In the first part of this series, I talked about Dog Safe Fruits that you can feed your Husky. Today I continue this series and I share with you Dog Safe Vegetables to feed your Husky, their nutritional benefits, and I share with you portion sizes appropriate for your Husky.
Dogs and Vegetables
With the advent of Raw Feeding Diets, feeding vegetables to your dog became much more common. But as with so many things, you should arm yourself with information about how best to supplement your Husky’s diet with vegetables. As well you need to know what vegetables are best to feed, how best to feed them to your dog, and how much you should feed to your dog. Feeding more of something does not automatically make it better for your dog.
Feed New Foods Cautiously
When feeding a new food to your dog always proceed slowly. Vegetables can cause gas, nausea, or loose stools in some dogs so always start with a very small amount of the new food and watch for any adverse reaction before increasing the amounts.
For those people who may be feeding an all Raw Diet, they already know that the optimum ratio of meat, to bone, to vegetables is 50/25/25. That means that vegetables should not make up more than 25% of your dog’s daily intake of food.
Feed Protein and Veggies Separately
Regardless if you are feeding a Raw Diet or a Kibble based diet, you should be feeding raw fruits and vegetables separately from the protein in your dog’s diet. Protein is digested at a much slower rate and when fed together, the fruits and vegetables will “push” the protein through the GI tract much quicker than the nutrition can be absorbed. Feed fruits and vegetables early in the day so they have a chance to be well on their way out of the body before you introduce the protein for the day.
Making Vegetables More Digestible
Dr. Peter Dobias recommends that for optimum absorption of nutrients from vegetables in dogs, they should always be chopped into a fine pulp and if possible, the majority of your dog’s vegetable intake should be lightly steamed vegetables rather than fed raw. This is recommended as a dog has a much shorter intestine than a human being so food moves through their GI tract must quicker than ours. When the bulk of their vegetable intake is chopped up and steamed we are giving the digestion process a head start thereby insuring that your dog will be able to absorb the maximum nutrition from the vegetables.
There are many alternative ways to prepare vegetables for your dog other than raw.
- Lightly steamed.
- Oven baked or roasted.
- Cooked and pureed.
- Or dehydrated.
We have determined that vegetables should not make up more than 25% of your dog’s diet and at least half of that vegetable intake should come from leafy green vegetables. Eating leafy greens closely replicate your dog’s grassy leafy diet that he might have had in the wild. Also, leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and minerals. They also contain fiber and have a wonderful pH balancing properties. Examples: dandelion leaves, kale, parsley, beet tops, lettuce etc.
The remaining half of the vegetables in your dog’s diet should be a blend of sweet vegetables (non leafy) that are rich in carbohydrates. Examples: yams, peas, green beans etc.
Make A Vegetable Smoothie
Some dogs just do not really like eating vegetables. So for them you can always try and disguise vegetables in a Vegetable Smoothie.
Green Leaf Smoothie
Use a handful of any green leafy vegetables and chop in a blender. Add enough chicken broth to turn it into a liquid smoothie for the dogs to lap up.
Or add a cup of plain 2% Greek yogurt to chopped leafy vegetables to make a thicker vegetable Smoothie for your dog to eat. The natural probiotics contained in yogurt are beneficial to helping with digestion.
Suggested serving size is ¼ to ½ cup for your Husky.
Variations: You can also try making smoothies with other vegetables too and because the vegetables are already pulverized, you don’t have to worry as much about steaming them to help with digestion.
Dog Safe Vegetables
You can safely feed these vegetables to your dog but do make sure that you stay under the optimal 25% recommended daily vegetable intake.
Asparagus: Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, and K. Also contains folate, iron copper, fiber, manganese, and potassium. Portion size: feed one or two bite sized pieces.
Cucumber: Vitamin K. Portion size: 1 to 2 bite sized pieces.
Green beans: Vitamins A, C, and K. Also contains manganese and fiber. Portion size: 1 to 2 bite size pieces.
Lettuce and Other Leafy Greens included are beet greens, green or red leaf lettuce, radicchio, romaine, spinach, cilantro, dandelion, parsley, kale and Wheat Grass. These leafy greens contain vitamin C and K, and a host of beneficial minerals for your dog.
Peas: Vitamins A, B1, B6, B2, B3, K, and C. Also contains fiber, folate, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium. Portion size: One or two Sugar snap or snow peas. For regular shelled peas, 1 or 2 tablespoons.
Pumpkin and Squash: Vitamins A, C and E. Also contains fibre, potassium, iron, and contains beta carotene which helps to calm inflammation and supports good eye health. Portion size is 2 to 3 tablespoons of pumpkin or 3 to 4 inches of a one inch wide slice of squash.
Sweet potato and yams: Vitamins A, B6, B5, and C. Also contains manganese, potassium, and fiber. Portion size: Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of mashed sweet potato into food or give half of a large or one medium sized dehydrated chew. * cut dehydrated chews into mall bite sized pieces to prevent a choking hazard.*
Zucchini: Vitamins A, C and K. Also contains calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, and folate. Zucchini is best fed raw or frozen but can also be served cooked. Portion size: 1 to 2 bite sized pieces.
