Leafy vegetables, or dahon-dahon as what our caretaker calls the vegetables she cooks for the dogs every day, are very good for dogs. Gulay is life. Dahon is life!
While your dog does not seem to like veggies when he sees you eating them, adding vegetables to his food will make him healthy, says Rob Harries in “Are Leafy Vegetables Advisable For Dogs?” in pets.thenest.com.
Dogs are not strictly carnivorous. Indeed, they need lots of protein in their diet, but they also need a diet balanced with carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Leafy green vegetables will provide the fiber they need to help his stomach function properly, says Harris. Vegetables are also rich in nutrients and provide vitamins A, K and C. Some have calcium and other helpful nutrients such as folate, iron and potassium.
“It's safe to feed dogs a variety of leafy greens including spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards, turnip greens and lettuce. Keep the portions small, especially at first -- too much of a good thing can still upset your pup's tummy. Also, if you're feeding Bruiser (your dog) a complete, balanced, commercial dog food, he's already getting many of the nutrients found in leafy greens, so you don't want to overdo it. Ask your vet about proper portion sizes for your pup,” Harris says.
How To Cook Veggies
Raw vegetables might upset a dog’s tummy. Leafy greens other than lettuce are best steamed before giving to your dogs.
“You can also saute them with a tasty meat such as bacon (or boiled chicken or pork or beef), but remember to calculate the added fat to make sure you don't give your dog too many calories -- one of the reasons greens are so healthy is because they are low in calories, so try not to jeopardize that with too much fatty meat. Mixing the cooked greens with his existing food helps ensure he won't pick them out, or you can puree them in a food processor and pour them over his dinner,” Harris suggests.
What To Avoid
If you are not comfortable eating a certain vegetable or food, do not give the said veggie or food to your dog.
“For example, don't pull the greens off your backyard tomato plants and feed them to Bruiser (dog). According to the ASPCA, those types of greens -- the kind you don't normally eat -- can cause loss of appetite, excessive salivation, weakness and slow heart rates in your pup. Also, don't cook the greens with onions or add garlic to spice them up. Onions and garlic can be toxic to your pooch, “Harris says.
It is always best to google or research first if a certain vegetable or food is not toxic to dogs.
Healthy Greens For Dogs
1. Lettuce is a vegetable you can put as topping to your dog’s food or simply give as a treat. Dogs love the crunch. These leafy greens are best given during hot days as lettuce is one of the cooling food.
In “Top 10 Leafy Vegetable To Boost Your Health,” UGAOO.com notes that humans can get a day’s worth of Vitamin K by eating two cups of lettuce. Translate that for dogs by giving one leaf to a small dog and two leaves to a big dog.
“The darker the leaf, the more nutrition it has!“ UGAOO.com stresses.
We give romaine lettuce to our dogs because this kind of lettuce is very good for the liver. It cleanses the liver and keeps it healthy.
2. Spinach is also a very healthy leafy vegetable as it is a good source of Vitamins A and C. For humans, it provides over six (6) milligrams of muscle mineral, UGAOO.com says in “16 Healthy Leafy Greens & Their Nutrition."
Benefits in mindbodygreen.com, Lauren Paige Richeson says spinach is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including:
· Vitamin A
· Vitamin C
· Vitamin K1
· Folic acid
“Most people are aware that spinach is rich in iron, but in order to absorb the nutrient, you'll want to eat it with foods that increase iron absorption (namely, fruits and vegetables with vitamins C ). Spinach is easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, smoothies, and salads. When in doubt, a green smoothie is always a great option (for you or your dog),” Richeson says.
3. Bok choy is Chinese cabbage which supplies a large amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:
· Vitamin C
· Vitamin A
· Vitamin K
“Bok choy is notable for its thick, dark-green flowery leaves and white-colored stalks that have a crispy, fresh crunch. The greens have a spinach-like taste that makes them very versatile,” Richeson says.
Steam or boil bok choy for your dog.
Kale is a classic leafy green and is considered a nutrition powerhouse. It has high levels of antioxidants with its stems containing prebiotics which help feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. Kale also has:
· Vitamin K
· Vitamin A
· Vitamin C
Servings Per Day
For humans, it is best to consume two cups daily. For dogs, one leaf per small dog, and two leaves for a big dog.
Best Way To Wash Leafy Greens
Wash the vegetables thoroughly, even the pre-washed veggies.
1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soap and warm water.
2. Wash all veggies, including pre-bagged ones under cold running tap water.
3. For leafy vegetables, remove the outer leaves first.
4. Throw away wilted or discolored leaves.
5. Rinse leafy greens in a colander, drain (or use a salad spinner), and pat dry with a paper towel or tea towel.
6. Store in clean paper towels or a tea towel in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.
7. Put in a container or sealed plastic bag.
8. Put inside the refrigerator
9. Use within a week.
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