We love our animals. There’s no doubt about it. Our dogs knock us over, pee inside the house, and chew our shoes to shreds. We let our cats go #2 in a box and then clean it out for them, while they stare at us indignantly. And, how do we punish these acts of disrespect? With treats and belly rubs, head pats and letting them sleep in our beds. We want the best for our hairy rascals (even if they destroy every pair of socks we own). We also know that wanting the best for your little companion doesn’t stop at their health and happiness.
Today, we wanted to perhaps open your eyes to the many benefits that microgreens can provide to whatever kind of furry friend you call family. So, let’s dive right in!
A Feast For The Whole Family
So, we’ve obviously touted the benefits of microgreens for our own health (still do!), but now we want to introduce our micro-miracles to the extended family.
We’re sure that you, like us, have many-a-time stumbled upon your cat nibbling at a house plant. Or perhaps, while out in the yard, you’ve spotted your little Shih Tzu chomping away at some tall grass…but why? Well, in the Shih Tzu’s case, dogs have been theorized to do this to help when they have digestion issues. The plant tissue cannot be fully digested, and so it passes through and aids in clearing out obstructions. For cats, this can often be behavior displaying a lack of certain vitamins in their diet. For both cases, microgreens is the answer.
The benefits of microgreens in a pet’s diet doesn’t stop with just cats and dogs. Nutrients and vitamins are vital to all life, and micros are a recommended addition to any herbivorous or omnivorous animal’s diet. Let’s go through some more common pet pals that you might be interested in giving some healthy snacks to!
For dogs, microgreens should constitute about 10% of their diet. Due to the density of nutrients in microgreens, only a small portion is necessary to get all they need. Not only do micros provide a bevy of nutrition benefits but, as noted, also help with digestion. Additionally, not only have vegetable-derived antioxidants been shown to improve cognitive ability in aging dogs, but a study also showed that dogs fed leafy greens three times a week had significantly less risk of bladder cancer. For dogs, specifically, amaranth and quinoa should be avoided. Kale and broccoli should also be avoided if the pet has thyroid problems.
A cat’s diet should consist of only about 5% microgreens, and they should be chopped or blended to mix with the regular food. The kitties usually enjoy going after “cat grass”, but a plethora of microgreens are available. Cat grass is actually mainly wheatgrass mixed with a few cereal grains. These are non-digestible for cats, but can still aid with digestion and fiber intake; however, we recommend sticking with the microgreens listed below. Generally, grains and rice should be avoided, as these are correlated with type-2 feline diabetes.
While we may recommend limiting your cat’s wheatgrass intake, most every animal loves chomping on it and will benefit thoroughly from its nutrient profile. Wheatgrass contains 1-2g of protein per 10 calories, is full of antioxidants, helps prevents arthritis and cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, fights infections, lowers inflammation, aids in digestion, regulates blood sugar, and may even improve cholesterol and cognitive function (*gasps for air*).
What about the slightly less common companions? Well, they’re covered too.
Rabbits should enjoy a diet of about 80-90% timothy hay, with plenty of leafy greens. Some great micro-snacks for your bouncy buddies are swiss chard, broccoli, and turnip greens.
Guinea pigs, like rabbits, need roughly 80-90% timothy hay. Since they must constantly trim their ever-growing back teeth, microgreens and micrograss are an excellent way to support their health and make sure they have something to grind their teeth on throughout the day. Some great micros for your test subject (just kidding!) are wheat grass, red leaf, cilantro, and parsley.
And for your little hammy, their diets are mostly centered around grains and seeds. You can give them raw sunflower seeds, or a healthy snack of swiss chard and bok choy micros.
The wide world of animals and micros stretches much further than we will elaborate here, and we encourage you to explore!
Vitamin / Vitamax
So we’ve covered how microgreens are great for you, and great for your pets. But, how? What do microgreens have that are so great, and what do they actually do?
Excellent question, me! Allow me to explain a bit.
Microgreens are full of lots and lots of different molecules and elements and stuff your body has to have to be its best version. The specifics of these change depending on the particular microgreen. They all have their own special ingredient, but as a whole, they are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, E, and K. Below, is a simple table to break it down:
|A||Vision / Coat / Skin / Mucous Membranes / Teeth|
|C||Tissue Health / Oxidative Stress Reduction / Immune Regulation|
|E||Powerful Antioxidant / Membrane Integrity|
|K||Gut Biome / Regulation of Blood-Clotting Factors|
These benefits, and more, are easily earned through the addition of microgreens into your and your pet’s diets. However, just like some foods don’t agree with some people…you should avoid giving certain microgreens to your pets. Below is a list of healthy micros to treat your dogs and cats to, as well as a few to avoid. Please note, the following list is in no way exhaustive or complete, and you should do your own research before feeding anything to your animals.
Fine for Cats and Dogs:
- Mung Bean
- Red Clover
Should Be Avoided:
- Magenta Spreen
- Brussel Sprouts
We hope that now you have some great new treats to surprise your barking buddies, purring pals, and happy hamsters with! Let us know if your pet has a favorite micro in the comments!