Is it OK to feed dogs vegetables?
Following on from last week’s post about whether it is OK to give dogs fruit, and the types of fruit they can eat. This week we are taking a look at the kinds of vegetables that dogs can eat and which ones they should avoid.
As you may have guessed, adding a few vegetables into your dog’s diet is fine and many brands of dog food now do this as they add some variety and vitamins to each meal. Some brands of cat food do it too. Although of course we associate our canine companions with meat eating, when given a chance dogs will happily chomp on some veg and greens.
You may have noticed your dog eating grass when they are out and about. This is because they need dome roughage in their diet and your dog instinctively knows that grass is a great source of fibre. If your dog does not get enough roughage then it may affect their ability to digest their food and poop properly. Grass helps to aid their digestive system and get those bodily functions running as they should. So if you spot you dog eating a bit of grass when you’re out walking, don’t interrupt them and let them eat it. If you're worried that your dog isn’t getting enough fibre, most dog foods are nutritionally balanced and should contain everything they need, but you can also buy supplements or feed them some fibre-rich vegetables or brown rice alongside their regular food.
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The best vegetables for dogs
- Carrots - Quite often you’ll see bits of carrot in shop-bought dog food, and most dogs really do love them. Some dogs enjoy a raw carrot to chew on or if you’re feeding your dog some left over carrots for a family meal, then the best way to cook them is by steaming them so that they retain more of their nutrients. You could also try grating a little carrot into their regular food. It is important to make sure if you’re feeding carrot that you cut it into suitable-sized chunks to eliminate any choking hazard, particularly for smaller dogs.
- Cabbage - Leafy greens and cabbage are packed with fibre, vitamins and antioxidants and like grass, can aid your dogs digestive system as well as improving their skin condition and lots of other health benefits. It can be served raw or cooked.
- Cauliflower - A great source of fibre and B-vitamins for dogs, which are essential for skin, brain, and blood health. Again, feed it in moderation and don’t let your dog eat the hard stems, central core or leaves of the cauliflower.
- Courgette - Again, this is safe to eat if fed in moderation. It is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, and folate, which are good for your dog’s bones and they also support their muscle function, nerves, vision, and immune system.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes - These are OK for dogs but as with humans, do not serve raw. If your dog finds a potato on a walk or in the garden and is using it as a ball, take it away and give them a real ball. Don’t let them chew or eat a raw potato.
- Peppers - Regular red, green or yellow peppers are fine but don’t give them chillis. Obviously it will be too spicy for them, but chilli peppers also contain capsaicin which can irritate their stomach lining and cause problems.
- Peas - These are something else that you might spot in shop-bought dog food alongside carrots. They are rich in protein, fibre and vitamins and safe for you dog to eat
Veg photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash
Vegetables to avoid or be careful with
- Broccoli - This is OK to eat and again, packed with fibre and vitamins, including vitamin C, but don’t feed you dog large quantities of broccoli as it can cause gastric irritation in some dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, ‘Broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10 percent of their daily intake; more than 25 percent is considered toxic’. A small dog may also choke on broccoli stalks so be careful if feeding broccoli but don’t worry if your dog eats some that they find on the floor as it won’t harm them in small quantities.
- Sweetcorn - It is absolutely fine to feed your dog sweetcorn, but don’t let your dog chew on a corn cob. It can get stuck in your dog’s gut and cause a blockage so be very careful with your discarded cobs during barbecue season as your dog may enjoy sneaking off with one and giving it a chew, particularly if it smells of butter.
- Garlic and onions - These can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause anaemia. This varies from dog to dog. Some can react to very small amounts. So it is best not feed your dog onions at all. Whilst your dog might not choose to chomp on an onion on its own, be wary of feeding them left overs that may contain onion or garlic blended with meat, such as lasagne or shepherds pie where they will ten to wolf down the whole lot.
- Mushrooms - Not strictly a vegetable, but served with a lot of savoury meals. This depends on the type of mushroom. The standard ones that you buy in the supermarket are generally safe for dogs, but if your dog eats a mushroom or toadstool whilst out on a walk, take them straight to the vet if you have any concerns as they could be harmful.
Mushroom photo by Jimi Malmberg on Unsplash
Does your dog enjoy eating vegetables? What’s their favourite and how do you feed it to them? Let us know in the comments section below!
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