Should dogs eat fruits? Types of fruits and vegetables that are good for your dog

1. Are vegetables good for dogs?

a. Can dogs eat vegetables?

While dogs don’t need vegetables, seeds, and fruits to provide essential nutrients, these components are extremely beneficial for them. So, what type of fruits and vegetables should dogs eat? What fruits should dogs eat?

Vegetables provide essential and beneficial nutrients, adding fiber to a dog’s diet, especially in a raw diet. They compensate for the missing nutrients when feeding dogs raw meat. For more information on how to feed your dog a raw diet, you can refer to the instructions. In general, vegetables should make up 10-20% of a dog’s daily food intake. Vegetables provide many nutrients and benefits for a dog’s raw diet.

  • Carbohydrates: include various types of carbohydrates such as starch, fiber, and sugar.
  • Phytonutrients: Phytonutrients are plant-produced chemical compounds that naturally repel carnivorous animals, parasites, and diseases. Although not considered essential nutrients, phytochemicals help maintain optimal health for dogs and are beneficial for specific conditions.

Which vegetables should dogs eat and which vegetables are good? Vegetables with vibrant colors and rich pigments contain beneficial phytonutrients. Let your dog eat vegetables in a rainbow assortment. The five hues of the rainbow provide a specific plant nutrient in each color group.

  • Red: tomatoes (only eat the flesh), red bell peppers, and red beets (anti-inflammatory and antioxidative, fighting off free radicals)

  • Orange and yellow: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, various summer squashes, and yellow/orange sweet peppers (good for eyes and skin. However, dogs have a low conversion rate and cannot convert beta-carotene into vitamin A.)

  • Green: curly kale, spinach, Swiss chard, snap peas, green cabbage, water spinach, mung bean sprouts, chayote, sweet cabbage, and cucumbers (protect the body against cancer-causing free radicals)

  • Blue and purple: beets, beet stalks, red chard, and eggplant (anti-cancer and anti-aging)

  • White: white turnips and bok choy (anti-cancer)

  • Vegetables with low glycemic index: lower and slower increase in blood sugar levels. Vegetables with a low glycemic index provide many benefits in terms of plant-based nutrition and fiber supplementation. So, what vegetables can dogs eat?

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Dog eating vegetables
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  • Watercress: one of the most common leafy greens combined in a dog’s raw diet. Watercress is high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, and contains no starch or sugar. This green leaf contains many vitamins (A, K), magnesium, folate, and manganese.

  • Kale: high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, and contains no starch or sugar. Kale is rich in Vitamin K, folate, and Vitamin C.

  • Microgreens: non-leafy greens that are about 1-3 inches tall and harvested 7 to 21 days after germination. Sprouts, on the other hand, are newly germinated seeds without leaves. The nutritional content of Microgreens is concentrated, meaning they often have higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to the same amount of mature greens.

  • Vegetables with starch: have the ability to increase blood sugar levels faster and also have more calories than non-starchy vegetables. Starch-rich vegetables will benefit dogs that cannot tolerate a high-fat diet. Starch is converted into glucose for the body to use as an energy source when not consuming much fat.

Dog eating white radish

Vegetables that dogs can eat:

  • Pumpkin, red beet: with higher sugar and carbohydrate content than green vegetables. They are rich in vitamin A and other nutrients such as vitamin B6, B3, and E.
  • Beetroot: moderate starch and carbohydrate content compared to other vegetables. Besides providing starch for energy, beetroot is rich in folate, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Sweet potatoes: high starch and carbohydrate content. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. However, do not feed too much to dogs as excessive vitamin A can cause bone and muscle weakness.
  • Carrots

b. How to feed vegetables to dogs

Meat-eating animals cannot break down and digest plants like herbivores or omnivores. They lack the oral structure to grind and enzyme salivary to digest carbohydrates. However, dogs can produce pancreatic enzymes to digest carbohydrates and starch.

Because dogs cannot grind plant components in their mouths and do not produce salivary enzymes to begin digesting starch in their mouths, all vegetables must be properly processed (ground, mashed, fermented, steamed, or boiled) for dogs to digest and absorb nutrients optimally. Starchy vegetables must be fully cooked.

