You may have heard the term ‘brain food thrown around when attempting to fuel your brain during work and study. There are in fact foods out there packed with vitamins and minerals to support our cognitive muscles. However, did you know there are specific ingredients that can help your four-legged friend improve their memory, cognitive functions and keep their brain swift and sharp.
According to research, the chances of a dog developing canine dementia rises by 52% each year after a dog is over 10 years old, therefore, to protect the brains of our four-legged friends – try adding some of the following ingredients to their daily diets. From berries to root veggies, our list covers the top 13 ingredients that are soopa safe for your dog to consume whilst giving their furry brains a brilliant boost and keeping their cognition in tip top shape.
Why Does a Dog’s Brain Function Decrease as they Age?
As our four-legged friend's age, their brains are often the cause of changes in behaviour such as decreased appetite, lack of attention, sleep disturbances and even loss of toiletry functions. The brain, just like those found around the body, is a muscle that degenerates and becomes weaker over time.
Unstable oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, are the primary reason the muscles in our dog’s brain become weaker and more susceptible to disease. As a dog ages, these free radicals begin to attack the cells of your dog’s brain damaging the cells and making it weaker and less active than it once was.
The brain is an organ requiring large amounts of oxygen, oxygen is transported around the body through the cardiovascular system so it's just as important to keep your dog’s heart and blood health in shape to maintain a healthy brain. Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from cognitive degeneration affecting the central nervous system and causing problems with severe problems with memory (known as Canine Dementia).
Supporting your dog’s brain health is ample nutrition can reduce the likelihood of cell degeneration in the brain keeping your pup as sharp as a tool – even in their senior days.
Top 13 Ingredients for Your Dog’s Brain
Whether your dog loves leafy green, brilliant berries or ravishing root veggies, our list of the best ingredients for your dog’s brain will help give your canine companion the brain-boosting power they need to keep their minds working exactly as they should.
Maintaining a healthy brain is not just vital in your dog’s senior years, supporting your dog’s brain from puppyhood to senior life can even help with training and obedience and is even better for the working dog’s requiring a little extra brain power when they are out on the job. So, here are our top 13 ingredients that will care for your canine’s cranium.
One ingredient that might not have graced your dog’s bowl that frequently is yellow squash. Derived from the same family as butternut and pumpkin, this bright fleshy vegetable is packed with Beta-Carotene.
Beta-Carotene is a component responsible for reducing cognitive impairment and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a long-term issue where the brain is exposed to highly reactive oxygen molecules resulting in cognitive decline. Beta Carotene, is a natural antioxidant, supporting both the heart and brain’s function helping to reduce the likelihood of cognitive dysfunction later in life.
This soft, flavourful, and easily digestible root vegetable is a fantastic source of Vitamin C and A for your furry friend. Sweet potato is a natural antioxidant and just like yellow squash contains high levels of beta-carotene (hence its orangey-coloured flesh). Nutritional experts believe that feeding foods rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, fatty acids and antioxidants has been proven to increase memory, intelligence, and even cognitive abilities.
Wondering how to feed your dog sweet potato? Cut into bite-sized pieces and roast (without the use of oil). Roasting sweet potato ensures it locks in all the nutritional goodness whilst providing a crispy and fluffy treat for your four-legged friend.
If we all had a penny for the times we have heard about the benefits of carrots for our eyes and the ability to see in the dark, we’d be filthy rich. But, did you know, that carrots can help your dog’s brain just as much as their eyes?
In steamed, pureed, raw and roasted form, carrots are a brilliant way of keeping your dog’s brain in tip-top shape. Containing vitamins such as lutein, potassium and vitamin A, carrots are a fantastic way to reward your dog whilst reducing the chances of cognitive decline.
One food that most definitely had to make our list was spinach. This lavish, leafy green is one of the best superfoods to feed your canine companion. Not only packed with pawfuls of antioxidants to support a healthier immune system. Spinach is a great way of maintaining your dog’s brain.
Spinach and other leafy greens are rich in brain-boosting nutrients such as Vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. Folate is a major nutrient in the production of myelin and chemical components that aid in the transmission of signals in the brain.
For a plant-based alternative to fish oil, green beans are an excellent source of Omega 3 oils, Omega 3 oils are fatty acids that help contribute to a healthy coat and skin but can also support healthy brain function in our dogs.
In addition, Omega 3 aid in the growth and regulation of the happy neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) keeping your dog’s mental health in peak condition.
