5 Healthy Winter Foods to Give Your Dog

in Dogs
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Written by Sarah Griffiths, DCH and Inna Shekhtman

Written: December 27, 2017

Updated: Sept 16, 2020

Winter is upon us! This season brings busy holiday activities, shorter daylight hours and gloomy days. We can all get a case of the winter blues or holiday stress at this time of year and our pets can feel it too. 2020 has presented some significant challenges for all of us and it's important we take care of ourselves and our pets too. If you want to do something extra special for your pets this holiday season and start them off on the right paw for the new year, here are some great foods to try. They are yummy, healthy, immune-boosting and add a little extra fun to meal times.

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in mono-unsaturated fats and medium chain fatty acids. This has several proven health benefits for dogs and people, including stabilizing blood sugars, improving skin and coat health, promoting good digestion, and reducing allergic reactions (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282857.php). It is also particularly helpful in the winter for keeping the body warm and providing extra skin support during colder months. Coconut oil can be added to food or fed as a treat. Coconut oil should be raw, organic, cold-pressed, and un-refined (virgin).

Did you know our sister company Olie Naturals has amazing coconut products?

- OLIE™ Naturals Coconut Oil
- OLIE™ Naturals Coconut Crumble


2. Fatty Fish and Other Unsaturated Fats

Another great addition to any diet is a varied rotation of foods that contain polyunsaturated fats. These Omega-3 rich foods can help improve mobility by reducing joint inflammation.

Unsaturated fats are also a great form of energy, and help keep us warm during the colder months. This cold, dry air can cause skin dryness and flaking. Oils help to improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture on the skin’s surface, and can protect against the harsher climates.They also help with cognitive and mental health so it's imperative that we all take lots of omega 3 fats this coming winter!

Polyunsaturated fat sources (omega 3’s):

- Red Dog Blue Kat Whole Herring/Herring and Veggie meal

- Red Dog Blue Kat Salmon, Tripe and Veggie meal

- OLIE™ Naturals Flax Unleashed supplement

-MERCOLA Krill Oil for Pets

- Canned Sardines packed in water

3. Baked Yams, Sweet Potato and Squash

Most dogs go crazy for cooked yams and squashes! These colorful foods are low on the glycemic index, high in vitamin A and fiber. They are also loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. The fiber in both yams and squashes is great for your pet’s digestion. The vitamins and minerals in these foods can provide them with immune support.

Since you’ll most likely be cooking them over the holidays, consider making extra for your dog.

You can make them part of your pup’s meal or give them as an extra treat. Just as it is for us, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”, so remember not to overfeed.

Serving suggestion:
Small dogs: 1 tablespoon
Medium dogs: 2 tablespoons
Large/giant dogs: 3-4 tablespoons

4. Bone Broth

Most of us find comfort in a warm bowl of brothy soup on a cold day. But this magical food is so much mroe than that. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contain healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen in bone broth can be very soothing and healing for the gut and reduces intestinal inflammation.

For pet’s eating kibble, you can soak the kibble in broth to provide this healthy addition, while adding valuable moisture to the food. Broth can be given as a meal, mixed with some yummy meat and veggies or as winter treat. Served warm after a cold day, your pet will be so grateful!

Broth is diverse because you can use virtually any bone to create it. This is useful if your dog has food sensitivities. You can use a bone that matches the proteins your dog can have. Try different bones for variety. You can also add grated ginger as an extra digestive aid.

HINT: Freeze in ice cube trays for easy serving portions.

Serving suggestion:
Cats: 1-2 tbsp
Small Dogs: 1-2 thawed/heated ice cubes
Medium Dogs: 3-4 ice cubes
Large-Giant Breeds: up to 1 cup per meal

5. Broccoli

There is a reason broccoli has earned the title of superfood! It is rich in fiber that helps digestion, loaded with vitamins such as A, C and K and minerals like folate and manganese. It contains bioflavonoids which help to fight inflammation and allergies. And studies have shown that eating broccoli can help prevent cancer. Cruciferous vegetable like broccoli contain sulforaphane that increases protective enzyme production inside the body and aids in flushing out chemicals that promote cancer. Amazingly, sulforphane has been found to target cancer stem cells that aid in tumor growth. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862133/)

Steamed broccoli is great as part of a meal or a tasty treat for cats and dogs. If you’re cooking some over the holidays, be sure to share some with your furry family. If it’s steamed, you can give the whole trees without blending it.

Serving suggestion:
Small Dogs: 1 tree
Medium Dogs: 2 trees
Large-Giant Breeds: 3-4 trees

From all of us at Red Dog, Blue Kat, we hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!