Canned sardines are one of those things I thought was something my grandpa ate to gross me out as a kid. Now, I find they still irk me, but both my dogs and I still eat them because they are chock full of the good stuff!
Sardines, a tiny, sleek and silvery canned fish, are one of the few foods that contain Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient found the body's cells. In a nutshell, it's believed to have antioxidant properties and is said to enhance physical energy. Studies have also found that CoQ10 benefits those with cardiovascular diseases, particularly hypertension and congestive heart failure. In addition to CoQ10, these little nutritional powerhouses are also ample sources of vitamin B12, selenium, omega-3 oils, protein, phosphorus and vitamin D.
Some folks have long been aware of the health benefits of eating sardines. In a 1984 issue of the Town & Country magazine, James Villas wrote an article entitled "The Unsung Sardine" in which he said that "ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach."
Today, a growing number of health care providers and nutritional experts are consistently touting the benefits of CoQ10, omega-3 oils, selenium, and vitamins B12 and D when it comes to cardiovascular health, memory, joints, skin and energy levels.
A "true" sardine, named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, will come from clean Moroccan, Portuguese or Mediterranean waters. When sardines from these clean waters are canned within hours of the catch, they're fresh and will not smell "fishy" like most canned sardines that have been frozen prior to processing. Most health food grocery markets will carry "true" sardines, or they can be ordered online from select companies.
The World's Healthiest Foods (WHF) website, a not-for-profit foundation independent of the influences of commercial interests, offers some compelling scientific information about the health benefits of eating sardines. In addition to the nutrients already mentioned, WHF says sardines are also an excellent source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid.
How to feed to dogs?
Fresh, raw. Or find packaging (like above) which says the sardines are canned in water with no added salt. Add as a topper to dry food, as a snack, mixed in with their favorite Honest Kitchen... however you want to feed them - just feed them!