The Best Vegetables To Feed Your Dog For Optimal Health

* By Jeffery Roberts

Many people make the mistake of thinking that dogs are mostly carnivorous, and therefore do not need to eat vegetables. The truth is that vegetables, and some fruit, are an important part of your dog’s diet and a primary source of micronutrients.

The vitamins and nutrients in vegetables can help your pet live a longer and healthier life. Whether you are feeding a raw diet, and need to add in nutrients, or you are simply looking to supplement your pet’s current food regimen, these are the fruits and vegetables you should be focusing on:

Beets

Fresh, oven-roasted beets are a nutritional powerhouse for your dog. They contain B vitamins and are powerful detoxifiers due to their high antioxidant levels. They may help to reduce allergy sensitivities in your pet and reduce itching. They also fight inflammation and can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis in older pets. Be sure to not overfeed beets because they are naturally high in sugar, and never feed your pet beet greens. The greens contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic in high amounts.

Carrots

Carrots are high in many nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin A, both of which support eyesight. Vitamin A is also important for the immune system and gives a boost to your dog’s skin and coat. Carrots can also help to improve dental health, acting as a natural toothbrush as your pet chews away. They are also low in calories, which makes them safe to use as treats on a regular basis.

Berries

Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may also help to prevent cancer. They also hinder the growth of bad bacteria and can help to fight infections. Berries are easy for dogs to digest and can be fed regularly in moderation.

Broccoli

Broccoli can be given to your dog either raw or cooked, and should be a regular part of your pet’s diet due to its nutrient-rich super powers! Broccoli helps with detoxification, maintaining skin and coat health and helps protect the heart. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity for your pet much like it does for humans, and is also high in fiber.

Kale

Kale helps to prevent heart disease, allergies, arthritis and urinary tract infections. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, including B vitamins that help maintain a healthy coat and nervous system. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, making it ideal for regular supplementation to your pet’s food.

Asparagus

Asparagus is another vitamin-packed vegetable that is non-toxic to dogs. Asparagus, unlike some other vegetables, is also high in minerals like copper, phosphorous and potassium. It is also high in B-vitamins and vitamin K. It is known to help with immune health, nervous system function and to help regulate blood sugar, making it great for dogs who are at risk of diabetes. Asparagus is tough when raw, so it is best served to your pup after lightly steaming it.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in vitamins like potassium and iron, and can also offer a great digestive aid for dogs. It can be served raw, cooked or even canned and can help promote regularity if your pet suffers from diarrhea or constipation. Some holistic vets will also recommend pumpkin to aid in weight loss for dogs, by replacing a portion of their regular food with a similar amount of canned pumpkin on a daily basis.

Sweet Potato

Like pumpkin, sweet potato is also a helpful vegetable for regulating your pet’s digestion and can have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. Dogs also love its sweet flavor! They’re also high in vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese. Sweet potatoes have become common in many reputable dog foods, so check your wet or dry food’s label before adding additional sweet potato to your dog’s diet.

Introducing your dog to new fruits and vegetables

Your dog has a much less varied diet than you do and is likely not accustomed to many new foods. A dog’s digestive tract also functions best with consistency, so practice awareness as you introduce more fruits and veggies into your dog’s diet. It is recommended to introduce each one separately, in small amounts, so that your dog can get acclimated and you can observe to see if it causes any upset to his unique digestion.

Conclusion

Fruit and vegetables provide important nutrients that boost your dog’s health and help to protect him from diseases like arthritis, diabetes and cancer. When introducing new fruits and veggies, start slow to give your pet time to get used to them. Before you know it, your pet will be loving his new diet and be healthier than ever!

 

About the author: Jeffery Roberts

Jeffery is a pet enthusiast and volunteer at his local pet shelter. His passion for animals started at an early age and through his work on becoming a veterinary student he understands and cares for pets of all species. Jeffery currently writes for The Happy Pooch and has 2 cats, a bird and a dog – Lucy.

