Dog nutrition can be a controversial topic. Views can differ widely and owners can often have a pretty definite stance on what they think is the best diet for their pooch.
It’s also a minefield. Finding science-based, unbiased information takes time. A Google search will bring up hundreds of results on the pros and cons of just about any diet.
So when it comes to your dog’s health, speak to as many different professionals as you can for a wider range of input, and do your own research from reliable sources – not just the first article you stumble upon.
You may find out that it’s not all that important to feed your dog vegetables. That they need only meat in their diet, or that what comes already mixed in a commercial food diet meets all their needs.
I’m hoping to give you some ‘food’ for thought…
But first, it’s important to note that dogs aren’t 100% carnivores. Unlike cats. They have a more varied diet and always have. Their ancestors would have eaten meat, once killed, but they also ate vegetables and fruits scavenged in the wild.
So it makes sense to make sure they’re in the diet of your 21st Century dog too.
For seven very good reasons…
1. Vegetables have a good range of nutrients
Vegetables contain proteins, lipids, fats, carbohydrates, phytonutrients and fibre, which is why they’re a complete food for herbivores.
Whilst your dog is bound to eat other food sources as well, there’s no denying that adding fresh vegetables into his diet won’t benefit his health too, particularly fibre when senior age starts to set in.
2. They help alkalize your dog’s body
Meat is on the acidic end of the pH scale. If you feed your dog primarily meat, he will be more susceptible to obesity, kidney problems, liver problems and diabetes.
But by balancing the acidity of his diet with foods on the more alkaline end of the scale, such as apples, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, pumpkins and squash (to name just a few), you help key organs function better which improves the overall wellbeing of your doggy.
3. They provide additional water content
Water is vital for all life. So obviously your dog is no different. It, therefore, goes without saying that a full water bowl should always be available to him at all times (particularly if on the kibble diet which is more dehydrating anyway).
But sometimes dogs don’t drink enough water even when his bowl is topped up regularly. This can lead to dehydration which can cause health issues such as kidney and bladder problems.
Fruits and vegetables help overcome this as they provide an excellent source of water.
4. A great source of vitamins
Vitamins help chemical reactions take place within your dog’s body. So they play an important role in optimal health.
The diet you’re feeding him may already provide all the vitamins he needs, particularly when on a balanced commercial diet, but it’s certainly something to check and rectify if not.
Either way, raw vegetables make a great vitamin addition by providing your dog with essential A, B, E and K vitamins.
5. Improves your dog’s fibre content
Briefly touched on earlier, fruit and vegetables are a great source of fibre which plays a significant part in maintaining good health for your pooch.
Fibre benefits include good gut health, helps clear toxins from the body, reduces the risk of cancer, and minimises obesity potential by adding substance to a diet which helps your dog feel fuller for longer.
6. A natural source of antioxidants
Antioxidants help the internal fight against free radicals and pollutants that cause aging and illness. They do this by locating and destroying them before they build up internally and trigger long-term damage.
Not only are fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants, they’re the only way your dog will get these fighting machines into his body.
7. The only way for your dog to consume phytonutrients
Another one where fruits and vegetables are the only source – phytonutrients. These are chemicals produced in plants and have been proven to promote gut health, reduce inflammation, support a healthy kidney and liver, and even kill cancer cells.
A.K.A… an incredible addition to your dog’s diet.
If your dog is on a kibble or meat-only diet, he’ll miss out on these health benefits entirely if you don’t include some raw fruit and vegetables to his day.
Fruit and veg are a wonderful addition to our diet, so why wouldn’t it be the same for your pooch?
However, it’s important to note two things:
- There are some fruit and vegetables that aren’t good for dogs such as onions, legumes and avocados, so be sure to check before adding them to your dog’s diet.
- If your dog suffers from a pre-existing health condition, or if you’re planning on making significant changes to your dog’s diet, consult your vet or canine nutritionist first.
In fact, as with all nutritional advice found anywhere online, talk it through with your vet or canine nutritionist before taking action just to be sure you’ve not missed anything that could negatively impact your furry friend.