Which Vegetables Are Good for Dogs?

Jenna Matisz

We’ve been told since we were young to “eat your vegetables!” and although it’s debatable whether or not we have achieved this as adults, dog owners often wonder whether they should be feeding their pups vegetables too.

So what’s the verdict? Basically, it can’t hurt.

Experts have found that piling your dog’s bowl with veggies isn’t necessary because he/she is likely already getting all of the nutrients he/she needs in his/her dog food. However, some dog owners like to sneak some extra fruits and vegetables into their overweight dog’s kibble as a filler and let’s be honest, sometimes your dog is the one begging for a carrot off the cutting board.

So if your dog is going to be consuming some extra veg, which ones are best?

The best veggies for your dog

Green beans

green beans

Green beans are filled with vitamins A, C and K as well as manganese and fibre. These nutritional benefits help keep your dog’s eyes working well, aid in cancer prevention, and increase immunity.

Green beans have been shown to be particularly beneficial to overweight dogs because of their high dietary fibre content, which allows dogs to consume less but still be satiated.

Portion size: 1 or 2 bite-sized chunks
How to serve: shredded and mixed into food or as a quick snack
How often: in moderation

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Carrots

carrot

Carrots are a staple vegetable for dogs and have tons of benefits. They’re low-calorie, which makes them the perfect treat. When cold, they can be great for teething puppies and also make affordable chew toys for older dogs. In fact, they’ve even been shown to improve doggy dental health. On top of all of this, carrots offer nutritional benefits as an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium and fibre.

However, some dogs have difficulty digesting carrots. You can test your dog’s tolerance by checking his stool to see if there are undigested chunks of carrots. If there is, skip this veggie for you pup!

Portion size: 1 or 2 bite-sized chunks
How to serve: cooked
How often: on occasion

Cucumbers

cucumber

Cucumbers are the perfect vegetable if your dog has recently put on a few pounds. Since they have almost no carbohydrates, fats, or oils, cucumbers are a healthy and crunchy treat. And don’t’ worry, they are also packed with vitamins K, C, and B1 as well as potassium, copper, magnesium and biotin – so your dieting pup won’t be missing out on all of the good stuff!

Portion size: 1 or 2 bite-sized chunks
How to serve: as a snack or treat
How often:  in moderation

Celery

celery

In addition to the crunch your dog craves, celery comes packed with vitamins A, B, and C and has been shown to promote a healthy heart and prevent obesity. An added bonus? It freshens doggy breath. What more could you ask for??

Portion size: 1-2 bite-sized chunks
How to serve: cooked and cut into small chunks with strings removed
How often:
in moderation

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be a sweet treat for your pup’s diet. These guys are rich in vitamins A, B6, B5 and C and also contain manganese, potassium and fibre. In addition to these benefits, they contain the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your dog’s body and promotes healthy vision, growth and muscle strength.

Portion size: 1-2 tablespoons or 1-2 chunks
How to serve: mashed (without milk or additional ingredients) , steamed, or boiled with all skin and sprouts removed
How often: on occasion

Leafy greens

kale

Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, cilantro, parsley, kale, and basil are often a key ingredient in healthy dog foods and for good reason! They are all excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin K, magnesium, iron, and soluble fibre. Talk about a doggy salad!

Portion size: 1 or 2 bite-sized chunks
How to serve: lightly steamed
How often: on occasion

Vegetables to avoid feeding your dog

It’s important to remember that although we often treat them like humans, dogs do not digest their food the same way we do. Feeding your pup the wrong foods can lead to illness, toxicity, anemia, and kidney damage. Just to be safe, be sure to keep the following human foods out of your pup’s reach – he’ll thank you for it!

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Unripe tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms

Tips for feeding your dog vegetables

Bulldog smiling

As with any new food, take caution and move slowly when introducing vegetables into your dog’s diet. Pay attention to signs of nausea, gas, or loose stools and adjust accordingly. Start with a small amount first.

Feed protein and vegetables separately. Dogs digest protein as a much slower rate than fruits and vegetables and, when fed together, fewer nutrients from the protein will be absorbed. Stick to feeding your pup vegetables early in the day so they have a chance to move out of your dog’s system before he/she gets protein.

Always feed your dog plain vegetables, without seasoning or extra ingredients. Avoid using canned or frozen vegetables, which can be loaded with extra sodium.

Some dogs refuse to eat vegetables simply because dogs are carnivores and in natural settings, they only eat plants when they are pre-digested. Quick tip: Puree your dog’s veggies in a food processor or juicer or lightly steam them for easier digestion.

Use the 50/50 rule. At least 50% of your dog’s veggies should be leafy greens (think lettuce, parsley, basil) and the other half should consist of sweet veggies (think zucchini, celery, green beans, green peas, red beets and sweet potatoes).

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