processing, and lack of a quality source of vitamins and minerals, superfoods are an excellent addition to the dog’s diet.

Providing a Daily Dose of Superfoods for Dogs

Providing these superfoods for dogs will assure your dog gets that extra boost of nutrition.  But if this is not possible for you, relax, you can still provide that extra nutrition in the form of a supplement.  Here are a few you may want to investigate. Click to check out the price on Amazon

Super Immunity + for Dogs - Contains Organic Spirulina, Organic Chlorella, Organic Turmeric and Reishi Mushroom

6 in 1 Superfood Dog Supplement with Organic Moringa | Treats for Immune System and Overall Health | Pets All Natural Multivitamins - 90 Chews

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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