By The Farmer's Dog | September 15, 2017

The word anchovy typically denotes connotations of a greasy, strong-smelling fish. While this image is accurate, it doesn’t properly convey the nutritional power packed into each little fish. They may be small, but anchovies are fiercely good for you…and your dog.

The Stats:

Anchovies are small saltwater fish typically packed in oil or salt to preserve freshness. These fish have a strong flavor which may be off-putting to you, but makes them appealing to your dog. They come packed in pouches or tins for your convenience and are also a low-calorie snack, clocking in at just 8 calories each. All fish contain certain nutrients that benefit your dog’s health – protein, fats, calcium, selenium, and various B vitamins  – but anchovies in particular are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA. These fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can benefit your dog’s skin and coat, while other nutrients found in anchovies can also benefit your dog’s heart, brain, and immune system.

The Benefits:

1. Improves the quality and condition of the coat
2. Moisturizes skin to relieve dryness, itching, and flakiness
3. Relieves pain and swelling associated with arthritis
4. Alleviates the effects of allergies and overactive immune system
5. Helps to stabilize blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
6. May slow the development of yeast infections
7. Protects against various forms of cardiovascular disease
8. Supports healthy development of the retina
9. May slow the spread or prevent the development of certain cancers
10. Boosts cognitive performance and improves behavior

How to Feed It:

Anchovies are bite-sized little fish, making them a perfect snack for your dog. Smaller dogs can safely consume two to three anchovies per day, while larger dogs can eat up to five. Simply feed them to your dog whole or add a few fish to regular food.

What to Watch For:

Make sure to purchase anchovies that haven’t been packed with too much salt to protect your dog’s daily sodium intake.

If your dog’s coat has lost its luster or his skin is becoming dry and itchy, try supplementing his food with anchovies for a week or two (and maybe consider switching him to a fresh diet). Let us know how it goes!

Image: @Food52