Raw vegetables are an important source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, antioxidants and fatty acids for humans and dogs. Many dog owners report their pets require fewer visits to a veterinarian after they add raw vegetables to their diets. This suggests that raw vegetables boost the animals' immune systems. Some experts believe that fresh, raw vegetables should make up about 15 percent of a canine's diet.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as raw spinach, celery, bok choy, broccoli, kale, mustard greens and endive are all good to feed a dog, according to Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian and founder of the Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding Diet, or BARF. Herbs such as parsley are also beneficial.
Root and Fruit-Type Vegetables
Vegetables such as raw carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sugar beets, green beans, parsnips, turnips, and red and green peppers are also valuable sources of nutrients for dogs. Cayenne pepper is believed to prevent cancer in dogs.
Benefits of Raw Vegetables
Dogs have been eating green plants in the wild even before they befriended man. Vegetables contain vital nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins and fatty acids. They are also a good source of fiber, which can aid digestion of meat and other heavy foods. In addition, vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help reduce the risk of chronic diseases in dogs as they age.
Vegetables to Avoid
Vegetables you should never feed your dog include garlic and onion. Both contain significant amounts of thiosulphate, which is toxic to dogs and tend to decrease the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Also, it's best to avoid corn as it has been extensively genetically modified, and many animals are sensitive to it.
While vegetables should be given to your dog raw, it's best to completely crush or puree them beforehand to make them more easily digestible. You can also use a juicer to mix the vegetable pulp in with the dog's food. It is also fine to grate raw vegetables such as carrots and zucchini.
Be sure to wash all vegetables thoroughly to remove any chemical residue before feeding to your pet.
Do not peel vegetables before feeding them to your dog. Vegetable skin is where most of the nutrients are contained.