Can Dogs Eat Fruits and Vegetables? The Answer May Surprise You!
When it comes it canine nutrition, I’m a big proponent of incorporating (healthy and safe!) human foods into your dog’s diet. That’s why today we’re going to talk all about dog-safe fruits and vegetables.
So many dog owners wonder, What fruit can dogs eat? and What vegetables are good for dogs? And I’m glad you’re already thinking about it!
- Fruits and veggies make for excellent (and far less fattening) treats
- They can help keep your dog’s teeth clean
- Address uncomfortable symptoms (like constipation)
- Can even be a part of a healthy diet if you’re interested in feeding your pup an entirely human-food diet
In other words, bring on the produce because Fido is ready!
What’s most important is to make sure you have a solid understanding of which fruit dogs can eat and which vegetables are safe for dogs. Because there is a handful to avoid.
Why feed your dog fruits and vegetables?
Dogs need them: A lot of us are under the mistaken impression that dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are largely carnivorous, when in fact, domestic dogs of today are firmly in the omnivore category. Their bodies and digestive systems have evolved to need a mixed and varied diet for optimal health.
They offer varied nutrition: Fruits and vegetables have an in-depth nutritional profile that provide your dogs with a variety of nutrients, fiber, carbohydrates, and even fats. On the flip side, grains, beans, and peas are more of a filler food that doesn’t provide your dog with much in the way of nutrition
They’re a low-calorie treat option: Many of us rely on treats for training, desired behaviors (like getting them in the house when the mailman arrives), and because it’s fun to treat your dog! But conventional, store-bought dog treats are often loaded with fat and calories! Fruits and vegetables can make for the perfect alternative
Improve organ function and health: Fruits and vegetables can increase heart health, liver function, decrease inflammation and might even reduce your dog’s risk of certain types of cancer
What fruit can dogs eat?
You might be surprised to find out that you can feed your dog most common fruits! Many dogs like fruit because of the sweet flavor and high water content. This makes them a great treat and training tool.
Be aware that because of the high sugar content, fruit should only be used as a treat and not as a meal replacement or regular meal ingredient (like vegetables). If your dog is diabetic, it’s also important to limit their fruit intake or avoid it altogether.
Fruit dogs can eat:
Whenever you’re giving your dog fruit, be sure to remove pits, cores, seeds, or anything else that could create a choking hazard. Additionally, cubes, slices, or sticks make the fruit easier to toss or give as a treat.
As for fruits your dog shouldn’t have? Grapes, avocado, and tomato should be avoided.
What vegetables are good for dogs?
Vegetables are an even better choice than fruit for dog treats, snacks and meal enhancers because they aren’t high in sugar. Steamed veggies are actually one of the best training treats out there. My dogs LOVE squash and zucchini for this purpose.
Dog friendly vegetables:
- Sweet potato
- Regular potato
- All varieties of squash
- Leafy greens
- Sweet peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Asparagus (steamed)
- Green Beans
Vegetables are often easier on dog’s digestive systems if they are steamed or boiled, especially veggies that are cruciferous like cabbage and broccoli.
Vegetables your dog shouldn’t have? Onions, leeks, mushrooms and garlic should be avoided.
How to feed your dog fruits and vegetables?
There seems to be a range when it comes to just how much of your dog’s diet should be vegetables. If you are using commercially produced dog food (check out our info in the Large Dog Field Guide for choosing the right one!) it’s best to make sure fruits and veggies don’t make up more than 10% of their daily intake.
If you are feeding your dog an entirely human-food diet, a range of 10-25% fruits and vegetables is best. In some cases, like if you are feeding a human-food diet to address chronic disease or allergies, you may feed your dog a diet as high as 50% fruits and vegetables––but if this is the case, you’ll likely be doing so under the guidance of a vet or dietary specialist.
In any case, if you are unsure about how much produce is right for your dog, always check in with your vet!
Here are some tips for including fruits and veggies in your dog’s diet:
- Add it to the top of their dry food
- Create a fun mixture that includes fruits and vegetables that can be stuffed into a chew toy (like our treat chew toy)
- Use a container of steamed (or raw) veggies for training sessions
- Carrots, apple slices, and celery can clean your dog’s teeth and keep them busy for a bit if they are the type to sit and chew at something instead of chomping it down
- Create a soup or stew-like meal with veggies and a protein (like chicken or scrambled eggs). This can be great if you run out of dog food and can’t get to the store!
Don’t be afraid to give your dog fruits and veggies!
Now you know that it’s totally fine for your dog to eat the rainbow. Most fruits and vegetables are totally safe for your dog and can help create variety in their diet.
Looking to learn more about dogs and their diet? Check out these other articles:
What fruits and veggies do your dogs like? What’s your favorite way to prepare them? We’d love to hear from you below!
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