Veggies for dogs?
Eat your Veggies!. I don’t think I know a single person who would argue this point. Veggies may be good for us, but what about for our carnivore pets? Dare I say that what is true for us is not for them? Just like every person is different, so is every dog. Some dogs do very well with a variety of veggies and fruits in their diet, while some do better with only certain types of veggies and others do best without any veggies. You know your dog better than anyone, and we hope that this blog can help guide you in making the best dietary choice for your pet. We like to follow the mantra: less fruits and veggies that grow below the ground or hang from the trees and more that grow in between. This means less root veggies and fruits such as apples that grow on trees because they are higher in sugar, and more that grow on the ground like spinach, lettuce and pumpkin that are lower in sugar.
While adding fruits and veggies to the diets of some dogs may be well tolerated, for some it can cause havoc. Does your dog suffer from smelly ears, teary eyes or itchy skin? It might be that veggies and fruits are making matters worse. Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and when they are broken down in the body they turn into sugar, which feeds yeast. If your dog has a
problem with yeast, try eliminating or minimizing veggies and fruits in their diet, particularly root vegetables that are high in starch. If you are hesitant about completely eliminating vegetables from your dogs diet, you could try taking out only root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, while still feeding veggies like spinach and broccoli. These veggies have a lower starch content and therefore are not as high in sugar.
A common misconception is that fruits and veggies must be added to the food for it to be considered a complete diet. We need produce to get our full spectrum of vitamins and minerals and be healthy, but does this apply to our pets? Fruits and veggies do have some benefits for dogs such as dietary fibre and nutrients, especially those from juiced veggies. Juiced veggies are awesome because they are prepared by cold pressing veggies including the pulp along with the juice. This way your dog can absorb all those nutrients locked in those pesky cell walls and also have the added dietary fibre from the pulp – two great health benefits in one! However, dogs can also get all the nutrients they need from the vitamins and minerals contained in the muscle meat, organs, bones and stomach contents (tripe) of other animals. Unwittingly, many well meaning pet owners over vegetate dogs with low tolerance for veggies. This all comes back to the point that we need veggies to be healthy but not all of our dogs do.
If you are considering reducing the vegetable content in your dogs food, there are some great alternatives that will provide your pet with the vitamins and minerals they need while avoiding higher carbohydrate content. Some alternatives are more designed specifically for the acidic digestive tract of a carnivore, making vitamins and minerals much easier to absorb.
Like we mentioned earlier, ruminant animals have a long digestive tract that gives their food time to ferment, breaking down cellulose, and allowing the minerals to be absorbed. Tripe is the stomach contents of ruminant animals such a lamb and cows. The veggie content has been partially digested and contains the enzymes necessary to digest plant matter. Now your dog can reap the benefits that veggies can provide without the worry of excess carbohydrates.
Another alternative is sprouted seeds. Flax, lentils and other seeds are powerhouses packed with enough nutrients to turn into a tall plant. However it is not until the seeds are ready to germinate that a protective layer surrounding the seeds breaks down and allows these nutrients to become alive. When seeds are sprouted, this breaks down the protecting coating and wakes the dormant enzymes, allowing them to break down complex carbohydrates and proteins into simpler forms that are easier to digest and absorb. By feeding seeds that are in this germinating state, you are giving your dog a full range of vitamins, minerals and probiotics that are readily absorbed.
If your dog suffers from yeast and you would like to reduce vegetable content but are still looking
for dietary fibre, look no further! Pumpkin works great for both constipation and diarrhea as it is high in dietary fibre and also absorbs excess water in the stool. Pumpkin is also low in saturated fat, and cholesterol and is a good source of Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.
To feed or not to feed veggies: that is the question; and only you know your dog well enough to answer this question. Like humans, every dog is different and therefore should consume a diet specific to their needs. The important message we want to get across here is that it is not a black or white decision. Through trial and error we all learn what is best for our dogs, and we hope this blog gives you peace of mind that whichever you choose, veggies or less veggies or no veggies, your dog is not missing out on any vital nutrients from this choice alone.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call, email or stop by our store front which is located in Vancouver’s beautiful Kerrisdale neighborhood!