Dogs often have a special love for ‘people food,’ but most of them are bad for your dog. It may seem unfair at times; all you want to do is share all the delicious foods you eat with your best friend, but you can’t even do that lest you ruin their health. Luckily, there’s one type of food that’s good for people and dogs alike. Feeding your best friend the best vegetables for dogs will not only improve their health, it will also make them love you more.
There are a number of vets and animal care specialists who would not advise that you feed vegetables to your dog. But there seems to be no solid proof to back up this claim of theirs. After all, canines used to feast on vegetables in the wild before they were tamed by humans. You can even confirm this by checking that the dog is not a full carnivore, but an herbivore-carnivore species. Feeding them vegetables is certainly a much better way to ensure their health than say, feeding them commercially-processed dry dog food.
If you’ve decided that you would like to lower your dog’s intake of dry dog food and start feeding them something that’s closer to their natural diet, you’ve come to the right place. To erase your doubt, we will first explain the benefits of feeding your dog vegetables. Afterwards, we’ll list the 10 vegetables which have the best effect on a dog’s health and explain the best ways to serve those leafy greens to your dog.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Vegetables
Before we go on to roll out our list of the best vegetables for dogs, some of the reasons why we believe you will be doing your dog a lot more good by including vegetables in their diet:
- Vegetables help in the balancing of alkalinity and acidity in the dog’s body
- Vegetables provide a wide range of nutrients (proteins, fats, and oils, carbohydrates and fiber) which are all readily available for use in the dog’s body
- Vegetables constitute a good source of natural hydration
- Vegetables (especially raw ones) contain high vitamin content
- Vegetables (especially the dark, leafy ones) are a good source of minerals
- Phytonutrients (which comprises of enzymes and antioxidants) can only be found in vegetables
- Vegetables can provide the dog with enzymes to aid digestion processes
- Vegetables are a huge source of much healthier fiber than that which is obtained from grains
- Vegetables help in the prevention and treatment of diseases, among other things.
Vegetables that May Cause an Allergic Reaction
Having mentioned all the benefits that going green can provide for your dog, care also has to be taken in choosing the best vegetables for dogs with allergies.
As a standing rule, there are some vegetables that you should not give to your beloved canine. Even if Bingo doesn’t seem to have any noticeable allergies, make sure you exclude the following choices when mixing that sumptuous veggie meal:
- Cabbage (unless in moderation). Vegetables that belong to the cabbage family have been known to cause thyroid depression. While we are not against feeding them to your dog, discretion is highly advised.
- Potatoes (especially with the skin on). It is generally better to not include potatoes (especially if the skin is still green), peas and all other starchy vegetables.
Top 10 Best Vegetables for Dogs
What are the best vegetables for dogs? That’s the question that we promised we would answer for you in this article. Now that we’ve gone over the things you need to pay attention to before you feed vegetables to your dogs, coming back to the theme of today’s post, we will discuss the best vegetables for a dog’s health:
Can’t get your kids to scoop up the last of their green beans from their plate? Don’t worry–you’ll probably have much more success with your dog anyway.
Aside from the fact that green beans are a good source of essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, and potassium, it also helps supply vitamins (such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K) to the dog’s body. That is not to forget the presence of the omega-3 fatty acids which are as essential to your dog’s body as the rest of the nutrients.
We know how important this can be for us, but how about how important it can be for your dog too? While you would need to watch your dog’s spinach consumption (because of its relatively high iron content), the leafy vegetable would him/her build resistance against terminal diseases such as cancer and heart complications.
This is a little ambiguous because there are a number of bell peppers out there. The good news is that your dog can feed on nearly any one of these and not suffer from any side effects.
Bell peppers are often considered an ideal vegetable for dogs due to their high level of fiber, carotene, and anti-oxidant content. To help your dog benefit from the aforementioned nutrients, slice up the pepper into reasonably small pieces. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the stem from the body.
Asparagus is an excellent source of the Vitamin B family. A single diet of asparagus for your dog ensures that they get their fill of Vitamins B1 and B2, both of which usually come accompanied by Vitamins A, C, E, and K. Of course, the leafy vegetable also contains a good mix of minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, and potassium.
Think not what Broccoli can do for you, but what broccoli can do for your dog. Being high in vitamin C and fiber, broccoli takes the good news a notch higher by being rather low in fat. The perfect mix, don’t you say? Broccoli is also a container of phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are responsible for the halting and breaking down of carcinogens in the body. This keeps them from causing harm to the normal cells.
While this is a safe option for dogs, care should be taken that they don’t consume it in rather large quantities. Like we have mentioned above, some dogs might be allergic to vegetables such as this. There are known cases of esophagus blockage and/or gastric irritation in some dogs due to the intake of broccoli. You might want to get a green light from your vet on this one first.
