Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Goji Berries
Goji berries are bright, small, flavourful red fruits that are jam-packed with beneficial nutrients for you, but also for your dog! The Goji berry has been used throughout history as a traditional medicine. Today, these berries have found their way into receiving the “superfood” label.
A superfood is a food that exerts a health benefit or effect on an individual, or in our case, on the pups! In ancient traditional medicines, the Goji berry was consumed to enhance bodily functions to prolong life.
Photo by Valeria Boltneva
While we can’t show any new scientific evidence that Goji berry consumption will directly extend the lifespan of us or our dogs, there is BERRY good research backing up purported health benefits to Goji berries!
PAWsitive Nutrients in Goji Berries:
Beta-Carotene: A carotenoid that is involved in vision, immune function, bone health, reproduction, and cell growth and division.
Vitamin C: Also known as Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for the body. It can protect and support immune function, is important for growth and maintenance, and can have benefits for skin and coat health.
Fibre: Goji berries are small but pack a punch with its high fibre content which is great for gut health, satiety, glucose regulation, and immune function!
Polyphenols: Berries are well known for their large polyphenol content! Polyphenols is an umbrella-term that refers to thousands of compounds that can exert health benefits such as for digestive health, brain and cognition, heart health, and glucose regulation.
- Fatty Acids: Fats often get a bad rep – but Goji berries actually contain various healthy fats. These fatty acids can promote heart health, gut health, and anti-inflammatory effects.
PUP-tastic Health Benefits of Goji berries for dogs:
1. Provides support for the immune system:
Antioxidants like the ones in the Goji berry can eliminate harmful free radicals that cause cell damage and inflammation in the body.
Vitamin C is well known for its role in the immune system. It can protect the body from infection through its roles in skin barrier function and wound healing. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which removes reactive oxygen species from the body, protecting your dog’s inner tissues from harm.
2. Eye Health and Vision
Have you ever been told to eat more carrots for better vision? Well it isn’t only carrots that could help your dog’s vision. The beta-carotene found in Goji berries, and also in carrots, is a precursor for Vitamin A.
Photo by Lena Balk
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for dogs, and Goji berries contain a high amount! Studies have shown that Goji berry consumption in humans can lead to signs of improved vision.
3. Healthy Gut, Healthy Mutt
Goji berries are small but mighty! They are a great source of fibre for your dog. Fibre has been shown to improve gut health in various ways.
It can slow movement of food through the digestive tract which means your dog is able to absorb all those other beneficial nutrients in their meal instead of passing them right on through.
Fibre can also act as a prebiotic which can help support healthy gut microbes for improved health for your pup!
4. “Award-Winning” Skin and Coat
OK – so maybe we don’t have proof that Siba, winner of the 2020 Westminster’s Best-in-Show award, was eating Goji berries to get that shiny, luscious coat.
But, we do know that Goji berries contain an array of nutrients such as Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and fatty acids that can help promote healthy skin, soothe skin irritations, and give your dog’s coat that Siba-level glossy shine!
Photo by Arve Kern
5. Livers - Not Haters
Promoting a healthy liver is another benefit to consuming Goji berries. Studies have shown that Goji berries can help maintain liver health and function and prevent fatty liver disease!
Polyphenols, healthy fats, and all those micronutrients contribute to promoting a healthy liver – and Goji berries are jam-packed with them!
BSc.H. | MSc. Animal Nutrition