Should Your Dog Eat Vegetables?
Vegetables are a vital constituent to any human diet, and the same should be true for dogs. Despite some pretty severe physical differences, dogs and humans aren’t a million miles away from each other biologically. Foods that a healthy for humans, will generally speaking also be beneficial for dogs, although as with any rule there are exceptions.
Common vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, cucumber, peppers and cabbage are all examples of foods that are great for dogs. They contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals and will be a large step in ensuring your dog has a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Generally the brighter the vegetable, the greater number of vitamins and minerals it will contain, so try and add color to your dog’s meals. If you are ever unsure about a certain vegetable, a quick Google search should give you an answer – just make sure the site is reputable, and get confirmation from multiple sites.
While humans and dogs are similar biologically, we are not identical. The digestive system of a dog does not contain specific substances that break down the walls of raw vegetables. So while it might be fine for you to eat some carrot sticks, the same cannot be said for your dog. To ensure your dog still gets all the benefits of these vegetables, you should either puree them or cook them. Cooking them loses a significant amount of the nutritional value, but at least they will be digested. While dogs can’t digest raw vegetables, in small quantities they are still a great way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.
The anatomical differences also mean that some vegetables are poisonous or toxic to dogs. Avocado and raw potatoes are examples of this as they contain chemicals that build up in your dog’s system and will harm them if consumed in large quantities.
If you plan on changing your dog’s diet to incorporate more vegetables, then it’s advisable to do so gradually, as sudden changes to diet can be almost as bad as not changing the diet at all. If you are really unsure, asking your vet will give you a definitive answer for your dog’s specific age and breed.