What Vegetables Can My Dog Eat?
Thinking about sneaking your pup a bite of some veggies while making your dinner?
Unless it’s a piece of garlic or onion, feeding your pup veggies is probably totally OK — and might even have some health benefits for him, too.
The Dodo spoke with two veterinarians and a pet nutritionist to round up some of the healthiest vegetables you can feed your pup as a treat, as well as the veggies you should probably have him avoid.
Not only is a cucumber a delicious and refreshing crunchy treat for your dog, it has a ton of health benefits, too.
“Cucumber is packed with potassium and magnesium to promote cardiovascular health,” Dr. Jonathan Roberts, a remote veterinarian for Doggie Designer, told The Dodo. “It contains high levels of vitamin K to aid blood clotting and healthy bones.“
Cucumber also “contains high levels of a compound called cucurbitacin, which in recent studies has shown may prevent cancer,” Dr. Roberts said.
Carrots have a ton of vitamins and make the perfect healthy, low-cal snack for your dog. “Raw carrot works great as an alternative to a dental chew and is low in fats and calories; ideal for those who need to lose a few pounds,” Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and a veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, told The Dodo.
For heart disease and cancer prevention, cauliflower is the perfect veggie treat.
“Cauliflower contains a powerful antioxidant called sulforaphane,” Dr. Roberts said. “Not only does it reduce inflammation caused by oxidative stress; it also protects the heart from disease and prevents DNA damage, which can lead to cancer.”
This snack is especially beneficial for puppies and can help them develop a more temperate personality.
“Cauliflower is a great source of choline, which is essential for brain development as a puppy and helps regulate mood,” Dr. Roberts said.
Brussel sprouts have important health benefits, like preventing chronic diseases in your dog.
“Brussel sprouts are high in vitamin K, which aids blood clotting and promotes healthy bones,” Dr. Roberts said. “They have an impressive antioxidant content that reduces oxidative stress in the cells and lowers the chances of your dog developing chronic diseases.”
They’re also the perfect treat for dogs with joint issues since they’re so high in fatty acids. “Brussel sprouts are one of the best plant sources for omega-3 fatty acid,” Dr. Roberts said. “This essential fatty acid is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories.”
Brussel sprouts also have a ton of fiber. “Their high fiber content promotes healthy intestines through feeding the beneficial microbes,” Dr. Roberts said.
Try not to give your dog a bunch of brussel sprouts at once, though, since too much fiber can be bad for pups. “Avoid overdoing the sprouts as this can lead to flatulence and stomach ache,” Dr. Simon said.
Peas are another healthy vegetable for your dog. They’re packed with protein to keep your dog feeling fuller longer, and they have special antioxidants to protect his eye health.
“Peas are one of the best plant-based protein sources,” Dr. Roberts said. “Peas contain two carotenoid antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds help protect your dog’s eyes from chronic diseases like cataracts and retinal aging.”
Peas are also really good for your dog’s digestive system. “Not only does the fiber content keep your dog’s stools firm, but they contain a nutrient called coumestrol, which in humans has shown to cut the chances of stomach cancer in half,” Dr. Roberts said.
Zucchini isn’t every dog’s favorite food, but if your pup likes it, he can enjoy some of the many health benefits that it has, like organ support.
“Zucchini is rich in the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene,” Dr. Roberts said. These compounds protect multiple organs in the body, including the eyes, skin and the heart.”
“Zucchini is a nontoxic green vegetable, but it can taste bitter so is not always a favorite food of dogs,” Dr. Simon said.
Zucchini also has fiber that’s good for his gut. “They contain fiber in both the soluble and insoluble type,” Dr. Roberts said. “Insoluble fiber prevents constipation, while soluble fiber feeds the gut’s microflora.”
It can even regulate his hormones. “Early testing shows that a compound found in zucchini peels may stabilize thyroid hormone levels,” Dr. Roberts said.
Zucchini can cause stomach problems in some cases, so keep an eye out for any vomiting or diarrhea after feeding your dog zucchini.
“Very bitter zucchinis are likely to be declined by discerning dogs and can potentially cause a mild stomach upset,” Dr. Simon said.
Pumpkin has a ton of fiber for digestive health and some fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. And both the flesh and the seeds of pumpkin can support a healthy urinary tract in dogs. Pumpkin is also low in calories, which makes it a great snack for overweight pups.
