Are Vegetables Good for Dogs?
The simple answer is yes, but the amount can vary depending on your dog’s metabolism and preference.
If you are feeding a raw or cooked diet, the generally recommended amount should be somewhere between 15 and 30% vegetables. If you feed kibble and other processed foods, adding vegetables to your dog’s food is still important and beneficial, approximately 15-20% of the total volume.
Most processed foods contain a significant amount of vegetables, but they are highly processed and heated, causing them to lose their nutritional value.
Should I feed vegetables every day?
The answer is no, as long as you give the recommended percentage over a longer period of time.
This provides more flexibility; one day less, one day more, similar to what we humans do. Your dog’s diet doesn’t have to be consistent every day, as long as you maintain a certain structure.
Should I feed vegetables and meat together or separately?
Most dogs prefer meat to vegetables, so mixing them in can help if your dog is pickier about eating vegetables. You can add your dog’s vegetables to ground meat or chunks of meat. To further entice your pup to eat his vegetables, try pouring on his daily dose of Omega-3 oil, such as FeelGood Omega, as this adds more flavor.
My dog Pax sometimes chooses to eat a bowl of vegetables, raw or steamed, instead of his meat. I suspect it’s because he instinctively knows what his body needs at that moment.
Can I add fruit to my dog’s meals?
I recommend only feeding small amounts of fruit (less than 5%) as they would do the same in nature.
However, ideally you should not feed high sugar fruits (which includes most fruits) with your dog’s protein meals. The reason is that protein takes longer to digest than fruit, and that’s true feed fruits and proteins together it can lead to unwanted fermentation and possibly even gas production.
There are some exceptions to the rule, such as blueberries and other low-sugar berries. However, try to stick to the following recommendations:
- Feed fruit at least 1 hour before feeding a protein meal and wait 3 hours before feeding fruit after a protein meal.
- Feed local, organic and pesticide-free fruits whenever possible.
Why do some dogs hate eating vegetables?
The truth is that most of our dogs are like children: they like high-calorie foods and if given the choice, some of them would skip vegetables altogether.
If we look at nature, dogs usually eat a little grass and the predigested intestinal contents of their prey, which taste different from the vegetables we feed (raw or steamed).
However, because it is unrealistic to feed our dogs a whole animal, and plant foods are a natural part of a dog’s diet, adding vegetables to their meals is essential for maintaining good health and longevity.
If your dog doesn’t like larger vegetable chunks, try chopping them in a food processor or Vitamix. Steaming also makes some vegetables tastier, such as broccoli, zucchini and beets. Pumpkins, pumpkins, sweet potatoes or yams are usually served boiled.
I encourage you to try different types of vegetables to see what your dog enjoys most, and avoid feeding only a few types of vegetables repeatedly.
Remember, feeding a variety over a longer period of time is the key to a healthy, balanced diet.
Is it okay to juice the vegetables?
The answer is yes, if you mix the juice and pulp back together after juicing, but I don’t recommend feeding just juice without roughage and fiber.
What vegetables can dogs eat?
Dogs can eat most vegetables, with a few exceptions that I will also mention later in this article.
In nature, dogs usually eat vegetables that have been predigested in the intestines of their prey, or they instinctively ingest fresh vegetables to cleanse the intestines and detoxify the body. I’ve heard some people suggest that canines don’t eat the contents of the intestines, but based on what I’ve seen, they do!
Many dogs will eat the guts if given the chance, and my dog Pax proved this when he tried to eat the guts of a deer while a hunter was gutting it.
Some dogs also eat the feces of herbivores to replenish their gut microbiome.
Dogs instinctively understand the nutritional and detoxifying power of leafy greens, which is why they also eat fresh grass.
Vegetables are generally an important part of a healthy diet for dogs, but their nutritional value depends largely on the quality of the soil in which they are grown, and most soil contains no nutrients.
That’s why I still give my dog Pax four essential nutrients every day, we call them fantastic4 (vitamins, minerals, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids). To ensure your dog’s diet is balanced, I recommend you do the same.
What are the best vegetables to feed dogs?
The starting point is to provide approximately 50% leafy vegetables and the remaining 50% consists of other types of non-leafy vegetables.
