Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Alfalfa

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Today we start a new challenge for the month of April. It’s the A to Z Challenge and we have to write a post a day using a theme for each letter of the alphabet. No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke…

Today, being April 1st, we start with the letter “A” and our post is about the ingredient Alfalfa. Come back each day to see the theme for the day and support us through this effort! There just may be a special prize for our most regular supporters (commenters).

Organic young alfalfa sprouts

Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Alfalfa

Déjà vu all over again?  Not really.  We have completed the first pass through the alphabet and are starting anew with the letter A in our dog food ingredients A to Z series.  Today is all about alfalfa.

 

What is Alfalfa?

According to Wikipedia, alfalfa is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae, cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. Alfalfa is native to warmer temperate climates and has been cultivated as livestock feed since at least the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Common names for Alfalfa

The most common alternative name for alfalfa is lucerne.  Alfalfa’s most common scientific name is Medicago sativa.

 

Why is Alfalfa included in dog food?

Alfalfa is a nutritional powerhouse containing many vitamins and minerals as well as enzymes and phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plants that act as antioxidants).

 

Is Alfalfa a commonly used ingredient in dog food?

Alfalfa is becoming a fairly common dog food ingredient.  It is present in about 20% of all dog foods.

 

Common benefits or risks of Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a relatively high protein plant that supplies Vitamins A, C, E, and K.  It can help combat vitamin deficiency, and is often used to help with diabetes and thyroid conditions.

 

Although alfalfa is a source of protein, it should not be used as a primary protein source in your pet’s food because both dogs and cats require meat based proteins and their associated amino acid profiles and because their shorter digestive tracts are not suited to digest plants.  Check to make sure that alfalfa is not in the top 10 ingredients if you have any doubts.

 

Miscellaneous facts about Alfalfa

Alfalfa seems to have originated in south-central Asia, and was first cultivated in Persia.  Alfalfa is purported to be an effective herbal treatment for arthritis, rheumatism, and gout.

 

One ounce of alfalfa contains about 8 calories and over 1 gram of protein.

 

Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level

slimdoggy smileyAlfalfa  gets the Slimdoggy Happy Face due to its many benefits.

 

Sources and further reading

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/07/26/alfalfa.aspx

http://theanimalherbalist.com/?page_id=135

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfalfa

 

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We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

 

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We’re joining the A to Z Challenge and running a Blog Hop of our A to Z posts. Feel free to join the Hop with your A to Z Challenge post!

 


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39 Comments

  1. It’s funny that I knew alfalfa was healthy for a lot of other species but I didn’t know it was so good for dogs! Great informative post (as always!)

  2. Thanks for the great info! I used to have alfalfa around when I had a pet rabbit, but I never noticed that it’s also in dog food.

  3. I would never have thought of giving alfalfa to a dog! I’ve heard of people eating it, I think, but I’ve never tried it myself.

    Visiting via A-Z Challenge. You might like my theme – it’s film/TV/Sci-fi one. Come check it out. 😉
    http://kincavelkorner.wordpress.com/

  4. That’s some great info to keep in mind! Now when the dogs go and grab the alfalfa cubes from the horses treat barrels I won’t be so mad at them (the horses don’t like sharing) … they are just trying to get something that is good for them too. The dogs LOVE those cubes!

  5. Very interesting, I didn’t know about all that. I ate sprouts a couple times and on accident when put on a sub. Not bad. I went to my friends house and there was a mason jar with something growing in it and I said “what the heck is this, doesn’t look to hot”. It turned out she was growing her own spouts. Kinda weird for me.

  6. Alfalfa is good for arthritis? I better go up the road to that farm and see if they have some I can feed Katie 🙂

  7. Great info as always. One of my favorite smells. Smells like home to me – from making alfalfa hay with the horses 🙂

  8. I will have to look at adding alfalfa to my dog’s diet. We feed RAW so this might be a nice add-in.

  9. I did not know this about Alfalfa. I’ve researched so many things and skipped this one. I do give our dogs ground parsley, kelp, and green lipped mussels daily. I’ll have to look into alfalfa. Thanks for the idea!!!

  10. Great idea to have a separate hop for us to join in the A to Z! I’m in!!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  11. I’ve noticed alfalfa in The Honest Kitchen foods so it was interesting to learn more about it!

  12. Hadn’t heard of this before. But just checked and it’s in my food 🙂

  13. I had no idea alfalfa was so healthy for dogs. Of course we used to feed our horses alfalfa hay… who knew? How fun you’re doing a mini hop… I’ll join in your A-Z hop on the days Two Cats and a Cattledog post in the challenge. (We share one blog now) Today Cooper starts out the month with a little anal (dog) humor.

  14. I had no idea about the benefits of Alfalfa, but I do love some on sandwiches! Happy AtoZ! Excited to see what else you have in store this month.

  15. Looking forward to hearing all the great information about ingredients this month! What a terrific resource by the end of the alphabet 🙂

  16. There are many foods you post about that make so much sense and I try to incorporate what I believe is right for them into their daily diet. Love you guys, so happy we met. Alfalfa is on my grocery list for sure!

  17. Our foods have alfalfa meal in them, is that the same? Great idea doing this for the A-Z challenge!
    Jan K recently posted…Spring Naturals Treat Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  18. Thanks for the heads up, especially giving us alternate names on ingredients. I love that I learn something new every time I come here. 🙂
    Flea recently posted…All Natural GiveawayMy Profile

  19. Great post! Happy A to Z! Good luck in the challenge!
    Have a pawsome day!
    ❀Siamese Smothers and Tuxie Tickles❀ from Mikko and Jax at Happiness is Siamese!
    Christine, Mikko and Jax recently posted…Just another lazy day with Mikko and Mom!My Profile

  20. I’m looking forward to reading your A~Z challenge! I like when Slimdoggy bestows a smiley comfort level on a product. ; )
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Dehydrating and AdoptablesMy Profile

  21. Thyroid issues are common in cats, I wonder if this ingredient is good for them as well (although I am guessing it is, I think i’ve seen this ingredient on some cat food lists as well). I am definitely excited about future posts!

  22. Awesome! I never even realized Alfalfa was in dog food! I occasionally eat it so it’s nice to know I can mix a little into Kayo’s food!
    BoingyDog recently posted…Dogs’ Needs from A-Z: Preventing Anxiety in DogsMy Profile

  23. Alfalfa attacks arthritis? Amazing! Sorry, couldn’t resist all the As. 🙂 Seriously, that is very interesting to learn. We’re always on the hunt for things that will help Miss Lee with her hip and elbow issues. Thank you, and I’m looking forward to learning even more from you as we travel through the alphabet!
    Miss Harper Lee recently posted…Harper Lee from A to Z: B is for BLINGMy Profile

    • You’re very clever Harper to use all A’s and keep with our theme. Hope that the alfalfa helps!
      mkob recently posted…Benefits of BalanceMy Profile

  24. I have heard of giving alfalfa as a supplement for arthritis if it isn’t in food. Great to see the series return. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes–Meeting Old And New PalsMy Profile

  25. Love sprouts! Good to know they are healthy for dogs too!

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