We, humans, are supposed to eat five portions a day: we’re talking about fruit and vegetables! But what about our four-legged friends in this regard? Many dog owners do without vegetables completely at the BARF and only offer raw meat, bones, and the like. But is that wise?
Why vegetables for dogs?
In the BARF feeding bowl, vegetables are by no means pointless just because they have hardly any calories. I would even say: This is exactly why it makes sense to offer your dog vegetables. It provides more volume in the food without supplying too much energy unnecessarily. To put it less cryptically, your dog can eat its fill without any of the food ending up on its hips—because, just like humans, obesity is not desirable in dogs. Vegetables and fruit also contain valuable vitamins and minerals that can have a positive effect on your dog’s health.
Also worth mentioning is the relatively high fiber content of most fruits and vegetables. This stimulates your dog’s intestinal activity. Dogs that suffer from constipation or hard stools should therefore definitely be given a portion or two of vegetables.
Feeding vegetables to dogs properly
But how do you offer your dog the right vegetables? Raw or steamed? Or even cooked? Well, if we feed the dog BARF, we also offer him most of the fruit and vegetables raw. Most dogs like to snack on raw vegetables, which is why this form of feeding is usually well accepted. However, certain types of vegetables, such as potatoes, should only be offered cooked, otherwise they will not be tolerated. Essentially, with most vegetables, it doesn’t matter whether you offer them raw or steamed to your dog. It is more important that you chop the vegetables well beforehand.
The cell walls of vegetables are made of cellulose. Since dogs have difficulty breaking them down, the important vitamins cannot otherwise be released. This means that the dog also finds it difficult to absorb them and the health-promoting effects of the vitamins are lost – of course, we don’t want that!
By chopping the vegetables beforehand, you destroy these cell walls and do this work for your dog. This is best done with a hand blender or food processor. If you briefly over-steam the vegetables, they are easier to puree – but be careful not to steam them for too long, otherwise, the vitamins will be lost.
Ideally, you should chop the raw vegetables as small as possible and then freeze them in the freezer for a few days – freezing “bursts” the cell walls, so to speak, and your dog can absorb the vitamins perfectly after thawing.
Another little hint: Always feed the dog the vegetables at about room temperature! If it is too cold, this can lead to stomach pains and even gastritis.
What vegetables can dogs eat?
Now we come to the interesting question: Which types of vegetables are good for the dog? Not all vegetables can be perfectly digested by dogs and there are even some that can be toxic to them. First, however, I would like to list the types of vegetables that you can offer your dog without hesitation and that I particularly recommend:
Carrots for dogs
Carrots are the all-rounder when it comes to healthy snacks for dogs. They are very digestible and most dogs love their taste. In addition to a lot of fiber, carrots also contain selenium and fat-soluble beta-carotene.
Zucchini for dogs
Zucchini is also well-tolerated and digestible. In addition, they contain many vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Beetroot for dogs
The beetroot – or beetroot – also boasts a high vitamin and mineral content! Among other things, it contains a lot of potassium, saponins, flavonoids, and a very high content of folic acid. They also have a digestive effect and stimulate the appetite.
Is cucumber good for dogs?
In itself, the cucumber is completely harmless to dogs. However, a cucumber may contain too many cucurbitacins – these are bitter substances that can be dangerous in higher concentrations. However, the danger of reaching for such a cucumber is small. If you’ve tasted the cucumber beforehand and it doesn’t taste funny, you’re welcome to feed it to your dog – it’s a popular choice as a small refreshment, especially in summer.
Other vegetables that are good for your dog:
- Jerusalem artichoke
I recommend that you use regional and seasonal vegetables for your dog whenever possible. Firstly, it’s cheaper and secondly, you don’t have to worry as much about possible stress, since it practically goes from the field to the food bowl.
Vegetables that should only be fed to a limited extent
You can offer your dog the vegetables mentioned above without hesitation. However, some varieties are harmless in themselves, but you should only offer them under certain conditions:
Collard greens like broccoli and cauliflower for dogs
Cauliflower and broccoli are high in vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. In addition, broccoli is high in carotene, flavones, sodium, iron, selenium, and B vitamins. It is even said to have a cancer prophylactic effect. But beware: since raw cabbage has a bloating effect, broccoli, and cauliflower must be steamed before feeding!
