Fruit and Veggie Treats for Pets
As pet owners, we’ve all been guilty of sharing our table scraps, but that isn’t always a good idea – what is safe for you isn’t necessarily safe for dogs and cats. Fortunately, many fruits and vegetables are healthy options for your furbaby. Dogs and cats have no real need for fruits and vegetables, but these goodies, in moderation, can benefit your furbaby’s health. These foods are enriched with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and offer low calorie alternatives to traditional pet treats. As always, consult your vet before altering your pet’s diet.
Fruits and Veggies Safe for Dogs
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat both meat and plant-based food. In fact, most dog kibble is a combination of meat and vegetable components. Fruits and vegetables are good for any dog, but they are especially beneficial to dogs suffering from weight problems or diseases, like diabetes or heart disease.
Apples are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, and they’re packed with fiber, keeping your pup’s digestive system on track. Be sure to remove the core and seeds. Try them frozen for a cool summer snack.
Bananas are a great low calorie treat. They’re high in fiber, potassium, biotin, vitamins, and copper. They’re low in cholesterol and sodium, but due to their high sugar content, they should only be given in moderation.
This super-food is rich in antioxidants, which helps prevent cell damage. They’re also packed with fiber and phytochemicals.
Cantaloupe may seem like an unusual treat, but this fruit is packed with nutrients and fiber, is low in calorie, and is a good source of water. However, due to it’s high sugar content, give only in moderation.
Cranberries and dried cranberries are safe to be given in small quantities, otherwise they can cause stomach upset. Check for any sugars as sweeteners are often added to this tart treat.
Loaded with Vitamins K, C, and B1, potassium, copper, magnesium and biotin, cucumbers are an excellent treat for overweight dogs. They have little to no carbs, fats, or oils, and they’ve been known to increase energy levels.
Sweet and juicy, this summer treat is packed with Vitamins A, B6, C and E. They’re filled with potassium and alpha- and beta-carotene. Remember to remove the pit, and only give this sugary treat occasionally.
Oranges are fine for dogs to eat, but they might be opposed to the strong citrus smell. If your pooch approves, they’re a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. However, remove the peel and seeds, and only offer your pet the juicy flesh.
Small amounts of fresh or frozen peaches are a good source of Vitamin A and fiber. They can even help fight infections. However, the pit contains cyanide, so offer your pooch a pit-free peach. Avoid canned peaches as they contain high amounts of sugary syrups.
Pears are a great option because they’re high in copper, Vitamins C and K, and fiber. Be sure to cut pears into bite-size pieces, and remove the seeds.
While I’ve never seen a dog eat a pineapple, it is possible. This fruit is full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, and it even contains bromelain, an enzyme that allows dogs to absorb proteins easier.
Like blueberries, raspberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. They’re high in fiber, manganese, and Vitamin C, and low in sugar and calories. Raspberries even have anti-inflammatory agents, making them good for achy joints and senior dogs. However, they contain trace amounts of xylitol, so feed your pup small quantities.
This fruit is full of Vitamin C and fiber, and they also contain an enzyme that helps whiten your dog’s teeth. Feed in moderation, as they contain sugar.
Once you remove the rind and seeds, watermelon flesh is safe for dogs. It’s full of Vitamins A, B6, C, and fiber. Watermelons are 92% water, making them an excellent source of hydration on those hot summer days.
Low in fat, high in fiber and Vitamin C, broccoli is best served occasionally in small amounts as broccoli florets can cause gastric distress.
This vegetable is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Be warned, they can cause gas!
Carrots are a great low calorie snack that’s high in fiber and beta-carotene. That excellent crunch is also good for your pup’s teeth.
This super treat contains Vitamins A, B, and C, as well as, the nutrients necessary to promote a healthy heart and fight cancer. It also freshens doggy breath.
Green beans are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and low in calories. Chopped, steamed, raw, or canned are good for pups, as long as they’re low in salt.
Green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden or English peas are all OK for dogs on occasion. Peas have several vitamins, minerals, and are rich in protein and high in fiber. Feed your dog fresh or frozen peas, but avoid canned peas with added sodium.
While this vegetable is edible for dogs, it contains oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. However, this is likely to occur only after eating large amounts of spinach. Feed in small amounts in moderation.
Fruits and Veggies Safe for Cats
Unlike dogs, cats are carnivores, meaning they do not need fruits or vegetables in their diet to remain healthy. In fact, your cat’s diet should be primarily protein-based. However, the following fruits and vegetables offer safe alternatives to high-calorie treats.
- Asparagus (steamed)
- Broccoli (steamed)
- Carrots (baked or steamed)
- Green beans (steamed)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash (cooked)