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Adding Veggies to Your Dog's Diet

Some families are made up of adults and children, there are families with adults and dogs, then there are families with adults, children, and dogs. Just because your furry family member is not human does not make him any less important! Which group do you fall under?

My little family consists of me, my husband, and three dogs that are all over the age of seven human years. They are all mixes and were all adopted from a local animal shelter over the course of a few years at different stages in each of their lives. Earlier this year, I decided it was time to change the way I was eating — for the healthier. Soon after I changed my own eating habits, I realized that the store bought food I was feeding my dogs was disgusting and unhealthy for them; I had to work on feeding them better, healthier.

Just as us humans should be eating a healthy diet that includes an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, so should your dog. Many Americans are considered obese and statistics do not look any better for household dogs. Like overweight humans, overweight dogs are also at risk for heart and respiratory disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, forms of cancer, kidney disease, and others. Not feeding your dog a healthy diet and not properly giving him or her enough daily exercise will inevitably lead to obesity, thus shortening the years you get to spend with your dog.

In the coming weeks, I will be discussing the following topics: what fruits and vegetables your dog can eat safely, which are toxic and should be avoided, and the best combinations of plant-based foods to make your own homemade dog food. Right now, I would like to talk about the reasons your dog should be eating vegetables.

We all want our doggies to live a long and happy life, and we can do this by including vegetables in his or her diet. You can do this by either giving veggies as treats, adding it to your dog’s current kibble, or making your own homemade plant-based dog food.

Some dogs have dry, itchy skin and are constantly scratching, sometimes to the point of bleeding. Have you ever considered that your dog might have a food allergy? Or, quite possibly it could be because of unnatural food additives in that store bought dog food. It’s true — people food and dog food alike can be highly processed and unhealthy! One of my dogs has itchy skin and was scratching and gnawing himself to the point of rawness and bleeding. Since I have been incorporating more raw vegetables into his diet and greatly reducing his packaged kibble intake, the scratching is less and his black coat is becoming shinier.

Without proper nutrition and healthy foods, your dog’s lifespan can be greatly shortened. Add in the fact that many dogs are currently overweight and you can subtract a couple more years on top of that. Along with feeding a healthy diet that includes vegetables, you must also provide an outlet for daily exercise. This can be grabbing the leash and going on a walk-walk, a run, heading to the park or lake to play with a frisbee, or you can even toss a ball around in the backyard. It is suggested that people get at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise per day…that’s about the same amount of time your dog should be exercising too! As mentioned earlier, like humans, obese dogs are also at risk for such diseases as heart, respiratory, and kidney, also high blood pressure, various cancers, and diabetes.

Dogs also need many of the same vitamins and minerals as us. Do you see the similarities?

  • Vitamins A and E helps your dog to burn fat and lose weight, fights disease and slows the aging process
  • Vitamin C can boost the immune system, promotes healing, and fights illness
  • Vitamin B-12 is important for cell growth and development
  • Calcium promotes health and strong teeth and bones
  • Iron is a mineral that’s essential for healthy blood and needed in oxygen transport
  • Potassium supports heart, cardiovascular health

Vegetables and other plant-based foods can provide your furry family member with all of these essential vitamins and minerals. Shortly, they will have more energy, look and feel healthier, and love you for loving them so much!

Photo Source: niceken/Flickr