Extend Your Dog's Life: Share Your Veggies
The Border Collie shown here, Bramble, lived for 27 years and 211 days. Her long and healthy life might be attributed to her vegetarian diet. In a story published by DogsInTheNews.com, Bramble's human companion said, "She has a big bowl of rice, lentils and organic vegetables every evening."
Vegetables for Dogs?
Dogs will eat just about anything -- Kleenex, shoes, your kid's Pooh bear. Take advantage of your dog's open-minded relationship with food! By adding certain vegetables to your dog's dish, you can help prevent health problems and increase your doggie's lifespan.
Scientists believe that dogs have eaten vegetables throughout their evolution. That's about 15,000 human years -- or 105,000 dog years -- of dog diet tradition! Including vegetables in modern dogs' diets makes sense.
Read on to learn which vegetables are great for dogs and which vegetables are dangerous for dogs. I also link to a dog biscuit recipe.
Great Vegetables for Dogs
Many veterinarians agree that certain vegetables -- leafy greens in particular
-- should be a staple of domestic dogs' diets. Leafy greens contain soluble and insoluble fiber that help your dog in much the same way they help you.
As the Japanese put it, fiber is 胃のほうき or "the broom of the stomach." It helps to lower blood cholesterol and keep weight under control. (It might also help prevent colorectal cancer in people at least, though studies are mixed.) Additional health benefits come from leafy greens' calcium and antioxidants.
Spinach and kale are especially nutrient-dense leafy greens.
Broccoli is rich in fiber, calcium, beta carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A), Vitamin C and folic acid. It contains dozens of anti-cancer compounds that prevent carcinogens from forming, prevent carcinogens from reaching target cells, and enhance the production of enzymes that neutralize carcinogens. Serve it raw or lightly steamed.
The next time your dog needs a pill, hide it in peanut butter on a little piece of celery. It's also a good idea to serve your dog celery regularly. Celery contains an anti-tumor agent known as 3-n-butyl phthalide. (Incidentally, laboratory studies suggest that 3-n-butyl phthalide can help reduce anxiety too.)
Celery is also rich in calcium, potassium, iron, Vitamin B and several other vitamins and minerals.
Carrots are excellent vegetables for dogs and humans alike. They're especially lauded for supporting healthy optic nerves. Carrots are rich not only in beta carotene but also Vitamins B, C, D, E, K and lots of minerals.
Ready to share your veggies? Before you serve up a homemade doggie meal, please read the next section about foods that are dangerous for dogs. After that, "bone" appetit!
- How to Make Dog Biscuits
Turn leafy greens into dog biscuits! This spinach, oats & cheese recipe is fun to make for furry friends.
- Tofu for Cats
Give tofu to your cat. It's pure protein! Click here for three easy tofu recipes that cats enjoy. Note: Cats, unlike dogs, need special supplements if you make them totally vegetarian.
- Cat-Approved Gifts for Cat Lovers
From communist cat posters to the best cat comb, this article provides plenty of gift ideas for cat lovers. If you're extra motivated, watch the tutorial about how to build a cat tree.
Bad Vegetables for Dogs
The medical community agrees that you should not feed a dog onions. Onions can cause fatal anemia.
People disagree about garlic. Basically, some breeds of dog reap many health benefits from garlic but others can develop gastrointestinal problems or life-threatening anemia. Most vets agree that it's OK to give your dog not-so-concentrated garlic several times a week. Many commercial dog treats and recipes for homemade dog biscuits include garlic.
Some other foods to not give dogs:
- beer (not funny -- it can be toxic)
- grapes, raisins and wine
- macadamia nuts
You can read more about dangerous foods for dogs at Wikipedia. Of course, your veterinarian is the best resource for information about foods that are safe for your particular pet.