Vegetables for Dogs
Dogs are essentially carnivores. The composition of their gut flora, the speed of their digestive system and of course their teeth speak of an animal that in the wild is like to obtain around 97% of its food from animal protein.
However, there are now many foods now on the market that include vegetables to round out the supply of nutrients. Vegetables are a great source of minerals, fibre and vitamins and when given to a dog alongside the main meat ingredients can help give your dog a more balanced, healthy (and tasty!) diet.
In recent years, scientists have found that dogs can metabolise carotene, plant carbohydrates and starches. Don’t mistake this for treating your dog as a pure omnivore and feeding it large quantities of plant based nutrition – but there is evidence that non-animal food sources are safe and can be beneficial to your dog in the correct ratio. Research seems to show that while a dog may not be able to digest all plant material it eats, its body will simply extract the nutrients it can and dispose of the rest.
Our dog food suppliers are all highly aware of the correct balance of nutrition that a healthy, active dog needs – and so where vegetables are used they are used responsibly. However, if you have any concerns that your dog might be sensitive to plant matter or have a sensitive tummy, we always recommend speaking to a vet.
Many fruits and vegetables can be found in dog food – typically around 10-20% of a good quality dog food, but as high as 35% in some cases.
Despite its name, the sweet potato nutritionally has little in common with the potatoes we eat most commonly. It is high in fibre, a great source of vitamins A, C and B6. As you probably know, it is much sweeter than its savoury namesake.
This is due to the presence of natural sugars. While sugar is not typically recommended for dogs, the sugars found in sweet potatoes actually stabilise blood sugar levels and lower resistance to insulin. It is also a fantastic source of high quality carbohydrates.
As per the old wives’ tale, carrots are genuinely good for vision as they are an excellent source of Vitamin A. They are also rich in minerals, fibre and antioxidants, and easily digestible for dogs.
Potatoes are high in starch and not a superb source of nutrition in themselves. However – particularly in dry dog foods – they are used as a binding age in the cooking process. While not actively harmful, they add little to a dog’s nutritional needs.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins.Vitamins A, C and K are all present in good quantities – along with micronutrients such as potassium, manganese and chromium. Along with their high quality dietary fibre, there is much to commend in the addition of tomato to your dog’s diet.
Although pea protein itself is largely indigestible for dogs, peas contain healthy antioxidants and nutrients – including vitamin C, K and B1.