It's no secret that vegetables are important for our diets, but did you know that they're just as important for your dog's diet, too? Vegetables are packed full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other important elements that will contribute to your dog's health. However, that doesn't mean that you should start feeding your dog any vegetables you happen to have in your fridge. Instead, learn which vegetables are safe for dogs to eat so you can enhance your dog's meals safely.
Brussels sprouts for dogs
The American Kennel Club states that Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that make them a great addition to your dog's diet. The antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, while vitamins like vitamin K help to build bones and protect your dog's heart.
Be warned, though, that Brussels sprouts can cause lots of gas. Too many Brussels sprouts can result in an upset stomach and diarrhea for your dog, while smaller amounts will cause gas. If your dog experiences a bit of stomach upset, lay off the Brussels sprouts for a while and only introduce small amounts of them into your dog's meals.
Carrots for dogs
According to the AKC, carrots are nutritious for dogs, and you can even use them to reward good behavior without packing on the calories the way traditional store-bought treats tend to do. Chewing on a crunchy carrot can improve your dog's dental health, and carrots are full of vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and other vitamins that your dog needs.
Your dog can consume both raw and cooked carrots, but you need to be sure to cut carrots into bite-sized chunks. This can help to prevent choking, and it's particularly important for small dogs.
Sweet potatoes for dogs
If you have an extra sweet potato or two in your home, you can feed them to your dog. PetMD states that sweet potatoes are a nutritious option for dogs. These potatoes contain plenty of vitamins E, A, B-6, and C. They're also loaded with calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, thiamine, and iron, all of which your dog's body can put to good use.
Peel and cook or mash the potato to make it palatable for your dog. Avoid butter, salt, and any other additives.
Cucumbers for dogs
According to Dogster, cucumbers are also safe for your dog to eat. Your pup will appreciate it if you take the time to peel the cucumber and cut it up into chewable bites.
While pickles don't seem to be a far leap away from cucumbers, they contain so much vinegar and salt that they're not a wise addition to your dog's diet.
Corn kernels for dogs
Dogster notes that corn kernels are fine for dogs. However, never give your dog corn on the cob, since even small pieces of the corn cob can damage your dog's digestive tract. Instead, cut the corn kernels off the cob before offering it to your dog and forego the salt and butter.
Broccoli for dogs
While broccoli is fine as an occasional treat, you should only feed it in limited quantities, states the AKC. Broccoli has lots of fiber and vitamin C, and it's also a low-fat vegetable. Broccoli can cause gastric irritation in some dogs, so only feed your dog a bit of it until you know how your dog tolerates it.
Pea varieties for dogs
The AKC states that there are a number of pea varieties that are safe for dogs. Green peas, including snow peas, sugar snap peas, garden peas, and English peas are all safe for dogs, and you can offer them fresh, frozen, or thawed. Just be sure to avoid canned peas because of the sodium they contain.
Introducing vegetables to your dog
The Whole Dog Journal recommends that you stock up on frozen vegetables when they're on sale. Then, blend them together in a Tupperware container and store them in your freezer or refrigerator so it's easy to feed them to your dog. You can also set aside vegetable trimmings for your pet when you're cooking.
Always introduce vegetables gradually, and only give your dog one new vegetable at a time. This way, if your dog gets an upset stomach, you'll know which vegetable caused the issue so you can avoid it in the future. While the above vegetables are safe for your dog to eat, introducing too many too quickly can upset his stomach.