Feeding fruits and vegetables for dogs is a great way to supplement and treat without adding too many calories.
However, what vegetables should you be feeding and in what kind of quantities?
Are there any that you shouldn’t feed?
Don't shy away from any of these vegetables for dogs just because someone told you that you shouldn't feed table scraps or that dogs don't need anything but meat.
You are providing extra nutrition in small amounts that will provide health benefits for your small dog. Does your dog need this extra nutrition?
That may depend on the type of food you are serving. A high quality food will provide all the needed vitamins and minerals in the correct quantities.
A dog is more of a carnivore and as such won't require much in the way of plant based nutrition. By that, I mean that they are not pure carnivores but are not omnivores or herbivores either.
To understand the nutritional needs of the dog, you need to look back into history. Dogs have descended from the early ancestors of wolves. They survived by being scavengers. Even wild canines will eat the entire carcass of an herbivore including the stomach contents which includes plant material. Wild dogs, wolves and dingoes will also scavenge for fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables provide proteins, fats, carbohydrates, phytonutrients and fiber for a dog, but as nutritious as that sounds, dogs are not herbivores and as such do not do well on an all vegetable diet.
There is good reason to give some vegetable/ plant based foods.
Julia Henriques, from Dog's Naturally Magazine, writes about the need for vegetables as aids in treatment of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, kidney, liver, IBD, cancer and arthritis.
With that said, most dog owners will provide additional treats to their dog. When training for the first time, training treats are often used as a motivator and instead of buying cheap, ready made treats, tiny bits of carrots and apples can be used instead of manufactured treats that are questionable in quality and safety.
Let's face it people who are very concerned about their dog's nutrition may forget to look on the labels of pet treats. Many treats come from questionable sources, contain questionable ingredients, and may have no nutritional value at all.
We’ve put together a list of good and bad fruits and vegetables for dogs.
You’ll also find the calorie content of these foods and a way to decide how to incorporate them into your fur friend’s daily diet.
Remember, this is not an exhaustive list of vegetables for dogs, just a list of the ones that provide the best nutritional bang for your buck.
You should be fairly safe in experimenting with new vegetables for your little dog as long as you make sure you steer clear of those foods toxic to dogs.
Remember that dogs do not have the same nutritional requirements as people, so you don't need to include any of these fruits or vegetables for dogs in large quantities. You can see how many calories each contains at the bottom of this page.
You’ll find that apples provide a good source of vitamin A and C, which is good for overall health. Many varieties contain antioxidants, and organically grown apples contain at least 1/3 more antioxidants than regular apples.
The main ingredient in apples is pectin, a fiber that creates short chain fatty acids. These are responsible for removing toxins in the intestinal tract, improving the muscles surrounding the intestines and aid in removing bad bacteria.
The flesh and peel of the apple is great for your dog, but don’t just toss him a whole apple. Do not allow your dog to eat the core including the seeds. So slice up an apple for you and offer a few tidbits to your dog.
You might even notice an improvement in your dog’s breath.
As a side note, Vitamin C is not considered essential because the dog, like many other mammals can manufacture their own Vitamin C.
Two great things about Asparagus is its low calorie count and impressive nutrients.
Asparagus contains vitamins including A, B1, B2, C, E, and K. You’ll find an even more notable list of minerals, including folate, iron, copper, fiber, manganese and potassium.
Bananas are a great pick-me-up- fruit, full of natural sugar that converts readily into energy. Many dogs love the taste of banana. They have many essential amino acids, potassium, and other minerals.
Bananas also contain vitamin C and B6, which helps improve heart health and maintain blood pressure. It is also an easy treat to share with your dog.
If you thought blueberries were only good for people, think again. They contain high levels of resveratrol, a chemical that contains anti-cancer and heart-disease fighting capabilities.
They are naturally low in calories and as you eat a handful, why not toss a couple to your dog. They are the perfect size to use for training purposes, and as a bonus, the tannins found in blueberries can also help prevent urinary tract infections.
Broccoli is one of those super foods loaded with nutrients. Broccoli contains vitamins A, C, D, beta carotene, folic acid, as well as fiber, calcium, and chromium. When you cook broccoli, cancer fighting enzymes are released.
Broccoli also contains several phytochemicals, substances that halt carcinogens in their tracts, breakdown carcinogens, and prevent them from attacking normal cells. If all those benefits were not enough, Broccoli contains sulforphane, a substance that improves immune functions.
Although broccoli seems like the perfect food, feed this one in moderation. Too much can reduce his thyroid functioning.
Maybe Brussel Sprouts are not your favorite vegetable, but if you like them, why not share a sprout with your small dog.
Brussel Sprouts contain vitamins A, B1, B6, K, and G and also have manganese, folate, and potassium.
They are a good source of fiber for both you and your dog.
Cantaloupe contains Vitamin A and beta carotene that helps with your dog’s vision, reduces cell damage and can ward off the risk of cancer.
Cantaloup is also a good source of Vitamin B-6 and C, fiber, folate, niacin, and potassium.
It is usually tolerated well in dogs. Do not serve seeds to dogs.
Carrots are a favorite among dogs and contain vitamins A, C and K.
They are also a source of vitamins D, E, and K. They are also high in beta carotene, potassium, and fiber.
Carrots are good for your dog’s vision as well as his skin and for cleaning teeth and gums. Other minerals found in carrots include riboflavin, niacin, calcium, , phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, and iron.