Top Tip! Green beans are best steamed or roasted to retain their nutritional value rather than boiled in water.
Like spinach, kale is a fantastic superfood to support your dog’s brain functions. From memory to cell repair, adding kale to your dog’s diet can help maintain a healthy brain and reduce the likelihood of cognitive problems later in their life. Containing the same nourishing nutrients as spinach, combining these incredible ingredients can be a brilliant brain boost for your dog.
Kale can be a fantastic source of vitamins for your pooch and be a great crispy treat helping to maintain great oral health. Simply roast in the oven between 8-10 minutes for a crunchy topper for your dog’s daily dinners.
When it comes to discussing the benefits of specific fruits and vegetables, you really cannot argue with research According to research undergone by the Agricultural and Food Chemistry journal, blackberries can help reduce the likelihood of memory loss and brain dysfunction caused by ageing.
Blackberries are so effective for brain function, as like many of the ingredients in our list, prevent the production of those nasty free radicals responsible for damaging and destroying cells in our dog’s brain – one of the reasons for cognitive and motor issues in our pets.
When it comes to super fruits, there are few quite like the blueberry. Known for their massive antioxidant properties, blueberries are an excellent source of vitamins for your furry friend. Berries such as blueberries and strawberries are made up of flavonoids which have protective effects on brain cells in the body. As cells degenerate over time, consuming berries and thus increasing the body’s flavonoids can help repair and protect cells from damage and issues later in life.
Is there any fruit so quintessentially British than the strawberry? This summer fruit is full of antioxidant properties helping to ensure our dog’s brain and overall health is pawfect beyond belief. Like other berries, strawberries are rich in flavonoids and research has shown that eating strawberries regularly can help reduce cognitive decline.
The last but by no means least berry on our list, this secondary summer fruit is one of the best super berries for your four-legged friend. Raspberries are full of antioxidants that can help detoxify the brain of nasty cells tied to the dysfunction of cognitive abilities. As our dog's age, their cognition weakens, like their joints and muscles, so fruits like raspberries provide a little extra TLC keeping your dog’s mind sharp, focused, and working exactly as it should.
Our recommended way of feeding your dogs any form of berry is to thoroughly clean and use as a topper to fat-free Greek or natural yogurt which can help not only your dog’s brain health but support a healthy and happy digestive system.
For dogs that like treats a little sweeter and more tropical, slices or chunks of mango are a fantastic reward for your puppy, adult, or senior dog. But what makes them so brilliant for the brain? These yellow, vibrant fruits contain heaps of the B6 vitamins which is essential for brain function.
B6 deficiency in both humans and pets can lead to cognitive decline disorders such as depression and even dementia. As we are becoming more increasingly aware of dementia and Alzheimer’s in our pets, ensuring their B6 levels are adequate can help your dog live happier for longer.
Tow-may-toe or toe mat-oe? No matter how you might pronounce this ravishing red fruit (yes tomato is a fruit) you cannot ignore the brilliant health benefits it harnesses. Just like sweet potato, squash and carrots, tomatoes are loaded with beta-carotene – a brain-boosting pigment that is then converted into Vitamin A – the vitamin needed for a healthy heart and brain.
What is the most important factor to remember when feeding your dog’s tomatoes is to ensure they are fully ripe when fed to your dog. Ripe tomatoes are slightly squidgy to the touch and bright red. Feeding your dog unripe tomatoes or overfeeding tomatoes, in general, can lead to gastrointestinal upset.
When used in your dog’s food and treats, coconut oil is a superb source of vitamins and minerals for your dog. It is also one of the healthiest and most easily digestible oils for both us and our pets and the world has seen a recent rise in coconut oil being a primary ingredient in dietary supplements in the human and pet food market.
The special triglycerides in the coconut oil help to break down ketones which then can be used a fuel for the brain – think of it as filling up your dog’s brain tank every time, they have coconut oil in their diet.
Want an easy an effective way of feeding your dog ingredients to support their brains? Here at Soopa, our specially formulated recipes are designed with your dog’s health in mind therefore our range of healthy bites and dental chews contain pawfuls of these incredible ingredients to keep their brains working exactly as they should.
From Carrot & Pumpkin to Apple and Kale, our fantastic fruit/vegetable flavour combinations will provide your dog will a nutritionally dense, low-calorie, and scrumptious snack that will get their brains working and tails wagging all day long!