Dogs are omnivores, which means they love eating a little of just about everything, including wholesome and delicious vegetables. Not only are veggies filled with healthy fiber, nutritious vitamins and vital minerals, but they are also low in fat and calories, making them an ideal addition to your pooch's diet. Plus, they're so tasty!
Read on to discover why your pup goes wild for veggies.
Dogs have taste buds that react to pretty much the same flavors we do, including sweet, sour, bitter and meaty, umami-like flavors. Things like carrots, tomatoes, cooked potatoes, cooked sweet potatoes, peas, cooked pumpkin and green beans all tempt your pup's taste buds with their yummy flavors and touch of sweetness. In short, they like veggies for the same delicious reasons we do!
Veggies have a crunchy, watery texture dogs love. Some delicious broccoli, cucumber, zucchini or cauliflower can really hit the spot for your canine companion because they've got that crisp consistency. And these veggies can help keep your pup's teeth clean by scrubbing away plaque as she chews.
Dogs respond to smell much like humans — in fact, their sense of smell is much better than ours. And you know what they like to sniff out? Fresh veggies! That's right, the fresher the better, as the smell of fresh vegetables is stronger than the more muted (and potentially unpleasant) scent of older ones.
If your pooch is not interested in the scent of the veggies you're offering, try steaming them to enhance their aroma — but always cool them first before sharing with your dog. Cooking also makes them easier for Benji to digest. Or give your pup some new Milk-Bone® Farmer's Medley™ Whole Grain Recipe With Beef Biscuits, which contain real carrots.
The nutrients contained in veggies are great for dogs, possibly even helping them retain their cognitive abilities as they age by providing them with healthy antioxidants.
A Note of Caution
Not all veggies are good for dogs, especially anything in the onion family, including garlic, which is considered highly toxic. Always research a new vegetable before feeding it to your dog to determine if it's good for him or not. Remember to always cook potatoes and avoid unripe tomatoes. Beware choking hazards like corncobs. And veggies make great snacks, but too many at once can upset your pup's tummy, so keep them to about 10% of his daily diet.
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By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
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