Dog Friendly Fruits and Vegetables
There’s nothing like a fresh, nutritious, all-natural treat on a hot, sunny day. As summer approaches and we look forward to days filled with juicy watermelon and strawberry picking season, it’s only natural to wonder about our furry friends and whether we can share those summer food favorites. Is watermelon good for dogs? Can cats eat strawberries?
Fruits and veggies are a mainstay in the human diet because of their nutritional value – vitamins, fiber and minerals. These tasty and nutritious foods can also be beneficial to your dog’s health – strengthening their immune system, aiding digestion, reducing inflammation, and helping them fend off obesity. Plus, giving your dog fresh food allows you to control ingredients and portion sizes compared to store bought treats. Before you add some freshness to your furry family member’s menu, check out this list of fruits and veggies that are safe for your dog to enjoy:
- Apples: A source of vitamins A and C and fiber, apples are a light and refreshing snack. Just be sure to remove the stem, core and seeds as they are not safe for dogs.
- Bananas: Full of potassium, fiber and magnesium, bananas are high in sugar making them sweet to the taste. These should be considered a special treat. That being said, too much potassium can lead to constipation or hyperkalemia.
- Blueberries: Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, blueberries are commonly referred to as a superfood that can help fight against cancer and repair cell damage.
- Mango: Perfect as a summer treat, mangoes contain vitamins A, B6, C and E and are full of beta-carotene and alpha carotene. Also high in sugar, mango should be saved for a special occasion.
- Pineapple: Full of vitamins, folate and zinc, pineapple can aide your dog’s digestion and support their immune system. Plus, it has bromelain, a natural enzyme that breaks down meat, making it great for dog’s with weak digestive systems.
- Watermelon: At 92% water and full of vitamins A,B6 and 6 along with potassium, watermelon is a great treat to keep your dog hydrated, especially on hot days.
- Strawberries: Strawberries can be a yummy bite-sized treat option for dogs and cats alike. Plus, they’re a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese, antioxidants, and fiber. Limit your pet’s strawberry consumption to just a few at a time to avoid tummy troubles; be aware of the sugar content, too.
- Oranges: Oranges are safe for both dogs and cats in moderation, but dogs tend to be more interested in this citrusy fruit. Oranges are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, and C, along with iron, calcium, and fiber. Please note that the peels and seeds must be removed and too much citric acid can lead to digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, so don’t share any more than a slice at a time.
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- Green Beans: As long as they are plain, you can feed raw, steamed or canned green beans to your dog as a source of fiber, vitamins A, C and K. Try to keep them low-salt or no-salt.
- Carrots: Low in calories and high in fiber, carrots are a good source of vitamin A and beta carotene. Plus, the extra crunch makes them good for your dog’s teeth.
- Celery: Chalk full of nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A, B and C, celery promotes heart health and helps fight cancer. It’s is also known to freshen up you pup’s bad breath.
- Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins A, B5, B6 and C they are high in fiber, potassium and manganese, a trace mineral.
- Cucumbers: Like watermelon, cucumbers are a hydrating, cooling treat—they can even help to freshen your pet’s breath. Cucumbers are full of vitamins B1, B7, C, and K, along with magnesium potassium, and copper. They’re also low in sugar and carbohydrates, making them a pretty harmless summer treat for your pet, especially if he needs to shed some pounds.
- Spinach: That’s right, Popeye's favorite snack can be a healthy treat for Fido as well. Spinach is immensely rich in iron, making it a powerful agent against heart issues, inflammation, and even cancer. Furthermore, spinach has some dog-friendly colleagues in the world of green leafy vegetables. Chard, lettuce, kale, and cabbage are also safe for dogs to eat. In addition to iron, vitamins, and calcium, these leafy greens are loaded with gut-healthy fiber.
- Brussel Sprouts :While a notorious foe of the picky child, Brussel sprouts are actually beloved by and healthy for dogs. In addition to fiber, potassium, and folate, Brussel sprouts are packed with energy-boosting vitamins B6 and B1.
- Pumpkin and Squash: Interestingly enough, pumpkin is commonly used to help dogs suffering from constipation or diarrhea. Pumpkin is high in fiber and chock-full of antioxidants that help regulate gastrointestinal health. Better yet, pumpkin is rich in water which helps combat dehydration commonly associated with GI ailments. When feeding your dog pumpkin or squash, be sure to only give them the "meat". Discard the skin, and keep the seeds to yourself as a tasty toasted fall-time treat!
Stay on the Safe Side
Unfortunately, not all of our favorite foods are safe for cats and dogs. Fruits to keep away from your pet include:
- Cherries, which can be toxic to both dogs and cats.
- Grapes and raisins, which can cause kidney damage.
- Lemons, limes, and grapefruit, which can lead to an upset stomach.
In general, fruits contain more sugar than vegetables and standard pet food, so moderation is key. Pet-friendly fruit should be shared as an occasional treat rather than a staple of your dog or cat’s diet.
Be aware of choking hazards, as well. Make sure the fruit you’re sharing with your pet is easily chewable and won’t cause obstructions if swallowed whole. Pureeing is another option if you want to stay on the cautious side. Before you start preparing a fruit platter for your pet, note that it’s best to only introduce one new food at a time in order to prevent an upset stomach. Plus, if your pet has any allergic reactions, it’ll be easier to rule out the culprit. Talk to your vet before making any significant changes to your pet’s diet.