June 16th is National Fresh Veggies Day and June 17th is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, so to commemorate these two day, we would like to cover 10 vegetables that make healthy treats for dogs. Vegetables can act as a great supplement to a dog’s diet, providing numerous healthy nutrients, vitamins, and dietary fibers. Just like with humans, the addition of vitamins and minerals have positive effects on health, like promoting a boost to your dog’s immune system, vision, and even cardiovascular function. It is important to remember that dogs are primarily carnivorous; thus, needing the majority of their diet to be meat products. Any large change in your dog’s diet can lead to digestive issues. It is important to consult a veterinarian when making any major changes to your dog’s diet or eating habits. If your dog does not care for eating vegetables and you are still looking to supplement additional vitamins and nutrients, check out our multi-vitamin chewable.
Carrots are a great choice because not only are they packed with vitamins, but they also make for a great dental cleaner when served raw. Carrots are a low-calorie snack that is also high in fiber and contains beta-carotene, Vitamin K, potassium, and Vitamin B6. The beta-carotene in carrots is also beneficial for your dog’s eye health by decreasing the chance of eye infections. Carrots can be served raw or cooked. While it’s true that raw carrots are good for dental health, cooked carrots increase the absorption rate of the beta-carotene nutrients. Ultimately, the benefits you are wanting for your dog may determine the method of preparation.
2. Green Beans
Green beans serve as a vegetable option for those dogs looking to lose a few pounds. They are low in calories, but are full of dietary fibers that help keep your dog feeling full, as well as iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Green beans can be served raw, steamed, or canned. It is important that when purchasing canned green beans for your dog, be mindful of the sodium content. We recommend purchasing low-sodium or sodium free green beans as opposed to regular canned green beans. High levels of sodium can be harmful to your canine companion.
Celery, like carrots, is an ideal treat that has vitamins and nutrients, but is also great for your dogs’ dental health. Celery is known for aiding in cleaning of teeth while also freshening their breath. Celery contains vitamins A, B, and C, as well as large amounts of dietary fiber. Celery can be served raw or cooked. Raw celery has the added dental benefits, but let it be known that cooked celery can be easier to chew and digest, especially in older dogs.
Do you have a dog that is overweight? Well, perhaps you may want to consider supplementing your dogs’ diet with cucumbers. Cucumbers contain very little carbs, fats, or oils, but are loaded with vitamins and minerals. You can find vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin. Cucumbers also contain antioxidants that offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Older or working and/or sporting dogs can stand to benefit greatly from vegetables with such properties, as it can be an effective treatment for minor joint pain and arthritis. Cucumbers can be served raw or cooked, but as with many vegetables, cooking can destroy some of the nutrients. You may be wondering, “If cucumbers are good, then so are pickles right?” Unfortunately, no, pickles are not recommended for dogs due to their high sodium contents in addition to the spices used during the pickling process.
Broccoli is best in small quantities and as an occasional treat. Broccoli contains a large variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and C, potassium, calcium, iron, and dietary fibers. Broccoli contains isothiocyanates, which can cause a mild to severe gastric irritation in some dogs, so it is important to only introduce broccoli in small amounts and monitor your dog for potential side effects afterward. Broccoli stalks can also be a choking hazard, so it is important to trim properly being serving. Broccoli can be given to your dog raw or steamed, though it is most popular to serve steamed. You can also roast broccoli, but this can cause unfavorable digestion issues.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber and contain vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as manganese, and are rich in antioxidant beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes are also low in fat. Be sure to never feed a raw sweet potato to your dog, as they are difficult to chew, can cause intestinal blockage, and upset your dog’s stomach. You should also skin the sweet potatoes because skins are more difficult for your dog to digest. It is important to cook the sweet potato so that it is soft to reduce any risk of choking, especially in dogs that consume their food quickly with little chewing. Offer your dog sweet potatoes in moderation, as too much can cause several health issues. Like with humans, too much of a good thing can end up being harmful.
7. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that contains beneficial levels of folate, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and phosphorus, while also having high amounts of dietary fibers. Butternut squash has the ability to improve dog’s digestion if they are suffering from issues like diarrhea and also help keep their coat healthy and shiny. Butternut squash can be fed raw or cooked, but it is important to remove all seeds or skins, as these can lead to digestive obstruction. If you want to serve cooked squash, you can either steam or roast the squash, but do not season the squash in preparation for cooking. Most common spices and seasonings are toxic to your canine friends. These added flavorings that people love are unfortunately known to cause gastrointestinal irritation that could develop into vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, while others can have damaging effects to your dog’s nervous system and red blood cells. Thankfully, butternut squash and many other vegetables listed within this article have a naturally sweet taste that dogs love.
Beets, in moderation, make a great supplemental food because they are high in folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. The combination of nutrients contained in beets helps dog’s digestion and support healthy skin and coat. Beets, unlike most other vegetables on this list, do require some prep work before feeding them to your dog. Beets should be washed and peeled. Most people then slice the beets and either bake, roast, or dehydrate them before serving to their dog. They can be eaten raw, but that is generally not recommended. The taste of beets isn’t for every dog, so don’t be surprised if your dog doesn’t care much for them. Beets also contain oxalic acid, like spinach, which in high amounts can cause kidney damage and reduces the digestive system’s ability to absorb calcium. Do not let this scare you away from offering your dog beets though. Remember: Moderation is key.
Spinach is a vegetable that is packed full of vitamins and minerals that are great for your dog’s health. These include potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, folic acid, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins B6, B9, C, K, and E. One thing to keep in mind with spinach is that it contains oxalic acid, which in large amounts blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can cause kidney damage. However, larger dogs would need to eat very large amounts for this to become a problem. Spinach is best served cooked or steamed, as it aids with the digestion. It is important to introduce spinach slowly because it can cause digestive issues, especially if your dog’s digestive system is not used to consuming spinach.
Kale, which is referred to by most as a superfood, is often talked about as a top vegetable supplement for dogs. At first glance, kale contains vitamins K and A, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fibers. Please note though that kale, much like spinach and beets, also includes oxalic acid that reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can cause kidney damage. Kale, also like broccoli, contains isothiocyanates that have been found to potentially cause gastric irritation. When feeding kale, it is important to not have kale plus broccoli, spinach, or beets make up more than 10 percent of the daily intake. It’s estimated that any more than this can lead to health issues and more than 25 percent is considered toxic. Kale can be served raw, steamed, and cooked. Upon cooking, kale undergoes changes to its flavor. Depending on the way it has been prepared, you may find that your dog might not enjoy the taste.
Vegetables to Avoid:
Here is a quick list of vegetables that are off the menu for your dog and should never be consumed due to the toxicity and resulting health complications:
Raw or Green Potatoes
There is a vast array of dog-friendly vegetables that make for a great supplement to your dog’s carnivorous diet. These vegetables often provide a variety of nutrients and vitamins that promote overall health and wellness could possibly be lacking in some dog foods. If you want to offer your dog something that could help boost their immune system, alleviate minor aches and pains from age, or aid in digestive health issues, look no further than your refrigerator. As a reminder, some aforementioned vegetables also provide dental benefits when given raw. It is important that you do your research before feeding your dog any vegetables, introduce vegetables in small amounts, and also be mindful of any adverse reactions to a new diet. You should always consult a veterinarian before making any large dietary changes or if any adverse reactions result from consumption of vegetables.
What is your dog’s favorite vegetable snack? Tell us in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.
- Michael Cassatt, Director of Marketing
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