Since writing Delicious Doggy Dishes, one of the most common questions I get asked is “How do I get my dog to eat more vegetables?”. Some of the dogs in question have never eaten vegetables in their life, others have frustrated owners who have tried desperately for a long time to include more vegetables in their diets, and others are new to being a fur-parent (welcome to the club!) and want to know where to start.
Before we get started:
- This is not a debate on raw vs cooked food. There are experts and canine nutritionists who sit on both sides of the fence- some for a fully raw diet, and some claiming that it’s easier for dogs to digest cooked food. This is purely to get MORE or ANY vegetables into your pups diet – and as is my philosophy with humans- you can always have more vegies, and everyones body is completely unique.
- This is not a debate about a meat based or vegan diet for dogs. I have had my gut-full of people spamming my page saying that ‘Dog’s shouldn’t be vegan!’ and ‘You’re abusing your dogs’ and on and on and on it goes. Here are just two of the ‘cleaner’ comments (note my disdain!):
- ( Not only have these people never read my blog about what I feed my dogs, they’re making assumptions that are not true at all. My dogs eat a lot of vegetables every day. But they also have sardines, tuna (both sustainably farmed) and organic chicken necks. I don’t love it. But- the health and wellbeing of my dogs is so important that I choose to feed them this, despite my own choices. The Holisitc Vets and Canine Nutritionists I’ve all worked closely with in the past have all recommended this to me- and my dogs are all happy, healthy and well nourished.
- This is not meant to make you feel bad for not feeding them vegetables. Everyone starts somewhere! Try a little bit mixed in with their dry or wet food, and build it up slowly.
- This IS about what’s best for YOUR dog. Like humans, every dog is unique and has different tastes and needs. Hank has extremely sensitive skin, so we avoid anything ‘heating’ (eg. red meat, wheat and gluten and sugars). Holly is a bred hunting dog. Our vet tried to give her some raw kangaroo mince thinking that it’d just be up her alley- mind you, this is a dog who eats anything and then some…but she turned her nose up at it and walked away. Tuppi (my nana’s dog, who is living with us at the moment) has only ever had dried or tinned food. What a surprise it was when he was INHALING his homemade food – his body needed the nourishment. It’s going to take some time, patience, and experimenting to see what suits them.
Now we’ve cleared that up, let’s started with the tips.
One of the soups my dogs like best is pumpkin soup. Often I’ll make a big plain pot of it (no onion- just pumpkin, water, some peanut butter and turmeric) and pour it cold over their vegie/lentil/protein mix. I’ll then add their favourite superfoods and supplements (Augustine Approved + Rosehip Vital Canine) along with some coconut oil.
Broccoli and apple soup is another favourite. Cook broccoli and apple until just tender, and blend until smooth.
Add grated carrot and zucchini to their food
This is a great way to introduce dogs to raw vegetables and adds texture and colour to their diet. We eat organic, so there are no harmful pesticides in the vegetables skin. Beetroot is also fabulous for dogs- start off with a small amount to their food and build up to a tablespoon or so. But don’t feel bad if your pooch doesn’t like it – Holly doesn’t!
Get them munching on carrots and broccoli stems as snacks
Alongside homemade doggie treats, mine enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables- and beg for them! Carrot sticks, broccoli stems, sliced apple, banana and kale stems are their favourites. I’ve always found it easy coaxing my bog dogs- Charlie would eat anything, Hank copied off Charlie, and Holly copied off Hank… monkey see, monkey want! Tuppi however, was a mystery to me. I’d always heard that smaller dogs were fussy, however I’ve not found that at all. I wonder if it’s because the big dogs are eating it and he wants to copy? But in any case, he eats everything Hank and Holly do.
Pretend to cook their dinner on the stove top, as if you’re cooking your own dinner
This is a great tip that I read a long time ago, and it stuck with me. My dogs ALWAYS want what I’m eating- I’m sure yours are the same! So if they’re a bit on the fussy side, make out like it’s YOUR dinner and see what happens!
Have you got any tips that you’d like to share? Pop them below!
If you’re looking for more information, recipes and ideas, check out Delicious Doggy Dishes.
Over 80 pages filled with recipes, remedies, stories and advice, just for your fur baby! With information from a Canine Nutritionist and recipes from the brilliant Vegie Head community, this eBook is a must have for passionate and caring dog guardians.
Your pooch will love you for it!