Vegetable patches all over the country are producing wonderfully tasty and nutritious food. Tomatoes, squash, zucchini and cucumber are just some of the wholesome foods that you can grow in your own back yard or find fresh in farmer’s markets! If you enjoy these healthy eats, then include your dog, too!

Remember, your dog’s ancestors were wild animals who scavenged and ate fruits and vegetables readily. Sharing vegetables with your dog is a great way to add nutritious vitamins and minerals to his diet. Read more to find out which vegetables you can share with your dog.

Pumpkin
Not just for Halloween and Thanksgiving anymore, pumpkin is a great source of vitamins and minerals for your dog. Beta-carotene, which is a great source of Vitamin A, and fiber are two of the biggest benefits pumpkin provides your pup. Just like humans, dogs need a healthy amount of fiber in their diet to keep their digestive system “regular.” Boiling fresh pumpkin and adding to your dog’s food is a great way to bring this vegetable into your dog’s diet.

Sweet Potato
These orange root vegetables are another great source of beta-carotene, Vitamin A and dietary fiber. Sweet Potatoes are also full of Vitamin C, K, manganese and potassium. Dogs love sweet potato and whether it’s dried into jerky or mashed into their food, your dog will be getting a tasty treat with tons of nutrients! Best Bully Sticks has a full line of Sweet Potato dog treats that your pooch will drool over!

Squash/Zucchini
Squash is similar to pumpkin in its digestive benefits, but is also great as a raw crunchy snack too. This gourd veggie is full of beta-carotene as well.

Zucchini is full of beta-carotene, calcium, potassium and folates. Give zucchini slices to your dog raw or frozen for a great green snack!

Green Beans & Peas
Frozen or thawed, dogs love green beans and peas! Your dog will benefit from the plant fiber, Vitamin C & K and manganese in green beans.  If your dog is overweight or constantly seems hungry, green beans are a great food replacement and snack. These empty calorie beans are a great all-purpose, round-the-clock food for your dog.

Peas are similarly nutritious for your pup and can be added straight to your dog’s food as well. Peas are a great source of B vitamin Thiamin, phosphorous and potassium.

Cucumber
Instead of sneaking a crunchy chip to your dog, sneak him a crunchy cucumber! These great dog snacks are low in calories and have lots of good calcium, potassium and beta-carotene.

Baby Carrots
Like cucumber, baby carrots are a great crunchy snack for your dog. Carrots are chock-full of beta-carotene! Raw, cooked or cut into carrot chips are great ways to give carrots to your dog. An added health benefit of feeding your dog carrots is the breath freshening property!

Swiss Chard & Kale
These “greens” come from the same family as beets and spinach. The big, leafy vegetables have lots of great nutrients that aid in bone, eye and blood vessel health. More specifically they contain Vitamins C & K, beta-carotene, fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The best way to prep chard or kale is to blanch, not boil, until it has cooked down considerably. This process sweetens the greens and helps release all the beneficial nutrients. After blanching, toss greens with a bit of olive oil and give to your pup.

Rutabaga & Turnips
Chances are you’ve never eaten a rutabaga. You may not even know what it is.  Rutabagas are very similar to Turnips and both vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals! Add these root veggies to your pup’s food for the beneficial Vitamin C, potassium and carotenoids, which are forerunners to Vitamin A.  Rutabagas and turnips also help the immune system by reducing the risk of chronic diseases in old age by way of unique phytochemicals. By boiling, mashing and adding a little olive or safflower oil, your dog will get a garden fresh additive in his food bowl that is sure to be a treat and a great health benefit.

Broccoli & Cauliflower
These dense, tree-like vegetables can be fed raw, cooked or frozen to your dog to give them the benefits of many different vitamins and minerals. Broccoli contains Vitamins A & C, fiber, calcium, beta-carotene and folates. Cauliflower is also a great source of fiber, calcium, potassium, folates and Vitamin K. These stalky veggies are very low in calories, too!

A note on Your Dog & Vegetables:
While all vegetables are wonderful for Fido’s health, introducing some raw veggies can make your pup a little “windy.” Cooking and finely chopping these vegetables will help to cut down on your dog’s flatulence. Greens, rutabagas, turnips, broccoli and cauliflower are all veggies you want to limit to an extent to decrease the likelihood of needing a gas mask in the middle of the night. (If you know what we mean…)

Popcorn
Alright, you got us. Popcorn definitely isn’t a vegetable, but we’re going to let that slide, take a tip from the “corn” part of this puffy, crunchy snack and roll with it.

Air-popped popcorn with no butter or salt is a great snack for your and your dog to share! Popcorn gives your dog the benefits of potassium and bone building minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. The next time you watch a movie, snuggle in close with your dog and enjoy a nice big bowl of popcorn.

Herbs
While they’re not veggies, many gardeners grow their own herbs and all sorts these aromatic sprigs can be found fresh at farmers markets. There are many different herbs that are beneficial for your dog, but we’ll introduce you to two common varieties your dog can benefit from. 

Parsley
Like carrots, parsley is thought to improve your dog’s breath. The easy thing about parsley is that you can add it to just about any homemade dog treats to achieve this benefit, plus they add nice color and flavor! Parsley is also a good source of calcium, potassium and beta-carotene. 

Rosemary
This herb is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and offers a little fiber, iron, calcium and plant phytochemicals to your dog’s diet. Rosemary also improves the immune system. Simply wash and mince fresh rosemary then add to your dog’s food for your dog to get the benefits of this herb.

There are lots of other great veggies and herbs your dog is sure to love. Grab some fresh veg for you and your pup!

If you’re looking for more great foods to share with your dog, check out Fruits To Share With Your Dog. Next week Best Bully Sticks will be talking about more foods you can share with your pooch! Is your dog a meat and potatoes kind of pup? Meat & Grains are the next dish we’ll serve up in the Dog Care 101 series!