Photography by: ©Photoboyko | Getty Images
Photography by: ©Photoboyko | Getty Images

What Fruits and Vegetables Are Safe for Dogs?

These delicious fruits and vegetables aren't only healthy for humans they are great for your dogs too! Find out why they benefit your dogs diet.
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Have you ever perused the produce section of your grocery store and marveled at the display of fresh strawberries in the middle of winter? Or wondered how dozens of apple varieties are available all year round? Welcome to the transportation age, where fruits and vegetables grown halfway around the country — or the world — can wind up in our stores and on our plates any time of year.

Sure, it’s convenient, but at a cost: higher prices, loss of freshness, decreased nutrients and unwanted chemicals, to name a few. The apples in your store’s produce section could be a year old and treated with fungicides and a chemical called 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to slow down the natural ripening process.

So, how do savvy shoppers snag the freshest, healthiest fruits and veggies? They buy seasonally!

Purchasing local produce grown in-season has tons of benefits: It’s typically less expensive because you’re not funding a long trek from farm to store; it’s fresher, which means packed with more nutrients; and it’s less likely to be sprayed with pesticides or coated with other chemicals. You can also feel good knowing that when you buy seasonally, you’re supporting local farmers. Score!

But wait. What’s all this got to do with your dog?

Fido and Fluffy can reap the health benefits of in-season produce, too! Here are my top seven produce picks you, and your dog, can enjoy right now.

Apples

Apples can help protect your dogs heart! Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images
Apples can help protect your dogs heart! Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images

Ditch the 1-MCP and opt for orchard-fresh apples bursting with polyphenols that defend the body against oxidation from dangerous free radicals. Apples help regulate blood sugar, protect the heart, benefit neurological health and provide anti-cancer benefits. They may even boost memory and help protect against neurodegenerative brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease in people. Bonus: Apples are high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that may help soothe irritated intestines and ease diarrhea.

Tip: Avoid the Granny Smith variety, which can be too acidic for some dogs.

Bell peppers

Bell Peppers contain plenty of vitamins and minerals for your dog. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images
Bell Peppers contain plenty of vitamins and minerals for your dog. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images

Bell peppers are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including vitamin C, folate, potassium and beta-carotene. The red variety contain more than one-and-a-half times the vitamin C as green bell peppers and more than 10 times the amount of beta-carotene because they have ripened longer on the vine. Antioxidants in bell peppers are important in fighting free radical damage and protecting the body against cancer. Red bell peppers are also chock full of lutein and zeaxanthin for supporting eye health.

Tip: Never feed your dog spicy peppers, which contain capsaicin and can cause serious allergic reactions or gastric upset.

Blueberries

Blueberries are filled with antioxidants. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images
Blueberries are filled with antioxidants. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images

Fresh blueberries are nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins and minerals, including C, K and manganese. Their beautiful purple-blue hue comes from anthocyanins, phytochemicals that help reduce inflammation, fight cancer, improve memory and protect the heart. Pterostilbene is a potent antioxidant in blueberries that may help manage diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels, inhibiting development of cancerous tumors, boosting cognitive ability and reducing risk for metabolic syndrome.

Tip: Feed right in your dog’s bowl, mix in with food, or freeze for a refreshing summertime treat.

Broccoli

Broccoli has many vitamins, minerals and even a cancer reducing compound in it. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty ImagesBroccoli has many vitamins, minerals and even a cancer reducing compound in it. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images
Broccoli has many vitamins, minerals and even a cancer reducing compound in it. Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images

Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family, also known as cruciferous vegetables. Rich in vitamins C, E, K and folate, and minerals like potassium and magnesium, broccoli also contains
sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. When glucosinolates break down, they form biologically active compounds, such as isothiocyanates and indoles that exert powerful anti-cancer effects, including protecting DNA from damage, blocking the spread of cancer cells and inducing cancer cell death.

Tip: Avoid for dogs with hypothyroidism, as isothiocyanates interfere with thyroid function. Cooking will help reduce this effect.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe contains vitamins and carotenoids that help aid vision! Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images
Cantaloupe contains vitamins and carotenoids that help aid vision! Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images

Sadly, cantaloupe is often associated with the pale-fleshed, dull-tasting version we find in breakfast buffets and withering fruit cups. But fresh, in-season cantaloupe, such as those found in local farmer’s markets, is bursting with color, flavor and nutrition. Cantaloupe contains a healthy dose of antioxidants vitamin C, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. Cantaloupe also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids shown to benefit eye health.

Tip: Cantaloupe makes a sweet, cooling treat your dog will enjoy on a hot day.

