Dog Nutrition: The Best Vegetables to Incorporate Into Your Dog’s Diet…And what NOT to add!
If you have children, you know how important it is to ensure they get adequate nutrition for optimal health. This might mean sneaking extra fruits and veggies into their meals to help them grow big and strong.
Yet, when it comes to furchilden, we often just assume their dog food has everything they need to thrive already built in. Sadly, this is usually not the case.
While many dog foods have greatly improved their formulas to be more consistent with a healthy canine diet, many dog foods—especially some dry foods—are still lacking the nutrients dogs need.
The good news…
You don’t have to go out and start buying premium brand dog foods. You can simply top your dogs food with a scoop of fresh veggies from your local grocery store. It’s so easy!
Before we get too far, I just want to mention one quick thing…
As a dog owner myself I am fully aware of how much dogs LOVE meat and so I want to say this upfront. Meat is undoubtedly one of the best things you can feed your dog. That said, not every person can afford fresh meat for their dogs (especially if you have a couple of Irish Wolfhounds!) and, to be honest, there is simply not enough meat in the world for every dog to eat fresh meat every day!
So with that said, let’s take a look at the veggie options you can use to supplement your dog’s meals and provide your pup with variety and nutrition.
What should you be feeding your dog? Keep reading to discover which vegetables are safe to add to your pup’s food, and which aren’t.
Carrots are a great veggie choice for two main reasons.
First, uncooked carrots are crunchy. When your dog bites into a piece of carrot, the carrot naturally acts as a toothbrush and helps remove tartar off your pup’s teeth. Just be careful—carrots can be a choking hazard so if you have a small puppy or a dog who is susceptible to swallowing large items you may want to make sure you chop them up into swallowable bites!
Second, carrots are also packed with antioxidants which can help improve eyesight and boost your dog’s immune system.
To incorporate in your dog’s food, chop up one full carrot (skin can stay on) and mix it (raw or cooked) into your dog’s dinner.
Is your dog a little chunky, but always begging for more food? If so, green beans might be the perfect vegetable option to incorporate into your pup’s diet.
Green beans are a very low calorie veggie. This means you can bulk up your dog’s food bowl without having your pup pack on the pounds. In fact, some vets instruct owners of obese dog’s to replace a portion of their dog’s kibble with green beans to help them lose weight without losing nutrition.
Green beans are also high in fiber which is great for digestion and are packed with healthy Omega-3’s which support heart health.
For a medium-sized dog, add about a half a cup of cooked or raw green beans to your dog’s food. Adjust as necessary according to the size of your dog.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of iron, calcium, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin C. The best part—dogs LOVE them!
It’s safe for your dog to eat sweet potatoes raw, but they are sweeter, tastier, and less of a choking hazard after they’ve been boiled or baked.
Aside from topping your pup’s food with sweet potato, it’s really nice to cut the potato into strips, bake the strips, and use the strips as a dog treat!
Some might consider broccoli a super veggie because it contains all sorts of vital nutrients including iron, calcium, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin C. And not only are those vitamins and minerals good for humans, they’re also essential to your pups wellbeing!
On top of nutritional benefits, the stalky texture of uncooked broccoli also makes a great toothbrush for your dog.
While broccoli is a safe choice for your pup, be sure to limit the quantity to around 5% of your dog’s total food. The reason: Broccoli can make your dog bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable if it’s consumed in a large quantity. You have been warned 🙂
If your dog suffers from either constipation or diarrhea, pumpkin just might be the solution for your pup’s problems.
Pumpkin is incredibly high in fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system. It’s also very tasty to most dogs, so if you’re having a hard time getting your dog to eat, a few scoops of pumpkin might be helpful.
You can safely replace up to a quarter of your dog’s food with pumpkin puree. Just make sure you’re buying plain canned pumpkin at the store and NOT pumpkin pie filling!
Incorporating Veggies Into Your Dog’s Diet
As you can see, there are so many benefits to adding vegetables into your dog’s diet. And it’s so easy to do!
While you can, of course, buy fresh produce at your grocery store, frozen bags of veggies and canned goods work just a well. In fact, you can save a lot of time and money and reduce waste when you buy prepackaged products.
A good tip is to also buy bags of blended veggies so your dog gets variety.
However, before you start adding new things into your dogs diet, I want to encourage you to talk with your vet first. While it’s generally safe to feed your pup vegetables, it’s also good to get your vet’s opinion on what veggies to feed your dog, along with recommended portions so you don’t accidentally overfeed your dog.
A Little Note on Meats…
Vegetables are great for dogs, but please understand that dogs are carnivores that need meat and protein in their diet. In fact, they need more protein than humans do to thrive!
While vegetables do contain protein, they don’t contain nearly enough for a healthy dog diet. For example, carrots only provide 1 gram of protein per 100 grams!
For optimal health, dogs need a diet that is between 18% and 30% protein.
As a general guideline, the Association of American Feed Control Officials requires adult dog food to contain a minimum of 18% crude protein on a dry matter basis (meaning what’s left after all of the moisture is extracted from dog food).
So please, add extra veggies into your dogs diet for optimal health, but understand that they can’t live solely on vegetables!
Before we wrap up, it’s important to note that there are veggies that ARE NOT safe for dogs to consume. To help keep your dog safe, I’ve compiled a list of things below of some of the veggies that you should NOT feed your dog.
Vegetables That Are NOT Safe for Dogs
Below is a list of some vegetables that should stay out of your pup’s food bowl.
(Always check before feeding your dog any new foods because the list of dangerous food goes beyond just veggies. For example sultanas, grapes and raisins are all very bad for dogs!)
Do you know of additional dangerous veggies? Leave your suggestions of what dogs shouldn’t be eating in the comments below and we can add them to our list below!
Vegetables you should NOT feed your dog…
- Unripe green potatoes
- Tomato leaves
- Corn cobs
- Beet root
- Soy beans
If your dog is a little piggy that manages to get into your household groceries, they could be at serious risk for consuming something dangerous!
Dog’s love food, so this can be a really bad habit to break. But, with a solid training program in place, you can ensure your dog remains safe…even when you accidentally leave your freshly bought produce on the counter and leave the house!
Packing Some Protein
While we’re on the topic of real, raw food, if you want to add some protein into your dog’s diet, then I recommend a true superfood topper…
TruDog’s BOOST ME is the ultimate doggie enticement! Just 2 tablespoons sprinkled over every cup of your dog’s food adds the boost of nutrition and raw protein that all dogs need!
(And if you make a purchase through the link above I receive a small referral fee)
If you’re having trouble with your dog, I recommend checking out my most popular training program, The Dog Calming Code.
This program contains all the information you need to get your pup to listen to you when it matters most, so they can live a happy, healthy life!
~Doggy Dan 🙂