Feeding your pet fresh produce is a great healthy practice. It’s also a great way to jazz up your treat selection, freshen pets’ breath, and enrich their day-to-day lives!
Before we get into all the fun ways to feed your pet fresh produce, let’s talk safety: some foods we eat can be toxic to your pet. Fresh produce that is toxic to your pet includes (but is not limited to):
- Rhubarb leaves
- Moldy produce
Make sure the food you’re sharing is fresh and free from and any type of seasoning. Although we enjoy these seasoned foods ourselves, they can make your pet sick and should be avoided. Think fresh and raw!
Letting your pet smell, taste, and feel something new is very enriching, so just give it to them as if they’ve never tried it before. It’s also fun to watch your pet experience something new, and you’ll learn what sorts of things they like or don’t like. My dog insists on tasting lemons over and over again, despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to really like the taste. I’m not going to lie, we find this pretty entertaining.
Here are some of my favorite ways to share fresh fruits and veggies with my dog:
Add Fresh Fruits and/or Veggies and Use For Training
I have a plastic bag in my fridge that I’m constantly adding my leftover tops of strawberries, kale stalks, carrot tops, the ends of cucumbers, broccoli stalks, etc. into. This is a great way to make use of those fruit or vegetable scraps that you would normally throw away.
Mix fruits and veggies with regular treats. Switching up your food reward keeps your dog motivated: they never know what they’re going to get! If I have a lot of scraps, I’ll do a 100% fruit/veggie training session. My dog Kai loves these sessions; granted, he’s also a giant weirdo who drools when I’m chopping lettuce.
Add Fresh Fruits and/or Veggies Into Your Pet’s Regular Diet
Fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories and high in nutritional content, water, and fiber. Most pet foods on the market are incredibly processed and any opportunity to add whole, fresh ingredients should be taken advantage of! You can also give some vegetables to your dog after they’ve eaten as a palate cleanser! My favorites are cucumber and celery. For the most part, the life of a modern dog is pretty basic, which means it’s up to us to spice things up when we can.
By Mary Tully, Tully’s Training