Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants … and a powerful source of dietary fiber for your dog. Consider making them a part of your dog’s daily diet.
Why Do Dogs Need Vegetables?
While some raw feeders believe dogs don’t need vegetables and can exist on meat alone … there are many good reasons to include fresh veggies in your dog’s meals.
- Help to reduce inflammation by alkalizing your dog’s body
- Are nutritionally diverse
- Are a source of water to maintain hydration
- Contain phytonutrients that are only found in fruits and vegetables
- Are rich in vitamins and dense in minerals
- Provide antioxidants that protect your dog against free radicals
- Deliver enzymes that help your dog digest food
- Are rich in health-boosting fiber
- Can reduce the risk of cancer by as much as 90%
Dogs also eat vegetables in the wild (whether fresh or in their prey’s gut contents). Vegetables and fruit should make up about 10% of your dog’s balanced diet.
What Are The Best Veggies For Dogs?
These are just a few of the veggies that are good for dogs …
Asparagus is a fiber-rich vegetable that contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and it’s a great source of potassium. It’s best to remove the tough outside layer to make it easier for your dog to absorb the many nutrients asparagus offers.
Broccoli And Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a rich source of a substance called sulforaphane, which can help protect your dog against cancer. Broccoli is high in antioxidants that control harmful free radicals and help manage inflammation. And it’s high in fiber that supports gut health. It contains nutrients that help the liver with detoxification. And broccoli sprouts are even more nutritionally dense than full-grown broccoli.
Brussels sprouts are another cruciferous veggie that’s an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants. Introduce them slowly to your dog’s diet so the high fiber doesn’t upset his stomach.
Caution: If your dog is hypothyroid, feed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or kale in moderation. Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are goitrogenic, meaning too much of these veggies can cause the thyroid to enlarge. They’re still safe to give your dog for their powerful health benefits … but feed them lightly steamed, not raw.
Carrots are great for improving eyesight, preventing disease, and promoting digestive health. They’re not very digestible raw, so if you give raw carrots as treats, your dog may not benefit from the nutrients. But raw grated carrot can help eliminate worms in your dog. Root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes have higher sugar content so don’t overdo carrots.
RELATED: How to get rid of worms naturally …
Mushrooms are one of the best foods to give your dog. More than just a healthy vegetable, mushrooms are a powerful medicinal food that has immune-boosting properties that can help prevent and even treat cancer. Even regular grocery store mushrooms are good for your dog … but medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, or turkey tail deliver true healing properties.
Caution: Don’t let your dog eat wild mushrooms as many are toxic. Avoid all wild mushroom species unless you’re an expert forager!
RELATED: Read more about mushrooms for dogs …
Celery can help freshen your dog’s breath and is low calorie with high fiber content, so it’s often suggested to help dogs lose weight. It’s also a great immune system booster, detoxifier, and source of calcium, iron, fiber, potassium and other vitamins.
Leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and swiss chard are highly nutritious sources of a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and gut-healthy fiber. They also have high amounts of chlorphyll, a green pigment that’s anti-cancer and helps with detoxification. Dog with kidney or bladder stone issues shouldn’t eat a lot of leafy vegetables because of the calcium oxalate content.
Don’t let people tell you garlic is toxic for dogs. It’s an excellent medicinal food in the right amounts. It’s antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and has immune-stimulating and anti-cancer, and heart-health benefits. It can help protect your dog from fleas as well.
Green beans are a popular low-calorie vegetable for dogs, and many people feed them for weight management. They’re rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. When it’s hot out, some dogs enjoy frozen green beans as a nice, crunchy treat.
Bell peppers, especially red ones, are a great source of vitamin C, with 4 times more of it than you’ll find in an orange. It also contains the antioxidant lutein, that’s great for eye health, and quercetin, which can help manage dog allergies. However, use caution with peppers as they’re nightshades and can aggravate inflammatory conditions like arthritis (see note below).
How To Prepare Vegetables For Dogs
First, always buy organic vegetables if you can … especially veggies like spinach and kale that are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of produce with high levels of pesticides.
Raw vegetables can be indigestible for dogs, so it’s best to mulch or purée them in a blender or food processor … or give them lightly steamed. Add them to your dog’s food, or if he really loves his veggies, give lightly steamed vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces as treats.
Always introduce a small amount of each new veggie to start, then gradually increase the amount as long as your dog tolerates it well. Overall, veggies and fruit should be about 10% of your dog’s balanced diet.
Even if you feed kibble, commercial dog foods aren’t a good way to get your dog healthy nutrients … so add some extra vegetables to your dog’s meals anyway!
Which Vegetables Are Bad For Your Dog?
Don’t give your dog veggies from the onion family. Onions, leeks, chives, scallions, and shallots can all be toxic for dogs. They contain a compound called N-propyl disulfide that can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.
Vegetables in the nightshade family are potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. While peppers are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, always use caution with nightshade vegetables. They contain a substance called solanine, which can increase inflammation and may be toxic to some dogs. So if your dog has arthritis or another inflammatory disease, avoid nightshades for him.
Use caution with legumes like peas, lentils, chickpeas, and various types of beans. Legumes are a source of protein … but those proteins include lectins which interfere with your dog’s absorption of nutrients. And many legumes are sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate just before harvesting. Glyphosate is a known animal carcinogen that also damages the gut and immune health.
If your dog doesn’t eat veggies, it’s time to start giving him the nutritional benefit of these foods now … and he may even learn to love his greens!
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