Dogs eating fruit and vegetables? Doesn't seem like a match made in heaven does it! Well that might just be wrong. Dogs don’t need to be eating just meat, in fact throughout their history they have been omnivores, and as I am sure many of you will have noticed, your dog will eat anything! It is your job to make sure they eat the right thing. Dogs need vegetables because they contain many important health promoting nutrients, some of which can be missing from a dog’s standard diet. Such as omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Fruits may not be something that dogs have traditionally eaten, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t. The major nutrient of fruit is soluble carbohydrate, essentially sugars, which are great for providing your dog with the energy they need. The enzymes present in raw fruit are also great for a dog’s balanced diet, particularly if your dog is past middle age or is showing signs of a degenerative disease. However dogs are not humans, and not all fruit and veg is ideal for them. These are 10 of the best fruit and vegetables that should keep your canine happy and healthy:

Virtuous Veggies

Broccoli

Children hate them, but you dog should love them! Broccoli is arguable the most nutrient rich vegetable for dogs, and it contains cancer fighting enzymes. So this little green veg protects and perfects! In sciency terms, Broccoli has many ‘phytochemicals’ that inhibit the build up of cancer cells, and contains high levels of fibre, beta carotene, folic acid, and vitamin C, all important for your furry friend. Everything in moderation though, too much Broccoli can cause some stomach irritation, a couple of servings of broccoli a week miked into your dog’s food should be ideal.

Cooked Sweet Potato

Easy on your dog’s digestive system and great for a sensitive stomach, sweet potato can be a perfect choice for your dog. It contains far more nutrition than the regular potato and is packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, all important for the immune system. Not content with just that, the sweet potato is stuffed full with vitamin A and C, vitamin B5 and B6 AND high levels of potassium and magnesium, both vital minerals for bone growth and the absorption of vitamins.

Peas

The little green veg, packed full with nearly every vitamin in the alphabet, rich in vitamin A, B1, B3 and B6, C and K. They also contain a decent amount of fibre, which helps keep your dogs digestion smooth and regular. A little portion of peas can be given to your dog quite regularly, and can often be seen in canned food.

Carrots

shutterstock_8606032 The king of vegetables, and a royally good choice for your canine too. It’s good for our eyes and for your dog’s too. This orange stick is brimming with Beta carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help prevent cancer, and just like its same coloured pall the orange, it is full of vitamin C to keep those bones strong and healthy. Carrots don’t fail on the mineral front either, iboflavin, niacin, iron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and calcium are all found there. The last of which is so important, calcium not only helps bones, but helps heart function by supporting the contractions in the heart muscle, supports nerve transmission, and improves muscle building.

Spinach

Popeye’s favourite is great for dogs too! Spinach contains flavonoids and carotenoids which help fight cancer, but also help dogs suffering from muscle and heart problems. It is another great source of calcium too. Compared to most other leafy greens it has twice as much iron which is key for healthy red blood cells. Did you know? - Always consult your vet before changing the diet. We want to be certain what you are feeding your dog is good for them! It’s not just a new ingredient that might cause trouble, but you might be over or under feeding your dog, or worsening an individual medical complaint. So also ask advice from the experts first.

Fruity Favourites

Cranberries

This little red berry is a great way to help keep your dog from getting an urinary tract infection and help fight it if they do have one. Cranberries do this by lowering the pH of the dog’s urine. They also have plenty of minerals and are rich in Vitamin A, B, and C. However dog’s can have particular trouble digesting cranberries, so mush them up first!. Or you can also try it in juice form too, but only in small amounts as the juice can be very sugary.

Pumpkin

Filled full of fibre, pumpkin is perfect for a dog suffering from a stomach problem. The fibre contained in the pumpkin will absorb all the water in the dog’s stomach and help ease the pain. Pumpkin is also relatively low calorie, great for overweight dogs, and it helps to regulate blood sugar and boost heart health too. Pumpkin can be given to your dog on a regular basis and is great for keeping them full but also fit!

Apples

shutterstock_166278221 The daddy of fruits, apples have plenty of health benefits for your dog. Red apples are especially healthy, as they contain more powerful antioxidants. As well as being another great source of vitamin A and C they are especially high in the fibre, Pectin, which removes toxins in the intestines, strengthens muscles and fights off bacteria, and is great for all round digestive health. Apples would make a great occasional treat for your dog, maybe once or twice a week, anymore and all that sugar can cause an upset stomach. Also avoid letting them have the core as this contains small amounts of cyanide!

Bananas

A great source of energy for your dog! They are full of natural sugars which are easy for your dog to metabolise and convert to energy. Banana’s are a good choice for any dog with a heart issue as they contain vitamin B6 which helps to improve heart function and maintain normal blood pressure. All that sugar means bananas should be given in moderation, roughly two a week for a larger breed and one a week for a small breed. Don’t forget to peel them first!

Oranges

We all know oranges are filled with vitamin C, but they have far more to offer in terms of nutrition than that. Oranges are bursting with flavonoids, helping to strengthen the immune system and connective tissues, They are also a great source for calcium, magnesium and potassium. But be warned, because of its high acid content, oranges should just be an occasional treat for your dog. Did you know? Our furry friends like a stable diet and can have sensitive stomachs, so don’t introduce new fruit and vegetables too rapidly. Give them time to adjust to any new elements in their diet, by introducing them a little at a time. This way you can avoid any digestive problems.

AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

This article is all about pointing out what fruit and veg your dog will love, but I would be irresponsibly remiss if I did not mention some that most definitely ARE NOT good for your dog!

GRAPES AND RAISINS

A 25kg dog, roughly the weight of a Golden Retriever, can be poisoned by as few as 4 or 5 grapes or raisins, and the results are often fatal.

AVOCADOS

Any part of the plant is poisonous due to the presence of Persin which can cause diarrhea in dogs, and also trigger difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen,heart or pancreatitis.

ONIONS, GARLIC AND CHIVES

They Can destroy your dog’s red blood cells, and lead to anemia, so avoid all foods that contain these, whether raw or cooked.

TOMATOES

All of the plant if toxic to dogs, especially the tomato itself and the upper plant which contains the toxin tomatine which can trigger abnormalities within the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract. The lower plant contains atropine and can cause dilated pupils, tremors, and heart arrhythmias.

RAW AND GREEN POTATOES

Solanum alkaloids in uncooked potatoes cause solanine poisoning and leads to nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, cardiac dysrhythmia, headache and dizziness. Cooked potatoes are fine.

RHUBARB

Contains oxalates, which cause abnormalities within the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract. Did you know? With all those different vitamins it’s hard to know what does what. Well heres a little guide to SOME of roles played by each of each of those vitamins. Vitamin A is good for eyesight, amongst other things Various forms of Vitamin B and C are great for heart health, building bones, teeth and connective tissues Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to build bones. Vitamin E helps the body make red blood cells. Vitamin K helps blood to clot and form protective scabs. Any of these ten choices would be a great addition to your dog’s diet and will help keep your dog fit and healthy. Fruits and vegetables have many, many health benefits, as long as they are given to your dog right. They are not a substitute to your dog’s regular meals. Meat should always make up the heart of a canine’s balanced diet, but the addition of some vegetables into your dog’s meals, and the occasional fruity treat on the side, will be ideal for their all round health and happiness.