Sure, they radically improve pancakes and muffins, but did you know that blueberries can also improve your pup's health? Those midnight blue little orbs are jam-packed with canine nutrition. Perfectly sized to serve as a training treat (try them frozen!) or as a superfood sprinkled in the dog bowl, this fruit is seriously brag-worthy.
- Blueberries contain a class of compounds known as flavonoids, a group of nutrients that boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (They're also what give blueberries that deep, vibrant color.)
- Those antioxidants in blueberries work to protect against free radicals that cause cell damage and are particularly beneficial for red blood cells—the ones that transport oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
- The same antioxidants can help protect your pup's heart.
- The anti-inflammation properties in blueberries work like peace officers, intercepting signals that tell cells to get inflamed by inhibiting specific enzymes (cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase). The result? Dogs are potentially less likely to have inflammation which would cause pain and swelling.
- All that healthy cell activity leads to better agility in dogs, especially as they age, because cells (and therefore bones, joints and muscles) have been protected from harsh wear and tear over the years. Good news for dogs at the bottom of staircases everywhere.
- Multiple studies—in humans and dogs—show a link between blueberries and the prevention of certain types of cancer, including colon, bladder, and small intestine. (Three cheers for cancer prevention!)
- A recent study found that animals given higher amounts of anthocyanans (one of blueberries' flavonoids) have improved memory skills, especially as they age. So while your dog may not be ready to do your taxes yet, he might finally master that trick where he brings you the remote control. Reward him with a blueberry. Obvi.
- And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, new research suggests that blueberries also help prevent against UTIs (urinary tract infections), which are common in dogs and uber painful. The fruit contains a compound that prevents bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall and tissues of the urinary tract.