If you want a healthy and nutritious way to add variety to your dog’s daily diet, look no further than your supermarket’s produce section. Feeding your pooch raw vegetables, either as a treat or as an addition to a regular balanced diet, may have lasting health benefits and improve her overall quality of life.
When selecting healthy and nutritious vegetables to add to your dog’s diet, look for leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. Iron-rich spinach carries oxygen to the blood, promoting overall canine health and development and preventing anemia. Packed with vitamin A, calcium and potassium, kale serves as an excellent source of dietary fiber that can improve a dog’s digestive health. Dogs that consume adequate amounts of fiber are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and experience fewer digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation.
Dog owners who want to give their dog a nutritious snack that freshens breath and improves dental health should consider celery. Not only is it packed with heart-healthy vitamins, its fibrous strands act as a natural dental floss. As a dog chews, the strands in the celery help remove harmful bacteria and tartar that can accumulate between teeth and along the gum line, freshening breath and helping to reduce cavity formation.
Colorful vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets, can add both taste and nutritional value to a dog’s diet. These vegetables provide an excellent source of beta carotene and other antioxidants that can help prevent diseases and infections. Because of their nutritional value and appealing taste, sweet potatoes are now a common ingredient in many commercial dog foods. While dogs generally enjoy them, these vegetables contain large amount of sugar and should be given sparingly. Too much sugar can upset a dog’s digestive tract and cause diarrhea.
Hold the Onions
While many vegetables are safe and healthy for dogs to consume, vegetables in the onion family can have dangerous health consequences. Vegetables to avoid include onions, shallots, garlic and scallions. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dogs that consume these vegetables are at risk for developing a harmful toxicosis, which can damage red blood cells. Dogs suffering from toxicosis may appear lethargic, have dark red urine and should be examined by a veterinarian.
Jen Gehring is a political consultant and college law professor. She holds a J.D. from American University and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Cincinnati. She began working as a professional writer in 2010.