 

A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that for a while now we were trying to get on top of our Lilly’s weight problems. I am pleased to report that yet again we have a happy healthy dog, just look at her 🙂

A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog #HillsPetPet weight management is complex and at times not so easy task. Very often we think we are doing the right thing when in reality we are “killing” our pets with kindness. Pet obesity is a serious problem which I have featured on Bark Time many times before as I think it is important to talk about it and share any new learnt knowledge.

Today I would love to share with you our top tip which helped us get Lilly back to her perfect weight – eat less and exercise more – it is simple as that!

Feeding

A Picture of Health -- Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog #HillsPetPet food is the most important element in correct weight management. Same like with us, humans, if we eat unhealthy, too much or simply have an unbalanced diet we will never be the picture of health. There is a lot of different types of pet foods on the market, it is important to pick the correct type which will suit your dog perfectly. This isn’t always easy that’s why it might be necessary to seek more professional help when it comes to picking the right food.

Type of the food is one thing, the amount which we are supposed to feed is a totally different problem all together. If you feed just dry kibble, you are in the clear and can use any suggested guidelines on the packet but if you are adding anything else and most pet owners I know do, you have to reduce the basic kibble intake in order to make room for everything else (you can check this post and study my calculations when I was calculating a new amount of dry kibbles for Bunk)  Never guess how much food your dog should eat; read, learn and measure it; then stick to it… and don’t be adding just a few more kibbles today because you think she or he is hungry.

So far we covered type and amount of food, but what about treats?

Well they also have to be taken into consideration when calculating the daily food allowance. Treats can be an extremely helpful tool when it comes to training but they should be treated as treats… just like sweets and kids… everything in moderation. To reduce calorie intake and still keep rewarding your dog, try natural treats – fruit and veggies – they really make for a great treat which your dog will enjoy.

A Picture of Health - Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog #HillsPetExercise

As much as the correct diet is needed in proper weight management, it will not work on its own, it has to be accompanied by an exercise plan. This part shouldn’t be difficult as most dogs love activities. Being active is in a dog nature, so as long as we increase the intensity or time of the exercise we should see results fairly soon.

It is important to do what your dog loves to do and is able to do… let’s take our Lilly for example… she isn’t a young dog anymore; she is most likely over 9 years old and our original exercise plan was time based. As she loves playing fetch we would normally play for around 15min or so. As we have had to increase the time of our exercises (due to her age it was not advised to increase the intensity), so now we would stay on the field and play for 25 minutes at the time… this time does include breaks for her, so don’t panic. Before our “play” time we would allow her to walk and run around as she wants so she can warm up her muscles and the same again after the play so she can cool down before the car ride home… I guess just like we would do before and after any kind of work out session.

During our stay in Europe we were taking the dogs swimming, they both enjoy it very much and swimming is much kinder for their joints than running on land so if you have a pond nearby you might want to consider some water activities for your dog.

So this is it – no real magic tips more just plain old common sense really and a lot of self-discipline so we can actually stick to the rules we put in place in order to have a happy healthy dog.

A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dogOur Lilly was a fatty but she no longer is; she looks good and I am sure she feels much better; she has much more energy and she is happy 🙂

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is dedicated to helping pets reach their full potential through quality nutrition and healthcare. They have also agreed to sponsor a giveaway for my readers. I have five bespoke pet food bungles to give away to five of you – they can be for both cats and dogs and will be picked to suit your pet needs.

To enter the giveaway and be in with a chance of winning one of five bespoke bundles of Hill’s Ideal Balance or Science Plan pet food tailored to the nutritional needs of your pet simply complete the Gleam application below.

