By Jennifer Poindexter
I have a big, spoiled dog that loves to eat fresh fruits and vegetables from my garden. Do you have a dog with similar taste buds? If so, this information is for you. It’s important to feed our dogs healthy snacks, but it’s equally important to understand what’s safe for them in our home gardens and what isn’t.
I’m going to walk you through a few nutritious snack ideas you can pull straight from your garden and share with your pooch.
However, I’ll also be sharing a few snacks which should be avoided around the home garden.
Before we dive in, it’s also important to mention that this is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing a new food to your pet.
Here are a few fruits and vegetables to grow that your dog might love:
Fruits and Vegetables Your Dog Will Love
Pumpkin makes a great treat for your dog. It’s best to puree it and add it as a topping to their dog food. This is a great way to add more fiber to their diets which can help with satiation and maintaining a healthy weight.
Plus, pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and E. This helps to maintain your dog’s immune system, can support brain health, skin health, and eye health. This food also is a great source of potassium and iron which is great for overall health.
2. Swiss Chard
It’s great to feed your dog raw Swiss chard. This allows all the vitamins and nutrients to remain intact. Some dogs like leafy greens. Others find them down right offensive.
However, if you happen to have a dog that enjoys them, feel good about providing a snack that’s high in Vitamin C, A, K, potassium, and calcium. All of this helps support a healthy immune system and good health in general.
Peaches are a delicious treat for humans as we love their sweet flavor. Your dog might feel the same. The next time you’re harvesting peaches, set a few aside for your pup.
But be mindful to cut the peaches up into smaller bite-sized pieces. You don’t want the skin or pit to become a choking hazard. Pits are also toxic to dogs. Plus, peaches are best enjoyed in moderation as too many can lead to stomach troubles for your pet.
Like peaches, pears are best if enjoyed in moderation. Yet, they still make a good snack for your dog on occasion.
This fruit is a great source of Vitamins K, C, and fiber. However, like peaches, it’s vital that the pit and seeds of the pear be removed as they pose a choking hazard and the pit is toxic to your dog.
5. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are beautiful vegetables that dogs tend to enjoy. Cook the sweet potato until it’s tender and allow it to cool before cutting it up and placing it on top of your dog’s meal.
This vegetable is a great source of fiber which helps your dog’s digestive system. Plus, it should help keep your dog feeling full and maintain a healthy weight.
6. Green Beans
My dog adores green beans. When we’re breaking beans, we have to watch her or she’ll stick her head right in our baskets and run off with our harvest! Your dog may enjoy green beans as well, but ensure they remain plain.
Dogs can enjoy green beans cooked, but they can also enjoy them raw. Green beans are an excellent source of calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C, B, and K. Plus, it’s a great way for your dog to eat more fiber.
Dogs may enjoy tomatoes, but it can’t be stressed enough that the tomatoes must be fully ripe. Green tomatoes are toxic to dogs.
But if you have extra ripe tomatoes hanging around, share them with your dog. This is a great source of fiber, Vitamins K, C, and B, and they’re a wonderful source of potassium as well.
Broccoli is another vegetable that’s good for dogs as long as it’s enjoyed plain. Your dog may consume it cooked or raw. Be sure to cut the broccoli into manageable sized pieces for your pup.
When your dog eats broccoli, they’re getting a low calorie treat that’s also an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber. This should help support both their immune system and digestive system.
If you grow peas, your dog may enjoy them. It’s important to only feed your dog fresh or frozen peas. You should avoid canned peas as the sodium could be unhealthy for your pet.
However, be sure to always shell the peas before feeding them to your dog as this could become a choking hazard. Peas are a great source of Vitamins K, B, and A. Plus, they’re high in magnesium, potassium, and iron. Feed peas in moderation to start as some dogs experience an upset stomach when they eat too many.
Some dogs love cucumbers. They’re low in calories and make for a fresh, crispy treat. If you’re growing cucumbers, chances are you’ll have a few left over. Don’t be afraid to share them with your dog in moderation. Too many cucumbers may lead to stomach upset and always cut up the cucumbers into manageable size pieces to avoid choking.
Cucumbers make a great snack for keeping your pup hydrated as they’re mainly water. Just because cucumbers are safe doesn’t mean pickles are, so ensure that you stick with cucumbers in their natural state for a dog treat.
Did you know carrots are a common ingredient in many dog foods? It’s no wonder these vegetables make such a wonderful snack for your pup.
Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A and fiber. This helps your dog’s digestive system. Plus, the crunchiness of the carrot is good for your pet’s teeth, too. The next time you want to offer a low-calorie snack to your pup, reach for your carrots. Be mindful to cut carrots up to avoid potential choking.
We have many blueberry bushes in our yard. When I harvest them each year, I not only harvest enough to freeze for our family but for our dogs, too. Why? Because my dogs love these sweet snacks, and I love providing them as they’re natural and low-calorie which helps them maintain a healthy weight.
Blueberries are a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. Be mindful to feed your dog blueberries slowly to avoid choking and, like all treats, only feed blueberries in moderation.
