According to a recent survey by the American Psychiatric Association, nearly nine out of ten pet owners today say their animals are part of the family, and they feel a special bond with them. So, when you appreciate your dog that much, it’s natural to want to provide Fido with enticing treats—doing so in a way that’s healthy for the pooch.
So, what about vegetables? Which ones are healthy for your dogs to enjoy?
Although we may know plenty about growing delicious and nutritious vegetables, we decided to reach out to two knowledgeable veterinarians to find out more about vegetables that are good for dogs: Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, the veterinary medical advisor for Rover, and Dr. Jamie Richardson, head of veterinary medicine at Small Door Vet.
Dr. Jamie Richardson
“Most vegetables,” Dr. Richardson notes, “including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and sweet potato make a good treat for your pet as long as they don’t have too much butter, salt, or other seasonings.”
Here are more specifics about three good vegetables for dogs:
- Bell peppers: These are made up of 92 percent water and are packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, E, and B6 plus potassium and folate. They make for a crunchy snack that your pup will love. It’s important to introduce bell peppers slowly to see how your dog responds. Remove the seeds and stem to limit indigestion.
- Carrots: Your pup can enjoy both raw and cooked carrots. They are a healthy, low calorie source of fiber and vitamin A that makes for a great snack. Cut them up into small, chewable pieces so the carrots are not a choking hazard.
- Green beans: Another low calorie vegetable, green beans are a lean snack to fill up your dog without overfeeding.
Dr. Rebecca Greenstein
Dr. Greenstein shares how “we encourage many of our veterinary patients to snack on healthy vegetables like cucumber, carrots, peas, kale, and broccoli, for example. Vegetables are nutrient, mineral, and vitamin dense and a fantastic source of fiber and antioxidants while being relatively lower in fats and sugars.”
Steaming vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes is a good way to prepare vegetables for dogs. “It helps to soften them,” she says, “making them easier to cut into bite size pieces.” The dog can then chew the veggies and safely swallow them.
She also addresses quantity, noting how, although “vegetables can be a nutritious way to treat your pet and supplement their diet, they should make up no more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily intake. Feeding any vegetable to excess can create accidental nutritional imbalances, which can be harmful to your dog’s health and body function.”
Plus, while there are plenty of safe vegetables for dogs, as noted above, you should avoid some of them, including onions, garlics, leeks, and other members of the allium species. They are “notoriously dangerous to pets and should be avoided completely.”
Avocados, meanwhile, are toxic to birds but not to dogs, per se. That said, their high fat content can “cause tummy upset and even inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, if ingested in large amounts. So, avocado should be fed sparingly.”
As for mushrooms, although store bought ones are “safe and benign,” there are several wild mushroom species that “can cause fatal toxicities in pets; never let your pet ingest wild or unidentified mushrooms.”
If you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic, Dr. Greenstein says that signs will vary based on the “toxic food ingested, the size of your dog, the amount ingested, and when the infestation took place.”
Signs of toxicity can include a lack of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, drinking or peeing unusually more or less, convulsions, or collapse. So, even if you’re unsure that your dog has gotten into something it shouldn’t, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and seek veterinary attention immediately.
Treats for the Whole Family!
As you enjoy fresh vegetables with your human family, you can follow veterinary guidelines to share them with your dogs. You can also add a pack or two of dog treats from Farmer Jones Farm that are chewy, wholesome, and nutritious, containing 100 percent all-natural dried pumpkins and/or sweet potatoes (depending upon availability).
Our team watches for vegetables that may have a bit of bad skin or a blemish; these wouldn’t make the grade for chefs or home cooks, but they’re just right for dogs. We carefully clean them before slicing, steaming, and drying—and then they’re ready to share with your best friend: your dog.