Lettuce goes a long way in balancing your dog’s diet. On top of the vitamins and minerals that they provide for your dog’s body, this vegetable contains a sizeable amount of water—and not just any kind of water, but the healthy and natural kind that is stored in plants.
This water aids your dog’s digestive system by boosting the effectiveness of the removal of waste particles through their alimentary canal. To make lettuce easier for your dog to eat, you should cut the leaves up into smaller parts. If your dog lives on a dry dog food diet, you could serve slices of lettuce with it to add some moisture and to balance the meal out.
Crunching on raw carrots is an interesting exercise for humans. This low-calorie snack is also a darling for your dog’s health. Munching on this little stick of goodness may improve the overall health of your dog’s teeth. Cleaning the teeth, improving the gum, and the freshening of the dog’s breath are only some of the many reasons why carrots stand out.
Carrots also produce a sizeable amount of Vitamins A and C. To cap it off, the mineral content of carrot (calcium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, and magnesium) makes it an important supporting factor for the dog’s immune system. A good number of dogs would prefer to devour their carrots raw. If, for any reason, yours doesn’t, slightly boil the carrots.
With celery, you can improve Bingo’s chances of landing a date, as the vegetable is known to freshen the dog’s breath. That is not the only reason why it made this list though. Celery is a proven source of the Vitamins A, B and C. Probably where it gets more interesting is when you learn that this simple vegetable can help your dog fight off cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
Celery also contains phytochemicals (the 3-n-butyl type) which are confirmed to be an active help in the reduction of the risk of tumor. Before serving celery to the dog, make sure to remove the leaves from the stalk and give them only the latter.
We should warn you at this point that unless you don’t mind having to live with a gassy dog, don’t overfeed them with Brussel sprouts. If you feed them in moderation, Brussel sprouts are great because they come with a load of antioxidants and nutrients.
Some of those nutrients are listed as Vitamins A, B1, B6, K and, for the first time on this list, the vitamin G. The fiber content in the sprouts is also worthy of note. Other minerals such as manganese and potassium are also present in the vegetable.
Asides from the repeated benefits of vegetables that you might have been seeing time and again in the course of this article, cauliflower is another great addition that is worthy of your dog’s diet.
Not mentioning the vitamins C, K, and B6 content, your dog gets access to a natural source of folate and choline when they have a bite of this vegetable.
The Healthiest Ways to Serve Your Dogs Vegetables
Before you start feeding the vegetables to your dog, it is better to consult with your vet first to see if they’ve got any pointers for you. It is expected that they be more conversant with the dog’s medical history than you are, so they could know something you don’t. After you’ve consulted the vet and then made the decision to go ahead with feeding them the veggies, you need to always remember that:
You should serve the vegetables raw
Your dog might enjoy you preparing their vegetables in a variety of ways, but you should consider feeding it to them raw. That ensures you can get the maximum benefits from it across to the dog.
Likewise, you don’t risk adding something that would set off your dog’s allergy while processing it. On special occasions, you could give your dog a treat by processing their veggies, but don’t let your furry little friend get used to it.
Your dog might not be able to tell you this, but they would find the veggies much easier to digest if it were pulverized in some way first. That you have chopped or grated the vegetables might still not make it an easy digest. You should crush/blend them instead. Also, make sure you have removed all seeds in sight before you allow your dog to dive into any kind of vegetable—pulverized or not.
Make sure it’s ripe
Last, but not least, you need to ensure you’re feeding your pet ripe vegetables and fruits. You know how unripe fruits cause diarrhea in the human system?
Well, turns out your dog can suffer from the same fate too.
The list above contains most of those vegetables that we have found to be the best for all kinds of dogs. Chances are, you’ll see a healthier dog after you’ve introduced some vegetables into their diet. To be on the safer side, observe the behavior of your dog after they have eaten some vegetables.
We have said this before, and we will say it again. There are some vegetables that should not, in any case, be fed to your dog. There are some which would be tolerated by a lot of dogs but for some reason, would not be by your dog. So be careful about which type of vegetables you’re feeding them and make sure you’re aware that you don’t want to overfeed the dog with veggies.
Keep vegetable consumption to about 10% of total daily food consumption. Afterwards, take note of their skin, daily routines and even, stools. That would help you nip any issue in the bud before it becomes something serious.
While feeding your dog veggies, you can also be creative. We have advised that the best way to offer the vegetables to your dog is raw. However, there are a variety of other options you can explore. You can boil, steam, bake, slice, dice the vegetables, and what have you.
Enough reading. Time to start doing. Let us know how your dog fares, or how it’s been faring (for those who have already gone green). See you in the comments’ section!