Perhaps your dog needs to trim his waist a bit, or maybe you just want to share some healthy snacks with him. Whatever your motivation, you have a host of healthy vegetables to choose from to add to your dog's diet. Broccoli, carrots and green beans are just a few of the vegetables your dog may enjoy as a treat or mixed into his supper.
A Side of Vegetables
If you're feeding your dog a nutritionally complete dog food, he probably doesn't need the extra vitamin boost he'll get from snacking on vegetables. However, you can add them to his regular meal as a nice change or you can substitute vegetables for dog biscuits -- a lower calorie alternative. Limit your dog's treats to no more than 10 percent of his daily caloric requirements. If you aren't sure how much your dog should consume in a day, discuss his dietary needs with your vet.
Recommended Vegetables and their Benefits
There are many different vegetables your dog can safely eat, so he shouldn't get bored with his choices.
- Broccoli is a good source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as fiber and manganese; steam broccoli and cut up a floret or two for your dog.
- Green beans provide the same nutritional benefits; cook in boiling water and serve a bite-sized piece or two to your dog as a treat.
- Carrots also make a tasty bite-sized treat and are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, potassium and fiber; cook in boiling water or steam before serving.
- Asparagus is filled with healthful benefits, providing folate, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, fiber and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E and K. If you're grilling, toss some on the grill for your dog and feed him a bite-sized piece or two as a snack.
- Potatoes provide potassium, manganese, fiber and Vitamins B6 and C. Cut them into small wedges and roast in the oven until they're cooked, serving your dog a wedge or two.
- Edamame offers a change of pace and is a good source of Vitamins B2 and K, phosphorus, protein, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and copper. You can find it in the frozen vegetable section of your grocery store, ready to be steamed. Give your dog up to five of the unsalted, shelled beans.
Other cooked vegetables to offer include dehydrated or mashed sweet potatoes, cooked peas, steamed Brussels sprouts, grilled cauliflower and boiled cucumber. If you notice any gastrointestinal upset after adding a vegetable to your dog's diet, take that vegetable out of the rotation.
Do not add salt to your dog's vegetables.
Say No to These Vegetables
Not every vegetable is good for your dog. Steer clear of onions, chives or garlic, which can cause anemia. Avocados and unripe tomatoes may be toxic and raw potatoes can make a dog very sick.
If you want to incorporate vegetables into a home-cooked diet for your dog, consult with a veterinarian or animal nutritionist to ensure your dog will have his nutritional needs covered.