  • Ground: You can feed dogs raw vegetables, but they must be ground. Pureeing vegetables is an easy way to process low-glycemic vegetables for dogs. With these types of vegetables, you can puree them raw without the need for cooking. Then, the vegetable mixture can be stored in storage jars or divided into frozen portions in silicone molds or ice cube trays.
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Dog eating vegetables

  • Fermentation: Fermented food is a way to provide natural probiotics through fresh food instead of artificial supplements. This process enhances the nutrient content in vegetables and helps dogs absorb them better. The beneficial bacteria in the fermentation process help maintain a healthy dog’s digestive tract.

  • Steaming or boiling: Starchy vegetables must be fully cooked before feeding them to dogs to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients and glucose for energy. You can steam or boil starch-rich vegetables.

In summary, the general principle of feeding dogs vegetables is that vegetables with low glycemic index and no starch can be ground raw without cooking. However, all starchy vegetables should be thoroughly cooked before feeding. And fermenting vegetables is a way to provide beneficial bacteria for dogs.

2. Can dogs eat fruits?

a. Should dogs eat fruits?

Eating fruits is very beneficial for a dog’s body, especially if they eat raw meat or a raw diet. Supplementing fruits provides essential nutrients, beneficial antioxidants, and fiber. Fruits, especially berries, have been proven to be helpful in fighting free radicals and preventing the oxidation process. Dogs should eat 2%-5% fruits in their raw diet.

Dog eating fruits
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Fruits are very good for a dog’s body. They provide many nutrients and benefits for a raw diet for dogs.

  • Glucose: Fruits are an energy source for dogs.
  • Fiber: Fruits provide a source of soluble and insoluble fiber that is beneficial for intestinal health.
  • Antioxidants: These are natural chemical compounds produced by plants to protect themselves from UV rays and the oxidation process of the sun. They help fight free radicals and prevent oxidation to enhance optimal health.

Fruits with vibrant colors and rich pigments contain beneficial antioxidants. Let your dog eat fruits in the five hues of the rainbow. The following fruits are good for dogs:

  • Red: strawberries, watermelon, and goji berries (anti-inflammatory and antioxidative, fighting off free radicals)
  • Orange and yellow: pineapple (sweet), bananas, peaches, mangoes, pears, apricots, guavas, and papayas (good for eyes and skin. However, dogs have a low conversion rate and cannot convert beta-carotene into vitamin A.)
  • Green: kiwis and honeydew melons (protect the body against cancer-causing free radicals)
  • Blue and purple: blueberries and blackberries (anti-cancer and anti-aging)
  • White and brown: apples, dragon fruit, and lychee (anti-cancer)
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In general, berries are encouraged for dogs to eat because they have high nutritional value. They have many antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber. You can feed your dog fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

Note that there are some fruits you should never feed your dog as they are toxic. To know more about fruits that are toxic to dogs, you can refer to the instructions on the website.

b. How to feed fruits to dogs

Although meat-eating animals do not have the essential tools to break down and digest plants properly compared to omnivores or herbivores, fruits do not have any specific preparation methods. Fruits, especially berries, contain a lot of water and are easily digestible for dogs. You can feed dogs raw fruits normally.

Note: Remember to remove all seeds (except for dragon fruit) before feeding dogs.

Dog eating white radish

In conclusion, should dogs eat fruits and vegetables? While dogs don’t need fruits and vegetables to have a balanced diet, vegetables and fruits are beneficial in ensuring a healthy and well-rounded nutrition intake.

You can feed dogs various vegetables such as watercress, kale, microgreens, chard, and beets. For fruits, you can provide a diverse range such as apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, pineapples, watermelons, dragon fruits, and berries.

When feeding dogs fruits and vegetables, be cautious not to choose toxic foods for dogs. Also, note that vegetables and fruits should only make up a small portion of a dog’s meal. Protein and fat are still the main nutrients they need.

Please note that the above-mentioned vegetables and fruits are commonly available and easy to purchase. There are many other good vegetables and fruits for dogs. You can refer to and research more before feeding your dog fruits and vegetables.

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