An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, but for your canine companion, eggs and veggies are good medicine. Make your dog's diet healthier with just a few healthy additions from the kitchen.
Eggs Set the Standard
For your four-legged friend, eggs are the most digestible source of protein available. In fact, eggs set the standard for the biological value of protein at 100, meaning that eggs are the most nutritious and usable protein for dogs, while all other protein sources score lower. You can add a raw egg to your dog's food on a daily basis. If you are concerned about salmonella or E. coli, lightly scramble or boil the eggs, leaving out the usual flavorings of salt, butter and pepper.
Egg shells also are good for dogs, providing a usable, digestible source of calcium. You can use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the egg shells into a powder. Add a 1/2 teaspoon to your dog's bowl every day for a great calcium boost.
Green Veggies are a Go
Many vegetables are good for dogs, but some veggies provide more nutrients that others. Like people, dogs get great nutritional benefits from green, leafy vegetables. In the wild, dogs would eat leafy vegetables when they ate their prey, but now it's up to their human caretakers to provide the veggies. Veterinarian Peter Dobias recommends using 50 percent green leafy vegetables, including lettuce, spinach and collared greens. Dogs digestive systems aren't designed to process the veggies raw, so give them a quick boil or spin in the food processor to make them easier for your dog to get the most nutrition.
Sweet Veggies Aren't Just for Dessert
Sweet veggies such as sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, green beans, peas and beets can give your pooch nutrient-rich carbohydrates. These colorful vegetables are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Some vegetables have been shown to help dogs fight off health issues, including obesity, diabetes and cancer. As with the leafy vegetables, be sure to lightly cook or grind in a food processor to make them easily digestible for your pup.
Not All Veggies are Good for Fido
While many vegetables are good for your canine friend, not every vegetable is nutritious. In fact, some veggies can be dangerous. In general, avoid the nightshade vegetables, which includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Other dangerous vegetables include onions, garlic and avocados.
- Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats Cookbook: Beth Taylor and Karen Shaw Becker
- PetMD: The Incredible, Edible Egg: Nutritional or Deadly for Pets?
- Dog Food Advisor: Judging the Biological Value of a Dog Food’s Protein
- Dr. Dobias Natural Healing: What Veggies Are Good for Dogs?
- Max Oppenheim/Photodisc/Getty Images