Your dog’s diet consists of a balance between proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables and fruits. Fresh vegetables provide vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health for both you and your dog. While fresh is best, it is not always an option. Frozen vegetables offer nutritional benefits with added convenience.
When it comes to your dog’s diet, vegetables offer vitamins and minerals that other food sources do not provide adequately. For example, green beans are low in calories and provide fiber, manganese and vitamins C and K. For weight loss, replace 1/3 to ½ of your dog’s regular kibble with green beans. Your dog will feel full with fewer calories. Sweet potatoes offer dietary fiber, beta-carotene, manganese and vitamins B6 and C. Carrots offer fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. Other vegetables that benefit your dog include celery, broccoli, squash, kale, Brussel sprouts, okra, turnips, asparagus, lettuce, peas and lima beans.
Fresh vs. Frozen or Canned
While fresh vegetables are the best option for you and your dog, seasonal growing cycles do not always allow for fresh vegetables. When fresh is not an option, your choices are frozen or canned. Unfortunately, canned vegetables frequently have added salt, which is not good for your pooch. Vegetables frozen right after harvesting offer the same healthy nutrients as fresh, without the added salt.
While your grocery store offers pre-packaged frozen vegetables, freezing your own requires just a few steps and allows you to freeze them in portions and bite sizes made just for your dog. Buying vegetables in season and freezing them keeps costs down as well. To freeze your own vegetables, trim and cut your vegetables and wash in cold water. Blanch your vegetables by placing them in a pot of boiling water for one to two minutes. Blanching removes dirt and bacteria while slowing the vitamin and mineral loss. Remove from the boiling water and place in cold water until chilled. Place in freezer bags and freeze.
Onions, chives and garlic contain a toxic compound that breaks down red blood cells and can lead to a specific anemia known as Heinz body anemia. When choosing pre-packaged frozen vegetables, look for ones that do not contain these. Vegetables from the nightshade family -- potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant -- can increase inflammation and aggravate arthritis. Tomato and potato plants contain the toxin alpha-tomatine, which is toxic to your dog. As these vegetables and fruits ripen, the toxic compound reduces. Avoid feeding your pooch any green tomatoes or potatoes.
- VetInfo: The 4 Best Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs
- Cesar’s Way: Dog Approved People Food
- Modern Dog: 10 “People” Foods for Dogs
- Cold River Veterinary Clinic: Home Food for Cats and Dogs
- National Institutes of Health: Foods -- Fresh vs. Frozen or Canned
- EatingWell: Guide to Freezing Fresh Produce
- ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
- The Whole Dog Journal: Canine Arthritis Treatment
- All Natural Pet Care: Can I Feed Tomatoes and Other Nightshade Vegetables to My Dog?
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