Dogs generally crave meat as a primary nutrient source, but they should also have vegetables. Back when dogs hunted, they ate virtually all of their catches, including the meat, bones, guts and the partially digested plant material remaining inside. Nowadays, serving fresh veggies is a suitable replacement.
Choose one vegetable to begin with. This could be asparagus, broccoli, green beans, peas, yellow squash, green squash, carrots or other vegetables.
In a small soup pan, bring 2 oz. water to a boil.
Wash the chosen vegetable and cut it into bite-size pieces.
Put the vegetable pieces in a pan, and return to boil.
Cover the pan and turn off the heat.
Let the veggies steam for five to 10 minutes or until the vegetable is tender yet still slightly firm.
Allow the prepared vegetable to cool and serve the entire 2 ounces over the course of the day, dividing it equally into each feeding.
Repeat each day for one week.
One the second week, choose a different vegetable and double the serving size.
Each week, if your dog adjusts well to the new items, you can increase the amount of vegetables until you reach a maximum of approximately 8 ounces per day. You may also remain at the existing levels.
- The 2-ounce serving recommendation is for dogs that have not had many fresh vegetables before. If your dog is accustomed to fresh vegetables, you may be able to offer larger servings.
- If you don't feel like cooking 2 ounces of vegetables each day, make a batch of 14 ounces of vegetables and serve 2 ounces per day.
- Adding additional calories from veggies may require you to slightly reduce calories from his existing food in order to avoid weight gain. Check caloric content of existing food, and make sure your dog also continues to receive enough protein, which should take up about 50 to 75 percent of his diet. Many vegetables have an average of 10 calories per ounce.
- Research indicates that in their native Germany, schnauzers ate veggies such as cabbage, carrots and potatoes, along with meats such as lamb and pork.
- If you are unsure about whether a specific vegetable is safe for dogs, research it online first to make sure it's not toxic or likely to cause any problem.
- It is important to add new foods gradually to minimize intestinal upset. Vegetables should take up no more than 20 to 25 percent of your dog's entire diet. An average 15-pound schnauzer should have about 550 per day. Twenty percent of this is 110 calories, found in about 10 ounces of vegetables. The 2-ounce serving is a lower starting point which allows your dog's body to adjust.
- Monitor your schnauzer's response each week. If you witness any signs of tummy upset, reduce the amount of vegetables to 1 ounce per day until his body adjusts.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.