Vegetables are essential to your dog’s diet. Although they are primarily carnivorous, canines can also benefit from a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in fresh vegetables.
Unfortunately, many dogs turn up their noses at vegetables, usually because they don’t smell interesting, so you may need to jazz up the veggies a bit.
The first time I gave my dachshund, Hank, a carrot, he looked at me as if I were insane. What on earth was this hard, odorless, orange thing I was shoving at his muzzle? But after a little convincing — and a few tricks — he now looks forward to this vegetable as a tasty treat.
Safe, Nutritious Veggie Options
With a few exceptions (onions, garlic and excessive amounts of tomatoes), vegetables are healthy for dogs, especially vibrantly colored ones high in the same vitamins that human bodies crave.
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Choose the same quality of veggies that you’d serve your family, using them to supplement your pet’s regular diet of high-protein dog food.
My favorite vegetables to give dogs are fresh baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, green beans and puréed spinach. They also enjoy strawberries, melon and fresh pumpkin.
Getting Your Dog to Eat Vegetables
The easiest way to get your dog to eat vegetables (and love them) is to trick him and mask the veggies.
- Purée 1 package of frozen spinach and 1 package of frozen broccoli.
- Press out the water.
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Your dog will be so busy lapping up the broth that he won’t notice the green stuff in it. Over time, add less broth until he’s eating only the puréed vegetables.
Dice the Vegetables If Your Dog Doesn’t Like Them
If your dog still objects, mix small amounts of vegetables into his regular food.
Dice the veggies so he can’t root around for the “good stuff” and ignore them. Puréed carrots are especially good for this maneuver.
Once your dog decides he likes veggies, give them as treats or regular meal supplements.
Keep in mind that although vegetables are low in fat and high in nutrients, they still contain calories. When you give your dog veggies, stay within his daily allotment of calories.