Dog-Friendly Vegetables For A Healthy Boxer
Dogs are a part of the family; wouldn't it be great if you could load them up with all kinds of healthy goodness? Actually, you can, when it comes to vegetables.
Feeding vegetables is a great way to keep your dog healthy while also reducing costs and extra trips to the store to buy pet food.
Just like us, dogs require a variety of organic foods and nutrients for a balanced diet and kibble doesn’t cut it. Veggies are rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phyto-nutrients not found in meat. It's important to feed your dog different kinds of vegetables, as each type offers its own array of nutrients.
How to Prepare Vegetables for Dogs
The way you prep the vegetables is just as important as the vegetables themselves-chop small enough so your dog can't choke. For optimal benefits, the veggies will be pureed - see below.
Veggies make a great snack or treat as long as your dog doesn’t have trouble digesting them. Here are some simple prep methods:
Submerging vegetables quickly in boiling hot water and then very cold water, also known as blanching, is a great option for preparing vegetables. Blanching cleanses the surface of vegetables of dirt and retains both vitamins and flavor. It's also a healthy alternative for humans because no cooking oil is needed.
Steam is an excellent method for cooking veggies that doesn't require submerging them in boiling water. Steaming cooks the vegetables through, while still preserving the bright color and flavor, and much of the nutrient content.
For maximum benefits and digestibility, veggies can be blended to a raw puree. Some vegetables, such as celery and spinach, do not need to be cooked before blending. Root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes should be blanched or steamed to make blending possible. Pureeing the vegetables breaks down the cell walls of the plant material, making them easier for dogs to digest.
Cooking vegetables in large batches and storing them in the freezer is a great way to save time and effort. After pureeing, put the veggies in an ice cube tray, and just grab a cube when you're in a hurry! Simple, and healthy.
Tip: Even though vegetables are great for your pet, keep veggie content to less than 25 percent of your dog's diet. Too many veggies can create issues, such as negatively changing the gut flora, or increasing alkalinity, which would cause kidney issues. When it comes to healthy diets, moderation and balance are key.
Now you're ready to get cookin'! Next time you're at the store, try picking up these 10 dog-friendly vegetables to feed both your family and your dog:
Benefits: Kale's key vitamins like K, A and Iron provide bone health, proper vision and immune function, fetal development and energy metabolism.
Benefits: Spinach contains potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B9 and E. It also contains high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.
Benefits: Carrots contain vitamin A from beta-carotene), biotin, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B6.
4. Green Beans
Benefits: Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. Green beans are also low-calorie and rich in fiber, which can help dogs feel full.
Benefits: Broccoli contains a huge variety of vitamins, including vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium, which improve bone density, battle diseases and improve heart health in dogs.
Benefits: Beets provide vitamin C, fiber, folate, manganese, and potassium. These nutrients help your dog's digestion and immune system and supports a healthy skin and coat.
Benefits: Celery offers many vitamins including A and C, which are antioxidants that will help keep your dog young and healthy.
Benefits: Cucumbers have lots of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which offer your dog anti-inflammatory benefits.
9. Yams /Sweet Potatoes
Benefits: Sweet potatoes are great for digestive health because they're high in fiber. They contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese, plus they are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene.
10. Butternut Squash
Benefits: Butternut squash contains lots of vitamins and minerals like A, C, B6 and more which help your dog's immune system, vision and cardiovascular function.
Green Tomatoes, Tomato Stalks and leaves (Red tomatoes are fine)
So there you have it. With a bit of planning, intention, and face licking from your resident boxer, you can easily give your pup a healthier meal with the addition of veggies. Just think: how much better your pup will feel getting some vitamins the natural way!