Variety is the spice of life, they say. The saying holds as much value for your pup as it does for you. Providing your pooch with healthy treats and adding the right fruits and veggies into his diet can provide him with vitamins, minerals and fiber -- not to mention the variety he's craving. Apples and squash are two ideal additions.
Benefits of Squash
Both summer and winter squash are nutritional powerhouses for you and your pooch. Summer squash is low in calories, which helps keep extra pounds off your pooch while letting him enjoy a sweet treat. Winter squash keeps longer and has numerous benefits as well. Squash provides fiber, beta-carotene, numerous vitamins and potassium. Squash can help relieve constipation in your pooch, too.
Benefits of Apples
Apples are sweet, filling and full of fiber, potassium and vitamins. While their fiber and vitamin content aren't as high as those in some other fruits, dogs generally love apple slices as treats or in their diet. With no fat or salt, these powerful fruits are ideal snacks for your pooch. While fruits and veggies are good, many fruits are high in sugar -- the apples in this case. Just like in humans, too many sugars can affect dogs negatively. Sugars can turn to fat and upset the blood glucose levels in your pooch.
Organic vegetables prove superior when feeding squash, apples and other fruits and veggies, because of their lack of pesticides and other chemicals. If you choose conventional veggies, however, wash them. Squash is particularly tough to prepare, due to its tough skin that protects the fruit. Wash the squash thoroughly and cut away the rind. Either serve the squash as raw cubes or steam it for a softer treat. Apples need washing as well, but washed apple skin is OK for your pup. Remove the seeds, though, as they contain cyanide and can be toxic to your beloved friend. You can feed apples raw or cooked. If the apples and squash are meant as meal portions instead of treats, grind them for better digestion and absorption.
Serve squash and apple pieces as treats or feed them in small to moderate quantities with your pooch's kibble or prepared meals. When feeding as the vegetable and fruit portion of a meal, make sure there is more kibble than veggies and fruit, so the dog gets ample protein.
- Michigan State University Extension: Enjoy the Taste and Health Benefits of Winter Squash
- University of California Cooperative Extension: Fresh From the Garden Summer Squash
- VetInfo: Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Apples?
- 2ndChance.info: Home Cooked Pet Diets, Homemade Recipes and Pet Nutrition
- Modern Dog: 10 Human Foods to Share
- VetInfo: Dietary Dog Constipation Treatment
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images