Halfway through August and we’re realizing just how many chips, ice cream treats, and the like we’ve packed away this summer. That goes for pups, too — whether snacks were sneaked under the table or stolen outright, they tend to get a few more than usual thanks to backyard BBQs and cabin weekends. Fortunately, summer’s grrreat selection of in-season produce makes it easy to swing back to healthier ground. We recently shared a list of the best fruits to offer your furry friend, and we now venture forth with a veggie sequel.
WAGS (AKA “Green Light”)
- Avocado: This one may be a surprise as we’ve long been advised to avoid them, but avocado is apparently A-OK for dogs. No pit or peel, please. (Duh.)
- Broccoli: High in fiber and vitamin C, low in fat, broccoli is best offered in small quantities. Most dogs do fine with this pick but some can experience slight tummy troubles. Chop ’em up as woody stalks; bigger florets could be tough for smaller pups to swallow.
- Carrots: Lots of dogs ruv this root, a low-cal, high-fiber option bursting with beta-carotene. Offer crunchy cubes as a treat or toss steamed (and cooled) slices into their kibble. FYI: Carrots are higher in sugar than most other veggies, so limit if your dog is at all overweight.
- Celery: This heart-healthy, cancer-fighting, breath-freshening vegetable gives a nice dose of vitamins A, B, and C.
- Cucumbers: You’ll slide in several vitamins and minerals, and the high water content means cucumber slices or cubes are a good way to help hydrate them, too.
- Green Beans: A super source of vitamins C and K as well as fiber and manganese, this is another veggie many dogs dig. Also fab as a filling supplement for pups prone to a little pudge.
- Peas: With protein, potassium, and phosphorus — plus more minerals and vitamins galore — consider peas a vital veg you can offer daily.
- Peppers: A few bell pepper slices offer lots of nutrients plus a satisfying crunch. Stay away from spicy varieties, though — your pup (and nose) will thank you.
- Potatoes: Full of iron, fiber, and vitamin C, taters are totally fine. Skip high-fat flavor enhancers like butter; pups do better with plain spuds. Ultra-important: Be sure to peel and cook them.
- Pumpkin: This delish, low-cal, high-fiber gourd gets GI tracts moving and tails wagging. (From acorn to zucchini, other types of squash also get a nod. Cook ’em first for easier digestion.)
- Sweet Potatoes/Yams: Both tasty tubers get top marks for lots of nutrients; serve peeled, cooked and unseasoned, though.
- Tomatoes: A juicy and flavorful treat best given in small amounts — too much can be too acidic for some. Only offer if ripe!
WHIMPERS (AKA “Steer Clear”)
- Onions: This allium — along with garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives — is a pungent poison to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and worse.
- Mushrooms: We’re talking wild here. Grocery store varieties are fine; many found out in backyards or wooded areas may not be.
- Potatoes: Wait, aren’t these on the good-to-go list above? Yes, but we want to make sure you know that green/raw potatoes are a whole ‘nother story. Paws off.
- Tomatoes: Again with the double vision! The stems, leaves, and even the unripe fruit are the culprits here. Make sure your dog doesn’t so much as nibble on them.
Like fruit, most vegetable chunks also freeze well for chilly snacks and treat-dispensing toys. A variety of both in your dog’s diet will not only provide a beneficial boost of nutrients, they’ll also keep taste buds happy and tummies trim.