For a long time, scientists have wondered if dogs were really omnivores or carnivores.
Over time, more and more evidence supported dogs as being true carnivores. One of the major indicators of this fact is that dogs’ teeth are narrow and pointy in the back – designed for tearing muscle and crunching bones. Scientists also say that even though they’ve developed an adaptive metabolism after living with humans for so long, once upon a time, dogs only consumed meat.
Because our pets have gotten accustomed to eating a grain-based diet today, they’ve taken on the characteristics of an omnivore. Not only do dogs eat plants today, but other table foods like fruits and vegetables as well.
If you’re like most pet parents, you probably feed your dog fruits and vegetables to help balance out his diet. And if you do, here are a few things those of us here at The Barking Lot found helpful to keep in mind.
Dogs and Humans Don’t Digest Food the Same Way
As humans, our saliva contains amylase to help us break down starch into sugar. Your dog’s saliva doesn’t have amylase so instead of being able to break starches down, they just stick to his teeth. This causes plaque and tarter build up – making it more likely for him to develop gum disease.
Fruits contains lots of sugar and should only be given to your pet sparingly. While fruit is a good source of vitamins for your dog, he doesn’t really need the nutrients as much as we do.
Fruits & Vegetables Should Supplement Their Diet
Too much sugar isn’t good for anyone – especially your pet. Not only can it cause dental problems, too much sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity.
Since fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars, it’s ok to give them to your dog once in a while. Experts also suggest offering your pet different kinds as well.
Be aware that not all fruits and veggies are created alike. Some are better for your pet than others.
Here are a few of the healthy and not-so-healthy ones listed below:
- Broccoli provides your pup with folic acid, vitamin C, calcium and beta carotene
- Spinach supplies him with calcium, potassium, iron and antioxidants
- Carrots and red bell peppers offer beta-carotene
- Brussels spouts offer antioxidants and nutrients
- Celery is packed with vitamins A, B and C
- Cucumbers have lots of vitamin B1, C, K, copper, potassium, magnesium and biotin
- Green beans contain both vitamins and minerals
Fruits That Are Dog-Friendly
- Bananas are high in vitamins, potassium, biotin, fiber and copper – give on occasion.
- Blueberries are high in antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals
- Cantaloupe is packed with water and fiber – serve in moderation
- Mangoes are good for dogs providing them with vitamins A, B6 C, E, alpha carotene, beta carotene and potassium
- Oranges are good for potassium, fiber and vitamin C
- Peaches are high in vitamin A and fiber
- Pears contain vitamins C, K and fiber
- Strawberries, raspberries and watermelon are all ok for pets
A list of fruits and vegetables to avoid are: