Pet Friendly Fruit and Veg
We are huge animal lovers here at Heritage, we have dogs, cats, parrots (Sally pictured with her fruit kebab!) and lots more. You can often find someone’s pet in the office or goats, dogs, peacocks, guinea fowl and chickens wandering around outside on the farm!
We all know how important fruit and vegetables are for our health but did you know that some of these delicious and nutritious foods can also be beneficial to your pet’s health.
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat meat or plant-based food. In fact, most dog kibble is a combination of meat protein and vegetable matter.
One way you can enrich your dog’s diet is by adding extra fruits and vegetables on top of their kibble. This can be especially beneficial for dog’s suffering from weight problems or diseases, like diabetes. With that said, your canine companion can enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of a large variety of different fruits and vegetables.
Cats are carnivores, which means that their diet should be primarily protein-based. Your feline friend doesn’t actually need fruits or vegetables in her diet to remain healthy, but they do make a good alternative to high-calorie treats.
Below is a list of treats that are safe for your furry friends, we’ve kept it to dogs and cats as they are the most popular pets in the UK. We’d love to see your pet enjoying their fruit and veg so get sharing on our Facebook page.
|Asparagus||Asparagus is high in fibre, has a lot of vitamins, and is an excellent source of potassium. Dogs can be at risk of choking on an asparagus stalk, so they should receive bite-sized pieces that have been softened through cooking to allow easier digestion before offering. If cats express interest in eating asparagus, there’s no harm in also giving them a small piece.|
|Apples||These are a great source of Vitamins A & C, and packed full of fibre to keep your pet’s digestive system working effectively. Just be sure to remove the core and seeds before feeding an apple to your pet. Try them frozen for an icy warm weather snack.|
|Apricots||Apricot is a fleshy fruit filled with beta-carotene and potassium. These elements put up a great fight against cancer. But just ensure that your cat or dog doesn’t consume the poisonous leaves, stem, or pit.|
|Bananas||Rich in potassium, vitamins, and copper, bananas are exceptionally sweet, and they’re also safe for your dog or cat to eat. Due to their high sugar content, bananas should only be given occasionally and regarded firmly as a treat.|
|Bell Peppers||All bell pepper varieties provide beta carotene, fibre, and antioxidants. Make sure to cut peppers up into manageable sized pieces and feed with the stem removed to help boost immune function.|
|Blueberries||Blueberries are full of antioxidants and fibre, which can help defend your pet from cancer. They also help with cat’s night vision.
|Broccoli||This dark green vegetable is safe for your pet to eat, but only in very small quantities, as broccoli is fibrous and can lead to diarrhoea.
|Butternut squash||Butternut squash has a number of health benefits for cats and dogs, it’s a smart staple for a dog’s balanced diet.|
|Cabbage||Eating cabbage can aid in digestion, fight cancer, and improve skin and fur health for cats and dogs. Shredding the cabbage over food is a good way to slowly introduce it into their diets, but give in moderation to avoid harmful effects to your dog’s thyroid gland. It is best to cook the cabbage before feeding to allow for easier digestion.|
|Feed this delicious melon sparingly, as it is high in natural sugar. Make sure that your pet doesn’t eat or even lick the skin as it carries harmful bacteria.|
|Carrots||Carrots are high in vitamins and fibre, and their fibrous nature can brush away tartar, making them good for your dog’s teeth! Steam and bake the carrots for your cats, dogs can chew on these raw or add to wet food. They also contain beta-carotene, which helps maintain healthy skin and eye health.
|Cauliflower||Cooked or raw, cauliflower is a treat you can share. The vitamins and antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and help older pets with arthritis. Its fibre can support digestive health, but too much may lead to an upset stomach. Serve plain and in small bites without the stem and leaves.|
|Celery||Similar to carrots, celery is another low-calorie vegetable that will naturally scrub your dog’s teeth.
|Courgette||Courgette is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Shredding it on top of their regular food is a good way to incorporate it into their diet and may help protect them from infections, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.|
|Cucumbers||Cucumbers are another safe low-calorie snack for dogs. However, don’t feed your pup too much, since it can cause an upset stomach.
|Cranberries||Another fruit that does an excellent job of fighting infections of the urinary tract is cranberries. They are simply perfect for dogs and cats. And that’s because cranberries have manganese, fibre, and vitamin C. So the next time your pet wants to snack, feed him/her cranberries if they can handle all that tartness! Moderation is important when feeding cranberries to dogs, as with any treat, as too many cranberries can lead to an upset stomach.
|Green beans||Fresh green beans are chock full of iron and vitamins, making them a healthy option for your dog. Remember to only feed your pup fresh green beans, as canned ones usually have added salt.
|Lettuce||Lettuce helps add water and fibre to a pet’s diet which helps keep them hydrated and full. The leaf should be cut into very thin slices to make it easy to eat and can be placed on top of their usual food.|
|Mango||Don’t forget to remove the stone before feeding as it contains a small amount of toxic cyanide, and could potentially cause your dog to choke. Feel free to offer small mango pieces, without the skin. Mangos help ease digestive issues. So if you want your pet’s stomach health to be in good shape, you know what fruit to turn to.|
|Peas||Green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden or English peas are all OK for dogs and cats to find in their bowl on occasion. Peas have several vitamins, minerals, and are rich in protein and high in fibre. You can feed your dog fresh or frozen peas, but avoid canned peas with added sodium.|
|Pears||Pears, in moderation, is an excellent snack for dogs and cats. A pear is full of fibre, vitamin A, and vitamin C. But just like oranges and apples, pear seeds include cyanide. Therefore remove these seeds before feeding the fruit. Small pear slices are perfect for promoting properties associated with anti-cancer treatment. So you don’t need to think twice before incorporating such a healthy snack into your pet’s diet.|
|Pineapple||A few chunks of pineapple is a great sweet treat for dogs and cats, as long as the prickly outside peel and crown are removed first. The tropical fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins.|
|Must be cooked – stick with boiled, plain varieties. If your dog is prone to an upset stomach, a good mealtime option is plain boiled chicken and potatoes with no added ingredients.|
|Both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for dogs. (If your dog or cat has diabetes or chronic kidney disease, always ask your vet first.) As far as our healthy pooches go, seeds and flesh of fresh raw pumpkins are safe provided, of course, it’s not a rotten pumpkin that’s been sitting on the porch for four weeks. Pumpkin parts do go rancid very quickly! If you choose to go with canned, make sure it’s organic and doesn’t have added sugar.|
|Raspberries||Raspberries are fine in moderation. They contain antioxidants that are great for dogs. They’re low in sugar and calories, but high in fibre, manganese, and vitamin C. Raspberries are especially good for senior dogs because they have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help ageing joints. However, they do contain small amounts of xylitol, so limit your dog to less than a cup of raspberries at a time.|
|Strawberries||Anti-inflammatory in nature of the fruit that makes it suitable for senior pets. Don’t forget that moderation is necessary. And that applies to raspberries too. Given the small amount of sweetener, they are packed with! This sweetener is called xylitol. And in a large amount, xylitol can prove to be fatal for cats and dogs. They contain sugar, so be sure to give them in moderation.|
|Sweet potato||Similar to the benefits of pumpkin, sweet potato offers dogs and cats fibre, water, and nutrients that aid with digestive problems. Sweet potato offers even more nutritional value, containing vitamins, thiamine, niacin, and even copper. Because of these nutrients, sweet potatoes are much more beneficial to pets than regular white potatoes.|
|Watermelon||As it’s 92% water watermelon does an excellent job of providing hydration. On top of that, watermelon also offers potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and vitamin A. And all these components improve nerve and muscle function.|
Tips for feeding your pet vegetables:
- Frozen bags of vegetables are often on sale. Stock up. Have a blend ready to grab in a Tupperware bowl in the freezer.
- If your pet is sensitive to the cold of a frozen vegetable put a small bowl in the refrigerator for easy treat access.
- For a summer treat add vegetables to a 1:1 mixture of chicken broth and water in an ice tray. Once frozen pop out one or true for a delicious hot day treat.
- When cooking set aside the unused vegetable trimmings that are safe for your pet to consume. A great no-waste alternative to throwing it in the garbage.
- If your pet doesn’t want anything to do with vegetables and you want to supplement what he is getting in his regular diet you can chop fine or puree and mix into his meals. For treats adding some dog-safe peanut butter (no sugar, just peanuts) can get your dog started. Eventually, you should be able to back off on the addition and feed the vegetable plain.
- Vegetables are a great reward to treat puzzle games. As always make sure you watch your dog when those are in use and that all edible treats are cleaned from the puzzle before storing away.
Sources: whole dog journal, avondaleanimal, akc.org, psda.org.uk, allaboutcats.com