Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients that help support optimal health in both humans and dogs. Since they are also low in calories and high in fiber, fruits and veggies make a perfect snack for your dog! If you are looking to learn more about how to make the most of the plant world to keep your dog happy and healthy, read on to learn more.
What is good for you may not be good for your dog.
- The nuts and bolts of dogs' digestive systems are just plain different than ours. So the same fruits and veggies that may be perfectly healthy for you might actually be toxic to your dog. Furthermore, as in humans, some dogs may react differently than other dogs to certain foods. Check the lists below to find the best and worst fruits and veggies for your dog. Give a small amount of the good ones a try and monitor how your dog reacts.
Make eating fruits and vegetables fun.
- Remember when you were a kid and mom or dad would make pretend your spoon was an airplane, sound effects and all? That mushy baby food tasted sooo much better when it was on an “airplane” didn’t it?! If your dog is picky about eating fruits or vegetables you can try the same trick on him. As part of a game, or a training session, get excited about those veggies. Your dog will follow your lead and what he willing to eat may surprise you.
Hide those fruits and veggies
- If the airplane doesn’t cut it, you can always trick your dog into eating her fruits and vegetables. Get creative! Maybe you can fold up a some shredded carrot in a piece of cheese or mix in some bananas with peanut butter. You can also try whipping up a vegetarian recipe or offering them a tasty, pre-made treat like Benji’s Farm Organic Botanical Dog Treats (Here's our ones sales pitch for the post...)
Control portion size.
- Ever heard the saying “the dose makes the poison”? When ingested at the correct amount, certain herbs, fruits and vegetables have extraordinary health benefits, but if too much is consumed they can cause unwanted effects. (Think about this: your morning cup of coffee is a great pick me up, but did you ever think about drinking a gallon? Hope not!). Even everyday fruits and vegetables like the ones below can cause gastrointestinal distress at large quantities. Especially for dogs not used to eating veggies, keep the servings small (<10% of total calories).
Cooking aids digestion
- Fruits and vegetables are rich in health promoting fiber, which aids in digestion and helps support immunity from the inside out. However, fiber also makes digesting fruit and vegetables difficult, especially in dogs whose digestive systems are not as well equipped as ours to do so. To make the most of fruits and veggies, try cooking them first before giving them to your dog. Cooked over gentle steam they will become more digestible and may even taste better (hint, try adding a bit of healthy plant based oils after cooking, but DON’T add any salt).
Top Ten Best Fruits and Veggies for dogs*
- Sweet Potato
- Green Beans
- Broccoli (and related vegetables)
*The list doesn’t stop here, we just don’t have room. The plant world has much more to offer! If you want to try others, consult your veterinarian first and if you get the go ahead, dig in! Another good resource is the ASCPA, who published a list of good and bad plants for dogs.
Toxic Fruits and Vegetables For Dogs*
- Grapes/ Raisins
- Onions/ Garlic (and related vegetables)
- Stone fruit pits (peach, cherry, and apricot flesh is OK, but avoid the pits)
- Certain mushrooms (some are great, others extremely toxic)
- Green potatoes (or any part of the potato plant other than the tuber)
- Unripe tomatoes (or any part of the plant other than the fruit)
- Macadamia nuts
*There are other fruits and vegetables that may be harmful. Also remember, the dose makes the poison. So some good veggies may be bad in larger amounts.
Disclaimer: Always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog's diet. The information or products discussed here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.