3 Ways to Add Veggies to Your Pooch’s Diet
Most dog foods on the market today have already been optimized to meet the needs of our canine companions, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. In fact, adding in vegetables can provide a number of additional health benefits as well. Just as with humans, veggies can deliver powerful vitamins and nutrients that help improve function and performance as well as ward off disease.
Mixing vegetables in with your dog’s normal food or providing them as occasional treats can give your pup an antioxidant boost. Here are a few of the best ways to incorporate more veggies into your pet’s diet.
Cooked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes that are cooked, mashed or pureed are a great healthy and delicious treat that will fill your dog up and boost his or her body with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind, of course, that whole potatoes or even large pieces could become lodged in your pet’s throat and increase the risk of choking. Cutting into smaller pieces is ok, but mashing or pureeing is better. You can use sweet potatoes to replace up to a quarter of your dog’s regular food, either to change up his or her routine or increase the health benefits.
Carrots are great for the eyes and can also boost the immune system with natural antioxidants. Chewing on raw carrots, however, can be uncomfortable for some dogs’ teeth. It can also increase the risk of choking. The best way to introduce carrots into your dog’s diet is to cook them first and then chop them into smaller pieces. You can also puree them if desired. Don’t overdo it with carrots, though. Just one every couple of days or so should be more than enough.
Is your four-legged family member carrying around a few too many extra pounds? Believe it or not, green beans can help trim that little critter down to a healthier weight. That’s because green beans are naturally low in calories but are also high in fiber. This helps with digestion and to regulate your pup’s system. They’re also a great source of omega-3s, which are good for heart health. Experts recommend replacing up to 5 percent of your dog’s food with cooked green beans.
Keep in mind, however, when introducing veggies into your dog’s diet, there should be a balance. Rather than just adding them in on top of what you normally feed your pet, the amount of commercial food you feed should be decreased in proportion to the veggies you’re adding. This prevents the intake of extra unwanted calories and subsequent weight gain. Ideally, you should limit the amount of vegetables you add to about 25 percent of your pet’s total consumed calories.
And, most importantly, you should always check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet. He or she can provide expert guidance and professional advice on what specific veggies would be best for your companion and how to introduce them in a way that keeps your pet’s diet healthy and balanced.