Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber and if you’re a human you probably already know the importance of getting your nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But what about your canine best friend? What are the best vegetables for dogs?
With increasing concern about preservatives and other harmful chemicals in commercial dog foods, more dog owners are preparing their dog’s food at home from scratch. As long as a dog is being supplied with a well balanced diet, this may be a safer option than giving them standard, non-organic dog foods.
Although some would argue that vegetables are not a necessary component of a dog’s diet, vegetables supply disease preventing phytochemicals that your dogs may not be able to get from other sources. Plus, many of the positive benefits of vegetable consumption were noted through animal studies. Although vegetables aren’t a required component in a dog’s diet, the phytochemicals found in such abundance in vegetables may help to prevent some of the chronic diseases seen in dogs just as they do in humans.
When you’re considering the best vegetables for your dog’s diet, it’s important to be aware of ones that are potentially harmful to dogs. Two that should be avoided are garlic and onions since they’re known to cause anemia in dogs if consumed in high enough concentration. Other vegetables that can potentially have adverse effects on dogs include avocados, tomatoes, and wild mushrooms.
The other problem with feeding vegetables to dogs is they may have problems digesting them. To make them more digestive system friendly, cook them by steaming in a steamer. Using the steam method will preserve more of the healthy nutrients and phytochemicals than most other cooking methods will. If your dog appears hesitant to eat the vegetables you place in his bowl, try pureeing them in a blender before adding them to his food bowl. Limit vegetables to no more than a quarter of your dog’s food intake a day and serve them along with a high quality source of protein.
The best vegetables for dogs from the standpoint of health benefits would be the cruciferous ones such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, although these are some of the most difficult to digest. Always serve these vegetables cooked to increase digestibility. You can also serve your dog cooked green beans, zucchini, and squash as well as green, leafy vegetables such as spinach. It’s probably best to avoid the higher glycemic vegetables such as potatoes since they’re more limited in health value and may help to promote weight gain. It’s best to add vegetables to your dog’s diet gradually since sudden dietary changes can precipitate stomach upset or diarrhea.
Now that you know the best vegetables for dogs, why not see which ones your dog prefers?