If you're looking for a fast and easy way to increase your pet's health, have you explored adding microgreens to their diet? A recently discovered fact about microgreens is that they provide more nutrition than their mature vegetable counterparts and taste great. Even if you’ve got a picky eater, you can mix these tiny plants in your pet’s dinner without them even noticing. So let’s dig into some helpful tips on microgreens for pets, which ones to give, and some of the best ways to add them to their diet.
What Are Microgreens? Simply put, a microgreen is part of the plant's growth stage immediately after a seed germinates and produces its first set of starter leaves, usually within the first 2 weeks of a plant’s life. At this time, they tend to reach their prime at only 2-3 inches in height. If you were to let them keep growing, you could plant them in your garden, and they would continue to grow into mature plants.
In these beginning days of a plant’s life, the nutritional content is the densest because it is producing all of the vitamins and antioxidants it needs to rapidly grow. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Maryland’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science and published in the July 18, 2012 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, concluded that ounce for ounce, microgreens pack between 4 to 40 times more nutrients than their fully grown counterparts.
Microgreens Vs Sprouts Be aware that microgreens are different from sprouts. Sprouts don’t have leaves … you just eat the seeds and stem or sprout. Microgreens need a little longer to produce their leaves. Sprouts are also colorless (much like a root), whereas microgreens have begun photosynthesis and are quite colorful, produce a wonderful aroma, and flavor. Are Microgreens Safe For Pets? Yes, they are! Microgreens contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants that can help protect against certain cancers and the effects of aging. Microgreens are also easy for your pet (dogs and cats in particular) to digest. Just like the full-grown versions, most microgreens are safe for your pets to eat as vegetables. You’ll still want to anything spicy or pungent, but they can be mixed right into your pet's meal or baked into their favorite treats.
Why Feed Microgreens To Your Pet? When it comes to microgreens, size definitely doesn’t matter. Adding a small amount to your pet's diet can go a long way with respect to increasing their daily nutrient intake and overall health.
Research has discovered that over 70 types of microgreens have much higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, phytonutrients and antioxidants than mature vegetables. They’re rich in polyphenols (antioxidants that trap and eliminate harmful free radicals in the body). Microgreens also contain high concentrations of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper and vitamins A, B, C, E, K, and more...
Microgreens also provide significant health benefits such as red cabbage which can lower their risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, and help reduce weight gain. It’s believed that microgreens may lower the risk for the following diseases Heart Disease, Diabetes, and some cancers. In fact, broccoli microgreens contain up to100 times the sulforaphane of adult plants. Sulforaphane is a well-researched compound that has been shown to combat cancer.
Sulforaphane also neutralizes toxins, reduces inflammation and may slow tumor growth.
Benefits of Sulforaphane Sulforaphane is an indirect antioxidant. It doesn’t bind directly to free radicals as most antioxidants do. It can trigger other important systems in your pet’s body to create their own antioxidants.
Top microgreens to give your Pet. Most vegetables can be grown as microgreens, each providing specific health and nutritional benefits as well as flavor. You may consider combining several microgreens in your pet's meals and diet to maximize these benefits.
Broccoli Broccoli is a great dog-friendly vegetable. It provides a nice dose of fiber, calcium and vitamin K. Microgreens contain more nutrients than mature vegetables by weight. And they also have fewer sulfur compounds that can cause gas in your dog. Even though your dog will get higher nutrients with microgreens, you don’t want to exceed 10% of his calorie intake. Adding broccoli microgreens means you also get more of the valuable enzyme sulforaphane.
Kale Like all the brassicas (cruciferous veggies), kale is a good microgreen to use. Plus, it’s ready to harvest quickly, and delivers all of kale’s benefits. It’s a powerful antioxidant plus has vitamins E and K, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Red Cabbage Cabbage microgreens pack a lot of nutrition in a tiny package. Cabbage has vitamin A, B, C, E, and K. It’s also high in beta-carotene and other antioxidants. Red Acre Cabbage is considered a superfood because it reduces inflammation and has cancer-fighting flavonoids. Plus antioxidants that improve eye, teeth, bone and immune health. Cabbage microgreens are among the best microgreens to give your dog.
Wheatgrass If you’ve ever had pet grass for your dog or cat, it was probably wheatgrass. It’s packed with nutrients like chlorophyll and amino acids. It’s also safe for your dog in moderate amounts. As a mature plant and as microgreens, wheatgrass is delicious and nutritious. Sunflower Sunflower microgreens contain vitamins A, B, D, and E. They’re also a source of calcium, iron, and magnesium. And they’re some of the easiest and fastest-growing seeds available.
Mustard Surprisingly, mustard is a pet-safe microgreen. Even though mustard seeds are toxic to dogs, properly prepared mustard microgreens are completely safe. Mature mustard greens can be difficult to digest, but microgreens are much easier on your dog’s digestion. Avoid pungent varieties like wasabi. Even though mustards have many health benefits, don’t feed them to your dog regularly, and save them for an occasional meal boost.
How To Feed Microgreens To Your Pet If growing your own, harvest close to the time you need them so they’ll stay fresh. You can stir a small portion of microgreens directly into your dog’s food. Chop them or include them in a slurry with other vegetables to help digestibility. As you’ll see in a bit, you can even include them in the mix if you make fermented vegetables.
You can refrigerate cut microgreens to keep them fresh. Place them between damp paper towels in a container or bag. But it’s best to harvest right before your dog eats them. It’s so simple to grow microgreens indoors or out that it’s easy to have a supply ready for every meal. Freezing microgreens isn’t a great option because they get mushy when thawed. And you lose some of the nutrients that give microgreens their value.
Another way to introduce microgreens into your pet's diet is to freeze and pulverise the shoots into a highly nutritious protein powder. Much like vegtable protien powders for humans, this is a pure powderized version containing far more vitamins and nutrients and significantly higher protein than conventional protien poweders. Microgreens powers can then be added to your pets favorite treats, or blended into their meals with ease. North Texas Microgreens offers baked superfood pet treats with microgreens powder, and designed to provide a healthy dose of your pets recommended daily nutritional intake in each treat. By far the healthiest, most nutrious choice on the market today.