Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs
Although dogs are carnivores, they do enjoy eating fruits and vegetables, many of which are extremely good for dogs. The good news is, they can be easily added to a lot of dog treats, such as biscuits and cake. This page looks at some common fruits and veggies that are beneficial for dogs.
Does your dog enjoy munching on carrots and broccoli?
Mine does; and I know a lot of other dogs do too.
Some people say that dogs are carnivores, therefore no vegetables for dogs! True - when we look at the biological features of dogs, we can tell that they are first and foremost meat eaters. However, unlike cats who are true meat-eaters (obligatory carnivores), dogs are more flexible when it comes to eating. They do eat, and can benefits from the nutrients of, some vegetables and fruits.
Not all fruits and vegetables are suitable to be fed to dogs, however. Here are some good and nutritious ones that can safely be given to dogs:
Good Vegetables For Dogs
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are loaded with the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. They are also rich in vitamin B6 and several trace minerals (e.g. iron, potassium, manganese, copper). Like pumpkin, sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. Therefore, if your dog has mild constipation, feed him some boiled mashed sweet potatoes. An added benefit of sweet potatoes is they have anti-inflammatory properties and are soothing to the digestive tract.
- Pumpkin: See this page for more information.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is hailed by many as a cancer-fighting veggie, since it contains at least three cancer-protective biochemicals. In addition, it is rich in vitamins A, C and D, as well as beta-carotene. It is also a low glycemic vegetable, which means it does not cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels and is therefore good for diabetic dogs.
- Carrots: Carrots are super-nutritious as they are jam-packed with beta-carotene and vitamins (B, C, D, E and K), as well as a host of minerals (such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and more). All in all, carrots are excellent when it comes to boosting your dog's health.
- Spinach: Spinach is another healthy vegetable for dogs. It can boost the immune system, and is great for eye and skin health. Spinach is rich in vitamin A, iron, and calcium, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Shiitake mushrooms: Mushrooms have been found to have powerful immune-boosting and anti-cancerous properties. It's not surprising if you look at their nutritional value - They are rich in protein and fiber, as well as vitamins A, B6 and C. They also contain over 50 enzymes and a host of minerals, such as selenium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
Feeding Veggies to Dogs
There are several ways that you can feed vegetables to your dogs.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin should of course be cooked and mashed. Other veggies mentioned above (broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and carrots) should also be cooked, either by steaming or boiling. After cooking, puree the veggies for easier digestion.
Occasionally, a small whole raw carrot can be given to your dog for chewing.
Another way is if you make yourself green juice (e.g. kale, spinach, carrots), save the pulp for your dog. However, leftover pulp does not keep well, so you need to use it within a few hours, or freeze it in ice cube trays. Give your dog a cube a day as a healthy treat!
Fruits Good for Dogs
- Berries: Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries are "superfruits" and have anti-cancerous properties as they contain high levels of the antioxidant compounds, anthocyanins, which can scavenge free radicals. They also contain tannins, compounds that prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall. Therefore, they are good for preventing urinary tract infections.
- Apples: Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C. They also have powerful antioxidant properties as they are rich in polyphenols, making them an excellent cancer-fighting fruit.
- Bananas: Dogs love the sweet taste of bananas and, the good news is, bananas are nutritious and good for dogs! Bananas are rich in fiber and vitamin B6. They also contain high levels of minerals such as potassium, manganese, and copper. Despite the sweet taste, bananas are low in glycemic level.
Feeding Fruits to Dogs
Small amounts of chopped up fresh fruits can be given to dogs as a healthy treat. They can also be mixed with non-fat plain yogurt for added health benefits.
Apple sauce (non-sweetened) can be put on dog food as a "topper".
Of course, they can also be used to make different kinds of dog treats, such as biscuits, muffins, and frozen treats.