You know vegetables are healthy for you. They are also healthy for your dog. However, not all dogs enjoy eating their veggies, so it can be a challenge to incorporate them into your dog’s diet.
Why won’t my dog eat vegetables?
There are a few reasons your dog may be turning their nose up at veggies. Understanding why your dog won’t eat veggies can help you get them to eat them.
Dogs Prefer Meat
Dogs generally prefer meat meals. You have probably never seen your dog turn down a piece of meat, even if they aren’t interested in a veggie tray.
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat both meat and plants. However, their bodies are designed for meat to be a big part of their diet, so it’s no surprise they tend to crave it.
No Strong Smell
This can be a problem, particularly if your dog is used to commercial dog food. Commercial dog food has a strong smell and taste. This is done to make it more appealing to our four legged family members.
If your pooch is used to this type of meal, they may find veggies unappealing, because they are bland compared to their typical food.
Dogs, like humans, tend to become accustomed to certain foods or tastes. If they aren’t used to eating vegetables, they may be afraid to try them.
Of course, some dogs will show no hesitation when eating a new food. This seems to come down to your dog’s personality.
How do I get my dog to eat vegetables?
There are a few ways to get your dog to eat vegetables. These include different preparation methods, and a few ways to sneak them into your dog’s food.
Preparation methods are important when you are trying to get your dog to eat their veggies. Some dogs will prefer one method over another, so you may have to try a few things to figure out what your dog enjoys.
Steaming is one of the best ways to prepare veggies for your dog. Steaming allows the veggies to keep most of their nutritional value. They are easy to eat and digest, because steaming softens them.
Pureeing is another option. When you puree vegetables, you’ll blend them into a thick liquid. Some veggies can be pureed raw, like celery. Others, like broccoli, will need to be steamed first.
Lastly, you can freeze the veggies. If your dog loves frozen treats, they may be surprisingly entertained by a frozen carrot or broccoli floret.
Sneaky Ways to Get Your Dog to Eat Veggies
You can also sneak veggies into your dog’s diet. One way to do this is to add pureed veggies to your dog’s regular food. Take something they like, and add the pureed veggies you want them to eat.
You can also do this with steamed and chopped veggies. However, you’ll need to mix them in well. Dogs are surprisingly adept at picking around the things they don’t like, so you may find a plate of veggies left behind, with your dog’s favorite foods gone.
Adding Meat Flavor
Another way to encourage your dog to eat veggies is to add meat flavor. One of the healthiest ways to do this is to cook veggies with a little meat or bone.
Green beans, for example, are tasty for humans and dogs when cooked with a piece of meat. This will give them a smell and flavor that your dog loves, along with the new flavor of green beans.
Another way to do this is to add some meat gravy or broth to the veggies. For example, you could mix steamed broccoli with chicken broth. This gives them the nutritional benefits of broccoli, with a flavor they are familiar with.
Picking the Right Veggies
Another option is to choose veggies your dog will enjoy. Nearly all dogs love sweet potatoes, for example. You can give them sweet potatoes that are steamed, mashed, or canned.
A few teaspoons or tablespoons, depending on your dog’s size, is typically plenty. You can also freeze canned sweet potato in an ice-cube tray. This will give your pooch a frozen veggie treat they are sure to enjoy.
Pumpkin is another dog favorite, which is great for your dog.
Taking it Slow
If your pooch doesn’t immediately take to veggies, don’t worry. Start slow, and keep working on it. Begin by mixing the veggies into their food, or adding gravy to the veggies. Eventually, your dog may happily eat the veggies by themselves.
Do dogs really need to eat vegetables?
Whether a dog really needs to eat vegetables depends on its diet and nutritional needs. Most dogs can do fine without vegetables, but they can still provide health benefits.
Dogs are omnivores, which means they can survive on both meats and plants. However, their natural diet relies heavily on meat. Dogs do have some ability to digest plants, including vegetables and grains.
It’s thought this is because, in the wild, a dog will eat all of a prey animal. This includes the contents of their stomach. Many prey animals are herbivores, which means they eat plants.
So, dogs have the ability to digest plant matter found in the stomachs of their prey.
However, this isn’t the whole story. Dogs will also consume plants naturally, although they eat them less than they do meat. They have the teeth of omnivores, which include both sharp teeth and flattened molars, similar to humans. They also digest carbohydrates well.
If Your Dog Eats a Commercial Diet
A commercial diet is designed to provide everything your dog needs, including the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables. This means that vegetables aren’t absolutely necessary for them.
They do make great treats or additions to their regular diet, but they aren’t required.
Dog Eats a Raw Diet
If your dog eats a raw diet, they do need to eat vegetables. Vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that aren’t present in meat and bones. A dog who is fed a raw diet should have at least 10% of their diet in fruits and vegetables.
This is important for a balanced diet. It’s similar to the way humans need different food groups to eat a balanced diet.