Potatoes for dogs
Potatoes are high in starch, protein, sodium, fiber, phosphorus, iron and potassium, and vitamins A, B, and C making them very healthy food, including for dogs. But beware: Potatoes must never be offered raw! Also, remove any green patches, leaves, or shoots before offering your dog a cooked potato.
Garlic for the dog?
Again, opinions differ here. I say: the dose makes the poison! Garlic is indeed harmful to dogs in large quantities. In small doses, it can even have a health-promoting effect, because it has an antibacterial and antiviral effect. But what dose is recommended? As a rule of thumb, a dog can get 0.1 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight – up to twice a week.
Which peppers can dogs eat?
In general, peppers are not a good idea for dogs! Because they are a member of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes and eggplant, they contain solanine, a chemical compound that is toxic to dogs. However, the solanine concentration decreases during the ripening process, so you can offer your dog very ripe or cooked pieces of peppers in small amounts – but only red or yellow ones. Green peppers have no place in the BARF feeding bowl! If you are unsure whether the peppers are ripe enough, it is better to leave them out.
Which vegetables are toxic to dogs?
Let’s now come to the types of vegetables that you should under no circumstances offer your dog, as they can cause intolerance symptoms or even be poisonous for him.
As briefly mentioned earlier, this means (raw) peppers, raw potatoes, tomatoes, and aubergines. Symptoms after eating these foods can be vomiting or diarrhea, as the dog’s body wants to excrete the solanine.
Onions and leeks
Under no circumstances should these two foods end up in the BARF food bowl, because they have a toxic effect that is initially noticeable through diarrhea and vomiting. Later come weakness, loss of appetite, and an accelerated heart rate. By then you should take your dog to the vet.
Just like humans, uncooked beans, lentils, peas, etc. are harmful to our dogs. They contain substance phases, which dogs cannot tolerate. In our dogs, this triggers abdominal cramps, fever or bloody diarrhea. But you should also exercise caution when cooked because in larger quantities they can cause flatulence and constipation.
Which fruit for dogs?
Various types of fruit are also very popular with dogs and are readily accepted as a snack. However, some varieties are better tolerated than others. In general, you should feed most types of fruit when they are very ripe, as the dog will tolerate them better that way. The following varieties are particularly recommended.
Apples for dogs
Apples are available regionally almost all year round. This also makes them a wonderful snack for our dear four-legged friends. They contain pectin (which lowers cholesterol), B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, and magnesium. This makes them true nutrient bombs. In addition, apple slices work wonderfully against bad breath in dogs!
Bananas as a source of energy
Bananas are also popular with most dogs because of their sweetness. You can mix them in with the feed. They develop a protective effect on the gastric mucosa. They also provide many vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. The B vitamins deserve special mention. phosphorus, selenium, potassium, and magnesium.
Berries for dogs
Most dogs love to snack on berries. They are rich in vitamins and contain some important minerals. They’re also extremely low in calories, so they don’t end up on your dog’s hips. Strawberries in particular deserve a special mention. They are good for the brain, appetite, e, and digestion. They also support the body’s healing of wounds and create a beautiful coat.
Other types of fruit that are harmless for your dog:
• Peeled figs
• Rose hips
• Cherries (please only remove the pits!)
• Overripe pineapples
• Overripe kiwis
Which fruits are poisonous to dogs?
Unfortunately, not every fruit is healthy for our four-legged friends. Some strains should not end up in the food bowl, no matter how ripe they are. These include the following.
Grapes for dogs
As delicious as grapes are for us, they are harmful to our dogs. Their consumption can repeatedly lead to kidney diseases up to complete kidney failure. The reason for this is not yet fully understood – in any case, you should not offer your dog any grapes, and no raisins either!
Please do not feed elderberries to dogs under any circumstances, as they are poisonous to them when they are raw!
However, if you cook elderberries, they provide tannins that have a positive effect on the stomach and intestines. They also have a perspiring and diuretic effect, which makes them particularly interesting for colds.
Vegetables for dogs as a healthy BARF ingredient
Vegetables and fruit can end up in BARF food bowls – and they should! They provide valuable dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which makes them not only tasty but also a health-promoting ingredient.
It is important to choose the right varieties. While some are perfectly safe for dogs, other strains can even be toxic. However, if you stick to the list above, you shouldn’t go wrong!