There is a great deal of discussion as to whether fruits and vegetables are beneficial for pets, particularly dogs. Over the years, I have met many pet parents that religiously added fruits and veggies to their dog’s diet with great success.
But why feed them? Certain fruits and vegetables can provide natural nutrients and antioxidants. Cranberry alone has been proven to help with urinary tract issues. Blueberries are known for their powerful antioxidant and anticancer properties. Bananas are rich in the electrolyte potassium.
Many common vegetables, such as cucumbers and tomatoes, are actually fruit. Fruit is considered the seeding part of the plant and vegetables are considered the plant itself. You will be surprised to learn that some of the frequently used pet food ingredients, such as pumpkin, zucchini, peas and corn, are also fruits.
The American Kennel Club just released a great synopsis of what fruits and vegetables are safe to feed to dogs, how and why. Here is a run down of fruits. Next up are vegetables.
Apples. Yes, dogs can eat apples. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber for your dog. They are low in protein and fat, making them the perfect snack for senior dogs. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core first. Try them frozen for an icy warm-weather snack. You can also find it as an ingredient in apple-flavored dog treats.
Avocado. No, dogs should not eat avocado. While avocado may be a healthy snack for dog owners, it should not be given to dogs at all. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still too much for dogs to handle.
Bananas. Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog’s main diet.
Blueberries. Yes, dogs can eat blueberries. Blueberries are a superfood rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike. They’re packed with fiber and phytochemicals as well. Teaching your dog to catch treats in the air? Try blueberries as an alternative to store-bought treats.
Cantaloupe. Yes, cantaloupe is safe for dogs. Cantaloupe is packed with nutrients, low in calories, and a great source of water and fiber. It is, however, high in sugar, so should be shared in moderation, especially for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes.
Cherries. No, dogs should not eat cherries. With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, cherry plants contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.
Cranberries. Yes, cranberries are safe for dogs to eat. Both cranberries and dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs in small quantities. Whether your dog will like this tart treat is another question. Either way, moderation is important when feeding cranberries to dogs, as with any treat, as too many cranberries can lead to an upset stomach.
Cucumbers. Yes, dogs can eat cucumbers. Cucumbers are especially good for overweight dogs, as they hold little to no carbohydrates, fats or oils, and they can even boost energy levels. They’re loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.
Grapes. No, dogs should never eat grapes. Grapes and raisins (dried grapes) have proved to be very toxic for dogs no matter the dog’s breed, sex or age. In fact, grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Always be mindful of this dangerous fruit for dogs.
Mango. Yes, dogs can eat mangoes. This sweet summer treat is packed with four different vitamins: A, B6, C, and E. They also have potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Just remember, as with most fruits, remove the hard pit first, as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard. Mango is high in sugar, so use it as an occasional treat.
Oranges. Yes, dogs can eat oranges. Oranges are fine for dogs to eat, according to veterinarians, but they may not be fans of any strong-smelling citrus. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber, and in small quantities, the juicy flesh of an orange can be a tasty treat for your dog. Vets do recommend tossing the peel and only offering your dog the flesh of the orange, minus any seeds. Orange peel is rough on their digestive systems, and the oils may make your dog literally turn up their sensitive nose.
To be continued.