Our doctors and nutritionists encourage us to consume a few servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating these foods make us proactive in our own overall health maintenance. Fruits and vegetables help us fight certain diseases, improver our health, help us maintain a good weight and may even help us to live a longer healthier life.
But, are fruits and vegetables safe for dogs?
Dogs can also benefit from eating fruits and vegetables, which can also help with their overall health maintenance. Here is a list of safe and/or toxic fruits and veggies along with their nutritional value, to help keep you informed.
Are fruits and vegetables safe for dogs?
Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C and add fiber to their diet. You must remove the core and all the seeds. Cut the apple into slices to make it easier for them to consume. Only give apples in moderation, as over feeding apples can cause a stomach ache and possibly lead to diarrhea.
We enjoy and eat bananas, so why not share a little with your dog? Bananas are full of potassium, biotin, fiber, copper and vitamins and magnesium. They are low in cholesterol and sodium. Having said that, be careful, as bananas are high in sugar. If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes Bananas may not be a good choice. There are some ways to use bananas as a treat, including mixing a banana with yogurt and peanut butter, as a treat. Freeze a banana and stuff it into a toy that can hold treats. You may also mash a banana and include it within their regular dinner kibble.
Watermelon is wonderful during the summer. It contains vitamins A, B6, and C and are also a good source of potassium. Watermelon is approximately 92 percent water and can keep your dogs hydrated during the hot and humid days. However, please remove the seeds and the rind before feeding watermelon as a treat.
Strawberries are high in fiber, vitamin C and may also help to whiten your dog’s teeth. When feeding strawberries, cut them up into smaller pieces to avoid the possibility of choking as well as making it easier for them to digest. However, speak with your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may suffer from diabetes before feeding him strawberries.
Oranges are not just for people; dogs love them too. Did you know a small dog can consume up to one-third of a regular sized orange? A large dog can eat the whole orange! When feeding an orange to your dog please remove the rind and all the seeds. Oranges are full of nutrients, and low in sodium, but be cautious because they are also high in sugar. When feeding oranges as a treat start slowly with a small amount as some dogs may develop an upset stomach (after all, oranges are acidic). I recommend starting with a single slice and then watching for any discomfort or reaction.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants in humans and canines have been proven to prevent cell damage. Blueberries are also high in fiber and phytochemicals and contain high amounts of vitamin C. They also help to fight free radicals. Being high in antioxidants Blueberries can be helpful to reduce the effects on the aging brain.
Carrots are a low-calorie snack for your pet. They are high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A and potassium. Another added benefit, it can be beneficial to your dog’s dental health. A frozen carrot stick can even reduce the pain a teething puppy may suffer.
Pineapple is sweet and what dog doesn’t love sweet treats? Be certain to remove the prickly skin. Pineapple contains vitamin C, B6, and folate, as well as bromelain (an enzyme), which helps dogs absorb protein. Pineapple also contains manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and a small amount of calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Pineapple may also play a positive role in the immune system and provide digestive health. Because Pineapple is very sweet it should only be fed in small amounts.
Speaking of small amounts, Broccoli can be fed in small amounts and may be given as an occasional treat. The florets contain Isothiocynates and the stalks can cause mild to severe gastric irritation and esophageal obstruction, hence the small quantity suggestion. Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C as well as being low in fat.
Cucumber is also a wonderful treat, especially for dogs who are overweight. They are packed with vitamins K, C and B as well as potassium, copper, magnesium and biotin. Like Watermelon, they are largely comprised of water so they have a terrific hydration benefit.
Celery contains vitamins, A, B and C and has nutrients to promote a healthy heart. Eating Celery may even help to fight cancer. Perhaps the best benefit of all; Celery is known to help fight doggie breath.
Pears contain copper, fiber, vitamins C and K. From research, pears have been shown to reduce the risk of a stroke. Cut pears into small pieces, and be careful to remove the pit and some of the flesh that surrounds it.
Feel free to feed your pet Potatoes, but only if they have been cooked (we regularly bake or boil potatoes for our pets). Avoid the family favorite mashed recipe because of the added milk, butter and seasoning.
Peaches are acceptable in small amounts as they are a good source of fiber, vitamin A and can aid in the fight of infections. Be certain to remove the pit and some of the fruit that surrounds it. We suggest serving fresh peaches, as most canned peaches are very high in sugar from the added syrup.
Green beans are low in calories and contain iron and vitamin K, C and manganese. Feed only fresh or canned with no added salt.
Cauliflower is a healthy treat and can be fed either fresh or cooked. Feed only small amounts because it can make your dog digestive system “gassy”.
Sweet Potatoes contain vitamins B6 and C, beta carotene and manganese. They are also a good source of fiber.
Pumpkin is packed with fiber and beta carotene. It is good for digestion and can help with diarrhea and constipation. We suggest feeding only cooked or canned organic pumpkin, and please don’t feed canned pie filling, as it is very high in sugar.
Asparagus is relatively safe, however it is a tough vegetable to be given raw and when cooked it loses much of its nutritional value.
In general, fresh fruit can help dogs with aging, and aids on strengthening the immune system and allows overweight pets to enjoy a sweet treat now and then.
Nope… Nadda… Nyet.
There are some fruits and vegetables that should be avoided altogether, because they can be extremely toxic to your dog. Some of them include:
Grapes and raisins should be avoided, as they are extremely toxic to pets and can contribute to kidney failure.
Avocado is not a good choice for dogs. Avocados contain Persin, a known toxin which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Mushrooms are another food you should avoid. Many mushrooms are toxic to pets and can lead to death. While some people claim canned supermarket brands may can be safe, I prefer to stay on the safe side and avoid all mushrooms.
Onions, including leeks and chives, are poisonous to most pets. Onions can cause the red blood cells to rupture and can cause vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.
Did you know that Cherries contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs? Cyanide disrupts the transport of oxygen to the cells and is famous in many spy novels, but not a good choice for pets.
Check with The Vet
Consult with your veterinarian before starting any new diet changes and including fruits and vegetables into their diet. There may be cases where your dog will not benefit from these power packed treats due to diet restriction.
Any new food given to our pets should be started slowly and watch for any changes in their behavior.
Some Pitfalls (No Pun Intended)
Seeds and pits contain cyanide and should be totally avoided. If you suspect your dog has eaten some seeds (or has been found chewing on a pit) look for the signs of cyanide poisoning:
- Dilated pupils.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Red gums.
Treat this as an emergency and call your veterinarian immediately.
The signs for toxic ingestion which often results in kidney failure are
- Loss of appetite.
- Lethargy, weakness, unusual stillness.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Abdominal pain.
- Dehydration symptoms include panting, dry nose and mouth, and/or pale gums. To check for dehydration, pull the skin on the neck; if it doesn’t quickly snap back your pet is most likely dehydrated.
- Diminished amount of urine production.
Are fruits and vegetable safe for dogs? You betcha! The next time you are enjoying a healthy snack yourself, feel free to share a little with your dog. Your dog will most likely love it and beg for more (always start off with a small amount). Too much of a good thing usually isn’t good thing for you or your dog.