Vegetables for Dogs
The healthiest choices
Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting chemicals, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties and as such it would be a shame not to include them in your dog’s diet. It is a much healthier way to boost their nutritional needs than putting them on supplements.
An argument you might hear (especially from dog food manufacturers) is that if you feed your dog a complete, balanced diet, you don’t need to supplement it. However, that argument only stands if your dog is in optimal health to start with and even then there can be issues with absorption!
Additionally, when we look at wolves the ancestors of dogs, we know that they survived by being scavengers and eating everything and anything they could. Even today, wild dogs, wolves and dingoes will scavenge for meat as well as fruit and veg.
Given the nutritional values of fruit & veg, it is great to include them in the diet but remember: dogs don’t have the same nutritional requirements as humans, so only small quantities of fruit & veg should be included.
See the top choices below.
Did you know that chewing raw, crunchy carrots eases anxiety and cleans teeth? Eating carrots is also great for eyesight and boosts the immune system with antioxidants. It’s no surprise that carrots are a favourite among dogs and dog-owners. They contain vitamins A, C, D, E and K and also high in beta carotene, potassium, and fibre. Carrots are good for your dog’s vision as well as his skin and for cleaning teeth and gums. Other minerals found in carrots include riboflavin B2), niacin (B3), calcium, phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, and iron.
These important vitamins and nutrients support the immune system and digestion.
Some dogs find raw carrots hard to chew and can choke. If you see undigested carrot pieces in stool, chop into smaller pieces and serve cooked, which can also help avoid choking.
Broccoli contains vitamins A, C, D, beta carotene, folic acid, as well as fibre, calcium, and chromium. When you cook broccoli, cancer fighting enzymes are released.
Broccoli also contains several phytochemicals, substances that halt carcinogens in their tracts, and as such help to ward off cancer.
If all those benefits were not enough, Broccoli contains a substance that improves immune functions. Although broccoli seems like the perfect food, feed this one in moderation (max 10% of daily food). Too much can reduce his thyroid functioning and also cause wind!
Try adding cooked asparagus tips (cut into small pieces to prevent choking) to your dog’s meal for variety, flavour and a boost of vitamins, and minerals. Sometimes a new flavour or texture is all it takes to renew interest in his usual food.
Asparagus contains vitamins including A, B1, B2, C, E, and K. You’ll find an even more notable list of minerals, including folate, iron, copper, fibre, manganese and potassium.
Squash and pumpkin contain vitamin A and have a good amount of potassium which regulates blood pressure. Pumpkin also contains small amounts of vitamin C, Iron, phosphorus, magnesium and folate and it’s rich in fibre which helps to regulate bowel movements.
So if your dog is suffering from constipation or diarrhoea, heap on a spoonful of pureed pumpkin to his regular diet. Pumpkin also promotes overall heart health.
Dogs can eat the seeds, but they need to be crushed and turned into a powder.
Green beans are not one of the first choices when it comes to vegetables for dogs but actually it is a really good one to give to dogs! Green beans are high in fibre aiding digestion and bowel regulation, and have heart-healthy omega-3s as well as vitamins A, C, and K. They are low in fat so if your pooch is trying to lose weight, it’s good to bulk up his food with some cooked green beans.
Kale isn’t just a superfood for people! It boasts tons of benefits like fighting heart disease, arthritis, allergies and urinary tract problems. While too much can cause gas and bloating, adding one ounce of steamed, chopped or dried kale to your dog’s meal can boost its health value.
Say bye to the doggy breath! Parsley is an ideal breath-freshener. It also adds potassium for muscle and joint health and beta carotene for eyes. Add just a sprinkle of chopped parsley to your dog’s meal to boost its nutritional value.
Cooked mashed or pureed, sweet potato is a healthy and tasty treat that fills a dog’s tummy and boosts his system with vitamins, minerals and fibre. They have vitamin A, B6, C and E and are loaded with minerals as well. Sweet potatoes contain iron, potassium, copper, calcium, folate, thiamin, and folate. Most dogs love the naturally sweet taste but as with any of these selections, you can overdo a good thing.
Root veg (parsnip, turnips, etc.)
These root vegetables are a healthy choice for both you and your dog. They contain Vitamins B6 and C and they are also high in antioxidants that can help fight cancer. They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
Since they are low in calories they also make a good choice for a treat. They are a source of calcium and folate and, best of all, they are low in calories.
Peas are loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals. Dogs tend to love the taste and can tolerate peas cooked, frozen or raw. Peas contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and K. They also contain thiamin, phosphorus, manganese, fibre, and folate. Dog food manufacturers will often include peas in their ingredients because they are a natural source of protein.
Potatoes are often found in dog foods that are considered grain-free because it offers a decent source of starch and fibre. Dogs can share your potatoes, but should not eat them raw. Potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 and contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Do not eat or give the leaves, flowers, sprouts, because they are poisonous. Potatoes do not have that many calories, but it is how they are prepared and what we add to them that can make them calorie dense.
Courgette is fine for dogs to eat and offers few calories if your dog is watching his waistline. It is a very healthy vegetable for both you and your dog and is packed with Vitamin C and B6, manganese, potassium and folate. They can be eaten raw or cooked and because they are slightly sweet in taste, dogs tend to love them, albeit some have issues with its texture.
Can dogs eat cucumber? YES! What better summer-time treat can one find than a cool cucumber that contains almost 96% water. Dogs love these vegetables too. But just as with all vegetable treats for dogs, moderation is important.
Too much of a good thing can cause stomach upset and even diarrhoea, so don’t share too many of your cucumbers with your dog.
I was quite surprised when I threw some lettuce leaves on the floor for my dog and she wolfed it down! It seems like that dogs do like to munch on crunchy, refreshing lettuce. Lettuce is a good source of Vitamin K and A. The provitamin A, beta-carotene is also found in the dark green lettuces such as Romaine. Darker varieties of lettuce provide folate and iron.
The forbidden veg
There are certain fruits and vegetables that you should not give to your dog. The list below shows the worst-offenders but the full list is a bit longer.
- Onions, shallots, leek, and garlic – destroy red blood cells
- Rhubarb – may cause kidney failure
- Green Tomatoes, Tomato Stalks and leaves (Red tomatoes are fine)
- Grapes and Raisins or Currants
How to feed veg to your dog
- Always core apples before giving the fleshy part to your dogs. Don’t feed seeds.
- Many dogs love raw carrots, but if yours does not, steam or boil them slightly.
- Always remove seeds from fruit before giving them to your dog.
- Keep treats down to about 10% of your dog’s total daily food intake.
- If your dog makes a mess with mushy bananas, pop some slices in the freezer and offer them frozen. Alternatively mash up bananas with a fork and spread it on a lick mat (like the PAW lickpad which comes with 3 suction pads and keep it in place)
- You can offer vegetables raw (unless otherwise noted), slightly steamed, boiled, or baked; sliced, diced or pureed.
- If your dog is suspicious of anything new you give him, try a spoonful of vegetable baby food mixed with his regular food.
- Watch your dog’s stools after giving vegetables. If diarrhoea develops or he appears to defecate more frequently and in larger quantities, reduce the amount of vegetables you are providing.
Whilst vegetables should be included in a dog’s diet, remember that they are not herbivores and therefore should not be put on a vegetarian or vegan diet!
Any questions, thoughts, please let me know by dropping me an e-mail.