Like us, dogs appreciate variety when it comes to food and treats! Here’s a few obscure, nutrient-rich ingredients your four-legged companion will love.
As humans, many of us enjoy branching out beyond traditional meat and potatoes. There’s something satisfying about trying new flavors, ingredients, and cuisines. In fact, 77 percent of Americans eat ethnic foods while dining out at least once a month, according to Technomic, a Chicago-based research firm. And about one-third of us order ethnic food at least once a week.
While we probably shouldn’t order our dogs a plate full of satay or bulgogi, there’s no reason why we can’t tease their taste buds with yummy treats made with healthy and unusual ingredients.
Check out these five wholesome treat ingredients you may never have heard of:
1. Camel cheese
While camel cheese can be hard to come by here in the United States, it’s delicious and nutritious for both pets and people. It has unique properties that may help control canine diabetes and support digestive health. Rich in vitamins and minerals – including vitamins C and B1, calcium, iron and potassium – it’s also packed with antioxidants, healthy fats and powerful immune boosters such as immunoglobulins and lactoferrin.
2. Yak cheese
Himalayan yak cheese is a unique delicacy. Naturally rich in healthy fats, proteins, and powerful antioxidants such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), it can improve digestion and help combat allergies. You may be able to find yak cheese in ethnic grocery stores.
3. Purple carrot
While we’re used to seeing orange carrots in this country, purple carrots have been around for centuries. First bred over 4,000 years ago for their vibrant color, purple carrots are not only tasty, they’re rich in powerful antioxidants, health-protecting phytochemicals, and fiber to support digestive health and immunity. They are also a great source of vitamins A, C and K, and carotenoids.
4. Beef gelatin
Not to be confused with glycerin (which can cause tummy troubles in some dogs), beef gelatin, which is sugar- and fat-free, is a potent source of collagen amino acids that supports healthy joints. Look for beef gelatin that comes from grass-fed cattle. These animals are pasture-raised according to the standards of the American Grassfed Association and animal welfare guidelines, and are never treated with growth hormones, antibiotics, or steroids.
5. Buckwheat (the seed, not the plant)
Despite its name, buckwheat isn’t actually wheat at all. It’s a grain-free, gluten-free seed! Because wheat doesn’t grow in mountain regions, people in areas like Tibet and northern China have consumed buckwheat noodles for centuries. It’s a perfect grain substitute for dogs who are sensitive to wheat. A nutrient-rich superfood, buckwheat is also high in protein and fiber, and brimming with nutrients and antioxidants such as polyphenols.
If you enjoy making treats or homemade dog food for your best buddy, try adding in a few of these ingredients in small quantities for a boost of flavor and nutrition. Or look for artisanal, special occasion treats that contain ingredients like these. You’re sure to receive some happy, healthy tail wags in return!