The Best Fruits and Veggies for Dogs and What They Should Avoid
Photo by Engin Akyurt
We all love food and as dog parents, we can admit to sneaking a few bites of our food to our furry companion who we love and adore. There are many ways that you can share with your dog in a way that benefits their health. We hope that by the end of this article you will have a better understanding of what fruits and vegetables your furry friend can and can’t eat. Although dogs don’t require fruits and vegetables to achieve a well balanced diet like humans do, some can provide nutritional benefits to help them live healthier and happier lives.
It’s very important to note that fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs should be fed in moderation. Experts recommend following the 10 percent rule where dog treats, fruits and vegetables only make up 10 percent of your dog’s daily diet. You don’t want to overdo it because many fruits and vegetables contain more sugar and fiber than your furry friend can handle.
Incorporate new foods into your dog’s diet slowly by serving a bit at a time to avoid gastric irritation. Always supervise your dog when feeding them something new to watch for an allergic reaction. The best way to ensure your furry friend receives the benefits of fruits and vegetables is to buy organic and serve them fresh with no added seasoning or oils. If a vegetable is too tough for your dog, steaming them helps to soften it while maintaining its nutritional value.
Take these tips with you and apply them every time you want to introduce a new food, fruit and vegetable to your dog. You can never be too safe. Doing a quick online search can also save you a potential run to your dog’s emergency hospital.
Do Feed Your Dog
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich
Carrots make a great snack for dogs raw or cooked. They are rich in fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, biotin, and vitamins A, K and B6. Carrots also make a natural dog chew as well! Serve them raw for a crunchy dog snack or mashed into soft dog food for added health benefits and flavor.
Broccoli is packed with vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E and K, iron, phosphorus, potassium and other health benefits for dogs. This powerhouse should be fed to your furry friend in small servings. This is because broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause gastric irritation in dogs. Although there are many vitamins and minerals for dogs found in broccoli, you may want to consider getting these vitamins and minerals from other sources and skip broccoli for your dog altogether.
Pumpkin is a natural probiotic that many dogs absolutely love. It contains iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins A, C and E. All of these vitamins and minerals work together to create a superfood for dogs. Pumpkin for dogs helps improve digestive health and may alleviate both constipation and diarrhea. Canned pumpkin is a better choice for dogs over fresh pumpkin because it holds higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Serve alone as a snack or mixed into dog food for a tasty treat that’s perfect during the holidays!
Brussels Sprouts are packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C, A, K, B1 and B6 that support immune and bone health. Like broccoli, it contains isothiocyanates which can lead to excess gas in dogs and lead to gastric irritation, so be sure to feed in moderation and always supervise your furry friend during feeding. Brussel Sprouts are best served steamed as it preserves its nutrients.
Cabbage is very similar to brussels sprouts. It is high in fiber and beneficial to gut health, but should be fed in moderation to prevent excess gas in dogs.
Celery is safe for dogs and it provides antioxidants, folates, manganese, and vitamins A, C and K. This will help your furry friend with inflammation and its low fat content makes it a great meal replacement for obese dogs. Celery for dogs can be served raw or cooked and should be cut into bite size pieces for easy chewing. Pair it with creamy peanut butter for a sweet reward your dog will love!
Peanuts are one of the most used ingredients in dog treats. This is because they provide protein, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, niacin, and healthy fats that dogs need. Not to mention they are delicious! Peanuts can be fed as crunchy snacks or in the form of peanut butter. It is safer to get peanut products that are unsalted and have zero added sugars and oils. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and in extreme cases, lead to salt poisoning known as hypernatremia. Keep your dog’s salt intake to 0.25g-1.5g per 100g of food to ensure that they receive the benefits of sodium without getting sick.
Green Beans are high in protein, iron, folate, vitamins B6, A, C and K. They are a low calorie food that many dog parents have adopted as The Green Bean Diet for dogs. This consists of substituting 10% of an overweight dog’s diet for green beans, then gradually increasing it to 50% of their daily food over time. Many have sworn by this diet for overweight dogs.
Cucumbers are safe for dogs to eat as a crunchy snack that’s perfect on a hot day. Like other green fruits and vegetables, cucumbers provide phytonutrients and phytochemicals that benefit aging dogs and can even help prevent cancer in dogs. Cucumbers have also been known to freshen dog’s breath!
Spinach is safe for dogs to eat, but should be given in moderation. Spinach contains oxalic acid which reduces mineral absorption in both humans and dogs. Your furry friend is likely better off getting the iron, antioxidants, and vitamins A, B, C and K from other sources.
Lettuce of all types like iceberg to romaine and arugula to butterhead are safe for dogs to eat. Lettuce is 90% water, but dogs can still enjoy its benefits like antioxidants, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C and K. Lettuce is also a low calorie option for dogs who have to watch their weight.
Kale is a powergreen that provides iron and potassium. It has also been known to contain thallium, a heavy metal that when heavily consumed may damage the nervous system, lung, heart, liver and kidney. Pet experts weighed the risks and benefits of kale for dogs and found that just like any food you feed your dog, it should be fed in moderation. They recommend that the safest way to consume kale is to eat it in moderation, buying organic and lightly steaming it before serving it to reduce the chances of toxins and heavy metals in the kale.
