Like humans, dogs are omnivores, opportunistic feeders that can and will eat just about anything. Throughout their evolution, dogs in the wild have had to eat a wide array of food types, including fruits and vegetables, as well as animal matter. For a domesticated dog to be its healthiest, it needs a balanced daily intake of vitamins and nutrients that often only vegetables can supply.
Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
Members of the cabbage family, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are not only rich in vitamins, but they contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals and anti-aging compounds essential to a balanced diet. Adding small, lightly steamed portions of these veggies to your dog's food promotes the overall stomach and bladder health of your pet.
Grated carrots or small pieces of baby carrots added to your dog's daily diet supply a necessary boost of vitamin A, beta carotene, a whole host of other vitamins, and important antioxidants that will keep your pet healthy and protect, or even improve, its eyesight. Baby carrots can be offered instead of dog biscuits or purchased treats.
To provide adequate amounts of vitamin C to your dog's daily diet, try feeding it chopped, steamed red pepper pieces. Red peppers are an excellent source of beta carotene and the cancer-preventing phytochemical, lycopene. Bell peppers decrease the chances of cataracts and other eye ailments, as well as stave off arthritis as your dog ages.
Another substitute for dog biscuits is green beans. Keep a few lightly steamed green beans handy for rewarding your dog. Green beans are a healthy, low-calorie treat high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. The fiber and roughage in green beans also boosts your dog's digestive system.
Spinach has long been viewed as a nutritionally important vegetable, rich in iron and beta carotene. Juice it, steam it, or finely chop it before adding it to your dog's food. Spinach also contains high levels of vitamin K, which maintains good bone health and growth.
If your dog is arthritic, try adding some celery juice or chopped pieces of celery to its food. Celery is a good source of fiber and potassium. Celery is also a natural diuretic that stimulates urine production and can help eliminate excess fluids, thereby promoting good kidney and urinary tract health in your pet.