From acai berries to wolfberries, these healing superfruits offer as many benefits for your dog’s health as they do for yours.
Superfruits are so rich in nutrients that they are both medicine and food. And not only are they good for our bodies, but they can also give our dogs’ health a boost.

With exotic names like dragon fruit, acai, mangosteen and goji, superfruits contain potent antioxidants that protect against environmental damage and help repair the body from within. In recent years, superfruits have gone from a little-known health fad to a burgeoning medical and nutritional innovation.

Here are six of the many fruity treats that can help heal and nourish your canine companion.

  1. acai berries
    Among the most popular superfruits is the acai berry, which has a deliciously unusual, almost chocolate-like flavor. If your dog can’t share a chocolate bar with you, he can certainly enjoy acai berries.

These delicious treats are an incredibly dense source of anthocyanins, dark blue compounds that can neutralize superoxides, dangerous compounds that dogs produce in response to stress. Acai berries are also a good source of protein and plant-based fats that dogs need in a balanced diet. If you decide to share acai berries with your dog, try to opt for fair trade fruits; they provide a sustainable income for the people who live in the Amazon rainforest where the berries come from.

  1. blackberries
    Another incredibly rich source of anthocyanins, the common blackberry is a champion superfruit. After a well-done scientific review, the USDA ranked blackberries among the top ten antioxidant foods consumed in the United States.

Although blackberries are not as exotic or novel as their tropical counterparts, they can boost your dog’s defenses against common sources of free radicals, such as stress, disease and pollution. Since they grow in abundance in North America, you’re likely to find local, organic blackberries at a very fair and reasonable price. Try blending blackberries with broccoli and a whole egg for a delicious “smoothie” for dogs.

  1. blueberries
    Perhaps the queen of homegrown superfruits, blueberries are the most antioxidant-rich fruit grown in North America. They contain highly concentrated antioxidants that inhibit cancer cell growth and actively reduce inflammation. Like cranberries, they inhibit the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract of animals, preventing infections and other common problems.

Blueberries can also improve your pup’s brain health: several studies have shown that they improve mood and mental function in pets. Most dogs enjoy the sweet taste of blueberries, but others find them too strong. If your companion doesn’t like them, he’s more likely to enjoy them in a “stew” of raw meat and vegetables.

  1. Cranberries
    Cranberries have been prized for centuries for their healing properties, and their effects are not limited to humans. Just one cup of whole cranberries provides nearly 12 times the antioxidant capacity of one cup of orange juice. Cranberries are well documented for their ability to improve urinary tract health in humans and animals. Cranberries contain a natural medicinal compound that prevents bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder, urethra and kidneys. This means fewer infections and better detoxification for your furry friend.

This acidic fruit also contains non-toxic doses of salicylic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound similar to aspirin. It’s a perfect tonic for an aging or arthritic dog, but some people don’t like its acidity. Try mixing it with other foods or giving it to them like a pill.

  1. Pomegranates
    The pomegranate fruit has been revered for centuries for its combination of incredible flavor, balanced nutrition and often unexpected medicinal benefits. The whole pomegranate is an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants for dogs, and dogs enjoy its flavor and texture.

But that’s not all: several studies have shown that this ancient fruit can help fight heart disease in both humans and animals. Its natural juices also coat dogs’ teeth with compounds that fight bacteria and prevent cavities and gum disease. Interestingly, the antioxidants in pomegranate seem to specifically protect the intestines of animals. Given the increased rates of colon cancer in dogs, it’s a good idea to include pomegranate in your friend’s preventive health regimen.

  1. Wolfberry
    The wolfberry gets its name from the wild dogs of the Orient, who love this delicious and powerfully nutritious fruit. Your own little wolf will be just as eager to discover the fruity, tomato-like and delicately tangy flavors of wolfberry.

Cranberry, also known by its Chinese name of goji, appears to reduce inflammation, improve heart health, prevent eye disease and even improve brain function in animals. It may also help modulate a dog’s immune system so that it responds to infections in a healthy way, without causing unnecessary fever or inflammation when an infection occurs.

Superfruits can be given as a treat or sprinkled or mixed into the dog’s food. They add variety and extra nutrients and flavors to their diet – what more could you want?

Fruits to avoid
While fruit is a healthy and essential part of a dog’s balanced diet, some fruits can be harmful or deadly. Grapes, while a healthy superfruit for humans, contain a compound that can cause almost immediate kidney failure in a dog. Seven raisins or grapes are enough to kill an average-sized dog.

Also be sure to limit your dog’s ingestion of the seeds and pips of the fruit. While your friend can tolerate the occasional apple seed, most seeds and pits contain cyanide, which can poison a dog if ingested in large quantities.

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