Feeling fresh, furfriends? Let’s sniff our way around some handy information about fruits and vegetables for dogs. Although our dogs love meaty treats, they’re also fans of a whole range of different foods, including fruits and veggies. They’ll even try to harvest their own from the garden. Cheeky rascals! Whether store bought or fresh from your garden, here are some dog-friendly fruits, vegetables, and herbs you can share, and some to avoid. Pawfect for sharing snacks, making homemade dog food, or choosing ingredients for homemade dog treats.
Many of you may have started the new year resolved to eat better, get more exercise, and live happier healthier lives. Dogs are great personal trainers to help with those fitness resolutions! Our boys keep me on the move every day, no matter the weather. Although we would never advocate giving up treats completely (human or pet), the quality and quantity of food that our pets eat is a significant factor in their weight and overall health. The same applies to people, too. Let’s look at a few fresh food options that you and your pet can enjoy snacking on together. In moderation with plenty of offsetting exercise, of course.
Some dogs have special dietary requirements, food allergies/intolerances, or even breed specific sensitivities – like our Dalmatians, who are safer with lower purine foods due to a breed-unique metabolic issue. If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s diet, have a chat with your vet. Similarly, if your pet is inactive, has health problems, or you have any concerns about changing your exercise routine together, have a chat with your vet. Or your doctor about the human stuff!
Dog-Friendly Fruits, Vegetable, and Herbs
We love sharing tasty dog treat recipes of all sorts, but today we’re snacking straight up! Whether bought or fresh from the garden (yum!), here’s a whole rainbow of dog-friendly fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you can potentially share together in moderation:
- Watermelon (seeds removed)
- Cantaloupe and similar melons
- Kumara / sweet potato (cooked)
- Pumpkin and squash (cooked)
- Potato (cooked)
- Brussels sprouts
- Apple (core/seeds removed)
- Pear (core/seeds removed)
This list is based upon current information at the time of writing, but accuracy may change over time. If in doubt, check with an expert source. Food or treats that I share with my pets have been checked for suitability using reputable online references, such as the AKC, SPCA, and others. However, it is important to note that expert opinions (including these resources) may vary, differ and/or evolve over time.
Potentially Dangerous Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs
A number of fruits and veggies are not recommended for pets due to potential health concerns, including members of the allium family (onion, chives, garlic), avocado, grapes and raisins, rhubarb, and green tomatoes or potatoes. We prefer playing it safe if there’s any doubt. Whether for eating or just for garden awareness, the ASPCA has one of the best sites that I have come across for checking for potential pet-toxic plants. It’s worth noting that many edible plants have parts that can be toxic to animals (including people). Extra care may be needed if your pet has access to garden areas where potentially hazardous plants are growing. At a former home, Oli and a visiting dog pal discovered our grapevine was dangling within reach and took it upon themselves to do some harvesting – fortunately no harm done, other than sore bellies that evening. The grapevine was kept well trimmed after that!
Individual Doggy Diet Considerations
Taste and Preferences
Like humans, dogs also have individual likes and dislikes. Just because your pet can eat something, doesn’t mean that they will. The same is true for fruits and vegetables for dogs. And people. Asparagus? Errr…no thanks. Ditto the Brussels sprouts. It always entertains us how much our dogs differ, especially when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables. Humphrey really enjoys his crunchy veggies, especially carrot – he will sit near the chef, politely begging, whenever carrots are being prepped for meals. Good thing that he hasn’t figured out how to harvest them from the new veggie patch for himself…yet! Both boys are wild for berries, especially Oli. I’ve added the photo of them forging (taken several years after this post was first shared) so you can see my black and white strawberry hunters at work. I’m going to need a bigger bird net. Haha! One of the perils of sharing a home garden with pets.
As noted above, different dogs may also have individual dietary issues, intolerances, allergies, or sensitivities. Fortunately, we haven’t encountered any known issues with our boys; however, we do try and moderate purines as a dietary safety precaution for Dalmatians. This means that some veggies, like beans, peas, and brassicas, aren’t part of our usual fresh food sharing, homemade dog food, or dog treat ingredients. There are plenty of other doggone delicious options to use instead. As an added caution, some veggies like peas and beans may be linked to a heightened risk of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in some dogs. You can moderate or avoid these, if you wish.
Some foods are safe to consume, but may be difficult to digest. The dog digestive system is geared towards eating a high-meat diet and may have difficulty processing some fruits or veggies, especially if raw and/or swallowed in large pieces. Although we do enjoy the occasional raw carrot or sneaky strawberry fresh from the garden, for main foods we usually prepare them for easier small-quantity use and better digestion. You can see in our pet chef help post how we like to prepare fruits and vegetables for our dogs.
Always take care with snack size and suitability for pets, and the same is true for any fruits and vegetables for dogs. Fresh foods can pose choking hazards if not suitably sized. Dogs with medial issues, such as dental concerns, may have difficulty with cool and/or crunchy fruits and veggies. As with humans, some medical conditions and medications have food contradictions. Always check with your vet about dietary factors if a pet is on a special medical treatment plan, and adjust your regular foods and/or treats if needed for safety.
To help you laugh off a few extra bites (laughter is great for your health), here are a few extras and outtakes from my efforts to photograph the dogs for this post. The basket of sweet delicious fruit and veggie goodness was just too doggone tempting!
Humphrey went straight for the carrots (of course!), which they both enjoyed as their afternoon treat. But then Humphrey made his surprise move on the broccoli, prancing around the garden with his prize. I reclaimed it quickly and relatively unscathed, but we’ll still be keeping the windows open for extra fresh air for a wee while, just in case he has some special farts to share. Cheeky rascal!