Do you feed your dog fresh veggies?
There seems to be some degree of controversy around “people food” for dogs circulating at all times. (Read: The trouble with table food, a post from 2015!)
I truly believe that hesitation around sharing food with dogs centers around decades of marketing–you must feed dog food, which is specially formulated to meet your dog’s needs–and decades of undeveloped training theories–if your dog tastes people food, he’ll beg forever OR sharing your resources doesn’t assert your dominance. None of those, of course, are true. Your dog needs to eat a varied diet of healthy, wholesome foods–just like we do. A taste of people food won’t turn your dog into a chronic people-food begger–unless you’re feeding him from the actual dinner table each night. As for resource sharing, well, you dog doesn’t give two hoots if his treats come from a bag from Petco or from the produce section of Fresh Thyme. How on earth can a pup decide one is your resource and the other isn’t?
I could go on and on about those three topics for ages, but let’s get into the fun stuff!
Healthy, safe veggies for dogs!
No matter what you feed your dog, I guarantee he can benefit from adding fresh vegetables either as food toppers or treats, or as a partial meal replacement for a weight-loss plan. (BTW, I’m guessing you could benefit from more veggies in your diet, too, so think of this as a bonding experience with your dog!) Veggies provide fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and more. So-called “superfood” veggies like spinach and broccoli provide even more benefits, like iron and calcium.
Of course, not all vegetables are safe for dogs to eat. The ASPCA maintains a full list of people foods to avoid feeding your pets, but read each entry carefully!! They’re for all pets including animals like horses and goats rather than just dogs and cats.
OK, so we’ve covered the health benefits of vegetables and that some aren’t safe to eat… it’s time to dig into what veggies ARE safe and healthy for our dogs to eat!
15 Dog-Friendly Vegetables:
- Sweet Potato
- Pumpkin: Stock up on after-Halloween deals and turn them into purees you can freeze and use all year!
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Parsnips: A bit too starchy to feed often, but if you’re preparing something for your family with parsnips (or other root veg) feel free to treat your pup to a bite
- Beets: Feed these in moderation and remember that it’ll turn your pup’s poop red.
- Kale: We give Cooper the stalks as “indoor sticks” and he goes bonkers for them!
How to Prepare Vegetables for Dogs:
Most veggies can be served raw to your dog. HOWEVER, because of their fiber content, dogs who haven’t had a varied diet might experience some discomfort (read: gas). As for cooking them, a light steam is usually sufficient and best for preserving all the veggies’ nutrients. If you cook dinner for your family and prepare a veggie side–we make steamed broccoli or asparagus several times a week–leave it unseasoned. Steam the veg, set aside your dog’s portion, then season your human family’s portion as desired.
We also keep a ton of frozen veggies on hand in the freezer. While fresh is usually best, if it’s not available, frozen is great! Skip canned for your dog, though, because it usually has too much salt added to preserve the produce.
For those of you who are focused on cutting down kitchen waste, your dog serves as an amazing zero-waste assistant! Kale stalks, asparagus butts, sweet potato skins–all those non-skin trims you usually compost make a great treat for your dog!
3 Ways to Serve Your Dog Veggies:
As a treat: Keep chopped up carrots or peas on hand to serve as awesome, healthy, low-cal treats! We also use stalks, like kale stalks or broccoli stems, as a safer, healthier alternative to a stick.
As a food topper: Whether your dog eats a commercial kibble, a home cooked diet, or anything in between, topping his dish with fresh veggies aids his digestion and adds tons of wholesome goodness!
As a weight-loss helper: If your dog needs to drop a few pounds, chat with your vet about this, but swapping out a portion of his regular meal with fresh green beans, for example, fills his belly with healthy fiber without the added calories.
Do you feed your dog veggies?
Fresh or frozen, home-grown or store-bought, do you feed your dog vegetables? What are his or her favorites? How do you prepare and serve them? I’d love to learn what works for YOU and your pup! Or, if you don’t feed veggies, have you ever considered it? Have I left you with any questions? Leave it all in the comments below!
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