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10 (More) Easy Pieces to Liven Up Your Dog’s Meals

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10 (More) Easy Pieces to Liven Up Your Dog’s Meals

By Roschelle Heuberger, PhD, RD

In part one of this article, we asked the rhetorical question: “If you’re going to feed your dogs ‘people’ food, shouldn’t you feed them something that’s actually good for them?” and answered it with a list of ten healthy, easily obtainable options straight from the shelves of your local market. As promised, here are ten more “easy pieces” for your consideration.

As before, we urge you to keep a few cautions in mind: None of these items by itself constitutes a “complete and balanced” meal. If your dog has health or weight issues, check with your vet before adding any of them to your dog’s food dish. And, as always, start with a small portion and introduce gradually.

1. Carrots
Great dog snack – crunchy, sweet and most dogs really like them. They are loaded with carotenoids, fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K (needed for blood clotting) as well as potassium. They have magnesium, manganese, most of the B vitamins and phosphorus, which is required for energy production, among other things. Pup Prep: Start out slowly, as too much fiber may produce flatulence. If your pup sticks her nose up at them, try soaking lightly steamed carrots in chicken broth to increase their appeal.

2. Green Beans
A perfect addition to any doggie dinner. Some dogs love them raw, but most prefer them blanched, which makes for easier digestion. An excellent source of Vitamin K and fiber, these veggies also contain Vitamin C, carotenoids, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron and manganese. Pup Prep: Blanch, don’t boil them to death and lose all those nutrients!

3. Parsley
Not your grandmother’s garnish. Parsley freshens dog breath in addition to providing phytochemicals. It also has Vitamin C, Vitamin K, carotenoids, B vitamins, iron and limonene (an oil that kills bad mouth bacteria). Italian flat leaf parsley has a stronger odor and flavor than the curly leaf variety, but a similar nutritional profile. Pup Prep: Fresh is best; chop it and mix a small amount with food (too much parsley can act as a diuretic).

4. Papaya
Readily available in most markets. This tropical fruit contains papain, an enzyme often used as a meat tenderizer. It assists in the breakdown of proteins and thus is considered a “digestive aid.” Ripe papaya is an excellent source of carotenoids and potent antioxidants, and is also high in Vitamin C, most of the B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and fiber. These nutrients benefit eye health, blood vessel integrity and joint function. Pup Prep: Scoop out a ripe papaya and serve as a snack (remove the seeds; they’re edible, but have a peppery flavor that may be too much for your dog).

5. Pumpkin
Low in calories and high in soluble fiber. Pumpkin makes a nice treat for the pooch with an upset tummy and also helps resolve bouts of diarrhea. It is low in sodium and exceptionally high in carotenoids, potassium and Vitamin C, and has some calcium and B vitamins. It can be used as a fat substitute when making dog treats. Pup Prep: Steam and mash fresh pumpkin, or take the easy way out and used canned pumpkin (organic, if possible). If using canned, read the label carefully to be sure you’re getting 100 percent pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has added salts and sugars.

Next: Five more “people” foods for dogs!

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4:20PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Thanks, the only thing my boy wants is my beer!

10:42AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

My two love bananas and pumpkin. Annabelle, who can get to anything edible, will open doors, push breakfast room chairs to reach a banana. Bailey, her sister will pick green beans or peas of any kind from my garden and eat them. It is hard on the plants. I think the crunch appeals. She will pick tomatoes, the occasional eggplant to carry around the yard and when my apples develop fragrance, she picks those from the low limbs to eat. (I garden without pesticides.)

1:48PM PST on Jan 18, 2011

thanks for posting this.

1:17AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

one of my dogs would rather have a head lettuce then a steak. The other...well hes much likke a kid, if it has any vegs in it he will pick out all the meat. I have to sneak them in. Lol.

3:07PM PDT on Aug 24, 2010

Too bad that articles like this aren't offered in a print version. Then I could put them in the kitchen and add what I need to the shopping list!

1:25AM PDT on Jul 29, 2010


9:32AM PST on Mar 7, 2010

i think sweet potatoes are okay to give to dogs.

6:17PM PST on Feb 17, 2010

this isnt applicable with my dogs..the only theyll eat on your list is the sardines..but they do eat mangoes and fried bananas...

3:31PM PST on Jan 1, 2010

Good sugestions!

7:54AM PST on Dec 30, 2009

my dogs don`t eat the meals if i add any vegetables.they`re 2 rescued street dogs that probably ate anything they got.but since they`re with me they will only eat meat.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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good to know

love carrots! Just wish the ones in the store actually had some flavor


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