Apples are a great source of vitamin A and C for dogs. So can dogs eat apples? Yes. They make a great sweet reward and can also replace treats in dogs with a low protein, low calorie diet. Apples are a delicious ingredient in baking homemade dog treats, so dog parents can get creative with their dog’s rewards! Just make sure to remove the stem and seeds before feeding an apple to a dog.
Bananas are rich in potassium, fiber and biotin for dogs. Because they are also rich in sugar, they should be fed as a treat and not as a meal replacement for dogs. They pair deliciously with peanut butter to create homemade dog treats your furry friend will love!
Strawberries are delicious and some dogs would agree! They are a low calorie dog treat that provides antioxidants like vitamin C to support your furry friend’s immune system.
Blueberries provide fiber, potassium, vitamin C and its blue skin provides phytonutrients. Serve them fresh or frozen for an icy treat!
Raspberries are rich in fiber and manganese but low in calories, making them the perfect guilt-free snack for dogs.
Blackberries are safe for dogs as they are low in sugar and calories while providing antioxidants and fiber.
Cranberries are powerful with their natural sources of cancer-fighting polyphenolic compounds such as flavanols, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. Cranberries contain a rare kind of A-type proanthocyanidins that help inhibit harmful bacteria from sticking to cells in the body. This applies for both humans and dogs! Serve them fresh and raw to ensure your dog gets the optimum benefits. Your furry friend can have 2-3 cranberries a day and bigger dogs can get away with a few more. Avoid cranberry juice and cranberry sauce as they may include added ingredients.
Watermelon is the summer fruit and we’re so happy that our furry friends get to enjoy it with us. Watermelon is packed with potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, B6 and C. It is a low calorie thirst quencher that will hydrate your dog during hot days year-round. Just make sure that there are no seeds or rinds in the watermelon before feeding it to a dog.
Cantaloupe is another fruit that is high in water, making it ideal for hot days. Cantaloupe for dogs provides fiber, niacin, folate, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C. It is high in sugar so it should be fed as a dog treat and not a meal.
Peaches are sweet and safe for dogs in small amounts. If dogs consume too much sugar, it can result in digestive upset, obesity and even diabetes. When fed as an occasional dog treat, peach provides a good amount of vitamin C and fiber. Avoid feeding your dog canned peaches as those contain higher levels of sugar.
Pear is a great source of copper, potassium, fiber and vitamins C and K. Pears are another sweet fruit that should only be fed to a dog as an occasional treat. Serve pears fresh, frozen or blended for a sweet treat your dog will love.
Mango for dogs provides folate, antioxidants, and vitamins A, B6, C and E. It’s also a sweet treat they will enjoy fresh or frozen. Be cautious to keep mango skin away from dogs due to its poisonous substance, urushiol2, which is also found in poison ivy and may produce a rash if it touches their skin. In some cases, an allergic reaction to the urushiol2 can occur when eating mango, so it’s probably a good idea to keep your dog away from mango if you’d rather stay on the safe side.
Don’t Feed Your Dog
Photo by Samson Katt
Oranges and orange peels are not toxic to dogs, but it is not recommended that you feed it. Although oranges are a good source of vitamin C and potassium, dogs are less likely to ingest them due to their citrus scent. Unlike oranges, other citrus fruits like lemons, limes and grapefruit are toxic to dogs. This is due to their high citric acid and psoralens content. Your furry friend is safer avoiding citrus fruits overall.
Grapes are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. This applies to raisins, currants and sultanas too. All of these contain tartaric acid which causes kidney damage and can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Always supervise your furry friend while you or your guests eat grapes.
Cherries should not be eaten by dogs mainly due to their pits, stems and leaves which contain cyanide, a poisonous substance that may be fatal if ingested. Cherries and dogs should not go together and are better off being avoided. More berries that are toxic to dogs include holly berries, juniper berries, baneberries, poke berries and mistletoe berries.
Tomatoes are a more complex fruit for dogs to eat. If you’d like to feed your furry friend tomatoes for their fiber, potassium and vitamin, tomatoes must be red and ripe. The seeds are fine for dogs to eat too. The tomato leaves and stems should be avoided as they carry solanine, a toxic substance. Unripe tomatoes also known as tomatillos also contain solanine and should be avoided by dogs. Avoid tomato sauces as many of them include added ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as onion and garlic.
Onion and garlic are toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all cost. They contain allium which damages red blood cells in both dogs and cats. Other vegetables in the allium family that your furry friend should avoid include chives, leeks and shallots. Avoid feeding your pet any food that may have been cooked along any of these alliums to avoid a potentially fatal poisoning. If you believe your pet has ingested allium, look for signs of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and loss of appetite and take them to the vet immediately.
Asparagus is not toxic for dogs but you are better off looking to other fruits and vegetables with higher antioxidant and potassium density. Asparagus may be too tough for your dog to chew and become a choke hazard.
Mushrooms are generally safe for dogs when bought at grocery stores. It is safer to skip mushrooms all together since there are so many offerings some of which are poisonous for both humans and dogs. This will save you the worry of not knowing whether a mushroom is poisonous or not. Some top mushrooms that are toxic to dogs include:
- Amanita phalloides (death cap)
- Galerina marginata (deadly Galerina)
- Amanita gemmata (jeweled death cap)
- Amanita muscaria (fly agaric)
- Gyromitra species (false morel)
- Inocybe species and Clitocybe dealbata mushrooms
If you would like to learn more about what fruits and vegetables and other foods your dog can and can’t eat, check out Rover’s Can My Dog Eat archives.