#win 1 of 5 bespoke bundles of Hill’s Ideal Balance or Science Plan pet food

Hill’s Science Plan Competition Terms and Conditions:
1. Promoter: Pet Nutrition Ltd, Building 5, Croxley Green Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YL. 2. This competition is open for entry to residents of England, NI, Scotland, Wales and RoI over 16 years, excluding employees of the Promoter, their immediate families, agents, or anyone else professionally connected with the competition. 3. Promotion Period: Enter between 29/06/2015 and 19/07/2015 23.59 All entries received after this date will be deemed invalid. 4. To enter: Entrants must respond with the answer by submitting their entry via the competition app 5. Entries are limited as stated in Gleam app. 6. The Prize: Five winners selected at random by Hill’s will each receive a pet food package from one of the following ranges only to the value of £15. If the chosen item(s) is not available a suitable alternative will be offered. a. Ideal balance b. Science Plan 7. Winner Selection: All valid entries received by the end of the Promotion Period will be reviewed by the Promoter and will be supervised by an independent person. The five winning entries will be selected at random. 8. Winner Notification: The Winner will be contacted via email within 7 days. They will be asked to confirm details of their pet: (dog/cat; age; breed, wet/dry food preference; medical needs) 9. If a winner is not contactable or fails to respond within 7 days of the notification, the prize may be reallocated by the Promoter to a reserve winner selected in the same manner. 10. The prize will be delivered within 28 days to the winner once they provide the requested contact details 11. The winners will be required to participate in relevant publicity associated with the competition. 12. By entering the competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by these terms and conditions. All entry instructions form part of these terms and conditions. 13. The name and county of the winner can be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Customer Services, Hill’s Pet Nutrition Ltd, Building 5, Croxley Green Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YL. 14. Data Protection: Personal data provided will be used for the purpose of the competition and in accordance with these terms and conditions by the Promoter. 15. The information you provide will only be used by Hills Pet Nutrition Limited solely for the purposes noted in the terms and conditions above. 16. Bulk entries made from trade, consumer groups or third parties will not be accepted. Incomplete or illegible entries and entries which do not satisfy the requirements of these terms and conditions in full will be disqualified and will not be counted. If it becomes apparent that an entrant is using a computer(s) to circumvent this condition by, for example, the use of ‘script’, ‘brute force’, masking their identity by manipulating IP addresses, using identities other than their own or any other automated means in order to increase their entries into the competition in a way that is not consistent with the spirit of the competition, that person’s entries will be disqualified and any prize awarded will be void. 17. The Promoter may require the winner to provide proof of identity and age. Identification considered suitable for verification is at the Promoter’s discretion. 18. The Promoter is not responsible for any late, misdirected or incomplete entries, or effects of hackers, failure of any electronic equipment, computer transmissions and/or network connections, nor are they responsible for any inaccuracies in information or any technical or human error which may occur in processing the entries. Proof of submitting an entry is not proof of receipt by the Promoter. 19. The Promoter, and any affiliated companies are not responsible for any errors that are beyond the control of the Promoter. In the event the competition is compromised by any cause beyond the control of the Promoter (including, but not limited to, hackers and viruses) which, in the sole opinion of the Promoter, corrupts, or impairs the administration, security or fairness of the competition, the Promoter reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, suspend or terminate all or part of the competition. 20. The Promoter and any affiliated companies are not responsible for any entry, generated by computer hardware or software, malfunction, error or failure. Persons found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this competition, as solely determined by the Promoter, will be disqualified. 21. The Promoter cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury, costs, expenses or claims suffered by entrants as a result of entering the competition or of accepting the prize. 22. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. 23. The Promoter cannot be held responsible if, for circumstances beyond its reasonable control, the stated prize is no longer available. The Promoter reserves the right to award a prize of equivalent value. 24. The decision of the Promoter shall be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into. 25. If you have any queries regarding the competition or experience any problems, please message the promoter on Hill’s Pet Nutrition Facebook page, or Hill’s Pet UK & IE Twitter page between 9-5 Monday through to Friday.
The competition is governed by English Law and entrants submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

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