We love our Goldens, and only want the best for them! That said, adding the right amount of fruits and veggies to your Golden Retriever’s everyday diet can make a huge difference in health and longevity.
Colorful fruits and veggies, as well as mushrooms and seaweed are cancer-fighting foods. By providing your Golden Retriever with a nutritious whole foods diet, you’re not only helping prevent cancer, but you’re helping protect against a variety of health problems, including ocular.
Combining a high-quality dog food with supplemental fruit and veggies also offers significant antioxidant benefits. Phytonutrients, found in colorful fruits and veggies help with age-related issues. These plant based nutrients are essential to Goldens in particular who as a breed are prone to cancer.
If you are looking for a list of foods that can be harmful to Golden Retrievers, check out our comprehensive list here.
Cancer in Goldens
As a Golden pet parent, educating yourself about healthy nutrition and cancer-fighting foods should be top priority! Feeding a diet with higher levels of phytonutrients may help combat cancer and reverse chronic illness.
According to a recent research paper published in Plos One, cancer is the leading cause of death in adult dogs in the United States, Australia, Japan and Europe, and is now considered a major health care concern of pet owners. Approximately four million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.
Golden Retrievers as a breed have an increased prevalence of cancer! Your Golden will live with you for many years. That said, it’s necessary to consider the many factors that may contribute to longevity, and also the risk of cancer and to feed accordingly.
What Are Phytonutrients?
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of phytonutrients.
- High antioxidant activity
- May help with cancer
- Helps to build muscle strength in older dogs
- Helps to promote healthy aging and longevity
- Modulates blood sugar levels
- Helps with cataracts and respiratory disease
Think bright colors, oranges, blue, purple, reds, dark greens when choosing veggies and fruits for your Golden, but stay away from all the toxic ones for dogs like grapes and raisins. There are thousands of phytonutrients found in plants like sulforaphane, flavonoids and carotenoids. Fruits and veggies with the highest phytonutrients are the fol lowing:
- Dark leafy greens like spinach
- Berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) Can be added to a plain organic yogurt.
- Veggies like yams and squash
- Broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin
Fruits and Veggies to Avoid
- Grapes and raisins
- Wild mushrooms
Beneficial Fruits and Veggies for Goldens
Blueberries have two important carotenoids which are beneficial to ocular health. This includes lutein and zeaxanthin. That said, blueberries make for a healthy snack and can be added as a toper to meals. Blueberries also contains the following:
- Anthocyanins (supports night vision)
- Flavonoids including rutin, quercetin and resveratrol which prevent macular degeneration in Goldens
- Selenium and zinc for vision health, and to prevent eye fatigue in dogs
Broccoli has numerous anti-cancerous properties, and is also great for vision health in dogs. Besides being loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, it also offers plenty of beta-carotene. Broccoli also contains the following:
- Sulphuraphane, which is important for defense against free radicals.
With carrots available in orange to purple and white, they are a great choice to use as snacks for Goldens. Besides being a power house for nutrient power, carrots are great for your Golden’s eyesight. Carrots contain the following:
- Vitamin A, B.C, D, E, K
- Riboflavin, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, sulphur, copper, iodine, manganese and niacin.
- Acts as a glandular tonic in dogs
- Aids digestion
- Supports immune system health
Both of these help protect the eyes from UVB radiation, as well as damage from free radicals. Carrots can be lightly steamed and added to regular kibble, served raw as a snack or added to a homemade Instant Pot recipe with organic chicken breasts and brown rice or quinoa.
Pumpkin is loaded with goodness, and also help to neutralize free radicals. Goldens love pumpkin which can be added to homemade dog treats, or as a kibble topper. Pumpkin contain the following:
- Zeaxanthin for vision health
These are filled with lutein and zeaxanthin. Green beans also contain beta-carotene, vitamin C and E. As usual opt for organic that are pesticide- free.
Shitake mushrooms have plenty of medical properties, and offer protein, as well as vitamin B6, A, C, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, niacin, potassium, selenium, manganese, pantothenic acid, selenium, zinc, dietary fiber, riboflavin, and thiamine. With more than 50 enzymes, Shitake mushrooms are beneficial in helping with your Golden’s digestion since they also contain pepsin. Mushrooms also contain the following:
- Interferon which is a protein that helps trigger off an immune response against cancer and viral diseases in dogs.
- Germanium that helps with cellular oxygenation and immune response.