Feed These Vegetables Minimally
Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussel Sprouts
While feeding these vegetables has nutritional benefits for your dog, there is reason to believe that these vegetables should be fed minimally. There is some evidence that shows that vegetables that belong to the cruciferous family may increase the chances of hypothyroidism – a condition represented by low thyroid gland hormone goitrogenic vegetables). So to be on the safe side feed these vegetables less often.
And if you have a dog that already has thyroid issues then skip these cruciferous vegetables entirely.
If you do feed these cruciferous vegetables, consider steaming them first as they are much easier for your dogs to digest when they are cooked.
Broccoli: Vitamins A, C, and K. Also contains folate, manganese, and fiber. Portion size: One or two small florets.
Cauliflower: Vitamins B6, C, and K. Also contains folate and choline. Portion size: 1 to 2 florets.
Brussel Sprouts: Vitamins A, B1, and B, C, and K. Contains manganese, folate, fiber, and potassium. Portion size: 1/2 to 2 sprouts.
This might surprise people but carrots should not be fed too often to dogs. For some reason many dogs have trouble digesting carrots especially if they are sliced or in chunks. To test if your dog digests carrots well, just check his poop in the morning. If you see undigested chunks of carrots the next day then your dog has some problems digesting raw carrot. There is also some concern about the high levels of sugar contained in carrots. For these reasons feed carrots cooked and because of the high sugar content, do not feed them too often.
Carrots: Vitamins A, C and K. Contains fiber and potassium. Portion size: One or two bite size pieces.
Vegetables That Come From The Nightshade Family
Bell peppers, Potato, Tomato, and Eggplant
The experts cannot agree on the safety of feeding dogs vegetables from the Nightshade Family. To be on the safe side feed these vegetables minimally and always cook them before feeding them to your dog.
Green tomatoes and it’s stalks and leaves are toxic to dogs so stay away from those.
Cooked potatoes can be nutritionally beneficial to your dog, but because it belongs to the nightshade family, feed minimally. Always remove the peel of the potato and if the potato has a green colour to the peel do not feed to your dog. Also remove all eyes and any sprouts that may be growing from the potato as these can be toxic.
Potatoes: Vitamins C and B and contains potassium, manganese, and fiber. Portion size: 1 or 2 wedges.
Corn: Corn is a common allergen and is very difficult to digest for dogs. While corn is not harmful to feed to dogs it offers very little nutritional value to them so it is not a vegetable that is recommended for feeding to dogs. Also, corn cobs can be a huge choking risk so make sure that keep those used cobs out of the reach of your dogs.
Vegetables To Avoid
There are some vegetables that should never be fed to dogs because they have toxic properties.
Rhubarb leaves: The leaves of the rhubarb plant contain oxalic acid. The oxalates contained in rhubarb leaves are soluble and cause systemic problems in the kidneys and can cause problems with electrolytes and the balance of calcium and magnesium in the body. Oxalate toxicity causes low blood levels of calcium and kidney failure. There is no antidote for oxalate toxicity.
Wild Mushrooms: Many mushrooms have poisonous or at very least toxic components to them. Just steer clear of feeding them to your dog.
Green Tomatoes, Tomato Stalks and leaves: These are poisonous to dogs. If you grow tomatoes in your garden make sure that you dogs never have access to these plants.
Onions, Chives, and Garlic: These contain a toxic compound called n-propyl disulfide and large doses of this compound causes oxidative damage to red blood cells. If ingested on a regular basis it can cause anemia or death in dogs. A lethal dosage of this compound in dogs would have be over .5% of their body weight so that means a 60 pound dog would have to eat a whole 5 oz onion or several whole cloves of garlic for the damage to start occurring in their red blood cells. So feeding onions and chives to your dog is not recommended.
The Great Garlic Debate
There are few differing opinions in the ongoing argument about the safety of feeding garlic to dogs. Some say you should never feed dogs garlic under any circumstance. Some say garlic is fine in small amounts. Everyone agrees that the compound in question is called n-propyl disulfide and garlic does contain this compound. Onions have this compound in greater quantities than does garlic. In large doses this component causes oxidative damage to red bloods cells. However, garlic contains far less of this compound than does onions.
Feeding garlic does have nutritional benefits too. It contains germanium which is an anti-cancer agent. It can help strengthen the immune system against allergies and it helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Germanium is helpful in treating diabetes, liver, heart, and kidney disease. Garlic also provides Vitamin A, B, B2, C, Calcium, Potassium, and Zinc to the body. Garlic is best fed cooked into other foods like soups and stews.
So, using common sense, tiny amounts of garlic (one single clove of garlic for a Husky sized dog) given infrequently are fine for your dog. If you are very concerned, then simply omit using garlic in any food fed to your dog.
In the next part of this series, I will discuss about nuts and dairy in your dog’s diet.
As always we welcome your questions, comments, and stories regarding this topic. When we share our wisdom and stories we may be helping someone who is struggling with their Snow Dog.
Helping ALL Snow Dogs … one owner at a time.