Our canine companions have long been a fixture at the dinner table, eagerly awaiting the moment when they can lick the leftovers off your plate. In fact, dogs are commonly depicted in movies and television shows merrily munching on table scraps. However, our family fur babies should actually not be your home's garbage disposal with a pulse. Nevertheless, there are certain "people" foods that are vet-approved for dogs. In this article, we are going to answer the question burning in your mind: "what vegetables can a dog eat?"
Healthy Vegetables for Dogs
When you find yourself tempted to treat your dog to a little something off the dog food menu, vegetables can be a nice, healthy option.
If you have taken a stroll down the dog food aisle lately, you have likely seen more and more brands boasting sweet potato recipes. In addition to being safe for dogs to eat, sweet potatoes are packed with the following power nutrients:
- Calcium (strong bones!)
- Vitamins A, E, C, and B-6
With the help of these powerful nutrients, sweet potatoes can help aid an ailing digestive system.
Our childhood friend Bug's Bunny certainly was onto something when it came to healthy snacks. Carrots are an affordable, delicious, and nutritious treat for your beloved pup. These bright orange veggies contain fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A. Additionally, carrots boast the skin and eye health powerhouse beta-carotene.
Furthermore, carrots make a delightful edible chew toy for your dog. Better yet, chomping on carrots can actively clean your dog's teeth in the process. Some veterinarians even recommend giving puppies frozen carrots to help manage teething.
If your dog has ever struggled with obesity, your vet may have suggested a diet involving green beans. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, vitamins (A, K, and C), and even protein, green beans make a wonderful and healthy addition to your dog's diet.
That's right, Popeye's favorite snack can be a healthy treat for Fido as well. Spinach is immensely rich in iron, making it a powerful agent against heart issues, inflammation, and even cancer.
Furthermore, spinach has some dog-friendly colleagues in the world of green leafy vegetables. Chard, lettuce, kale, and cabbage are also safe for dogs to eat. In addition to iron, vitamins, and calcium, these leafy greens are loaded with gut-healthy fiber.
While a notorious foe of the picky child, Brussel sprouts are actually beloved by and healthy for dogs. In addition to fiber, potassium, and folate, Brussel sprouts are packed with energy-boosting vitamins B6 and B1.
Pumpkin and Squash
Technically speaking, both squash and pumpkins are considered to be fruits. Both contain seeds and grow from the flowering part of the plant, garnering them the scientifically sweet status of fruit. However, to appease our brain's natural vegetable association, we've included them on this list.
Interestingly enough, pumpkin is commonly used to help dogs suffering from constipation or diarrhea. Pumpkin is high in fiber and chock-full of antioxidants that help regulate gastrointestinal health. Better yet, pumpkin is rich in water which helps combat dehydration commonly associated with GI ailments.
When feeding your dog pumpkin or squash, be sure to only give them the "meat". Discard the skin, and keep the seeds to yourself as a tasty toasted fall-time treat!
Orange, green, red, and yellow bell peppers contain powerful antioxidants, fiber, and beta-carotene. When added into your dog's diet, bell peppers can support immune function. Be sure to remove the stem and all the seeds and serve in small pieces.Celery
This stalky veggie is a crunchy vehicle of hydration. Celery is rich in water and antioxidants, making it the perfect treat for a hot day. Furthermore, celery has been known to help freshen bad breath - a fringe benefit most dogs could use! More good news, celery is low in calories and great for weight loss.
If celery doesn't strike your dogs fancy, cucumbers offer similar breath-freshening benefits. Additionally, like celery, cucumbers have nearly non-existent fat and carbohydrate levels. This makes them a great treat for doggies that need to shed a few pounds.
The refined cousin of the cucumber is the zucchini. These dark green veggies are packed with magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium, which can help support your dog’s immune system and help eliminate free radicals.
Bad Vegetables for Dogs
It is universally known that chocolate is bad for dogs. Naturally, it is easy to think of vegetables (the anti-chocolate) as a healthy snack for both you and your dog. However, did you know that some vegetables may be bad for your dog?
Onions and Garlic
Whether raw, cooked or ground into a powder, garlic and onions are toxic for dogs. Specifically, these root vegetables can damage and burst red blood cells in canines.
While tomatoes are technically a fruit, it is worth mentioning that dogs should not eat them. Specifically, the leaves and stems of a tomato plant contain a substance referred to as solanine. Solanine is toxic for dogs, and while the actual tomato is solanine-free, it is best to keep tomatoes off the menu.
Technically, asparagus is safe for dogs to consume. However, raw asparagus is too tough to eat. Conversely, once cooked, asparagus loses most of its beneficial nutrients. Therefore, when raiding your fridge for healthy snacks to share with Fido, skip the asparagus.
While corn is actually safe for dogs, it simply isn't the healthiest option. Corn is a very common canine allergen, so it is a good idea to forgo the corn at dinner. Moreover, corn is a dense carbohydrate so it tends to pack the pounds on your pooch.
Like onions and garlic, mushrooms are incredibly toxic to dogs. There are tens of thousands of mushroom species, and admittedly, not all of them are toxic to dogs. However, it is a gamble simply not worth taking. Certain species of mushrooms are so poisonous to dogs that they can lead to an untimely death.
While beloved as a toast topper by millennials everywhere, avocado should not be shared with Fido. The skin, pit, and leaves of avocados contain a toxin called persin. To illustrate, persin is a nasty villain in your dog's digestive tract. Persin causes painful and excessive diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.
Good and Bad Fruits for Dogs
While not the centerpiece of this article, it is important to point at which fruits are safe for dogs.Good Fruits for Dogs:
- Grapes and Raisins
- Citrus Fruits (Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit)
Keep in mind that fruits are naturally high in sugar. Therefore, only feed your dog safe fruits in moderation to prevent weight gain. Furthermore, be sure to remove all reeds, pits, and skins when treating your pup to a canine-friendly fruit.
How to Feed Your Dog Vegetables
As with any new food, it is essential to introduce healthy vegetables in moderation. Certain veggies can invoke a "too much of a good thing" reaction. For example, excessive leafy greens can sometimes cause an upset stomach when first introduced.
Better yet, check with your vet before giving your dog new foods. Certain breeds are predisposed to certain allergens. Your vet will be able to steer your dog in the direction of the most ideal veggie treats.Raw is Better!
Once you know which veggies are best for your pup's unique belly, stick to raw vegetables. To illustrate, excessive heat from cooking often breaks down valuable vitamins and nutrients in vegetables. Therefore, your dog will reap the most benefits from eating vegetables raw.
Furthermore, cooked vegetables tend to have added salt, sugar, or other seasonings. Not only do these make vegetables less healthy, but certain additives could be toxic for your dog.More Vegetable Tips for Dogs
- Thoroughly wash all veggies before feeding them to your dog
- Be sure to remove all skins, stems, leaves, and seeds
- Cut veggies into small pieces (or puree!) and mix into your dog's regular food for a nutritional boost
- Freeze veggies into equal parts water and low-sodium chicken broth in an ice tray for a nutritional treat on a hot day
- You can feed your dog canned or frozen vegetables (no added ingredients) - but fresh is always better!
- Hide vegetables inside dog-approved puzzles for a tasty brain game (Kong toys are a great choice)
- When feeding your dog vegetables to help regain gastrointestinal homeostasis, consider adding a gut-healthy canine probiotic
What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat: In Conclusion
Incorporating dog-friendly vegetables into your best friend's diet can have positive effects on your pet’s health. However, be sure to introduce any new foods slowly and check with your vet about any potential food allergies first.
From all of us here at Pet Honesty, may you and your dog have a happy and healthy day!