Written by Dr. Sam Parker, DVM
It’s time to sit down for dinner. Napkin on lap, fork in hand, here comes the first bite. And there it is, that feeling of being watched with sad, soulful, begging eyes. The dog is begging for food again.
Dr. Parker, a vet with Hello Ralphie, gives a run-down of what fruits and vegetables are okay for pets, the best ways to prepare them, and what to avoid.
Are Dogs Allowed to Eat Vegetables?
You want to be able to share food with your pets (mealtime is family time, after all!) but know that us veterinarians’ frown upon table scraps. The good news is that you can feed your pet healthy fruit and vegetables! The key is knowing which kinds of vegetables pets can eat, how to safely cook them, and feed in moderation.
What are the Best Vegetables to Feed Your Dog?
Can I give my dog veggies? Yes! Well, most of them. Do not feed your pets onions or garlic as they pose a risk to the kidneys. In general, the veggies you have around the house are fine. Carrots are a sweet, tasty snack for dogs. Some pet parents feed canned green beans as a way to make their dog feel fuller while dieting. I personally have a cat who goes crazy for greens! (Proof below!)
Fruits Safe for Dogs
Can I give my dog fruit? Yes! Many dogs love banana, melon, and even berries. Dogs should not consume grapes and raisins; those fruits are toxic to dogs.
Can I give my dog or cat chicken or beef broth? Yes, just make sure the broth is low sodium and does not contain onions or garlic. If you are making a homemade broth, strain off excess fat before serving. Excess fat in any format can lead to pancreatitis, as the pancreas works hard to digest any and all fats.
Dos and Don'ts of Homemade Food for Pets
Avoid these foods and additives for your pet:
- Macadamia nuts
- Xylitol (often found in diet peanut butter and other “sugar-free” foods)
Also be aware of choking and obstruction hazards like corn cobs, bones, fruit, and veggie stones. If there ever is a question about a specific food call your vet or check with animal poison control.
When considering what kind of food to share with a pet, there are three best to best prepare homemade food: fresh boiled, steamed, or froze
If you want to serve processed or canned food be sure it is low or no sodium and that it is free from sauces and added fats.
You can feed fruits and vegetables as treats, snacks, and add to a high-quality dog or cat food as a way to keep meal-time varied and interesting. It is also important to remember treats in moderation as obesity increases your pet’s chance of arthritis, pain related to arthritis, diabetes – just to name a few.
If you are interested in cooking a homemade diet for your pet, that can be a bit more complicated and often requires supplementation to ensure your pet is getting all the nutrients they need. It is best to use a veterinary nutritionist or a website run by a veterinary nutritionist (such as BalanceIT.com) when formulating your at-home diet.