Healthy Veggies for your Dog
Whether you’re looking for low calorie fillers to add to your dog’s food, or for some healthy commercial treat alternatives, vegetables (and fruits) provide a tasty, healthy treat for man’s best friend. Low in calories and fat, and nutrient packed, do you know which vegetables are safe for your dog?
- Potatoes. A wedge or two of potatoes (sweet or basic baking potatoes) can make a great addition to Fido’s dinner. High in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, potatoes are best served cooked.
- Spinach or other green leafy vegetables like lettuce. High in vitamins A and C, some dogs go crazy for their green veggies.
- Carrots are high in beta carotene and vitamin C and can be an easy treat right out of the bag or cooked. Some dogs don’t digest raw carrot well, so bite size treats may be best.
- Green beans are another treat option where cooking is optional and make a great kibble addition for an overweight dog (after consulting with your vet). I know one cat who goes crazy for raw green beans, so try giving one to your cat too to see if he’s a fan.
- Pumpkin may make a great seasonal treat but is high in fiber, beta carotene, zinc, and iron year round. One to three tablespoons, depending on your dog’s size, is a good portion. Canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie) or cooked pumpkin—your dog will love either.
- Broccoli and cauliflower—cruciferous vegetables are another great source of fiber and a variety of vitamins, cooked or raw. Some studies say too much can cause thyroid issues in some dogs, so small amounts as a treat are perfect.
- Celery is often seen as one of the lowest calorie veggies, and that holds true when fed to our furry friends as well. A few small chunks can make a great substitute for “junk food” dog treats.
There are some veggies that can be toxic to dogs, even in very small amounts and should never be fed to your dog. If your dog gets into any of these, in any amount, contact your vet for symptoms to watch for and what to do next:
With any food that is safe to feed your dog, always talk to your vet first if you have any questions or concerns. And start out with small quantities to see how your dog reacts—many new vegetables can cause gas or stomach upset at first. If you see any strange symptoms after you introduce a new food to your pet, always stop feeding the new item and talk to your vet before offering more. But many dogs will enjoy the variety and new tastes! If you’re not careful, they might even help themselves to your garden!
By Rachel Leisemann Immel
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