The story about fruits and vegetables has not changed – they’re healthy and good for you. The right fruits and veggies are also good for your pets, too. Whether enticing them to eat their balanced pet food, used as treats, or even used as substitute treats for overweight pets, fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrition.
Fruits and vegetables are a safe way to incorporate nutritious food into meals. However, it’s crucial to be aware of what’s safe for them to consume and follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. My favorite use of fruits and vegetables for pets is to use them as pet treats. Regardless if my patients maintain perfect body habitus or could stand to trim recent Holiday weight, I can recommend these as a lower-calorie treat option.
Did you know…
1 medium apple has (95 calories) has slightly less calories than 1 slice (1 oz) of American cheese (>100 calories)?!1 2
In this article, we’ll explore a comprehensive list of pet-safe fruits and vegetables for both cats and dogs, ensuring their diet is both delicious and nutritious.
Apples are a fantastic source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Remove seeds and core before offering to your pets.
Packed with antioxidants, blueberries are a great addition to your pet’s diet. They’re rich in vitamin C, K, and fiber.
Crunchy and nutritious, carrots are a low-calorie treat loaded with beta-carotene and fiber. They’re excellent for dental health, usually best served chilled, and provide the best substitute for higher calorie, lower-quality pet treats!
A superb source of fiber and essential nutrients, cooked pumpkin aids digestion. Ensure it’s plain and free of added sugars or spices. We often discuss canned pumpkin for diarrhea and constipation issues (yes – it works for both!). Keep in contact with your veterinary hospital because the calorie content of pumpkin can quickly become excessive and add unneeded weight to your pet.
High in fiber, vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes make a nutritious addition to your pet’s diet. Cooked and plain is the way to go.
Bananas are a potassium powerhouse, and they’re also rich in vitamin C and B6. They make for a delicious and energy-boosting treat.
A vitamin C powerhouse, strawberries are a delicious and nutritious treat. Remember to remove the stem before serving.
These low-calorie veggies are packed with hydration and contain vitamins K and C. They make for a crunchy and refreshing snack.
A summer favorite, watermelon is a hydrating fruit that’s also rich in vitamins A, B6, and C. Ensure you remove the seeds and rind.
A leafy green powerhouse, spinach is loaded with iron, vitamins A, C, and K. It’s most digestible when it has been cooked.
High in fiber, green beans are a nutritious and crunchy snack for pets. They’re rich in vitamins C and K.
Packed with protein and fiber, peas are an excellent addition to your pet’s diet. They provide vitamins A, B, and K.
Including pet-safe fruits and vegetables in your pet’s diet can be a delightful and healthy way to ensure they get a little extra nutrition. Remember to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about allergies or dietary restrictions. Be aware that some fruits and vegetables will be contra-indicated in various medical conditions and thus, will lead your veterinarian to ask that you avoid them.
Tails from the Medical Bag…
“She can’t stay in here. This is the men’s room.”
James P. Sullivan
For this story, we’ll call this very good patient of mine, Randall. Randall is an English Bulldog who developed urinary bladder stones – the stones of most dogs are made of magnesium or calcium. After surgery to remove the bladder stones (something that could potentially block all attempts to urinate) and stone analysis, we found out Randall’s stones were different. His stones – urate stones – were most likely caused by a defect in his ability to metabolize uric acid. Among other recommendations, we could help reduce the risk of developing future urate stones if we avoided fruits and vegetables high in purines, methionine, and cysteine. We avoided:
- Spinach, asparagus, peas, and cauliflower – high in purines
- Cucumbers – possibly high in methionine
- Tomatoes – has other properties that add nitrogen into the uric acid pathway
Peppers, mixed salad greens, carrots, bananas, and strawberries were safer options for Randall and his condition.
We were able to support Randall’s overall health, given his unique urinary condition, with the aid of fruits and vegetables while purposefully avoiding other.
By offering fruits and vegetables, these garden goodies, give your pet a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a happy, healthy life. Ask your veterinarian which are best for your pet and their individual situation. Then add them or use them as treats, but either way Bon appétit, furry friends!
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Apples. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved November 18, 2023, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/apples/#:~:text=Source%20Of&text=One%20serving%2C%20or%20one%20medium,)%2C%20and%203%20grams%20fiber.
- (n.d.). American Cheese: Nutrition, Calories, and More. Retrieved November 18, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/american-cheese-nutrition