Eat your fruits and veggies! (Healthy Treats to Feed Your Dog)

Dogs love treats and as pet owners, we love to give them treats.  However, if pet owners are not careful, many of these treats can be loaded with calories and have little nutritional value.  Treats should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily calories.  Why not skip store bought treats that are often loaded with calories and preservatives, and try fruits and vegetables instead?  Check out some of these fruit and vegetable suggestions:

  • Cantaloupe-A great source of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene which helps reduce the risk of cancer and prevents cell damage.  Also an excellent source of Vitamin B6 and C, folate, niacin, and potassium.
  • Blueberries-Contain high levels of resveratrol which contain properties thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Tannins found in blueberries also help prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Apples-Great sources of Vitamins K, C, and pectic (soluble fiber).  Be sure to remove the core and seeds.  (The seeds and stems contain cyanogenic glycosides which can cause stomach upset.)
  • Watermelon-Excellent source of Vitamins A, B6, and C.  Also a great source of potassium, magnesium, and water. Do not feed your dog the seeds or rind. The seeds could cause a blockage while the rind could cause stomach upset.
  • Pumpkin-Is rich in carotenoids, Beta Carotene, fiber, zinc, iron, Vitamin A, alphacarotene, and potassium.  Make sure that you purchase canned natural pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filler.  Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and helps with both diarrhea and constipation.
  • Carrots-Great source of Beta Carotene and Vitamin A, plus this vegetable is low fat and low calorie.
  • Green Beans-Contains Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, and K and are a good source of calcium, copper, fiber, folic acid, iron, niacin, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, and thiamine, as well as Beta-Carotene.  Green beans are the super power of veggies!
  • Sweet Potatoes-An excellent source of Vitamins E, A, B6, and C.  They are also a great source of calcium, iron, potassium, copper, and thiamine. Sweet potatoes contain antioxidants thought to aid in healing, cancer prevention, and help with dietary health.
  • Red Peppers-Packed with vitamins.  Feed fresh or slice and freeze.
  • Spinach-High in iron and helps fend off inflammatory and cardiovascular issues.
  • Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts-These cruciferous vegetables are loaded with Vitamins A, K, and C and fiber.  They are also regarded as antioxidants.  Be careful!  Too much of these vegetables can cause flatulence.

These foods can be steamed, baked, served raw, or frozen.  You can also mix them in as part of your dog’s meal.   Replacing your pet’s dense, high fat packaged treats with healthy treats like fruits and vegetables will be one of the most beneficial things you do for your pet. Over long term, your pet’s health and immune system will be stronger, aging will not be as severe, its weight will stay steadier, and if weight is already an issue, you may even see your pet’s weight become more manageable, especially if you stay with it and include some exercise.

With any change in diet, it is important to observe your pet for issues that can arise in response to the change. If your pet begins to show digestive or behavioral changes, stop feeding the new foods and consult with your veterinarian if the problem does not go away in the absence of the added food.

(Information for this article taken from Pet 360, PetMD, Modern Dog, VetStreet, and DogChannel.com)