These important vitamins and nutrients support the immune system and digestion. Baby carrots are easy to offer and provide an alternative to a raw hide chew. Dogs enjoy them raw or cooked.
Cranberries have a way of lowering the pH of urine making it more acidic which is something that can help fight urinary tract infections in both people and dogs. Veterinarians will often recommend a supplement for dogs who have had bladder stones removed and the supplement contains cranberries.
However, beyond their capacity to fight urinary tract infections, they also contain antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
Canned cranberries whether whole or jelled are higher in calories, so don’t go overboard. Cook fresh cranberries slightly for dogs. Some dogs love the taste, and others turn up their noses.
Celery is as a resource for improving heart health and reducing cancer rates.
It is a great source of calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, iron, and vitamins A, B and C.
It contains the phytochemical 3-n-butyl phthalide that has been found to reduce the rate of tumors in lab animals, reduce blood pressure great for improving heart health and can reduce the rate of cancer according to the BARF Diet.
Celery also reduces nervousness and acts as an acid neutralizer in animals. Best of all, in my opinion, celery freshens doggie breath!
Stalks are fine, but remove the leaves before serving.
Green beans are a source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and K. They are also a source of a whole slue of minerals. The minerals found in green beans include calcium, niacin, potassium, iron, copper, fiber, folic acid, iron, manganese, riboflavin, and thiamin.
Vitamin K helps maintain bone health. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in heart health. Green beans also contain beta carotene. This sounds like a winner food for both you and your dog.
Salad anyone? I was fairly surprised that my dogs love to eat salad. The more green leafy vegetables the better and most of my salads contain lettuce which is often scarfed down. Lettuce is a good source of Vitamin K and A. The provitamin A, beta-carotene is also found in the dark green lettuces such as Romaine. Darker varieties of lettuce provide folate and iron.
Do be careful with the fat soluble vitamins, (A, D, E and K). Unlike water-soluble vitamins that will be excreted from the body if taken in excess, fat soluble vitamins will be retained and stored with fat in the body.
Who would have thought that pears may be a perfect fruit for your dog? They contain pectin that helps strengthen the intestinal tract. Pears also contain potassium that helps maintain heart and muscle strength and carbohydrate metabolism.
If your dog has bouts of constipation or irregularity, the fiber contained in pears may help. Fiber promotes colon health by removing bile salts that have the added benefit of reducing cholesterol levels.
Pears are also rich in vitamin C that can help repair damage from free radicals, promotes immune system health and even stimulates vitamin E if it has been deactivated by free radicals. Remove the core and seeds before serving to your dog.
Peas are loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals which is why we may have been told as children to eat our peas. Dogs tend to love the taste and can tolerate peas cooked, frozen or thawed (uncooked).
Peas contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and K. They also contain thiamin, phosphorus, manganese, fiber, and folate. Dog food manufacturers will often include peas in their ingredients because they are a natural source of protein.
Pineapples are a tasty treat for both people and dogs and can be purchased fresh, frozen or in cans. They contain Vitamin B1, B6, and C as well as copper, folate, pantothenic acid and fiber.
Vitamin C is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, protecting against free-radicals. Pineapple contains a complex mixture of substances, bromelain that has been found to be useful for a variety of health benefits including improved digestion and reduction of inflammation.
Pumpkin (not the canned pumpkin pie variety) Provides a rich source of fiber, which is important to digestive health. It also contains vitamin A and anti-oxidants.
So if your dog is suffering from constipation or diarrhea, heap on a spoonful of canned pumpkin to his regular diet. Pumpkin also promotes overall cardiovascular health. Dogs should not eat the seeds.
Spinach is a super food for both you and your dog. It helps protect against inflammation and heart issues, as well as cancer. It is high in iron. You can offer spinach to your dog cooked or raw depending on preferences.
No need to cook up an extra sweet potato for your small dog, just share a few bites of yours with him.
They have A, B-6, C and E and are loaded with minerals as well. Sweet potatoes contain iron, potassium, copper, calcium, folate, thiamin, and folate. Most dogs love the naturally sweet taste but as with any of these selections, you can overdo a good thing.
Never serve sweet potatoes raw.
Who can resist this tasty summer treat and if your dog is salivating in front of you, don’t feel guilty about offering him a tidbit? There is vitamin A, B-6 and C as well as thiamin and lycopene.
A bonus to watermelon is it is high water content. It is made up of 92% water. If you are worried, you are your dog is not getting enough water, toss a square of watermelon his way.
Remove any seeds before serving to your dog.
This list includes fruits and vegetables that you should not give to your dog. A more comprehensive list of foods toxic to dogs can be found here.
No, there are many more that you can try successfully.
We've listed some of the calorie counts below.
We have listed these fruits and vegetables for dogs including calories for small breed dogs. The quantities are deliberately left small. If you have a large breed dog, they are able to consume more daily calories so portions should be adjusted accordingly.
Sweet Potato Medium, baked in skin 1/8 potato = 13 calories
The average small 10 pound dog needs less than 375 calories per day. (More for pregnant and lactating females and less for weigh loss)
Check your dog’s food package to determine how many calories he is getting from his normal food. Adjust any of these fruits and vegetables for dogs snacks accordingly.
More information on calculating caloric intake.
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