Supplementing your German shepherd’s diet with canine healthy foods is a great idea. Not only does it make mealtimes more interesting, it can provide your dog with an extra variety of nutrients.
One dog friendly food that packs a nutritional punch is sardines. These stinky little fish are filled with vitamins and minerals and, fortunately, most dogs love them.
Health Benefits of Sardines for Dogs
Sardines provide amino acids from good quality protein as well as:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Coenzyme Q10
The health benefits of sardines are many. They are a relatively clean fish, since they don’t live long enough to store as many toxins, such as mercury, in their bodies as some fish do. This makes them perfect for owners who want to supplement fish in their dog’s diet but prefer not to feed fish full time.
The omega 3 fatty acids found in sardines are filled with anti-inflammatory properties that may protect heart and fight disease causing pain and inflammation. This calcium is great for bones and teeth. The additional vitamins and minerals help keep the immune system strong and healthy.
Sardines are good for your dog’s:
- Cardiovascular health
- Skin barrier and shiny coat
- EPA and DHA helps brain function
- Reduces stress on the kidneys
- Strong muscles
- Connective tissue
- Keeps eyes healthy
- Helps reduce pain in dogs with inflammation
- Cancer fighter
How to Feed Your Dog Sardines
Another benefit of adding sardines to your dog’s diet is that they are easy to feed. Sardines are hard to keep fresh so the easiest way to deliver all their fishy goodness is by buying canned sardines, that way you don’t have to stink up your refrigerator.
When shopping for sardines, look for wild caught, salt free, sardines packed in water. If you want to add oil to your dog’s diet, choose a natural oil, such as olive oil. Always check the expiration date on the can since they can and do go rancid.
Sardines packed in water contain approximately 25 calories and 175 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per fish (depending on the size of the fish). Since they are an oil rich food, you’ll want to introduce them slowly and monitor your pup for digestive upset.
Sardines also vary wildly in size so you’ll have to use your best judgment on how much to feed. Most people agree that dogs can safely eat sardines once or twice a week, staying within the allotted weekly total.
You can feed approximately one large canned sardine (the can that holds four fish) or two – five smaller sardines (the can that hold more fish). If you have multiple dogs, it’s easier to divide up the sardines. Otherwise, you’ll store the left-over sardines in an airtight container and refrigerate for two days (unless you want to eat them yourself since they’re great for you, too).
According to Steve Brown, a dog food formulator, researcher, and author on canine nutrition, a 50 to 99-pound dog can eat up to a 3.75 ounce can of sardines in water once a week. This can be divided up into two servings. Since a can of sardines has approximately 200 calories you can reduce your dog’s dry food a bit on the days you feed sardines and you should omit any other omega oil supplements. Dogs weighing over 100 pounds can eat up to 1 ¾ cans per week.
We hope you enjoyed this article and your dog enjoys the health benefits of sardines. Please feel free to share with your friends.
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