- Beta-glucan that is immune boosting and has anti-cancerous properties. It slows down tumor growth, and also helps dogs to feel less ill when undergoing chemo.
- Lentian from Shitake mushrooms also helps support immune system health, as well as combats infection and disease.
Reishi mushrooms helps increase energy, as well as improve your Golden’s digestion. This type of mushroom also regulates the immune system, helps with cardiovascular health, and curbs allergies. These mushrooms contain the following:
- Amino acids, organic acids, microelements, and coumarin
Goldens can be given Reishi in a powdered form from the fruiting body. Small dog breeds take 1 gram, with medium dog breeds taking 2 grams. Large dogs like the Golden Retriever need 3 grams of Reishi, which is best when split up amongst your Golden’s meals throughout the day.
Maitake mushrooms are also used for medicinal purposes in dogs, and they have plenty of healing powers. That said, here are the benefits of Maitake mushrooms for Goldens.
- Anti-cancerous agent
- Regulates blood sugar levels in dogs
- Lowers cholesterol in dogs
- Suppresses tumor growth
- Boosts immunity and helps fights infections in Goldens.
Medium -sized dogs take 1 gram a day, with larger dog breeds on 2 grams per day.
Apples (remove seeds and core)
With apples having lots of vitamin C, these are also nutrient packed, and Goldens enjoy the taste. Red apples offer more antioxidants to help fight disease. Apples contain potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese, selenium, iron, and calcium.
12 Other Favorite Fruits and Veggies for Golden Retrievers
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Brussel sprouts
Say Yes to Seaweed for Your Golden
This is a superfood for both humans and dogs. With kelp being the most popular, containing a vast amount of trace minerals, there are numerous health benefits for Goldens when it comes down to feeding kelp. Here are the benefits:
- Aids in thyroid health
- Promotes adrenal health
- Promotes pituitary health
- Supports the immune system
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Helps with joint pain
- Great for the gastrointestinal tract health in dogs
The Negative Effects of Dog Food Diets That Contain No Fruits and Veggies
“Commercial pet foods don’t contain some things we wish they did: adequate quantities and qualities of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, as well as the more intangible qualities unique to live, fresh foods,” says veterinarian Dr. Richard Pitcairn. “Secondly, they contain other things we wish they didn’t: slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritive fillers, heavy metal contaminants, sugar, pesticides and herbicides, drug residues, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives and bacteria and fungi contaminants. All processed pet foods…are missing something that seems to me to be the most important ‘nutrient’ of all. This key ingredient is practically ignored by nutritional scientists, but we can sense when it’s there. It is a quality found only in freshly grown, uncooked whole foods: life energy,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
Why Fresh Fruits and Veggies Help with Behavioral Health
“Artificial ingredients are often highly antagonistic and can actually contribute to an animal’s mental and emotional imbalance,” adds Andi Brown, director of Halo and author of The Whole Pet Diet. “Some additives can be so detrimental that they can actually have the same effect on an animal as hallucinogenic drugs have on people. According to Best Friends Animal Society, the most common reason animals are put down by vets or turned into shelters is because of unruly behavior.” Andi recommends adding minerals and vitamins, especially the full complex of B vitamins, to a dog’s food to help with behavior problems,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
Oxidative Damage in Older Goldens
As your Golden gets older he may be prone to cognitive decline. A study from the University of California concluded that “oxidative damage is a key feature in the aged brains of animals and people, and that the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease show greater damage.” Dr. Cotman suggests that the use of antioxidant supplements like vitamins E and C might “improve cognitive decline” in people as well as animals, since older dogs develop the same pathological changes in their brains as older people.”
Additionally, the study added that carotenoids like beta carotene when combined with selenium, fatty acids DHA and EPA, carnitine and alpha lipoic acid helped to prevent amyloid formation in older dogs. The researchers found that a diet rich in these nutrients provided cognitive enrichment in dogs, and also slowed down or partially reversed brain decline in older dogs.
Today, it’s important to support your Golden’s well-being with the many added benefits of fresh fruits and veggies. In general, these help with chronic disease. We all want to live a healthy life! That said, by providing your Golden with a diet that is high in fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll be adding a whole bunch of nutrients into your dog food.
Either way, you can add fresh fruits and veggies in to a commercial kibble, homemade dog food, or as a snack. In addition, you’ll need to remember that phytonutrients need to be provided via numerous varieties of fruits and veggies. It is not enough just to give your Golden blueberries or apples.