Microgreens For Dogs
Microgreens for dogs are a highly nutritous addition to your dog’s diet. That’s because they’re 4 to 20 times higher in nutrients than mature plants and vegetables.
To see how this happens, let’s look at the growth stages of plants.
Life Cycle Of Plants
Plants go through 6 stages of growth.
- Birth from seeds
- Growth into sprouts and microgreens
- Maturity into vegetation
- Reproduction when they bear fruit to reseed
- Decomposition through fermentation to fertilize soil
- Compost of the used plant material for new plantings
All plants begin life as seeds. That applies to a giant redwood or a head of broccoli. As plants grow they go through different life stages … and different levels of nutrients. While they grow, they use energy through these stages toward the ultimate goal of reseeding to reproduce.
Here’s why microgreens are so nutritious.
Nutrients In Microgreens For Dogs
The microgreen stage happens after a seed sprouts. This stage is when a plant is its tiniest. But it also contains the most nutrition because it’s producing vitamins and antioxidants it needs to grow. As the seed grows into a plant, it expends more energy and loses nutrients. It needs to grow leaves, longer stems, establish roots and bear fruit. If you harvest plants as microgreens, before they grow much more, you’ll capture all those initial nutrients.
The Microgreen Difference
Microgreens aren't the same as sprouts. Sprouts are germinated seeds grown in water. They produce a stem and seed and that’s it … and you eat the entire thing. They are ready to eat in just a few days. But the nutrient level is lower than microgreens.
Microgreens are grown in soil in high light conditions. They take just a few days for their stems and leaves to mature for eating. That’s much less than the several weeks that vegetables need to grow to maturity. Because of the higher level of nutrients and antioxidants, you can feed less to your dog. He’ll be getting the same benefits as mature vegetables.
Study Confirms High Nutrients In Microgreens
A study from the University of Maryland, College Park looked at 25 microgreens (1). In many of them, they found higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, phytonutrients, ascorbic acids and antioxidants than in mature leaves and plants.
They found red cabbage microgreens have up to 40 times the amount of vitamin C and E than a fully developed red cabbage plant. Amaranth, green daikon radish and red cabbage have high levels of vitamin K, C and E. Cilantro microgreens are higher in lutein and beta carotene than the full-grown herb. Microgreens also show high concentrations of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper.
Other common microgreens that make a huge nutritional impact are broccoli, chia, spinach, wheatgrass, clover, arugula, peas and alfalfa and lettuce. All microgreens should be grown from organic seeds that avoid GMOs and pesticides.
The Importance Of Sulforaphane In Microgreens
Sulforaphane is an amazing nutrient that's in ample supply in broccoli microgreens. It’s an indirect antioxidant that triggers your dog’s body to create its own antioxidants.
Your dog needs antioxidants to help control free radicals. These are damaged molecules that are a normal part of metabolism. But they can spread out of control due to toxins, drugs and other chemicals in your dog's environment. And that's when they can harm your dog, leading to oxidative stress that can cause ...
- Chronic diseases like arthritis
- Premature aging
Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals to stop them harming your dog.
Your dog will get plenty of sulforaphane if you feed him broccoli microgreens ... they contain as much as 100 time more than mature broccoli. Sulforaphane neutralizes toxins, reduces inflammation and may slow tumor growth (2).
As well as helping to protect against oxidative stress that can lead to cancer and other chronic disease, sulforaphane has an important role in helping your dog's body eliminate toxins. Detoxification works in two phases ...
Phase 1 detoxification uses enzymes to break down toxins for elimination. But the broken down toxins can be more dangerous to your dog, Phase II detox will make these toxins water soluble so that the gallbladder and kidneys can then eliminate them before they harm your dog. But if Phase II detox doesn't work quickly enough, these toxins stay in the body too long. The good news is, sulforaphane can prevent this. That's because sulforaphane activates a pathway called Nrf2 that increases Phase ii enzymes, helping your dog's body eliminate the harmful toxins. .
Best Microgreens For Dogs
Any vegetable you feed in microgreen form will be more nutritious for your dog than the mature vegetable. Here are a few good microgreens to give your dog:
- Spinach and other leafy greens
You can rotate them so he always gets a variety of nutrients.
How To Grow Microgreens
You can buy organic microgreens at many stores. Or it's easy to grow your own in just a few days. Use organic seeds or heirloom varieties of garden seeds.
Use a small, clean container (like a plastic take-out container), and make some drainage holes in the bottom. Cover the bottom with organic potting soil, scatter seeds on top and cover with another thin layer of soil. Use a spray bottle to dampen the surface. Mist often enough to keep the soil moist ... but not wet.
The container should get plenty of daylight, but doesn't need direct sunlight.
Sprouts should appear in 3-7 days. Rotate the container so stems don’t lean into the sun. Cut off at the root and harvest when they reach 2-3 inches in height and they have their first true leaves.
How To Feed Microgreens
Microgreens are "just food" so there's no specific dose. Just stir a few microgreens into your dog's food or sprinkle them on top. Always feed microgreens raw so your dog gets the maximum nutrients out of them.
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The high level of nutrients in microgreens means a little goes a long way when you include them in your dog’s diet.
1. Othman, Ali et al. Microgreens: a newly merging product, aspects, prospectives, and disadvantages. VSUET. 83(1):102-107, 2021.
2. Curran KM, Bracha S, Wong CP, Beaver LM, Stevens JF, Ho E.
Sulforaphane absorption and histone deacetylase activity following single dosing of broccoli sprout supplement in normal dogs, Veterinary Medicine and Science 2018 Aug 17;4(4):357-363.