Peppermint

Peppermint is great for soothing your dogs upset stomach! Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images
Peppermint is great for soothing your dogs upset stomach! Photography by: ©All Produce | Getty Images

Peppermint is a cooling herb that can soothe upset stomachs and ease indigestion. It helps alleviate spasms and calm the muscles of the intestinal tract, enabling trapped gas to pass. Peppermint may also contain antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It’s strong, so a little goes a long way. You can give your dog peppermint in the form of fresh chopped leaves. Start slowly and work up to about ½ teaspoon for a small dog, ½ teaspoon for a medium dog and 1 teaspoon for a large dog. Bonus: Peppermint will freshen your dog’s breath!

Tip: Never give your dog human peppermint products, which can contain toxic ingredients such as xylitol. Avoid peppermint if your dog has gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), as it can worsen symptoms.

Zucchini

Zucchini is rich in vitamins including B2, B6, C, K, riboflavin and folate, minerals such as potassium and magnesium and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Zucchini is rich in fiber, making it an excellent food to support digestive health. Research also shows that zucchini can help rid the body of dangerous free radicals, decrease inflammation, lower blood sugar, benefit eye health and support healthy blood pressure.

Tip: Feed steamed or chopped raw. I find that most dogs easily digest zucchini, including the skin.

Fruits and vegetables can vastly improve your dogs health,so be sure to give them a try! Photography by: ©GlobalP | Getty Images
Fruits and vegetables can vastly improve your dogs health,so be sure to give them a try! Photography by: ©GlobalP | Getty Images

Of course, be sure to only feed dog-safe fruits and veggies to your best friend! Bon appetite!

To find out which produce is in-season where you live, check out seasonalfoodguide.org. Just plug in your state, the season and — voila! — up pops a comprehensive list.

Thumbnail: Photography by: ©Photoboyko | Getty Images

About the author:

Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, MS, is an award-winning canine health writer, nutritionist and creator of Plant-Powered Dog, the plant-based dog nutrition and lifestyle website. Her mission is to help dog guardians worldwide raise thriving dogs through a compassionate plant-based diet that positively impacts the well-being of all animals and the planet.

Learn more about feeding your dog a healthy diet on dogster.com:

 

30 thoughts on “What Fruits and Vegetables Are Safe for Dogs?”

  1. KATHY CORNELIUS

    My dog loves carrots cantaloupe. Green beans peas. Cauliflower. Sugar snap peas. Apples. They are all good for them. Have a good day everyone and be safe

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  6. Hi all,
    I’ve heard that carrots can help keep a dog’s teeth clean. Is this true? Our 9-year-old spayed female Golden Retriever has really smelly breath. She was just at the vet for her annual checkup and her teeth are fine. She loves carrots and apples! Hopefully someone can help me with this! Interesting article! Thanks
    Madison

  7. Dogs produce their own vitamin C which is what fruit and some vegetables are . they do not need fruits / veg they need saturated fat from whole milk , eggs , cheese , butter . Most dogs will turn their nose up at fruits anyway .

  8. My picky dog likes carrots. Seem harmless, and they are nice and crunchy. Previous dog would eat green peppers and broccoli from the garden. Once had a Miniature Schnauzer who would happily pick her own raspberries off the plants every year, she would remove all of the ripe berries from low branches.

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  10. Our first G. Shepherd loved seedless green grapes. There seemed to be no ill effects. She lived to 11 years.

    The mix we have now likes raw baby carrots. I saw nothing regarding this vegetable.

  11. My dog likes carrots. I go to the farmers’ market on occasion; but, the produce is way more expensive than what I can buy in the grocery store. I’ve heard that grapes should not be given to dogs; but, I had a dog a long time ago who would eat a seedless grape every now and then and did not suffer any problems from it. The dog I have now, won’t eat grapes, even if one falls on the floor.

    1. My dog now adores carrots and pear since we got rabbits and they eat these..she also loves apple and steals their brocolli.

    1. Greetings,

      Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs! My dog ate a small piece of raisin bread a few months ago, and had to be hospitalized with IV fluids and meds for 2 days. Gratefully, she is fine now, but it was terrifying.

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  13. Very good. I didnt know about this, i thought they were not allowed food like this but I’m glad I know this will help with my dog’s diet as well thank you!

    1. No it’s wrong . Dogs do not need or usually desire fruits/ veg because they produce their own vitamin C which is what fruit and a lot of vegetables are .
      Throw a piece of carrot or apple on the floor most dogs will not be interested or turn their nose up at them .

      1. Catherine D Rogers

        My dogs luv carrotts, green beans, cantaloupe squash, etc. I must b doing something right one of my pups is almost 20 yrs old

      2. My dog loves carrots, broccoli, peas and carrots, green beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, so I know a lot of dogs that love veggies and fruit

      3. I currently have three rough collies. One of them would probably kill for carrots…he expects them every dinner time and gets upset if we aren’t having them. One of the others used to like them but is an old lady now and doesn’t seem interested. The third sniffs a carrot and says “Clearly something inedible, forget it.”

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