Apples are another delicious snack for your dog. They’re an excellent source of vitamins and fiber which is great for overall health and digestive health.
However, be sure you remove the seeds and core of the apple before providing it to your dog. Also be sure to cut the apple into smaller pieces to avoid choking.
14. Turnip Greens
Were you aware that turnip greens are more nutritious (for us and our dogs) than the turnips themselves? Yes, they are!
Which is why they make an excellent treat for us and our dogs. Turnip greens are a great source of Vitamins C, K, and A. Plus, they contain folate and calcium which is great for overall health.
Do you have an older dog which suffers from arthritis? Raspberries might be a great treat for them. The reason being is raspberries contain anti-inflammatory properties which are thought to help with aching or swollen joints.
Plus, this fruit is a great source of manganese, Vitamin C, and fiber. It’s low in calories and has only small amounts of natural sugars within them. Be mindful of your pup choking on this small fruit and also only provide raspberries in moderation to avoid stomach upset.
Strawberries are another fruit that your dog can enjoy in moderation. This fruit is higher in sugar content which is why your dog should only enjoy a few strawberries instead of a bunch.
Plus, be mindful that they don’t choke on this fruit. The upside to strawberries as a snack for your pup is they’re high in vitamin C and fiber. Plus, they contain ingredients which can whiten your dog’s teeth naturally.
Cantaloupe is a wonderful low-calorie snack for your dog. It’s high in Vitamins C and A which serve as antioxidants to your dog. This fruit is also great for hydration as it’s full of water and is also a good source of fiber.
Be mindful to remove the seeds of the cantaloupe before giving to your dog as this could become a choking hazard. Also, be sure to cut the melon into smaller pieces to ensure your dog doesn’t choke on this healthy treat.
Zucchini is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for both you and your dog. Therefore, it makes a great snack to be enjoyed by your pup in moderation.
Most people provide zucchini to their dog as a low-calorie snack. This not only helps your dog maintain a healthy weight, but also helps distribute the excess zucchini many gardeners tend to have around their garden as these plants are quite productive.
Watermelon is a delicious snack for your dog with a few warnings. First, allow your dog to enjoy the flesh of this fruit. It’s a great source of Vitamins C, B, and A. It’s also higher in potassium. This treat is also a great way to keep your dog hydrated while also skipping a lot of the calories other treats may provide.
However, be mindful to remove all seeds from the watermelon as this can block your dog’s digestive tract. You also should never feed your dog watermelon rind as this causes stomach issues.
We know spinach is a superfood for humans, but is it the same for your dog? Yes and no. Spinach is okay to give your dog as a snack in moderation. This vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins and fiber. All of which are great things for your pet’s overall health.
However, too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing. If your dog consumes too much spinach, it can lead to stomach troubles and even kidney damage, so keep this in mind when providing your pup with this nutritious snack from your garden.
Fruits and Vegetables to Avoid Giving Your Dog from Your Home Garden
You know which snacks are good for your pet in moderation. Now, let’s discuss a few your pet should never be provided as a snack. Our first stop is cherries.
Though we may love cherries, your dog should not. Most parts of the cherry (the leaves, pit, and stim) are all toxic to your dog. That doesn’t leave much else for your dog to safely enjoy. Therefore, don’t take the risk and avoid feeding this fruit to your dog.
Asparagus is a wonderful crop to grow as it’s a perennial plant with an extremely long life cycle. Though you may enjoy growing it around your home, don’t share it with your dog.
This vegetable isn’t toxic to your pet, but it’s difficult to digest. In turn, this can lead to stomach upset for your pup.
Avocados are so good! I hate that my dogs have to miss out, but for their safety, they must! The reason being is avocados contain persin.
This ingredient is a part of the fruit, leaves, plant, and pit of an avocado. Persin can be toxic to dogs, so it isn’t worth the risk.
Every part of an onion, no matter how it’s cooked or in what form it comes, is toxic to dogs. Oddly enough, onion powder and garlic powder are even more potent in powdered form than in their natural state.
This vegetable is a serious concern for your dog because one medium-sized onion can bring potential harm to a medium-sized dog. This crop contains N-propyl disulfide which can cause anemia in your dog. Know the signs of onion toxicity in case your dog ever accidentally dives into this crop.
Mushrooms must be handled with care. Some mushroom varieties are said to be okay. Other mushroom varieties can lead to serious stomach troubles for your pet which can lead to dehydration and other dangerous health issues.
Therefore, it’s wise to avoid feeding your dog mushrooms to ensure you don’t accidentally mix up varieties and threaten your dog’s health. When there are so many other safe, low-calorie, natural treats, it isn’t worth the risk.
You now have twenty options for fruits and vegetables you may grow and share with your dog (in moderation) as a treat. You also have five crops to avoid sharing with your dog.
Wanting to provide your dog with a low-calorie snack that can add to their quality of health is a great thing. It’s even better that you can produce it at home to not only save money but to be in control of the entire growing process.
Gardening for you and your dog is a great experience and will hopefully bring a smile to your face when you see your dog enjoying fresh goodies from your home garden.