The ratio of leafy greens to non-leafy greens also depends on your dog’s constitution and whether he or she tends to be hot or cold. Hot dogs can be fed larger amounts of green leafy vegetables which are generally cooling. Dogs that get cold should be given fewer cooling vegetables and increase their portion of warming vegetables.
Dogs that tend to run hot do well on leafy greens such as lettuce, mixed leafy greens, dandelion leaves, cilantro, beet tops, carrot tops, sprouted seeds, bok choy, dill, wheatgrass and barley grass.
Non-leafy cool vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, celery and green beans. Although avocado is not a vegetable, it is also cooling, just like cucumbers, but not all dogs enjoy it.
Spinach and chard are also cooling, but I don’t recommend them for dogs that have a breed-specific preference for calcium oxalate stones/crystals or they have been diagnosed. Steaming will reduce the amount of calcium oxalate in the products.
These vegetables can be considered suitable for both cold and hot dogs and include beets and carrots.
These root vegetables generally do not digest well in most canines and steaming or light cooking is better.
Slightly warming vegetables
These vegetables can be considered suitable for both cold and hot dogs and include asparagus and cabbage.
Heat up vegetables
If your dog gets cold, here are some warming vegetables you can consider feeding:
Parsley, parsnips, basil, pumpkin, yams, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, ginger, kale.
What about mushrooms?
Although it is safe for humans to eat mushrooms raw, they must be cooked before feeding them to your dog. Cooking helps with digestion because dogs cannot produce the enzymes needed to break down the fiber and some sugars in mushrooms.
Most mushrooms are cooling, but shiitake mushrooms are neutral.
For more information about mushrooms, see the Recipe Maker.
Is it okay to feed vegetables from the nightshade family?
There has been a lot of debate about whether nightshades are safe for dogs. In the past, I followed the general recommendation not to feed tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants to dogs, but I have gradually mellowed. I believe feeding small amounts of ripe nightshades is good for dogs.
Potatoes are thermally neutral and are well known to reduce inflammation in small doses. However, make sure you don’t give your dog sprouted potatoes. that are poisonous.
Tomatoes are very cooling and should not be given to dogs that get cold. It can be a good vegetable for dogs that overheat and tend to wake up in the middle of the night.
Are cruciferous vegetables, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, kale and broccoli good for dogs?
This group has also been under excessive scrutiny in the past, with some people suggesting that they absorb iodine, leading to hypothyroidism. I have never seen this in clinical practice.
There are many benefits to feeding cruciferous vegetables as they contain sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer, antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
Broccoli sprouts contain the highest levels of sulforaphane, followed by broccoli and then other cruciferous vegetables. Chopping the vegetables and letting them sit for a while before serving increases the amount of sulforaphane available. If your dog prefers steamed vegetables, steam them only briefly at a low temperature.
Vegetables that are poisonous or harmful to dogs
Leeks, chives and members of the onion family should be avoided as they cause red blood cell damage due to oxidants in the onion family.
The reason why dogs and cats are more sensitive is due to their lower levels of protective enzymes.
Is Garlic Safe for Dogs?
Garlic also belongs to the onion family, but there is no need to panic if there is a small amount of garlic in treats or food. I have not seen any negative effects from small amounts of garlic.
Are vegetables and meat enough to complete my dog’s diet?
This would also be the case if our dogs could roam freely in a natural, unspoilt environment. Unfortunately, intensive agriculture, long-distance food transport and soil depletion have led to a point where food is no longer sufficient to balance the diet.
Proof of this can be seen in the transformation of dogs when they are exposed to the… Fab4 essentials.
Read the reviews to see what other dog lovers have noticed.
If you’re wondering if your dog has a mineral deficiency, you can ask a… HairQ test to check their mineral and heavy metal levels. All you need to do is send us a sample of your dog’s hair and we will email you the results once they are ready.
Regardless of whether or not you feed organic or non-organic vegetables, nutrient and mineral depletion is very likely without providing all-natural essential supplements.
Click here for the Fab4 essentials.
- Provide completely natural, plant-based minerals GreenMin.
- Add all-natural, certified organic multivitamin SoulFood.
- Add dog-specific dairy-free pre/probiotic digestive support GutSense.
- Promote cell repair, support the nerves and brain and reduce inflammation with mercury-free and sustainable FeelGood Omega-3 oil.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM