Do you ever go on a smoothie kick, feel great for a week, and then go back to your old habits?
To make healthy choices that stick, you have to make them easy and convenient so they’ll actually become a part of your lifestyle.
Making smoothies a few mornings per week is a super easy way to get a healthy dose of fruits and veggies to start your day right.
To make it even better, you can make dog-friendly smoothies so you’re even more motivated to stick to the smoothie habit.
For dogs, smoothies can be loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and digestion-boosting probiotics.
I sometime get lazy about making smoothies for myself, but when I know they can help my dogs live longer and feel better, I’m much more motivated to do it.Nutri Ninja bullet blender to make smoothies, and it’s been going strong (really strong) for about five years. My Ninja obliterates frozen fruit so easily. It’s my third baby.
For us, smoothies are a bonding experience. We’re so different, the three of us, but we can benefit from the ingredients in smoothies in so many of the same ways.
You don’t have to tweak your smoothies much to make them dog-friendly, either.
Here are all the ingredients you can use to make smoothies for you and your dog. Feel free to play with the combinations and amounts – the possibilities are absolutely endless.
Ingredient Ideas For Dog-Friendly Smoothies
Almond milk is my first choice for adding enough liquid to help my smoothies blend. You can use a small amount of orange juice plus water for a sweeter smoothie.
Plain yogurt or kefir are must-haves for my smoothies. Only use unflavored varieties with no added sugars. The digestion-boosting probiotics combined with the natural prebiotics in other smoothie ingredients are excellent for supporting both you and your dog’s tummies.
Apples should be peeled or at least partially peeled because the skin adds so much fiber to the smoothie, which can overwhelm your dog’s digestive system. Same with pears.
Sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin were shown to reduce bladder cancer in Scottish Terriers. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin have to be cooked first. Canned pumpkin puree is smoothie-ready. Carrots can be raw or cooked, though I feel cooked carrots would make for a creamier smoothie.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Get them frozen, as the fresh ones from the supermarket tend to be picked before peak ripeness, so they’re more sour. Frozen berries are sweeter. Frozen berries also have more disease-fighting antioxidants.
Strawberries, and all other berries are full of vitamins and antioxidants. As with blueberries, they’re better frozen. Frozen berries also make your smoothie colder and slushier.
Avocado, contrary to popular belief, is safe for dogs to eat. Dogs benefit from their vitamins, nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids. Flesh only, of course, remove the skin and pit.
Bananas add creaminess and sweetness to a smoothie. They’re high in natural sugars, but they’re fine in moderation.
Nuts and seeds are hard for dogs to digest if not steamed, ground, soaked or blended. Don’t feed them as-is. In a smoothie, they can be a good source of vitamin E, healthy fats and magnesium, but they might make your smoothie crunchy or pasty. You may want to soak your nuts and seeds overnight before adding them. Healthy nuts and seeds include almonds, flaxseeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter can be good additions, too, just make sure they’re made with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners like xylitol (it’s toxic to dogs).
Kale, spinach and other dark leafy greens are must-haves. They’re highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals, and that bitter taste can be easily masked with yummy fruits. You can use fresh or frozen. I prefer to use frozen greens so I always have them on-hand.
Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and other citrus are high in natural sugars, but also rich in vitamin C. I don’t use them because I don’t like the texture they add to smoothies, but citrus is safe for dogs.
Pineapples, mangoes, and coconut are safe for dogs too. When using sugary fruits like pineapples, make sure to balance them with less sugary ingredients like kale. The acids in citrus and tropical fruits can be hard on your dog’s stomach, so go light on them.
Ginger adds a kick to your smoothies, plus it’s anti-inflammatory and good for digestion. You can peel and chop a fresh ginger root into cubes and freeze what you don’t use right away. A little goes a long way – Matilda and Cow won’t drink smoothies that have too much ginger.
Spirulina is incredibly nutrient dense, and you only need to add a tiny amount to add immunity-stimulating properties to your smoothie. It also adds rich color to your smoothies, especially if you use blue spirulina.
What NOT TO Put In A Dog-Friendly Smoothie
I don’t think anyone puts grapes or raisins in smoothies, but just in case… you should know that grapes sometimes cause acute kidney failure in dogs. Nobody really knows why, and many people give their dogs grapes unknowingly without any ill effects, but… it’s not worth the risk. Oh, and removing the skins does not make them safe. No grapes. No raisins.
Avoid dairy products such as cow’s milk. Dogs may have a hard time digesting them, though they may have varied levels of lactose intolerance. Yogurt and kefir are exceptions because they’re full of probiotics that make them easier to digest.
Also, omit sweeteners. The fruits used in smoothies are typically full of natural sugars, so there is really no need to add sugar or honey. A banana should be enough to add sweetness.
Dogs do taste sweetness, but even natural sugars can contribute to obesity and diabetes, so you’ll want to go easy on the sweet ingredients, and heavy on the kale or spinach.
Give smoothies in moderation. There’s no perfect guideline for how much your dog should have, and how often, just use common sense.