Kale leaves and spinach leaves lying on a wooden table.

What Are Superfoods for Dogs?

It’s a papaya, it’s a chia seed, it’s a superfood! But what are superfoods for dogs?

Food that has particularly high nutritional value is often labeled a “superfood.” These nutrient-packed foods are key sources of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Superfoods in dog food are also functional ingredients. Functional ingredients provide bonus benefits beyond basic nutrition when they are part of a complete and balanced diet. Antioxidants, essential fatty acids and fiber provide some of these bonus benefits. Adding these superfoods to a dog’s diet can help a dog’s skin, boost a healthy immune system, aid joint health and more. These nutritional benefits are why many dog food manufacturers include canine superfoods in their formulas.

Antioxidants in Dog Food Can Support a Dog’s Immune System

Antioxidants help keep pets healthy by protecting them from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of normal metabolism, but if more free radicals are produced than there are antioxidants to control them, health issues, like cancer and heart disease, can occur. Antioxidants in superfoods can work with antioxidants naturally produced by the body to control these free radicals.

The bonus benefits of antioxidants include immune system support and maintenance of healthy skin. Superfoods that are sources of antioxidants include quinoa, blueberries, carrots, oranges and spinach.

Omega Fatty Acids Are a Canine Superfood

Fatty acids are components of fats that are energy sources, are precursors of hormones and chemical signals, and have key roles in cell membrane integrity. Some omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential and need to be provided in your pet’s food because they either can’t be synthesized by the body or can’t be synthesized in enough quantities to meet nutritional requirements. They are required by young animals for proper brain and vision development.

The bonus benefits include healthy skin, supporting coat health, anti-inflammatory effects and improvement of symptoms for diseases like kidney disease and heart disease. Superfoods that contain omega fatty acids include chia seed, coconut, flaxseed, salmon and salmon oil.

Fiber Provides Multiple Health Benefits

There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble — that help support healthy digestion in pets. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance and slows down food digestion, and insoluble fiber helps move food through the intestines.

Intestinal microbes (the microbiota) ferment some dietary fiber to produce an energy source for intestinal cells, regulate colon pH and encourage growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. Fiber also promotes the production of regular, firm stools, helps with weight loss by improving the sense of feeling full and helps control hairballs in cats. Superfoods that are fiber sources include quinoa, blueberries, oranges and papaya.

Superfoods in Pet Foods

As well as providing a high nutritional value, superfoods as dog food ingredients can provide bonus benefits that help keep dogs healthy and active. Below are some examples of superfood ingredients used in Diamond pet food formulas.

Examples of Superfoods Included in Diamond Pet Food Formulas

Ancient Grains

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are high in omega fatty acids and fiber

Quinoa: Great source of fiber, contains all nine essential amino acids

Fruits and Vegetables

Blueberries: High in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and beneficial nutrients

Carrots: High in fiber and vitamin A, which supports healthy bones and a healthy immune system

Coconut: Promotes healthy skin

Kale: Packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, feeding your dog kale in a dog food can be beneficial

Oranges: Loaded with vitamin C, which boosts the immune system

Papaya: Great sources of potassium and fiber, which aids gut health

Pumpkin: Can help reduce water in the digestive tract, which supports regular bowel movements

Spinach: One of the healthier dog superfoods that is packed with vitamins

Other Superfoods

Dried kelp: Rich in amino acids

Flaxseed: Contains lots of fiber

Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids for the win

Salmon oil: Loaded with fatty acids that support heart health

Questions About Ingredients in Your Dog’s Meals?

From amino acids to chia seeds, if you ever wonder about an ingredient in our dog food and why it’s there, be sure to check out our ingredient glossary.


The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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