Benefits of Adding Fruits and Vegetables to your Dog’s Diet this Fall

Jack Russell Terrier with apple in mouth
Tis the season to enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables and it’s not just us who enjoy them. You can add these healthy foods to your pet’s diet as a snack or a side with their breakfast and dinner. Check out all the health benefits these foods have for your dog below!
 
For that million-dollar smile
 
Apples make a great addition to a dog’s diet and even a yummy snack. High in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A, apples can be given in a variety of ways: sliced, mushed, or chopped. Added to your dog’s regular diet or placed into their favorite food dispensing toy as a low-protein and low-calorie treat, apples are a tasty, healthy option for your canine companion.  
Not only do apples contribute to your dog’s overall gastrointestinal health, but the antioxidants and vitamins are also believed to help with degenerative conditions.  And, as a bonus, apples can help keep a dog’s teeth clean and help in keeping their breath fresh.
 
Note: It’s important to remove the core and seeds from apples before giving it to your dog, as these can pose a choking hazard. Apple seeds also contain a cyanide compound, which is poisonous if ingested in high doses.
 
For regular visits to the backyard
 
Pumpkins and squash should be on your fall grocery list. If not – it’s time to add them to it. Pumpkins, which are a type of squash, are a source of fiber and vitamin A, which helps aid in digestive problems, promoting regularity for dogs suffering from constipation or diarrhea. The fiber in pumpkin also adds bulk to the diet, making your pets feel fuller. By adding a couple of teaspoons to your pet’s diet, you’re not only helping their digestive health, but the zinc also found in pumpkin will give them a healthier skin and coat. 
Note: Natural organic pumpkin in a can is fine, just as long as it’s not pumpkin pie filling. Remember, fresh is always best.
 
If your dog suffers from stomach problems, consider adding cooked butternut squash to their diet. Butternut squash is the most popular and is often compared to their cousin the sweet potato. While the vitamin and mineral counts are higher in sweet potatoes, squash contains fewer carbohydrates and calories, which makes it a great alternative to those overweight pets or those with sweet potato allergies.
 
Note: Natural organic pumpkin/squash in a can is fine, just as long as it’s not pie filling. Remember, fresh is always best.
 
For healthy skin and hair
 
Like pumpkin and squash, sweet potatoes also aid in keeping your pet’s digestive system healthy. You can add cooked or plain sweet potatoes to your dog’s diet, or let them enjoy baked, boiled or dehydrated sliced pieces as treats. They contain plenty of vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin, coat, and eyes. As well, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help prevent disease and infection.
 
Tip: Let your dog enjoy a sweet potato chew instead of a rawhide - It’s cheaper and healthier!  
 
For a strong immune system
 
Cranberries are rich with antioxidants and nutrients that help support your pet’s immune system and decrease inflammation. Antioxidants play a major role in keeping pets healthy. Packed with vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, and can improve your pet’s urinary health, cranberries are an awesome addition to your pet’s diet. Cranberries are best enjoyed by pets when given raw and fresh. As long as they are given in moderation, you can feed raw, cooked or plain organic dried cranberries to your dogs.
 
Note: Avoid cranberry sauces, juices, or sweetened dried cranberries which are high in sugar and may contain other ingredients that are potentially harmful to your pet.  
 
For good eye health
 
Carrots are low in calories, high in fiber, beta-carotene and loaded with phytonutrients. Adding carrots to your pet’s diet helps in keeping their vision, heart, and blood sugar levels in check. Plus, crunching on carrots can be good for their teeth! They are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin A. Cooked or raw carrots are a healthy option for dogs and they make a nutritious addition to their kibble or home-cooked meals. While generally safe, it’s important to cut whole carrots down in size or into bite-size pieces before feeding them to your pet to prevent choking.
 
Don't be afraid to let your dog try one, two or even all five of these fall favorites. Choosing which ones are best for your pet, how much to give and how often, could be challenging for any pet owner, which is why it’s important when thinking of adding in a new addition to your pet’s diet to check with your veterinarian first.