Most of the time, people think that it’s fine to feed their dogs with meat and nothing else. But what they don’t realize is that dogs are omnivores that can reap many health benefits from a balanced diet. Whether you use commercial dog food or make your pup a great snack from raw vegetables, knowing more about the best vegetables for dogs will surely help dog owners.
Outlined below is everything you need to know.
Why You Should Give Vegetables to Dogs
If you’re a new fur parent, you might be wondering how using vegetables would help improve your dog’s meal. Of course, your pup already has dog treats as well as balanced wet and dry dog foods to keep it healthy, so what more does it need? However, nutritious vegetables can provide your pooch with many benefits apart from being a healthy snack.
Adding new vegetables to your dog’s food is a great way to spice up their regular food which can get boring when repeated day after day. While your pup might not like every vegetable you give them, you can bring something new to the table by adding pureed veggies, making a stew, or cutting up vegetables to incorporate into their frozen treats. Each food item is a sensory delight to your canine pal, delivering a new smell, taste, and texture that will intrigue them.
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, iron, and more. Adding them to your dog’s diet can aid your dog’s digestive system, cover their daily dietary fiber needs, and prevent cell damage, making them perfectly healthy treats for your pet dog.
We know that our dogs love food and treats; packaged meals will often contain little nutritional value and a lot of calories that may lead to weight gain. These will also contain ingredients that may result in an upset stomach, while fresh vegetables offer a low-calorie snack that won’t come with a list of ingredients for you to check.
Providing your dogs with bite-sized pieces of vegetables is a great addition to their daily dog food and is the best way to keep your pup feeling full while keeping their calorie intake down. This can be very helpful if your furry friend needs to lose some weight and can encourage them to eat fewer kibbles than they’re used to.
However, you’ll also need to know which vegetables aren’t safe for dogs since some will be poisonous or entirely unsuitable for them. Below, we share some of the best vegetables dogs can eat, along with a few that should be avoided when you shop for your pup.
Best Canine-Friendly Vegetables
Here are a few dog-friendly vegetables that offer a wide range of essential nutrients and make for a tasty treat.
Raw carrots are packed with vitamin A in the form of Beta Carotene, so you won’t have to worry about giving them too much of it. Carrots provide a healthy dose of vitamin K, while it’s also a good source of fiber. Because carrots are already incorporated into all kinds of dog food, they can be easily added to your dog’s home-cooked meals for a more balanced diet.
You can also give carrot juice to your dog — this will give them something to drink apart from water that’s packed with important vitamins while keeping them hydrated. Other fur parents mix carrot juice with kibbles to soften them up and add a splash of flavor for a great treat. Finally, chilled carrots can also provide a refreshing snack during hot days.
2. Green Beans
Full of Vitamin C, A, and K, along with several B-complex vitamins and a moderate amount of protein, making them a great addition to a dog’s diet. They’re also a great source of fiber, and can quickly firm up dog waste, although these may take on a green-to-blue color. Luckily, most dogs will like the way these taste, plus they’re easy to cook — simply boil or steam them until they’re soft.
Look for raw or frozen green beans instead of canned options to make sure that your pet doesn’t consume a bunch of salt. A lot of dogs will be happy to eat them as they are and can be used as a treat, or you can also mix them into homemade recipes for your pooch, or you may add them to dry and wet dog food.
These cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins K, C, and B1, along with phytonutrients that help to improve your pet’s diet and overall health. You might want to look into red cabbage as well since they provide dogs with a good source of potassium, copper, manganese, and fiber while being safe to eat. But before you feed cabbage to your dogs, remember to only feed them in moderation because they can make your fur baby gassy.
Moreover, raw cabbage contains thiocyanate, a compound that could suppress the thyroid gland. This can lead to hypothyroidism if your dog consumes too much, so be sure to feed them small amounts of cabbage.
Plenty of dogs just love how celery sticks have a high water content and explode with water while they’re chewing on the crunchy texture it offers. Some dog owners also feel that celery stalks improve their puppy’s teeth, but this hasn’t been proven just yet. But what we do know is that celery is an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and K, along with many B-complex vitamins.
Contrary to popular belief, they don’t have a high fiber content but they sure make for a wonderful treat for dogs. While there’s no need to cook celery, be sure to give it a wash before serving it to your dogs. You can even slather some peanut butter to make it extra special or cut them into small pieces for a great snack.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Much like humans, dogs don’t get excited at the sight of Brussels sprouts, but they can benefit just as much as we do from a serving since these are dog-friendly and carry important nutrients. An excellent source of fiber, Brussel sprouts also contain vitamins A, C, and K, as well as various kinds of vitamin B-complex. While any kind of oil-free cooking method will work for this vegetable, the best way to prepare them is through steaming.
