The pet food industry is seeing an increase in owners wanting their pets to have ingredients in their pet food that directly benefit them. As pet owners become more aware and knowledgeable about what they feed their pets, it presents pet food brands with a fantastic opportunity to differentiate from competitors and stand out in the marketplace. For example, superfoods for dogs is a feature that is becoming increasingly popular in dog food formulations. This Knowledge Centre article puts superfoods for dogs in the spotlight by focusing on what superfoods are, why they are gaining popularity in dog food, and the benefits of superfoods for dogs.
Studies have also shown that dietary carotenoids, in particular β-carotene and lutein, have beneficial effects on both the humoral (e.g. increased antibody production to vaccination) and cell-mediated (e.g. increased proliferation of lymphocytes when stimulated) immune responses in dogs (Chew et al., 2000; Kim et al., 2000)
Pomegranate extract was shown to protect canine blood vessel cells from oxidative damage (Ripoll et al., 2012), demonstrating strong antioxidant and cytoprotective effects that may help maintain healthy blood vessels in dogs. Another study found that the inclusion of a pomegranate peel extract in the diet of healthy dogs improved antioxidant status and also increased the concentrations of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in the faeces (Jose et al., 2017), suggesting potential gut health benefits. The production of SCFA lowers intestinal pH, which helps prevent the growth of harmful microbes. In addition, butyric acid is considered as the most important SCFA with various beneficial effects on gastrointestinal function and health (Guilloteau et al., 2010).
In summary, superfoods are becoming increasingly popular ingredients in dog foods. It is evident, there are great marketing opportunities surrounding the inclusion of “Superfoods”. This is supported by research that revealed 87% of owners believe it is essential to check the pet food labels for keywords such as “healthy and superfood”. It is also clear that superfoods have some super nutritional benefits based on the research conducted to date.
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Article written by Dr. Adrian Hewson-Hughes and Matthew Aiken