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This post was originally published in 2016; it has been updated with new information and republished.
I was waiting all weekend to see this video by Rodney Habib speaking with Steve Brown, founder of Steve's Real Food. What could make dog food better? I recently wrote a post sharing what I would add to my dog's diet if I were forced to switch them back to dry dog food:
- bone broth
- supplements: fish oil, digestive enzymes, fermented fish stock, joint supplement
- fresh vegetables
- freeze dried raw dog food or dehydrated dog food
I thought I had it nailed. So imagine my surprise when Rodney revealed that a tablespoon of mussels would make raw dog food better. For people feeding kibble, add a can of sardines in olive oil or in water (look for no salt added).
I'm excited, because I add both of these to my dogs' raw meals, so they must be super healthy.
Adding Mussels to Your Dog's Raw Meals
In the video, Steve Brown suggests getting frozen mussels. That's super easy, right? I live in the Pacific Northwest and have access to lots of seafood – both fresh and frozen. Lucky me. But it's not always affordable, so it's important to watch the sales to catch the best price.
An even better way to get good prices on mussels is to contact a local seafood provider to see if they will sell mussels to you in bulk. This will require freezer space, but it'll save you some duckets too.
If this isn't an option, you can try freeze dried mussels and there are three brands that provide them for dogs:
- Boo Boo's Best Mighty Mussels – I love these; there are tons in the package and they're now available through our raw food co-op, which is great news for the Oregon and Washington raw feeders. Yayyyy!
- K9 Natural Freeze Dried Blue Mussel Bites – these are great if you have small dogs because there isn't a lot in the package. If you have big dogs or several dogs, I'd go for the first two brands I listed.
I don't often buy the freeze-dried mussels because they're pretty expensive, so I only buy them as a treat and when they are on special.
Benefits of Mussels for Dogs
- natural anti-inflammatory with no known side effects (unless your dog is allergic to shellfish)
- supports the circulatory system
- offers a boost to the immune system
- strengthens teeth and bones
- has omega-3 fatty acids
- supports nerve cell functioning while improving muscle, tissue, and organ stimulation.
Read more about why I give my dogs green lipped mussels.
Adding Sardines to Your Dog's Raw Meals
When you start buying sardines regularly, you'll notice that they can be expensive. I've found several places where you can get sardines (in olive oil or water) for a great price:
- Walmart – they are less than $0.90 each and I tend to buy every can they have on the shelves. The people at our Walmart must think I'm addicted to sardines.
- Costco – sometimes Costco has 6-packs of sardines (in olive oil) for a great price.
- Amazon.com – you can get both sardines in olive oil and sardines in water (no salt) online.
If you prefer to feed raw sardines to your dogs as I do, there are sources available. You can check seafood markets, Pike Place Market (if you live in Seattle), or you can source from OC Raw, which offers sardines by the packet or the case. Another great source is Raw Feeding Miami.
The Health Benefits of Sardines for Dogs
“Sardines are a great protein source that provides significant Vitamin B3, B12 and D, selenium, and healthy omega-3 Fatty acids. Sardines are also a good source of phosphorus and calcium.”~ Dr. Cathy Alinovi, HealthyPawsibilities
- great for the skin and coat
- great for dogs with allergies (even severe allergies)
- acts as an anti-inflammatory making it beneficial for dogs with arthritis
- great for the brain – making it a perfect item for growing/developing puppies and senior dogs too
Read more about why I feed my dogs sardines.
Personally, I think both mussels and sardines are great!