It's always tempting to give your canine companion a little taste of whatever it is you're eating. After all, it's hard to resist those imploring eyes and that wagging tail. Of course, some human foods are better for dogs than others. Your pet is an omnivore, so they can derive nutrition from both animal and plant sources.
What plant sources are safe for dogs?
It simply depends on the fruit or vegetable. Some can serve as a healthy snack and act as a good source of nutrients — and others are downright dangerous for your canine friend. This guide to fruits and vegetables for dogs will help you sort out which produce items you can feed to your fur child.
What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
There are several vegetables that dogs can eat. It's important to pay attention to how vegetables are prepared before they're given to dogs, because you don't want to give your dog a lot of oil or charred material along with grilled or sautéed veggies.
And remember: It's important that you don't go overboard on portion size with any vegetable, as large amounts of any food that your dog isn't used to can lead to stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The Best Vegetables for Dogs
There are a few vegetables that are quite good for dogs, and some of them may even be included in certain varieties of dog food. Some of the best vegetables for dogs are:
Carrots are safe for your dog to eat, and they work well as low-calorie snack. Plus, carrots provide a good source of vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. Just make sure you cut carrots into bite-sized pieces to avoid the choking hazard when feeding them to Fido.
Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamins A, C, B1, B6, fiber, and antioxidants. They're as good for your dog as they are for you! Try steaming or boiling Brussels sprouts for your dog, making sure to let them cool before feeding them to your dog. And don't overdo it — too many can make your pup sick.
Celery is another good choice if you're trying to substitute regular dog treats for something a little healthier. It's low in fat and cholesterol but high in vitamins C and A, potassium, folate, and other nutrients. Remember to cut celery up into small chunks so it's safe for your dog.
Cucumbers are mostly water, so they make a tasty, crunchy, low-calorie treat for dogs. They're especially helpful for dogs who need to lose weight. Just keep the portion size small, and your dog will be fine.
Even after Halloween jack-o-lanterns are long gone, pumpkin puree is given to dogs suffering from diarrhea, because it helps ease digestion thanks to its high fiber content. There are lots of health benefits of pumpkin for dogs. Pureed pumpkin is a source of vitamin C, vitamins A and E, iron, dietary fiber, and potassium. Canned pumpkin is probably best, since it's easiest for your dog to eat and easily goes through the digestive tract. Avoid pumpkin pie filling as it has added sugars and seasonings that can disturb the digestive system — stick to pure pumpkin to maintain your dog's digestive health.
Vegetables That Are Just Okay
Green beans offer plenty of nutrients like vitamin K, vitamins C, A, and B6, and fiber. Feeding your dog a whole green bean could present a choking hazard, though, and green beans are often prepared with other unhealthy ingredients like salt, oil, spices, and garlic. If you want to give your dog green beans, make sure they're plain and cut them into bite-sized chunks.
Broccoli is easy for dogs to choke on, and broccoli florets are known to cause gastric irritation in some dogs. In very small amounts, broccoli can work as an occasional treat and is a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C.
Can dogs eat corn? Yes, corn is often included in pet food and it can offer some nutritional value. Just like the other vegetables in this category, though, it's important to keep the portion size small. Never let your dog eat corn on the cob, because it's probably drenched in butter and salt, and dogs can easily choke on corn cobs or corn kernels. And remember: Some dogs are allergic to corn, so check with your vet to make sure your pet won't have an allergic reaction.
Vegetables to Avoid
Onions are some of the most dangerous vegetables out there for our canine companions. They're toxic to dogs because they cause oxidative hemolysis of the red blood cells. This means that they damage your pet's red blood cells, possibly resulting in anemia.
Any home cook loves chopping up some fresh garlic or opening up garlic powder and adding it to a dish. There are benefits of garlic for us humans, but it's not the case for your pup. Garlic is found in the same plant family as onions, the Allium family, which includes garlic and onions, chives, leeks, scallions, and shallots.
All are toxic to dogs, but any amounts of garlic are the most potent. Japanese dogs like the Shiba Inu are even more sensitive to garlic toxicity than American dogs or other breed families.
If dogs eat garlic, they should be taken to the vet in case they have garlic poisoning. Even using garlic around your dog presents a risk in case it's dropped and your dog eats it. Avoid cooking with too much garlic so your dog avoids it at all costs.
What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
You might eat fruit as a quick snack, a dessert, or as part of a salad. Fruit is a great choice for humans, but is it something that you can offer to your dog? Just like vegetables, it all depends on the fruit. Some can prove hazardous to your dog's health, while others offer health benefits.
The Best Fruits for Dogs
Blueberries are considered a superfood for humans, and it turns out that they're also beneficial for dogs. They boost the immune system with antioxidants and also contain plenty of vitamin C and fiber. They're also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Try substituting your dog's normal treats with the occasional blueberry.
The orange is one of the best citrus fruits for dogs as long as you get rid of the peel and seeds, which can cause digestive problems. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Bananas have a high sugar content, so they should be given in moderation. But they do provide plenty of helpful nutrients like vitamins B6 and C, potassium, fiber, and biotin. Throw away the peel and keep the portion size small.
Apples Get rid of apple seeds and the core, and a slice or two of apple makes for a good dog treat. Cut the slices into chunks so Fido doesn't choke.
Fruits That Are Just Okay
The fruity flesh of the peach is safe for your dog, and provides nutrients like vitamin A and fiber. The pit is dangerous, though, as it contains a sugar-cyanide known as amygdalin that can prove toxic to dogs. Canned peaches have too much added sugar, so avoid them.
The mango is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, B6, and E. The pit, like the peach, contains small amounts of cyanide, so you'll want to have your dog avoid it. And remember: Keep the portion size small.
Fruits to Avoid
Grapes and their dried counterparts, raisins, are a big no-no for dogs. It's still not known exactly why these fruits can prove poisonous to some dogs, but they can be toxic nonetheless. Clinical signs of grape and raisin toxicity include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, problems with urine production, and kidney failure.
If you know or suspect that your dog has been eating grapes or raisins, contact your local animal poison control center to find out how to proceed. Activated charcoal may need to be given to slow the toxin's absorption in the stomach, and intravenous fluids may be necessary to prevent complete renal failure. Seek immediate treatment so your dog has the best chance.
Avocados contain a toxin called persin, and it's found in the fruit's skin, leaves, and pit. Trace amounts might even be found in the fleshy inner part of the avocado, so it's simply not worth giving to your dog.
The pits, stems, and leaves of cherries contain cyanide, so you'll want to keep your dog far away. Most dogs probably won't go after these tart fruits, but it's always best to be cautious.
The debate still rages over whether the tomato is considered a fruit or a vegetable. Either way, it's potentially dangerous for our canine companions. The stem and leaves of the tomato plant are the most hazardous, as they contain a toxin called solanine. To be safe, don't feed your dog tomatoes.
Feeding Your Dog Fruits and Vegetables
Here's the bottom line when it comes to feeding your dog fruits and vegetables: Check with your veterinarian first to make sure that it's a safe choice for your pooch, and keep the portion size small. Remember that large quantities of new foods, no matter what they are, can make almost any dog sick. Once it's been cleared with your vet, safe fruits and veggies are a great way to provide your beloved pet with a fun snack, and some extra nutrition at the same time.