Did you know?
Dogs like fruit and vegetables and get the same benefits from them as we do.
Organically grown fruit and vegetables have a higher nutritional value for your dog.
Wherever possible, buy organic foods. Be sure to wash non-organic produce thoroughly as many of these vegetables and fruits may have been sprayed with insecticides.
Many vegetables can be served raw or lightly steamed. Because dogs have a smaller digestive track, vegetables such as broccoli and carrots, are far better steamed. Canned vegetables are fine; just make sure they have no salt. Aim for variety as this helps to ensure the best balance of nutrients.
I’ve listed SOME of the good Fruits, Vegetables and Vitamins (even a few dairy products), you may like to include in your dog’s diet.
Apples contain potassium, which stimulates the immune system, and pepsin, which helps the stomach. Apples also have vitamins A, B, C, iron and magnesium. They can help bring down bad cholesterol. (NEVER feed apple seeds to your dog – they are poisonous and can lead to cyanide poisoning).
Bananas are good source of potassium, folic acid, vitamin A and B6. They are easily digested and high in fiber. They are a good energy boosting snack to take along if you are going on a long walk with your dog and they are good for you too. They also provide moisture in healthy treat recipes instead of adding oil.
Beets surpass many vegetables because of the comprehensive nutrition they provide. They are an excellent natural detoxifier. Beware: what goes in red on one end will come out the other end, a similar color. RECIPE: Quick Beet Chips Remove greens, wash, dry and slice beets with carrot peeler, place slices on cookie tray, spray with a little olive oil, (sprinkle with some rosemary if you like) and bake at 190° C (375° F) for 30 – 45 minutes (depends on your oven). They’re crispy, healthy and yummy.
Broccoli – There has been a bit of confusion where broccoli is concerned. Broccoli is very good for dogs, however, if the daily intake exceeds more than 10% of the animals diet – problems can occur. The toxic substance is isothiocyanate and can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Carrots are full of nutrients and vitamins B, C, D, E, & K along with folic acid and the anti-cancer protecting ingredient – beta carotene. They also contain potassium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium and silica. They can be fed raw, cooked or pureed and a great addition to healthy treat recipes.
Cabbage is rich in vitamins plus it assists in keeping both your dog’s skin and gastrointestinal system in good working order. Although cabbage is canine-friendly, be aware it may induce excess gas in some dogs! Start with a bite size piece first and WAIT!
Cauliflower is low in sugar and high in phytonutrients carotenoids and flavonoids. May produce gas.
Cucumbers are good for teeth and bones due to potassium content. They are relatively low in sugars and easy for your dog to digest. Peel cucumbers unless they are organically grown. Combine with carrots to promote a healthy liver and kidneys.
Celery is low in sugar. Chopped celery can help your dog if he/she suffers from arthritis.
Cheese in moderation can offer some benefits to dogs. First, cheese has a lot of protein that can be good for your dog. Cheese also offers vitamin A and essential fatty acids and using a small piece of cheese is a great way to mask a pill that you may need to give to your dog. Cheese is not harmful to your dog unless you give it to them in excess. As with most dairy products, cheese can cause digestive upsets and even gas. For dogs that are lactose intolerant, there are cheeses that are lactose-free that you can use as a treat, but do so in limited amounts, or use to disguise a pill that you have been instructed to give your dog.
Cottage cheese offers protein and can help with diarrhea, but make sure it is low in sodium as well as fat.
Ricotta Cheese is low fat, low sodium and rich in vitamins and minerals, with substantial amounts of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Surprisingly, Ricotta cheese is even lower in fat than cottage cheese too.
Garlic – Some say yes, some say no. Garlic in small quantities can help remove waste from blood and can help repel fleas. Holistic veterinarians recommend feeding small amounts of garlic each day, a minute amount for flavoring is not likely to cause any problems. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
Green Beans a good source of plant fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese. If your dog has a tendency to put on weight, then replacing some of his/her regular food with green beans is a great low calorie way to fill them up and help maintain a healthy weight. Many dogs enjoy green beans frozen.
Kale is rich in antioxidants and can help reduce allergy symptoms. It’s low in sugars, high in fiber and an excellent source of carotenoids.
Mint not only helps with bad breath, but it is an excellent anti-depressant for dogs. Mint may help with separation anxiety.
Organic Oats, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Millet and Barley are healthy gluten free alternatives, ideal options for allergy suffering, sensitive, and older pets’ daily diet.
Oat Flour, Oats, Brown Rice, and Barley can be substituted in any pet treat recipe. For each cup of wheat based flour, you can substitute either 1¼ cups of oat flour, ¾ cup Oats or Brown Rice Flour, 1⅜ cups of Barley flour (Barley settles quickly once milled, so one cup of barley flour can become ⅔ cup after it settles, be sure to “fluff” the flour before you measure it). Please note: These flours provide a different texture to baked treats, not that your pet will notice. They are a healthier alternative for our Allergy suffering, wheat sensitive pets. If cooking with any of these flours, be sure to increase the baking time by 10-20 minutes on the normal baking time mentioned in a recipe. (The recipes I post using these flours, include this adjustment).