But like all cruciferous vegetables, these can make your pooch highly gassy. This won’t be a problem if your pup has no trouble eliminating the gas, but you may need to leave your home. Being unable to expel these gases could lead to stomach issues, so be sure to feed your dog small quantities of Brussels sprouts to avoid digestive upset.
6. White Potatoes
Both humans and dogs love potatoes and for good reason — these can be easily incorporated into a wide variety of meals for our pets, including homemade and commercial foods. While potatoes may not seem like an actual vegetable in a sense, your dog will simply love the taste and texture they bring into a meal. They might not be as nutritious as the other options in this list, potatoes carry both vitamin C and vitamin B6 in moderate amounts.
As long as they’re prepared properly by cutting them up and boiling them, they shouldn’t present any problems. It’s not safe to feed your dog potato chips or raw potatoes and make sure that you only give small portions since they may cause a spike in insulin.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Also known as yams, sweet potatoes provide large amounts of nutrition that are perfect for dogs. Containing just about every kind of vitamin that your pooch needs aside from vitamin D, they’re also a good source of fiber which encourages a healthy digestive tract. Unlike white potatoes, these won’t cause insulin spikes in your precious pet.
Fortunately, most dogs already love the taste of sweet potatoes, and can be added to literally any kind of recipe, both commercial and homemade. All you need to do is cut and boil them before serving them to your dogs in smaller pieces or as a vegetable mash. It’s also best not to add seasonings, salt, or fats to sweet potatoes to prevent stomach upset.
Unfortunately, raw broccoli is yet another cruciferous vegetable that can turn your pooch into a farting hazard if given in large quantities. Even so, these are healthy dog vegetables packed with all the good things your dog needs, such as folic acid and potassium, as well as vitamins B, C, and K. These can work wonders for your dog’s immune system, and bone density, and may even help protect against heart disease.
Remember to cut the broccoli into small pieces because smaller dogs may be prone to choking on the stalks. Alternatively, you can also use small broccoli florets but be sure to steam or boil them for a few minutes for easier digestion and a better taste. Again, don’t give your pup too much broccoli to avoid adverse reactions apart from gas.
While not technically a vegetable, Pumpkins are used as such in the culinary world. They are packed full of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, while also being a good source of antioxidants. It’s also helpful for canines that suffer from diarrhea since its high fiber content can firm up loose stool.
To start using pumpkin, just cut them into cubes and leave them to boil — their cooked seeds may also be fed to your little pumpkin. Both canned pumpkin and pureed pumpkin can also be mixed into your dog’s dry or wet food, provided that you don’t add flavorings, fats, or spices. Another good thing you can do with it is to serve them as a chilled mash for a treat during summer days.
Veggies to Avoid
While we’re primarily focused on safe vegetables for your puppy, it’s also important to discuss a few veggies that have no business being in your dog’s food bowl. While some of these will only cause minor stomach upset in dogs, a few of them are dangerous enough to warrant an emergency trip to your vet. Either way, there are plenty of foods and vegetables that you can safely give to your pet, so it’s not worth pushing your luck with the options below.
While these leafy greens aren’t dangerous in small quantities, they contain huge amounts of oxalic acid. Over time, this substance can cause kidney issues, so it’s a vegetable that’s best avoided when it comes to our best friends.
These green leafy vegetables aren’t actually toxic to dogs. However, they can cause diarrhea, and most kinds of lettuce (including romaine lettuce) don’t have much nutritional value to give anyway, so it’s better to limit them. The only time you might want to use them is for shredding activities, where big chunks of lettuce or cabbage are suitable.
Garlic, Onions, Shallots, Leeks, and Chives
Containing organosulfur compounds, all of these vegetables are toxic to canines. Even in small amounts, they can damage the red blood cells of all dogs, where Akitas and all other Japanese breeds are particularly vulnerable to these members of the Allium plant family. You may see garlic in small amounts inside some dog foods, but it’s better to avoid them altogether.
These contain oxalates, organic compounds that may cause nervous system problems or kidney stones in dogs. When eaten in big quantities, rhubarb may even lower the amount of calcium inside your dog’s bones, which can lead to a decrease in bone density.
While not a true vegetable, these edible fungi will often be located in the same area. Mushrooms bought from the grocery store such as portobellos and buttons will pose no threat to dogs, but wild mushrooms encountered during walks should never enter your pup’s mouth. These are toxic and can be found all over the country, so make sure to protect your dog from them to eliminate the possibility of weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Choose the Best Vegetables for Dogs
Some dogs will be more accepting of vegetables than others, so don’t take it against your pooch if they decline the roots and greens in their bowl. As long as you provide them with a well-balanced meal — a good rule of thumb is to slowly incorporate vegetables into their food in small portions to help them adjust to their new diet. It’s also a good idea to follow the guidelines set by the American Kennel Club to ensure that your dog is getting its daily dietary needs.