Vegetables contain compounds of high nutritional value such as vitamins, fiber and trace elements which are valuable to the nutrition of dogs just as in humans. A lot of questions arise on which vegetables are toxic/safe for dogs or whether they should be served raw or cooked. Below we discuss these as well as which are the best vegetables for dogs. It’s good to note however that vegetables should not replace a dog’s daily diet but should be given as a treat or as a supplement especially in dogs on a raw diet.
What are the Best Vegetables for Dogs?
- Baby carrots: These are high in Vitamin A which is essential for good vision. They also help in teeth cleaning. They are low on calories and high in fiber which helps in digestion.
- Pumpkin: Rich in beta carotene essential for good eyesight. It’s also high in fiber which helps in cases of constipation and diarrhea. It’s quite filling and low on calories making it good for obese dogs.
- Spinach: It’s rich in iron which helps prevent heart problems. It’s also high in Vitamin C, A, and B, Calcium, fiber, and manganese. It should be fed in moderation since the dog’s digestive system is not adapted to digest leafy vegetables.
- Green beans: These rank as the most highly nutritious vegetables which also dogs seem to love. They are rich in Vitamin B6, A, C, and K. They are also rich in calcium and proteins. They contain low calories and high fiber making them a choice supplement for obese dogs.
Raw vs. Cooked Vegetables
Cooked vegetables are easier to digest as a dog’s digestive system is not adapted to digest fiber e.g. asparagus. Raw vegetables are however richer in nutrients since they have not been denatured by heat. The downside is that they carry a lot bacteria which if ingested can cause infections. The decision on whether to feed raw or cooked vegetables depends on the pet in question. Immune compromised pets are safer eating lightly cooked vegetables as well as those with a sensitive digestive system. Steaming offers a delicate balance between cooked and raw vegetables.
Vegetables to Avoid
Some vegetables contain toxic substances which can lead to death. Such include:
- Deadly nightshade: Contain toxic alkaloids and solanaine which cause digestive and nervous system disturbances e.g. potatoes, tomatoes
- Garlic and onions: Contain poisonous substances that cause rupture of the red blood cells which lead to anemia, shock and death. They also cause digestive irritation e.g vomiting, diarrhea etc.
Vegetables contain rich nutrients beneficial to pets. They should however not replace a normal diet but should supplement it. Steaming veggies ensures easy digestion while still maintaining the nutritional value. It also kills pathogens which might be harmful to pets. Leafy veggies are especially good for obese pets due to their low amount of calories and high fiber. Toxic plants, on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs.