This article originally appeared on Ollie, a dog food startup providing your pup a tailored meal with human-grade ingredients.
Chia seeds. It seems like only yesterday we were smearing them on the bald, terra cotta head of the 1992 office party gag gift. Today, they’re on the menu at A-list restaurants and hipsters are naming their children after them. Turns out they belong in our dog bowls too. For those who missed the chia seed’s rise to stardom, let’s roll the highlight reel with nine reasons why they’ve got staying power everywhere, especially as part of our four-legged friends’ diet.
1. Full of fatty acids. Chia seeds are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to canine cardiac health by strengthening the very cells that make up the heart.
2. Provides a healthy mind. Pairing head with heart, the omega-3s in chia seeds also aid brain function by strengthening the fatty myelin sheath that improves neurotransmitter speed, associated with better learning and memory in animals.
3. Help joints. Those same omega-3s help control inflammation within the body: Dogs with osteoarthritis experience improved mobility and reduced pain in their joints with a regular daily dose from chia seeds.
4. Great for digestion. Just when you thought they were all about the omegas, chia seeds bust out the fiber–an essential part of keeping a dog’s digestion train chugging along and absorbing important nutrients along the way.
5. Good for their bones. They have more calcium than whole milk. Combined with phosphorus, these minerals aid in bone development as well as healthy bone maintenance.
6. Source of protein. While chia seeds aren’t a primary source of protein, they do have high protein properties for a plant source. But the real magic happens when combined with meat proteins: their collective protein helps build muscle mass and preserve muscle tissue and health.
7. Satisfies hunger. Because a single chia seed absorbs water up to ten times its own weight, it helps dogs feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time. This is especially helpful for dogs who tend to overeat or need to lose weight.
8. Useful for diabetics. Chia seeds support normal insulin function as well as blood sugar regulation and glucose tolerance–a must for diabetic or pre-diabetic dogs.
9. Benefits all dogs. Call them Miss Congeniality: as a non-allergenic food source, chia seeds get along with every dog and every dog diet. They also have a long shelf life and can be sprinkled or stirred into any number of foods to give them a superfood nutrition boost.
And to think we once held them in the same esteem as the Snuggie and The Clapper.
This post should not be taken as professional advice. Please consult a veterinarian or other professional before making any dietary changes.