Brain Foods for your Dog

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The fairly well known expression, “a healthy body is a healthy mind”, implies that one’s physical health can have an impact on one’s mental wellbeing. This saying is actually derived from a work by Roman Poet, Juvenal based on the latin adage “Mens sana in corpore sano”. This phrase is often translated as “a sound mind in a sound body”, which can be interpreted in another way- that to be truly healthy, one would strive for both physical and mental health.


Just as nutrients in food can help support the physical body (e.g. muscles, joints, skin), they can also help support a healthy brain function. Dogs, like humans, can experience a degradation in brain function as they age. Senior dogs can develop dementia and other brain ailments that diminish their overall quality of life. One way to minimize this is by making sure that your dog is fed a diet that contains the nutrients that are linked to optimal brain health.

healthy body healthy mind

Nutrients for a Healthy Brain

Some of the many nutrients that can improve brain health are listed below.

Omega 3 fatty acids. As if we need another reason to include foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, there is a linkage between diets high in Omega 3’s and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Omega 3’s have also been used as treatment for mood disorders.


Foods commonly found in dog food that are high in Omega 3’s include salmon and other fatty fish, as well as flax and krill.


Vitamins C and E. The antioxidants in these vitamins help protect the brain from free radical damage. A 2007 study showed that diets high in antioxidants could help delay cognitive decline in elderly humans.


Foods that are often included in dog food recipes that are high in antioxidants include berries, fruits, and leafy green and cruciferous vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli.


Curcumin. Curumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, has been shown in some studies to slow decay in brain function in rodents.


B-Vitamins, including B-6 and B-12. Vitamin B-6 helps form neurotransmitters and is involved with brain development. Vitamin B-12 essential for brain and nerve function and for forming red blood cells and DNA. Studies have reported that supplementation with vitamin B6, vitamin B12 has positive effects on memory performance in women.


Foods that are commonly found in dog food that are high in the B vitamins include most meats, and sea foods for B-6 and B-12 and chickpeas and spinach for B-6.


Luteolin. Luteolin is a plant compound that my help tame inflammation in the brain. Rodney Johnson at the University of Illinois found that the flavonoid luteolin helped reduce inflammation in the brains of aged mice, which restored memory to levels observed in younger animals.


Luteolin is found in celery, carrots, peppers and rosemary.


For an excellent summary of research on foods linked to brain health, click this link.

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  1. Great information, I was just reading on all the great benefits of Omega 3, said if given to mom during pregnancy and whelp the little bealers will have better motor functions and such. Will be putting Glory on it.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Furminator Dual Brush @Chewy.comMy Profile

  2. I had never heard of Luteolin before, so thanks once again for broadening my horizon! I’m glad that our pups seem to get their had share of it in their carrots & bites of red bell pepper 🙂
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Spoil Your Dog With Dr. Harvey’s Certified Organic Sweet Potate’r Chews!My Profile

  3. *** their fair share of it
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Spoil Your Dog With Dr. Harvey’s Certified Organic Sweet Potate’r Chews!My Profile

  4. Good info to know! Interesting about the B 6 and B12 study in women. That explains a lot in my case since I’m deficient 😉 I’ll have to let my husband know! Lol
    Jen recently posted…I Need A Break From My BreakMy Profile

  5. Aw great facts!!! I hadn’t heard about the reduced risk for Alzheimers from the Omega 3’s so thanks for sharing!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Torus – The Ultimate Pet Water Bowl filtering systemMy Profile

  6. It is interesting how vitamins can change things. There are those books about vitamins and cravings which often are really true and if you start taking the particular vitamin, your craving for what ever the food was will disappear. Mom started taking Vitamin D several years ago and her allergies are almost non existent. There are studies suggesting Vitamin D helps children with allergies, so she tried it as an adult and swears by it.
    Emma recently posted…Palate Pleasers From Zuke’s {Giveaway}My Profile

  7. it’s interesting that Omega 3 can help for so much things! And I better give some brain-food to my momma, she thought today is wednesday and it totally clueless now lol
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog WILD WEDNESDAYMy Profile

  8. I have discovered so many things about feeding Bentley. I was recently told about cool proteins to help with his allergies. I am looking a duck or rabbit food that will have the necessary vitamins and help control his allergies. Do you have any suggestions? I am about blue in the face searching!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Humane Society of NW Louisiana VolunteersMy Profile

  9. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are good for so many different things! We started giving it to Haley when she was around 3 years old. Would you recommend starting puppies on the supplement, or is it best to wait until a dog is a little older?

  10. We have the dogs on salmon foods but we maybe need to up their brain foods for hunt test season…lol.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Power Up With Merrick Power BitesMy Profile

  11. We already look for these ingredients in food, or give them as supplements (or treats in the case of some of the veggies), but started for different reasons….so it’s great to know they have additional benefits for the brain!
    Jan K recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Snuggle BugMy Profile

  12. It’s a good list to have handy. I hope that most of the dogs nutritional needs are being me with the food we provide, but it’s good to know where we can make additions.
    Jodi recently posted…This Little Piggy – Barks and BytesMy Profile

  13. Thanks – this is good to know. Harley’s starting to show interest in Salmon too! Great timing….

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