Kale is the most nutrient-dense vegetable in the world and is jam-packed with healthy vitamins for your dog. “It has super concentrated amounts of vitamin A, C and K,” Dr. Roberts said.
Kale is also full of antioxidants that can prevent cancer and protect your dog’s eyes. “[It] contains the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which act as antioxidants, fighting off the natural aging process as well as processes that lead to cancer,” Dr. Roberts said. “They have some of the highest levels of two carotenoid antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. These are powerful compounds that help to protect your dog’s eyes.”
There are a ton of healthy things in spinach that your dog can benefit from.
“It is rich in phytonutrients and rich in vitamins like K, A and C and rich in minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and so many more,” Johnna Devereaux, a clinical pet nutritionist for Bow Wow Labs, told The Dodo.
However, if you have a dog with a history of calcium oxalate stones, you should avoid spinach since it’s so high in oxalate and can increase the chances that your dog’s bladder stones will return.
“Broccoli contains the essential nutrient vitamin K, which is vital for blood clotting as well as the development of healthy, dense bones,” Dr. Roberts said.
Broccoli can also keep your pup’s eyes protected and even prevent cancer. “It contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that decrease the risk of degenerative eye disorders,” Dr. Roberts said. “Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which in early studies shows an anti-cancer effect.”
Green beans are a great snack for overweight pups since they’re so high in protein and fiber, which can help your dog feel full for longer.
“As with peas, green beans are a legume that are packed with protein,” Dr. Simon said. “They have a lots of fiber, making them a good snacking option for those who need to lose weight. They can help your dog to feel full and may reduce treat-begging behavior.”
Green beans also have a ton of iron.
“Green beans contain nearly double the iron of spinach,” Dr. Roberts said. “Iron is an essential mineral in red blood cells that aids in the transportation of life-giving oxygen around the body.”
They can also promote healthy skin and joints. “The mineral silicon, found in green beans, is more easily absorbed than in other foods. Silicon is essential for healthy connective tissue,” Dr. Roberts said.
“Celery helps aid the cardiovascular system in many ways,” Dr. Roberts said. “High levels of potassium and calcium regulate heart function, folate is essential for production of red blood cells and vitamin K is vital for clotting.”
Celery can also help with your dog’s tummy troubles. “This veg is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber,” Dr. Roberts said. “A phytonutrient in celery helps maintain the thick mucosal layer that protects the stomach. This may prevent the formation of stomach ulcers.”
What vegetables can dogs not eat?
Unless your dog is allergic or sensitive to a certain vegetable, the only vegetables you should really be worried about are those in the allium family, which includes garlic and onion.
“Most vegetables are safe for dogs, but garlic and onion should always be avoided as they are highly toxic,” Dr. Simon said.
That’s because onions and garlic both contain thiosulfate, which is poisonous to dogs but totally OK for humans.
How to prepare vegetables for dogs
You can serve vegetables to your dog cooked or raw, as long as they don’t have any oils or seasonings added that could be potentially harmful to your pup.
“If cooking them, boiling them in plain water is best,” Dr. Simon said. “Avoid oils and sauces, which are typically too rich and can lead to an upset stomach and even pancreatitis. Remember, garlic and onions are toxic so should never be added as a seasoning.”
How can I get my dog to eat vegetables?
While your dog should be getting all the nutrients he needs from his regular food, you can serve him vegetables on occasion as a low-cal and nutritious treat.
“Complete commercial dog foods should meet all of a dog’s nutritional requirements and will not need to be supplemented,” Dr. Simon said. “However, many owners will choose to add fruit and veggies to their dog’s diet. They may do this at mealtimes or use these foods as treats or snacks.”
There are plenty of creative ways to get your dog to eat vegetables besides just handing them to him. “While you can add veggies to your dog’s dinner, you can also include them as part of their food puzzles (e.g., in KONGs and snuffle mats),” Dr. Simon said.
“In the summer, keep your pooch cool by making a quick and easy vegetable ice lolly,” Dr. Simon said. “Blend water and a veggie or two of your choice, then freeze. You can use an ice cube container or ice lolly molds. Vegetables that work well for this include cucumber, pumpkin and sweet potato.”
So, overall, vegetables are a super healthy snack for your pup and can be added to his diet as a treat. Just make sure not to overdo it, and keep onions and garlic away at all costs!
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