As promised, this blog will discuss superfoods for your dog. We will focus primarily on honeybee products, which are important functional superfoods. Before we jump into that, however, here is a list of all canine functional superfoods that can be incorporated into your dog’s diet:
– Berries(e.g. blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, but not strawberries)
– Coconut oil
– Medicinal mushrooms
– Milk thistle
-Honeybee products: Raw honey, purchased in the proper form, contains many beneficial properties. Always purchase wild, unfiltered raw honey, instead of processed honey. Medical studies have identified raw honey’s ability to help heal ulcers, manage diarrhea and sooth sore throats. It is also useful in counteracting indigestion, and for treating topical wounds including sunburn and mild burns. Pasteurized honey is not a viable wound care treatment.
Studies also show that eating local honey can prevent seasonal allergies. The theory is that local honey contains pollen spores picked up by the bees in your area which helps to build the immune system.
While all types of raw honey are beneficial, the “king” of all honeys is Manuka honey from New Zealand. It is made from the nectar of flowers from the Manuka bush and has been clinically shown to kill more than 250 strains of bacteria. Manuka honey is so effective in fighting infection that in 2007 the FDA approved its use for treating wounds and burns in the US.
Please keep in mind, honey and honeybee products are not suitable for all dogs. For instance, if your pet is diabetic, consult your holistic or veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist before feeding honey as it is 70%-80% is fructose. Also, since raw honey can potentially become contaminated with a botulism-related toxin, do not feed it to very young dogs. Adult dogs are not affected. If your dog has ever had an allergic reaction to bee stings or bee products, steer clear of honey.
Raw honey in moderate amounts is a functional, and delicious, addition your dog dog’s diet. Try mixing a tablespoon into his meal or just allow him to lick it off the spoon.
Pollen is a fine, golden dust-like substance containing the male productive cells of flowering plants. Pollen is made up of about 40% protein, about half of which is comprised of free-form amino acids that require no digestion and are ready for immediate use by the body. It is also rich in vitamins, enzymes and the bioflavanoid rutin, which contains potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and strengthens capillaries. According to both clinical and experiential trials, bee pollen:
– Possess antibiotic qualities.
– Contributes to healthy intestinal function.
– Benefits the blood by increasing both white and red blood cells.
– Reduces cholesterol and triglycerides
– Increases HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decreases LDL (“bad” cholesterol).
– Strengthens the immune system by increasing blood lymphocytes, gamma globulins and proteins.
– Stimulates ovarian function.
– Treats hay fever and seasonal allergies when taken at least six weeks prior to the allergy season and continued throughout the season.
– Increases strength and stamina.
– Stimulates metabolism, increasing caloric burn and weight loss.
– Improves skin.
– Delays tumor development in mice.
It is extremely important to begin feeding just one grain of pollen at a time because dogs, like humans, can exhibit severe allergic reaction that include breathing problems and anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. Carefully monitor your dog and if he shows no sign of symptoms you can increase it to two grains the next day. Continue adding a grain a day until you reach a maintenance dose of one teaspoon per 30 pounds of body weight per day. You can mix it with food or blend with honey. Be sure you never cook or heat the pollen as it will destroy the enzymes and decrease its nutritional value. Refrigerate to maintain freshness.
Propolis is also known as “bee glue” which is the sticky resin found on the buds, bark and leaves of deciduous trees and some vegetables. Bees use it to seal cracks and build panels in their hives as well as disinfect the hive, protecting it from bacteria and viruses.
Propolis contains a number of therapeutic properties, including:
Propolis contains flavonoids and phenolic acids and their esters, which display numerous effects on bacteria, fungi and viruses. Research indicates that it may be useful for a variety of pathological conditions such as tumors, infections, allergy, diabetes and ulcers. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Propolis is typically sold as tinctures or in capsules. It does not taste good, so you may need to get creative when giving it to your dog.
Lastly, royal jelly, or “pollen mush,” is a thick, milky substance made from a combination of digested pollen and raw honey and a chemical secreted from the pharyngeal glands in the heads of worker bees. Royal jelly is considered an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-tumor and a disinfectant. You can purchase fresh organic royal jelly in natural food markets. You can also purchase a mixture of royal jelly and honey, or create your own at home, to make the taste a little better for your dog. You would mix two ounces of organic royal jelly with six ounces of local raw honey. You would dose your dog one-half to one teaspoon twice per day, morning and night. Be sure to keep the mixture refrigerated.
If you are going to give royal jelly on its own you will want to read the label and adjust the dosage to your dog’s weight. For people, typical dosage is one-quarter to one-half teaspoon per day.
Stay tuned for next week’s short blog on buying organic versus non-organic.
Information adapted from Canine Nutrigenomics – The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health by W. Jean Dodds and Diana Laverdure.