Most people think of dogs as carnivores and, of course, meat has to be an important part of their diet. But fruits and vegetables are also good for a dog’s health and well-being.
When it comes to including fruits and vegetables in a dog’s diet, opinions vary. Some think it is not necessary, others give it in small amounts (up to 10-15% of the total diet), while others give their dogs plenty. Although vegetables and fruits are not considered “essential” for dogs, they are clearly very beneficial. They have been shown to provide the same benefits to dogs as they do to humans, and can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular problems, autoimmune diseases, metabolic problems, etc. Vegetables and fruits contain a variety of valuable nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Let’s look at the role of vegetables and fruits in dog nutrition and how you can add them to your dog’s meals.

Dogs are “facultative carnivores”.

Although dogs are generally recognized as carnivores, like their wolf ancestors, they are actually what is known as “facultative carnivores.” This means that they can and will use plant material as part of their primarily meat-based diet. A study of wolf feces collected between 1992 and 2005 found a plant material content of up to 7.8% during the summer months. This plant material included vegetation and berries, and is believed to come from intentional consumption.

Add fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet.

Although dogs can’t digest cellulose, the main substance in plant cell walls, they can digest fruits and vegetables and eat them with gusto. And the benefits of the antioxidant phytonutrients in these foods are significant. Studies have shown that dogs with certain types of cancer have reduced levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants have also been shown to prevent cognitive decline in older dogs. In addition, phytonutrients can slow oxidative damage and other effects of aging.

All this means that vegetables and fruits (preferably fresh and organic) are an invaluable addition to a dog’s primarily meat-based diet. The amounts depend on the individual dog, his breed and his particular health problems. Start small and experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see which ones your dog prefers.

  • Vegetables can be fed raw, but I generally recommend lightly steaming them, especially cruciferous vegetables which contain goitrogenic compounds that can interfere with thyroid hormones. Lightly steaming these vegetables will deactivate these compounds.
  • It is advisable to remove seeds and pips from fruits, and also beware of the tough skins of some fruits and vegetables.
  • Always remember that not all vegetables and fruits are safe for dogs. In particular, onions, grapes and raisins should be avoided.

8 best vegetables and fruits for dogs

1- Broccoli
A cruciferous vegetable packed with phytonutrients such as sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, which have cancer-preventing properties. It is rich in vitamin C and also contains vitamins A, B and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc and manganese.

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