Just the thought of the juicy rubies of the pomegranate fruit can make your mouth water. Whether you like only the outer flesh or the inner seed as well, it is a fruit that is nourishing and tasty, a good nutritious snack with lots of health benefits.
That’s for you, human. What about your canine pet? When he hangs on waiting to share the joy of the refreshing juice erupting in his mouth, you may feel guilty or hesitant wondering if it is good for your pooch.
Let’s find out in a minute.
Pomegranate nourishes the body, being a rich source of vitamins C and K, folate and potassium. It is a rich source of polyphenols and is a superfood because of its being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic. It prevents the rise in blood pressure, cholesterol and oxidative stress, controls hyperglycemia and reduces inflammation.
The juice of this fruit can reduce free radicals and lipid peroxidation. Pomegranate fruit extract is also beneficial in preventing cell growth. By inducing apoptosis, it acts as an anticarcinogen. The list goes on. These are benefits that human beings enjoy when they have pomegranate fruit.
The digestive system of dogs is different from that of humans. So you may wonder if the dogs too can absorb these wonderful nutrients and benefit from pomegranate’s antioxidative properties. In fact, some food so good for humans can actually harm dogs.
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On Canine Heart
According to a research paper published in the Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine, oxidative stress causes damage to the cardiovascular cell types in canine as well as humans. It is responsible for triggering and aggravating cardiac diseases. The condition can be alleviated by the use of antioxidant agents that provide cardio-protective benefits and can help with the management of heart failure.
For the purpose of the research, the effect of pomegranate along with three other substances on endothelial cells of the aorta was studied. It showed that canine endothelial cells benefited from pomegranate extract’s antioxidant and cytoprotective properties.
According to this study, pomegranate can be part of the canine diet to prevent the onset and progression of oxidative stress-induced canine heart disease. It can also arrest endothelial degeneration because of progressive valvular insufficiencies.
Another study published in Research Gate supports these findings. In dogs, cardiovascular disease because of vascular endothelial dysfunction is fatal. Pomegranate extract was studied on dogs and found to reduce the proliferation and apoptosis in canine aortic endothelial cells demonstrating vasoprotective activity in dogs.
The pomegranate juice contains certain ellagitannin compounds such as granatin B and punicalagin that are also beneficial in reducing heart-disease risk factors by removing harmful free radicals from the body.
While the benefits to the heart because of the antioxidant properties of pomegranate is well known and therefore not surprising, this wonder fruit is beneficial for your pet’s gut health as well.
A study published in NCBI analyzed how dietary supplementation of pomegranate peel (methanolic) extract (PPE) can help with nutrient digestibility and faecal fermentative metabolites in addition to the antioxidant status of dogs. For this, six medium-sized dogs of different breeds were divided into two groups given a basal diet. The diet of one group was supplemented with PPE at 50 mg/kg body weight for 30 days.
It was seen that the group that was administered PPE supplementation had improved crude fibre digestibility. PPE polyphenols also improved the pH level of the faeces and ammonia and lactate production. The many benefits of PPE supplementation for 30 days show that it is good for canine hindgut fermentation and antioxidant status, making it a healthy nutraceutical for dogs.
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So now you can be reassured that serving your pet pomegranate is not harmful. In fact, it can be added to his diet because of the benefits to his heart and gut.
How you serve the fruit is important. The above-mentioned research papers mention the use of juice and pomegranate peel extraction. That’s the best way to give the fruit to your pet. In fact the peel extract is very nutritious and safer than giving the whole seed, which can give your pooch a tummy ache.
First wash it thoroughly to remove any chemicals or bacteria clinging to the surface. Remove the seeds and dry the peel. Put it in the blender and sieve the powder. You can store it and add it to your pet’s food. This is also a rich source of antioxidants and will not only benefit the hindgut but also the heart.
Pomegranate peel extract is also available in stores. Just pick one off the shelf and add it to your pooch’s dry food.
You also get readymade treats that incorporate pomegranate in them. This is good when you want to reward your pet, but nothing can beat fresh fruit and its parts as a source of nutrition.
Don’t throw the red rubies away. You can put it in a blender, blend it coarsely and strain it to extract the juice. You can give your pooch the juice, which is also nourishing. Don’t add sugar to maintain the high nutritive quality of the fruit.
It is not that you cannot give your pet the seeds. But go slow. First try a little if this is the first time you are giving it to him and wait to see the reaction. He may not like it or it may cause some discomfort and vomiting. In that case, do not give more.
If your canine loves it and asks for more, give each seed slowly. Don’t let him gobble it off a plate or he may suffer later.
Pomegranate also tends to fall all over the floor when you are taking it out of the rind. Make sure you clean the floor so that your pet doesn’t eat them without your knowing and overdose on it.
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Fruits—Is It Needed?
We know that the digestive systems of dogs and humans are different. In their natural habitats away from humans, their eating habits would be different. As carnivores, they would have gone after the mouse or some other prey rather. American Kennel Club points out that the canine doesn’t really need fruits or vegetables for nutrition, but you can give one occasionally as a treat.
Scientists are also divided on whether dogs should be classified as natural carnivores that eat only meat or as omnivores that also consume plant-based foods. If you notice a dog’s teeth, it is designed to tear flesh and crunch bones. Its digestive tract is short and a large part of its food is broken down in the stomach.
Herbivores, on the other hand, tend to have very long digestive tracts that help with breaking down plant fibers before it reaches the stomach.
However, wild dogs have been spotted chewing on a ripe fruit that has fallen from a tree, as well as berries, herbs and even some types of grass. This, though, is never the main food. Fresh and raw meat is and should be the top dietary component of dogs.
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To Give or Not to Give
When you eat something that you relish, it is natural for you to want to share it with your loving pet with the melting eyes. Giving your pooch some pomegranate is not going to be the end of the world. It does luckily fall in the ‘safe-for-dogs’ category. In fact, its antioxidant properties are good for canine heart health. It can also improve gut health.
However, since all animals are not the same, if your pet has an upset stomach or is vomiting, do not force them. Begin by giving the pomegranate seeds in small doses and seeing how his system accepts it. It may be better to give it as juice or pomegranate peel extract. Not giving it at all will not deprive him of any nutrients.