7 Essential Health & Healing Foods for Dogs

Your pup will thank you for incorporating these foods into his diet.

September 8, 2016
dog licking lips

Those of us who are Dog Obsessed may have a shelf in our pantry set aside to hold the ingredients for healthy meals and treats for our dogs. Or we may have cleared space in our closets for special shampoos, dog brushes, and conditioners that will make our pup's fur oh, so soft.

More: 10 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog

But don't forget that some foods actually have wonderful medicinal properties and are worth keeping in your pantry or fridge at all times.

1. Honey

A terrific digestive aid that can help to combat appetite problems, especially in puppies. A small amount of honey (about 1 teaspoon for a medium-size dog) can also be added to his food once a week for general nutrition and health support. Use only raw honey because heat processing destroys its natural health-promoting properties, but be aware that raw honey does pose a very slight risk for botulism.

2. Parsley

This herb can be tremendously helpful in combating episodes of gas. Add a small amount of fresh parsley directly to your dog's food. As a bonus, it will also freshen his breath.

Apple cider vinegar
3. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be used in a solution to clean the ears. It can also be added to dog food occasionally, as it has natural antibacterial properties and is purported by some to help support healthy digestions and improve energy levels. I'm such a fan that I often take a couple of tablespoons mixed with a glass of water. It tastes like the wine we sometimes drank in college, but unlike that stuff, I always feel a bit better for it.

Chamomile tea
4. Chamomile tea bags

Peter Rabbit's mother gave him chamomile tea when he was feeling unwell after a mischievous day out, and for dogs, it can help with a variety of problems, from upset tummies to crusty, debris-filled eyes. To use, brew a cup of hot tea using a chamomile tea bag and boiling water. To soothe digestive upsets, pour some tea over some simple food, such as plain boiled rice with a little boiled chicken. For sore eyes, make the tea, cover, and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Ensure that the tea is cool enough to handle. Dip a cotton ball or gauze into the tea and squeeze until it's slightly damp. Holding your pup carefully, dribble a small amount of the tea into his eye.

Sea salt
5. Sea salt

I don't recommend that you add salt to meals—it can be dangerous for heart and kidney function—but using it in a sterile wash can clear up goopy eyes or skin wounds in no time. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to 1 cup of boiled water. After the salt dissolves, allow the solution to cool, and then apply it to the eye or wound by letting it drip from a cotton ball or sterile dropper.

pumpkin puree
6. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is absolutely packed with antioxidants, beta-carotene, and soluble fiber. Add a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to your dog's regular meal during times of tummy upset; it's incredibly soothing to the whole GI tract, can help to firm up loose stools in a matter of hours, may stop diarrhea, and eases digestion.

ginger tea
7. Ginger tea bags

Ginger is wonderful for nausea, and adding a little ginger tea to a light meal or some chicken broth and serving it before road trips could help save the upholstery in your car for those dogs who suffer from the dreaded travel sickness. You can also slice a few strips of fresh ginger and add them to lightly boiled water. 

Adapted from Dog Obsessed

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