Your dog loves meat, but she could benefit from some fresh produce in her diet. Making her a treat with fresh veggies provides vitamins, minerals and enzymes that support her health. Many dogs enjoy eating vegetables, so the fact that they're good for her can remain a secret.
Nutrient Power Packed
Pre-packaged dry dog treats might offer a bit of nutrition, but processed treats that are moist yet don't require refrigeration are high in carbs and short on nutrition. Vegetables are a superb, natural source of vitamins and antioxidants. Adding fresh veggies to your pup's dog treats should keep her nutrition balanced enough that you won't have to give her a multivitamin supplement. Plus, fresh vegetables are low in the calorie department, meaning you don't have to weigh out each little serving you give your dog. The nutrients that vegetables provide your dog will help maintain her immune system, encourage tissue repair, can prevent cataracts and keep her vision, circulatory system and heart healthy. Fresh vegetables can also provide dietary fiber to keep everything flowing smoothly for your pooch.
Raw and Cooked
A lot of the vegetables you put into your dog's treats can be mixed in as-is, no cooking necessary. Typically dogs gladly eat raw veggies like grated carrots or squash, bell peppers and alfalfa sprouts. Other vegetables, though, should be cooked so that your pooch can properly digest them to get the full nutritional benefits out of them. Always cook fresh broccoli, potatoes, green beans or any veggie that is hard and can't be mashed or grated.
A Few Veggies to Avoid
Just because a food is natural doesn't mean that it is meant for your dog to eat. There are some vegetables that you might not think twice about eating yourself, but you should never feed them to your canine friend, as they can have a toxic effect on her. Always avoid feeding your dog onions, avocados and potato peels. Additionally, although grapes and raisins aren't vegetables, they are one of the most dangerous fruits for dogs, so never feed them to your pup.
Making Homemade Treats with Vegetables
You probably already have a lot of ingredients on hand to make a healthy and nutritious homemade treat for your pooch. A basic recipe includes whole wheat flour, peanut butter, oats, low sodium beef or chicken broth and cooked brown rice. Let your creativity and knowledge of your dog's preferences guide the way when including fresh vegetables. For example, if you know your dog is indifferent to peas, but goes wild for carrots and broccoli, leave the peas out of the recipe and use carrots and broccoli instead. Or substitute pumpkin for zucchini if that's her palate's preference. It's all about making a treat for your furry friend that she'll love. The fact that it's good for her is a bonus.
- The Whole Dog Journal; Nancy Kerns
- VetInfo: Canine Vitamins for Dogs With Diabetes
- VetInfo: Natural Nutrition for Dogs
- Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
- AllRecipes.com: Peanutbutter and Pumpkin Dog Treats
- AllRecipes.com: Homemade Dog Food Recipe
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.