When you’re looking for a way to use up your bountiful farmers’ market haul this season, don’t count out the family dog. While some human foods are simply off the table for our canine companions (onions and grapes , for instance, are big no-no’s,) there are still many nutritious fruits and veggies that both humans and dogs can enjoy.
Calorie intake always needs to be a consideration when feeding your dog extra treats, and fortunately, these five fruits and veggies won’t make Fido tip the scales. They also have loads of nutrients that your dog needs to live his best life. And, perhaps most importantly, your dog will find them irresistible!
So go ahead and give him an extra serving…after all, we all love spoiling our sweet doggos from time to time.
Who doesn’t love a juicy slice of watermelon in the summer? Lucky for your pooch, this is one summer treat that’s totally shareable. Low in calories and big on taste, watermelon is sure to be a hit with your dog!
One of the major health benefits of this popular melon lies in its name: watermelon is over 90% water, so it will hydrate your parched pup on hot days. Plus, it packs a punch in the nutrient department, containing potassium as well as vitamins A, B6, and C.
The American Kennel Club advises dog owners to dish up seedless, rindless melon chunks to avoid intestinal blockage. Aside from that minimal prep work, serving your dog watermelon is a guilt-free way to show him some extra love.
The next time you come home from the market with a gorgeously green melon, give your furry friend a few seedless chunks. And if he’s a fan, try treating him to another dog-friendly melon, like honeydew or cantaloupe. Bon appetite!
At some point, you’ve probably witnessed a dog go bananas over these orange, crunchy delicacies. They’re a regular favorite with dogs, who can’t seem to get enough of their yummy sweetness.
Luckily, not only are these healthy veggies good for humans, but they’re also a nutritious powerhouse for our dogs! Carrots are high in fiber, which aids in digestive regularity. Plus, they’re loaded with beta carotene, which works as an antioxidant, boosting your pet’s immune system.
Carrots can also help your dog maintain proper dental hygiene, cleaning his teeth as he chews. Since teeth-cleaning is one of those tasks often overlooked by pet owners, having a few carrots on hand is an easy way to make sure your dog’s teeth stay pristine and strong.
Your dog will love these crunchy snacks so much, you might want to consider replacing all bagged dog treats with them. Affordable and low in calories, carrots can make the ideal training reward for dogs. They’re also a safe option to relieve teething puppies.
Try freezing a couple of carrots for a refreshing summertime chew toy that your dog will love. You can even add cooked carrots or sprinkle raw grated carrot over your dog’s dinner for some added vitamins and flavor.
3. Green Beans
However you serve them—cooked, raw, or frozen—green beans are basically canine superfood. And unlike your finicky 5-year-old, the family dog will happily scarf down these healthful bites.
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as fiber, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, iron, potassium, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.
We all know that weight management is a crucial part of maintaining our dogs’ overall health. Carrying around extra weight can really take its toll, physically. In fact, excess pounds can reduce your dog’s life expectancy by two years! The fiber content and low calories of green beans make this a satiating snack, helping your dog stay full longer. So it’s not a bad idea to stock up on these tasty veggies if your dog likes them and could use a little help staying trim.
Experts at the American Kennel Club advise against giving your dog canned green beans with extra salt. Equally important is watching out for toxic ingredients that are often paired with green beans in popular side dishes, such as garlic or onions. Stick with plain beans that aren’t loaded with offending accompaniments like oils and spices.
Along with his nutrient-dense commercial dog food, green beans can contribute to your dog’s overall well-being. Swap out his less healthy dog biscuits with some beans to help your furry friend stay in shape and live a long, pain-free life.
The key to feeding your dog bananas is to do it in moderation. For the most part, this sweet fruit is a healthy treat alternative for dogs, packed with potassium, biotin, copper, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C. On the flipside, bananas contain a significant amount of sugar, so it’s important that you don’t go overboard with them.
What about the peels—is it safe for our dogs to eat them?
Yes and no.
While they’re not actually toxic to dogs, banana peels can be difficult to digest and may cause intestinal issues. So while you don’t need to dial the emergency vet if your dog devours a whole banana, peel and all, you still shouldn’t intentionally offer him a peel.
For a refreshing summer treat, try freezing a whole banana before peeling and slicing it for your dog. You can also mash it into his food or fill his Kong toy with it for a tasty treat. Your dog is going to love it!
Once Autumn hits, pumpkin-flavored goodies are everywhere we look. We’re happy to report that your dog can enjoy this seasonal treat with you! Both cooked fresh pumpkin and the canned variety are a healthy treat that most dogs find utterly delicious.
This scrumptious and festive fruit offers some mega health benefits too, providing substantial doses of fiber, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A and C. Their seeds also deliver a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants, which strengthen your dog’s immune system and can prolong his lifespan.
Pumpkins have the added bonus of maintaining your dog’s digestive health, regulating his bowel movements and relieving diarrhea.
In addition to being healthy and affordable, canned pumpkin has convenience on its side and is available year-round. If you’re shopping for canned pumpkin to treat your dog, steer clear of sugar and spice-laden pie filling. Opt, instead, for plain pumpkin puree to avoid giving your pooch an upset stomach.
One pro-tip to try is freezing pureed pumpkin in ice trays to avoid waste (once opened, canned pumpkin has a short shelf life of about one week).
For many pet owners, balancing tasty rewards with healthy living can present quite the challenge. But it doesn’t need to be this way. The next time you want to treat your dog for his good behavior, try one of these wholesome fruits or vegetables—it’s a simple way to squeeze some extra nutrients into his diet, and your dog will be absolutely thrilled!
Are there foods that you should avoid? YES! Check out our post on 14 surprising foods your dog should never eat.