There are many foods that are heart-healthy and can be used in your dog’s complete and balanced homemade diet, or added to existing commercial food diets to give your dog a boost!
Below are some of my favorite heart-healthy foods to incorporate into my dog’s formulated recipes. Please note that if your dog has a heart condition you should work with your veterinarian on an appropriate diet or consult a canine nutritionist who is well-versed in the specific condition your dog has.
Watermelon & Tomatoes- Both contain beneficial vitamins and minerals including lycopene which can be beneficial to the heart in reducing free radical damage. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has even shown to have some effects on fighting cancers in dogs. Check out this study on using lycopene with dogs who have osteosarcomas. There is some conflicting information on the use of the amino acid citrulline in dogs (whether it gets used or not in a dod’s body) but watermelon contains this amino acid which can help move blood through the body. Do not feed the seeds to dogs!
Green Leafy Veggies- Another antioxidant boost that the heart appreciates comes from dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and swiss chard. All can be added to your dog’s diet and have a multitude of benefits beyond the heart as well! Be sure to steam the veggies or puree them before feeding to your dog.
Whole Grains- Brown rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa are all grains I formulate recipes with regularly. Not only do these grains provide much-needed nutrients for our dog’s hearts, but they also are a great source of minerals such as manganese and magnesium.
Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries- Berries are another great source of antioxidants that the heart really appreciates. Loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as free radical fighters all it takes is a few berries added to your dog’s meal to provide a boost.
Fatty Fish such as Salmon, Sardines, and Mackerel- There are so many benefits to feeding your dog fish with the main component being reduced inflammation. Many people use fish oils for this benefit but I also like to go to the source and include fish in many of my dog’s diets. I also have been really preferring high-quality cod liver oil over fish oil. Cod liver oil is not to be added to a dog’s diet without caution as it contains high amounts of Vitamins A & D which have safe upper limits for dogs. With that said, adding in some canned sardines in water to your dog’s commercial diets or feeding a few pieces of salmon are a great way to feed the source of these nutrient-dense fish.
Organ Hearts from Beef, Ducks, Chickens, etc- Hearts whether raw or lightly cooked provide an array of nutritional benefits for dogs. The heart is a great source of protein, B-Vitamins, iron, and selenium. I often use heart in many of my recipe formulations as well.