This fall season, get ready to feast on the fruits and vegetables that are delicious and available at this time of year. The best news? Your pet can join in on the feasting as well! Here are some ideas for healthy alternative snacks and treats your pet will love.
Apples can be added to your dog’s diet and serve as a healthy snack. Not only are they antioxidants, apples are also high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A. They can also be offered up in a variety of ways: sliced, mushed, or chopped. Consider adding them to your dog’s regular diet, or placed into a food dispensing toy, as a low-protein and low-calorie treat.
Not only do apples contribute to your dog’s overall gastrointestinal health, but the antioxidants and vitamins can help with degenerative conditions. They also help to keep your dog’s teeth clean, which leads to fresher breath.
Note: Be sure to remove the core and seeds from an apple before serving 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.
Pumpkin & Squash
Add pumpkins and squash to your fall shopping list. Pumpkins are a great source of fiber and vitamins. This aids with digestive problems and promotes regularity for dogs and cats suffering from constipation or diarrhea. The fiber in pumpkin also adds bulk to the diet, helping your pets to feel fuller. Their skin and coat will also benefit from the zinc found in pumpkins.
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 upset, consider adding cooked butternut squash to their diet. While the vitamin and mineral counts are higher in sweet potatoes, squash contains fewer carbohydrates and calories, which makes it a great option for pets who need to lose a few pounds or who are allergic to sweet potato.
Like pumpkin and squash, sweet potatoes also aid in keeping your pet’s digestive system healthy and can be served in a variety of ways. Whether it’s baked, boiled or dehydrated, you can add sweet potato to your pet’s diet for a boost of vitamin A and a number of other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This combination promotes healthy skin, coat and eyes and can help to prevent disease and infection.
Tip: Let your dog enjoy a sweet potato chew instead of a rawhide - it’s cheaper and healthier!
Cranberries are another antioxidant-rich food, and also contain nutrients that help to support your pet’s immune system and decrease inflammation. Packed with vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, cranberries can improve your pet’s urinary health and are a great addition to your pet’s diet. Your pet will enjoy cranberries when they are raw and fresh. They can also be served cooked or in plain organic dried form. So long as they are given in moderation, you can feed them to your dog or cat in any variety.
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.
Carrots are loaded with phytonutrients, high in fiber and beta-carotene and are low in calories. Adding carrots to your pet’s diet supports their vision and heart, as well as keeping their blood sugar levels in check. Plus, crunching on carrots is good for their teeth! They are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin A. Cooked or raw, carrots are a healthy and nutritious option for dogs and cats, and can easily be added to their kibble or home-cooked meals. To be safe, cut whole carrots into bite-size pieces before serving them to your pet to prevent choking.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to get creative at meal and snack time by incorporating some of these fall favorites into your pet’s diet. Of course, if your pet has sensitivities, diet restrictions or allergies to foods, check with your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.