Fruits and vegetables are healthy options that should form part of your pup’s meal. According to the Association for Pet Obesity, 55% of dogs are obese or overweight. Overweight dogs are likely to suffer from joint problems, respiratory diseases, and chronic pain from other preventable illnesses.
Incorporating veggies in your furry friend’s diet is a good way to help your dog lose weight. Vegetables and fruits also contain fibers, which work wonders when it comes to digestion. These two food ingredients also have vital minerals and enzymes that help to improve your dog’s immune system.
The benefits of incorporating fruits and veggies into your dog’s diet are many. But, as most dog owners will agree, introducing the two to your pooch is not always easy.
You need to get it right when introducing fruits and veggies to your dog’s meal, as your pet will likely sample other foods and leave their veggies on the plate. Your pup may also skip meals to avoid eating that lovely pumpkin you’ve put in the corner of their dish!
Thankfully, there are pet food sites that analyze the different dog foods in the market, noting down their ingredients. This makes it easier for you to choose food brands with the right amounts of fruits and vegetables for your pup.
However, if you want to add fruits and vegetables to homemade pet food or add additional fruits and veggies to your store bought food, here are some amazing ideas.
Start with small portions
By now, you already know that your dog is very sensitive to smell and will quickly detect any slight change in their diet. To help your dog adjust to a diet incorporated with veggies and fruits, start by adding small portions of fruits or vegetables and increase the amount with time. Giving small quantities will also allow you to monitor your pup’s digestion. Remember, you should always seek your vet’s advice if you notice any alarming changes in their stool or behavior.
Introduce fruits and vegetables when your dog is hungry
There are times when your dog will seem more hungry than usual. For instance, your pup may be famished after a few hours of outdoor activities or when they wake up in the morning. This is often the best time to introduce veggies and fruits to your dog’s meal.
Make fruits and veggies part of your dog’s favorite meal
Your dog is unlikely to forego their favorite meal just because there are a few pieces of blueberries added in the mix. Therefore, when serving them that chicken or the fish, you can add a few spoons of well-cooked vegetables. Adding fruits and veggies to your pup’s favorite snack is also a good idea.
Best ways to prepare fruits and vegetables for your dog
Your pooch’s digestion is different from yours. While you might prefer to eat your apples or oranges in large chunks, you may need to slice or chop them for Scruffy to prevent choking. Lucky’s zucchini and spinach are also best served steamed or boiled to ease digestion.
Here are other ways to prepare your pet’s fruits and vegetables.
Grate and mix with other foods
Grating fruits and veggies is easy and ensures the portions are small for your dog’s liking. Carrots and apples are foods that you can grate and serve with other foods such as meat. Grating also allows you to incorporate several fruits and veggies in a single meal.
Mash together with other foods
Mashing is a great way to incorporate vegetables into your dog’s diet. You can choose to mash the veggies together with other ingredients such as cooked rice. Well-cooked sweet potatoes, turnips, and pumpkins are some of the veggies that you can choose to introduce to your dog through mashing. Similarly, adding some mashed banana to their diet (quarter or half a banana max in one sitting), is a great way to encourage friendly flora to grow in your dog’s gut.
Serve as finely chopped pieces
Once your dog gets used to veggies and fruits, try serving them as chopped pieces. You’ll find your dog enjoying the food just as they would their favorite treat. You can also decide to mix the chopped veggies with your dog’s favorite snack. Chopped broccoli, peppers and spinach are a few veggies that your dog may be willing to sample.
Freeze to improve taste
Freezing fruits before feeding them to your dog can help change their texture and taste. If your dog doesn’t like eating fresh fruits, try giving him frozen ones. Blueberries are a favorite for many dogs when served frozen. Give them to your pup on a sunny afternoon for better results.
Sauté before serving
Your dog may refuse some of the fruits and vegetables simply because they are too hard to chew. In that case, try sautéing these veggies to soften their texture. For instance, green beans are perfect for a dog who needs to lose weight. But, your dog may find raw green beans too hard to chew. Once you sauté them, their texture will soften, and your dog will get a new favorite treat.
Serve them raw
Some fruits and vegetables are best served raw as any additives may spoil their taste. Ripe tomatoes are a good example of fruits that you can serve raw. You only need to cut them into small pieces for your pup to enjoy them. Be cautious not to feed your dog the tomato plant's green part as it contains a toxic substance known as solanine.
Dogs love cakes, especially frozen ones. While making some homemade cakes for your pup, add a few varieties of fruits and vegetables as part of the ingredients. Such a cake will make the perfect afternoon snack for your dog, and it also contains vital nutrients that will keep your dog healthy.
To conclude, incorporating fruits and vegetables into your dog’s meal doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the above tips, you’ll have a much easier time convincing your pup to munch on some green beans or carrots. Since every dog has their preference when it comes to food, try incorporating different veggies and fruits into your pooch’s diet until you find their favorite. Furthermore, if buying processed dog food, always read the reviews and ingredients to ensure they contain sufficient fruits and vegetables.