Why Dogs Should Eat Blueberries
Blueberries are an amazing addition to every dogs diet! They are chock full of antioxidants and phytonutrients which have a wide range of health benefits for your dog, including:
- Reducing the effects of ageing
- Protecting against cancer
- Improving circulation
The best thing about blueberries is that they contain a phytochemical called pterostilbene, which is a powerful antioxidant that is fantastic for dogs. Antioxidants reduce something called oxidative stress, which has been shown to cause premature ageing and is at the core of a whole host of health issues.
ANTIOXIDANTS ARE IMPORTANT
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and the bodies natural antioxidant defences. Free radicals are basically unstable molecules which try to steal from other molecules in order to stabilise themselves. This process causes oxidative damage - think of them as basically causing rust in the body. Antioxidants are there to help, by having spare electrons to donate which neutralises the free radicals. No rust!
Cellular oxidative damage is thought to be a leading cause in age related cognitive impairment in dogs. As a dog gets older, the accumulation of oxidative products cause a decline in mental abilities. We see this as a reduced ability to learn, poor attention span and memory. It’s a big part of why our dogs get “old”, and obviously it’s something that we’d all like to avoid!
We are lucky in that quite a bit of research has been done looking at the benefits of including blueberries in both you and your dogs diet. One study suggests that dogs being fed blueberries protects against oxidative stress caused by exercise. Another showed that this antioxidant effect can help inhibit cancer cell growth. And yet another study shows a wide range of positive effects on the cardiovascular system.
Yes, blueberries are truly amazing!
HOW TO FEED
Adding fresh or frozen blueberries to your dogs food is a great way to get more antioxidants in their diet. They are quite potent so you don’t need to go overboard - just a small amount each day is great.
Interestingly, there is some evidence that freezing the blueberries actually improves their antioxidant abilities. The antioxidant compound is responsible for their blue colour, so is actually found in the skin. New research shows that freezing actually makes the antioxidants more available to the body.
So add some blueberries to your dogs diet, and while you're at it eat some yourself!