DOG-FRIENDLY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
As a pet parent, you always want the best for your furry friend, and that includes their diet. Many dog foods on the market claim to be “healthy” and “nutritious.” However, the truth is that some are filled with artificial ingredients and preservatives that can be harmful to your pup’s health.
Some dog parents are turning to natural foods, like fruits and vegetables, to supplement their dog’s diet.
One of the best places to find fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables is at your local farmer’s market. Not only are these foods often more flavorful and nutrient-rich than their supermarket counterparts, but they also support local farmers and reduce your carbon footprint.
HEALTHY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Before you start filling up your dog’s bowl with every fruit and vegetable you find at the market, it’s important to do your research. In addition, have a discussion with your veterinarian anytime you change your pup’s diet.
Some fruits and vegetables can be harmful to dogs. So, it’s important to stick to those that are safe and beneficial for them to eat. Here are some of the best, dog-friendly fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets you can feel good about feeding your best friend:
Apples are a great source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. They are great as a healthy and tasty snack for your pup. Be sure to remove the seeds, as the seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, which can be harmful to your pet.
Carrots are a crunchy, low-calorie snack that is high in fiber, beta-carotene and vitamins A and K. Vitamin A helps to promote healthy eyes, skin and coat.
They are also great for your dog’s teeth. Crunching down on a raw carrot can help scrape away plaque and tartar buildup.
Chop carrots into bite-sized pieces and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350°. Your pup will love these crunchy treats!
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and fiber. They may help to improve cognitive function and prevent urinary tract infections.
Green Beans are a low calorie, high fiber snack that can help regulate your dog’s digestion and keep them feeling full. They are also rich in manganese and vitamins A, C, and K.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, beta-carotene and vitamins A and C. They can help regulate a dog’s blood sugar levels and improve digestion.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and beta-carotene. It’s great for digestive health and may help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that is high in vitamins A and C. It’s also low in calories and may help with a pup’s digestion and boost their immune system.
COMMON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TO AVOID FEEDING TO YOUR DOG
While some of the below mentioned fruits and vegetables can be toxic, and others can only cause digestive issues, it’s a good idea to avoid feeding any these to your pet:
- Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs
- Onions and garlic can damage a dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia
- The persin in Avocados could be toxic to dogs and/or cause vomiting and diarrhea. (Dogs and cats are rarely affected, but obstructions can happen if the seed is swallowed)
- While ripe tomatoes, in small amounts, are generally safe. Green tomatoes and the leaves and stems contain solanine which can cause digestive issues and even heart problems in some dogs.
- Some mushrooms contain toxins that can cause liver and kidney damage in dogs
- The leaves of rhubarb contain oxalic acid, which can cause kidney failure in dogs.
- Citrus fruits can cause digestive issues.
- Raw potatoes contain solanine, which can be toxic to dogs.
- Persimmons can cause obstructions.
- The pit and stems of cherries contain cyanide which can be toxic to dogs.
SALAD FOR PUPS
Now that Spring has sprung, and many local farmer’s markets are open for business, here’s an easy way to share this goodness with your fur baby:
- 1 apple, seeded and chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup green beans, chopped
- 1 sweet potato, chopped
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup watermelon, chopped
- Roast the sweet potato in the oven at 375° for about 20 minutes (as an alternative, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 6 to 8 minutes).
- In a large bowl, combine the fruits and vegetables, including the sweet potato. Mix well.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days!
This salad is a great way to incorporate some variety and nutrition into your pup’s diet. You can also mix and match different fruits and vegetables based on what’s in season, or what your dog enjoys.
As mentioned above, consult your veterinarian prior to making any changes to your pup’s diet.
Overall, supporting local farmers’ markets is a great way to promote sustainable agriculture, boost the local economy and build a stronger, more connected community.
In addition, local produce is often fresher and healthier than produce that has traveled long distances to reach the grocery store. You can feel good about feeding farmer’s market fruits and vegetables to your pup!
For a list of local farmers’ markets in the Charlotte area, click here!