Vegetables Your Dog Can Eat!
"Eat your vegetables!"
How many times do we say this to our kids? We all know that vegetables are full of nutrients that a body needs to grow and be healthy. But does your dog need these same nutrients in their diet to be healthy as well?
The answer is yes! Dogs are naturally omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat and plants. Of course, the vast majority of commercial dog foods are made with fruits and vegetables in addition to meat and other proteins, so they already contain all of the nutrients that your dog needs for a healthy diet. However, adding extra vegetables to your dog's diet won't hurt, so go ahead and mix some in with their dinner for an enticing meal or serve them up as a healthy snack!
But before rushing out to the local farmer's market or grocery store to load up on vegetables for your dog, let's go over what vegetables dogs can and can't have. Also, remember that even healthy snacks like vegetables should be given in moderation.
Safe and Healthy Vegetables for your Dog
According to Dr. Sarah Lynn Wallace, DVM, vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals, and provide a good amount of fiber to help dogs feel full in between meals. Most vegetables are low in fat and many can be a great source of extra protein. In general, vegetables have beneficial effects on your dog's blood sugar levels, helps healthy intestinal bacteria to thrive, and promotes regular bathroom habits. Despite all of the positive benefits of vegetables, Dr. Wallace does warn against over-feeding as even too much of a good thing can cause bloat and lead to stomach aches and intestinal issues for your dog.
Here is a list of some healthy vegetable choices to feed your dogs:
Asparagus is loaded with vitamins and minerals and is a great source of antioxidants, which can help control inflammation and relieve pain in your dog's body.
Both broccoli and cauliflower are rich in vitamins and high in fiber. These are important for digestion, metabolism, skin, coat, and blood health in dogs.
Packed with vitamins, Brussels sprouts also contain Omega 3 fatty acids. They help to create healthy intestinal bacteria and to fight inflammation for dogs.
These crunchy orange snacks aren't just for rabbits! Carrots are a great source of soluble fiber, beta-carotene, and Vitamin A. Carrots offer benefits to a dog's vision, bone and tooth growth, immune system function, and skin health.
Stalks of celery are rich in fiber and contain some levels of vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of natural electrolytes, which support balanced water levels in the cells. Additionally, celery contains antioxidants to help fight inflammation.
Green beans have a very high content of vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of protein and fiber. Overall, green beans provide much of the nutrients that dogs need in their diet, thus they are often used in homemade dog food diets.
Similarly to green beans, kale is very nutrient rich and packed with vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it is loaded with powerful antioxidants so it is great for inflammation in dogs.
Although small in stature, peas are loaded with healthy vitamins, protein, and are a good source of fiber. Because of this, peas are a great snack or topper to help dogs feel more full and avoid overeating and obesity.
Another nutrient dense option, spinach contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals and is a great source of soluble fiber. It is good for eye health and battling inflammation in dogs.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins, and they contain high levels of antioxidants. They are great for fighting off inflammation and help promote good vision and and a healthy immune system.
Vegetables You Should Avoid Giving Your Dog
Not all vegetables are good for dogs and you should NOT feed your dog any of the items from the list below no matter how much they beg for them! These vegetables are toxic for dogs and can cause damage to red blood cells:
Should your dog get into any of these foods, please seek help right away. In the event of an emergency, contact the Pet Poison Hotline or your veterinarian's emergency line.
Other vegetables can spike a dog's glycemic levels, which is particularly harmful to overweight dogs or those who have issues with blood sugar levels. Avoid these vegetables or only give them in moderation:
Now that you know which vegetables you can and cannot give your dogs, you may safely prepare them some healthy snacks or meal toppers that they can enjoy as a part of their diet!