Veggies as a Source of Canine Nutrition
Dog owners are more concerned than ever about the ingredients in commercial dog foods – including preservatives and other harmful chemicals. Dogs are like members of the family which is why their human companions want them to eat well. Some dog owners take matters into their own hands and make homemade dog food to serve their faithful canine companion. Some even add fresh veggies to their dog bowl. Are vegetables for dogs healthy?
Vegetables for Dogs: The Pros
Vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants - which isn’t a requirement for dogs, but their cells need protection from oxidative damage just like human cells do. Homemade dog food or organic commercial dog with added vegetables is a good way to give a dog extra antioxidants and nutrition. Surprisingly, many dogs enjoy the taste of vegetables – particularly if they’re lightly steamed to soften them. Some dogs may not readily accept vegetables at first, so it’s important to start with small quantities and mix them with their regular food.
Vegetables for Dogs: The Cons
Some dogs have problems digesting vegetables at first and could develop flatulence. Steaming them lightly before adding them to their food can make them easier to digest. Keep the vegetable content of a dog’s food no higher than twenty percent of their total food intake. Vegetables may be easier for a dog to accept if they’re pureed in a blender before mixing them with organic or homemade dog food. Since dogs are naturally carnivorous animals, they won’t respond well to a completely vegetarian diet - so offer them vegetables only in moderation.
Safe Vegetables for Dogs: Some Vegetables for Dogs are Harmful
Never give dogs onions or garlic since they can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia where red blood cells are destroyed. Other vegetables to avoid are tomatoes and avocados. Good veggie choices for dogs are carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy vegetables such as spinach that’s been lightly cooked. Don’t cook them with oil or butter and don't give dogs vegetables prepared for humans using spices, seasonings, or oils – particularly garlic.
Veggies as Food for Dogs: The Bottom Line?
Vegetables are a good way to add extra nutrition and antioxidants to a dog’s diet, but it’s important to introduce them slowly into a dog's diet. Dogs are very sensitive to dietary changes and could end up with an upset stomach and diarrhea if they get too many vegetables too soon. Serve them in moderation and most dogs will eventually accept vegetables in their diet.