Dogs should not be given meat and carbs only. To help them fight disease, bacteria, infection, or sickness – a daily dose of vegetables and fruits should be added to their diet. A safe ratio for vegetables is 10% of the daily diet while fruits can be given as treats or to enhance flavor. However, dogs cannot eat all fruits and vegetables as some are very toxic and dangerous for them to take.
Let’s start with the fruits and vegetables you should NEVER give to dogs: raisins, grapes, garlic, and onions. Broccoli is a special case because while it is good for dogs to have some, giving more than 10% can cause gastrointestinal irritation and affect the thyroid.
Your dog should also never be given wild mushrooms, raw potatoes especially if they have a greenish tint, avocadoes, currants, rhubarbs, green tomatoes, tomato leaves or stalks.
The fruits and vegetables that your dog will enjoy and be safe to consume are varied and common. In fact, they are foods that are eaten in most homes across America so adding a portion for your dog should not strain your food budget at all. Keep in mind though when cooking for your dog, you should do it separately from the family meals because dogs don’t need as much seasoning and can certainly do without the strong spices. In addition, although tempting to cook in large batches to save you time and money, it’s not always advisable because your dog should eat in appropriate portions and if testing a new recipe – may not like it. Thus, first time recipes should be done in small batches.
Sweet Potatoes – This is a starch that has vitamins A, C, B5 and B6 and they are better than regular white potatoes because they have more fiber, magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc, iron, beta carotene and potassium. This is a low fat antioxidant known to reduce the chances of cancer and heart disease. However, one word of caution: only give one teaspoon of sweet potatoes to your dog because too much fiber can cause gastrointestinal problems. Also, avoid roasting them and settle for steam or boil to preserve the nutrients.
Green Peas – Peas have vitamins C and K as well as fiber, manganese, folate, protein, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper. If you use English peas, you must make sure to shell them first while sugar snaps and snow peas are good to fed with the shells. You can also coat the peas with a little olive oil before roasting them but if you prefer to boil them in water, make sure to cook until they turn a bright green color. Your dog should only eat up to 2 pieces of the snow or snap peas or 2 tablespoons of the English peas.
Carrots – If you want to give carrots to your dog, they must first be peeled and cooked to soften them. Your dog should only be given up to two unseasoned bite-size pieces.
Other great options are asparagus, green beans, spinach, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli flowers, celery, and frozen edamame.
The fruits your dog can eat include cranberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, cantaloupe, pears, pineapple, and watermelon. With the exception of the apple and berries, you must remove the skin/peel before giving it to your dog. You should also make sure to wash it beforehand to remove any chemical residue or dirt and take care to remove the seeds and core.
Finally, vegetables and fruits should be given in small portion (1 to 2 pieces) only. If you are unsure about your choices, take the time to discuss it with your dog’s vet. If your dog starts to poop more, reduce the portions and reassess the diet with the vet.