Olive oil rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil prevents and lessens the effects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It contains oleic acid, in addition to some compounds (squalene and terpenoids) that are believed to be effective in preventing cancer, which kills a staggering 50 percent of dogs over age 10.
Parsley can reduce allergy symptoms and aid in your dog’s kidney function.
Pineapples are packed full of vitamin C and fiber so they help the immune and digestive system. They also have anti-inflammatory effects. If you have a dog that likes to snack on his or her poop, try giving them a little bit of pineapple in their food.
Pumpkin is high in carotenoids and sterols. It is also a good source of fiber and beta carotene (a source of vitamin A).
Spinach and other dark leafy greens are low in sugars, high in fiber and an excellent source of carotenoids. Greens can be fed to dogs in small amounts. Steam greens to cook them to retain most of their nutrients.
Squashes, butternut and yellow squash are relatively low in sugars and easy for your dog to digest.
Sweet potatoes are a source of dietary fiber and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog. (Check my Sweet Potato Treats recipe, posted January 18, 2013).
Strawberries contain cancer fighting beta – carotene, bone building calcium, potassium and iron and of course vitamin C.
Yogurt that is in the plain form (fat free, unflavored, unsweetened) is something else that your dog will enjoy. It’s the acidophilus in it that provides the same good bacteria to the dog’s gut as it does to humans.
Brewer’s yeast is the yeast that’s left over from making alcohol. Dogs seem to really enjoy the tangy taste of brewer’s yeast. It’s full of B vitamins which are good for skin, coat, and carbohydrate metabolism. Make sure you’re using brewer’s yeast (available at health food stores), not baking yeast which will make your dog sick. Brewer’s yeast can spice up your dog’s appetite. Just sprinkle a little on the food of a picky eater and watch him/her dive into their food.
Flaxseed meal/oil, fish oil, omega 3 and 6 supplements provide essential fatty acids and are definitely beneficial.
Vitamins for dogs are as essential as they are for people.
As you can see, Vitamins are present in trace amounts in most of the foods I’ve listed above and they are essential for numerous functions performed in the body of your dog.
Some vitamins act as antioxidants which protect the body from harmful toxins.
They help digestion and nutrient absorption by breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
They aid growth of muscles and bones.
They keep the skin and hair healthy.
They also help ensure normal reproduction.
Vitamin A is abundant in the yellow pigment (carotene) in plants. Dogs can easily convert carotene into Vitamin A in their bodies, and the vitamin is stored in fat cells, mainly in the liver. Vitamin A is very important to ensure the proper growth and development of puppies and it is essential for healthy hair and skin, strong muscles, as well as good night vision. Deficiency in vitamin A can cause female dogs to have irregular ovulation and male dogs to become sterile. Vitamin A is also an important antioxidant which may protect against certain forms of cancer in dogs.
Vitamin B Complex – B group vitamins can be found in meat, milk, vegetables and fruit. B vitamins are important in maintaining a positive environment for neural regeneration. B vitamins are also essential for growth. B complex can bolster health, calm a stressed nervous system and help repel fleas. Deficiency of B vitamins will result in a loss of reflexes and nerve control; poor growth; appetite loss; diarrhea; hair loss; eye abnormalities; and heart failure. B-complex (in particular B2 and B6) is also essential for the prevention of bladder stone formation in dogs.
Vitamin C – Dogs can produce Vitamin C in their bodies under normal situations; however, when a dog is under stress (either physically due to, say, an illness, or mentally due to for example boarding at a kennel), he may need vitamin C in excess of his manufacturing capacity.
Vitamin D – Dogs can get Vitamin D from sunshine, as well as from meat such as liver or fish oils. It helps the body to retain calcium and is therefore important in bone and skeletal formation, as well as nerve and muscle control. To ensure proper growth and development, puppies should be given Vitamin D supplements as a precaution.
Vitamin E is an important nutrient and plays an important role in cell respiration and the formation of cell membranes. It is also a powerful antioxidant which facilitates fat oxidation and increases the production of HDL (good) cholesterol. It is useful in preventing and slowing the development of cataracts, heart conditions and other muscle disorders. At higher doses, it has anti-inflammatory properties as well, and can prevent and improve chronic skin problems and immune mediated disorders. For dogs with skin and coat problems, adding Vitamin E to their diets will also help greatly. Deficiencies of Vitamin E will cause cell damage, reproductive failure, and a host of other problems, such as skin problems, inflammatory problems, etc.
Vitamin K found mainly in some green and leafy vegetables, and egg yolk is important for normal blood functions.
For aging dogs who tend to eat less and as a result absorb fewer nutrients including vitamins and minerals, and at the same time, lose more of them through the kidneys and urinary tract, vitamin supplementation becomes essential. Antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, and E can also help eliminate free radicals and toxicities from the body. This may help slow the aging process and may prevent diseases such as cancer.