Dogs love meat – it’s in their nature – but they can also use the occasional serving of vegetables. Over the years, dogs have grown to enjoy certain vegetables, which is incredible. So, if you’re looking to add healthy treats to your dog’s diet, then you should try vegetables.
Vegetables are the best ways to enrich your dog’s food with loads of vitamins, fiber, and minerals important for their health and overall well-being.
While vegetables aren’t a necessity in a dog’s diet, they can be a healthy low, calorie treat for your pup. You can serve raw, steamed, canned vegetables but cut them into small size bites to avoid choking.
Are Vegetables Good For Dogs?
Generally, most vegetables are good for dogs. However, since dogs are omnivorous, it is advisable that their diet is between 40 to 70 percent protein (either plant-based or meat).
Therefore, vegetables should be served as a snack or an occasional treat to your dog.
Here are some of the benefits of feeding veggies to your dog:
- Source of hydration-Vegetables are loaded with high water content, hence acting as a source of hydration and keeping them full in between meals.
- Strengthens the immune system-Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other natural compounds found in plants that aid in fighting infections and diseases.
- Antioxidants- Adding green leafy vegetables to your dog’s diet may reduce the risk of cancer in some predisposed dog breeds and other issues such as kidney and liver problems.
- Weight management-Vegetables are low fat and low calorie hence perfect for weight loss for overweight dogs and for pups looking to stay in shape.
- Improve digestive health- Vegetables are a good source of fiber which promotes a healthy digestive tract and anal glad and eventually prevents constipation.
How do you prepare vegetables for dogs?
When it comes to preparing vegetables as a treat for your dog, there are different options. However, preparation methods vary depending on the type of vegetable, the way you want to feed, or just the preference of your dog.
If you’re introducing your dog to vegetables and they can’t seem to like them, you should consider switching up the method of preparation before giving up on feeding them veggies entirely.
Below are ways you can prepare vegetables for your dog;
- Whole (Raw)
Raw vegetables make the perfect treat for your dog. Not only are they easy to grab, but they are also easier to carry anywhere you’re going with your pup.
However, don’t forget to thoroughly wash vegetables before feeding them to your dog. Washing with soap will remove dirt and pesticides and kill bacteria. After cleaning, rinse properly and chop the vegetables into small pieces that will be easy for your dog to chew.
Steaming is an interesting way to prepare veggies for your dog. It is fast and easy, and the vegetables retain most nutrients. This way, your dog will get the benefits, and also the vegetables will be softer and easy to digest.
Again, clean the veggies before steaming, cut them into bite-size pieces, and when they’re cooked, run them over cold water or leave them for a few minutes to cool down before giving them to the dog.
Boiled vegetables are softer than raw and steamed. They are easier to chew and digest, especially for dogs with sensitive mouths or missing teeth.
A few points to note when preparing vegetables is to ensure that you keep them plain. Ensure there are no add-ins like butter, salt, herbs, or spices—these can give your dog an upset tummy.
You can puree your dog’s vegetables by simply blending them if your dog prefers that. Ensure that the vegetables are thoroughly washed.
Additionally, you can buy canned vegetables in a store but ensure they are plain. Most canned vegetables come with extra sodium—you don’t want your dog digesting too much salt.
The secret of vegetables for dogs is understanding what your dog prefers. Frozen vegetables are a perfect treat during summer. They will help cool your dog down in the high heat and keep them hydrated (it’s like you treating yourself to ice cream in summer).
You can prepare your dog’s favorite vegetables in large potions, cook them and freeze them. They could last 6 to 12 months.
Here are the top 5 vegetables dogs can eat during long walks or mixed in with their favorite kibble;
1. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, and chard are all okay for your furry friend. These vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron, and potassium.
They are rich in glucosinolates which inhibit the growth of certain cancers. On the other hand, they are high in fiber which provides roughage for digestion. Ensure to introduce new foods slowly to minimize stomach upsets due to the high fiber.
Just like humans, leafy vegetables are highly nutritious when consumed raw. However, you can always steam and bake them for your furry friend.
Usually, most dogs enjoy eating carrots because they are crunchy and sweet. However, avoid giving carrots to your dog if he/she is diabetic since they have high sugar content.
Carrots are an excellent source of soluble fiber and beta-carotene, which produces Vitamin A that is great for eyesight, strengthens the immune system, and also conditions the skin.
The crunchy nature of carrots acts as a natural toothbrush as it helps eliminate plaque build-up and overall clean the teeth leaving your pup with a fresh breath.
You can give raw carrots or lightly steam them for easier. Ensure to cut them into bite-size pieces to prevent choking.
Is your pet looking to lose a few pounds or stay in shape? Then try feeding cucumbers as snacks between their meals. These vegetables are low in carbs and rich in nutrients, for example, Vitamins K, C, and B1, and minerals like potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.
Wash cucumbers before feeding them to your dog and cut them into small pieces depending on the size of your dog.
Pumpkin has all the minerals, vitamins, and fibers that your pup needs. This vegetable is very high in fiber that alleviates diarrhea (the fiber thickens the stool by absorbing the water) and constipation (fiber contains mild laxative effects—this will make it easier for your pup to pass stool). Pumpkin is also rich in antioxidants, which are great for preventing severe internal organ conditions.
The easiest and the best way to give pumpkin to your best friend is to scoop some canned pumpkin. Just ensure that it’s plain and not mixed with spices.
If you have a raw pumpkin, lightly cook it to give your dog the best experience. A few tablespoons of fresh, steamed pumpkin added into dog food gives it some moisture without adding too many calories to the meal.
Broccoli is an overlooked cruciferous vegetable by dog owners. The vegetable is related to other dog-friendly leafy greens.
Broccoli is a high-protein vegetable that also contains a lot of fiber. Broccoli has high levels of vitamin K for blood support, vitamin C for immunity, vitamin E for healthy skin and coat, and vitamin B6, which supports brain and nervous system function.
Broccoli also has chromium which helps dogs regulate their blood sugar and manage their weight. It has low-fat content, which makes it an excellent treat for dogs who need to lose a few pounds.
While broccoli is good, please feed it to your pooch in moderation. Like other cruciferous veggies, it contains a compound called isothiocyanates that can cause gastric irritation when too much is fed. This can range from mild to severe, depending on your dog. The result is often the dog having gas (which can be more of a problem for your nose than for the dog).
You can serve the broccoli raw or cooked. Dogs often prefer it raw, but you can steam and salt it. Serve in bite-sized chunks to prevent choking, depending on the size of your dog.
Dogs can enjoy the occasional vegetable. There’s a wide variety of veggies you can feed to your pooch and a variety of ways to prepare them. Switch up the type of veggies and the mode of preparation to keep your dog interested in the veggies.
Veggies have significant health benefits for dogs. However, it’s important to practice moderation to prevent gastric irritation from some vegetables.
If you haven’t fed vegetables to your dog, grab a couple and start today. Observe how your dog reacts, so you identify what they like and what they don’t.