Should you be feeding your dog vegetables?
Well, firstly, I’m going to take you on my journey – when I started raw feeding 12+ years ago, we always fed meat, bone, offal and blended fruit/veggies. The fruit and vegetables accounted for roughly 20% of my dogs’ diets. I also made special infusions and spent hours and hours researching. Then, along came a pre-made meal (with veggies) which was going to save me a lot of time. And I can’t tell you the hours I saved when we switched. But then along came a new ‘fad’ which said you shouldn’t be feeding your dog vegetables.
This therefore led me to use more of a DIY approach. Why? I hear you say. Well, because of this new wave coming across the raw feeding communities, people were saying dogs don’t need vegetables. They are even harmful. Because of this, we started DIY-ing without the veggies, so we followed a basic 80-10-10 method.
Fast forward several years and with new research always developing, I have decided they do need some amount of plant matter. There are a couple of reasons why I believe dogs need vegetables which I’m going to discuss in sub-sections below.
So let’s take a closer look at each sub-section and then you can make your own mind up. Don’t just follow the majority because that’s ‘the way’ in a Facebook group. It’s actually really worrying how many times I see this. Do those people actually know what they are talking about? I have attached a video below; don’t just take my word for it, do your own research too.
Vegetables have plenty of fibre which can either be soluble or insoluble. I’m actually only interested in the soluble fibre right now which can be found in fruit and vegetables such as apples, broccoli, sweet potato and seeds such as flaxseeds. The soluble form of fibre means ‘soluble in water’. This type of fibre can help soothe the gut as it passes though, and it’s well known for helping to maintain regular bowl movements too. It can even help with leaky gut syndrome. Not to mention there’s also the fact that the fibre from the veggies can feed and even create positive effects on the microbiome.
Vegetables are packed full of antioxidants that are simply not found in meat, bone and offal. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms. This means that by eating more veggies, you can slow down both yours and your dog’s ageing process and ultimately become more resistant to illness and disease.
This is probably one of the hottest topics right now and it’s not just a buzz word! The microbiome is an ecosystem in the pet’s digestive tract. It contains billions of microbes and other microorganisms — including both desirable and undesirable bacteria unique to each pet. Vegetable fibres feed these bacteria. We just need to be careful not to feed the bad ones too. It’s important to be proactive and use both pre and probiotics.
What’s more, there’s a new way to feed veggies and that’s by fermenting them. What about the amylase debate? Well, there’s so much information out there but that doesn’t always mean it’s correct. Okay that might be a little unfair; it’s correct at the time but science is always publishing something new and then others try to disprove it. Things change very quickly and I’m sure I’ll have to continuously update this page as we learn more. But let’s just start with stating there are three enzymes that help to break down the macronutrients in the food:
• Protease breaks down protein
• Lipase digests fat
• Amylase processes carbohydrates
In the video below, you can check out what Dr. Karen Becker has to say about amylase. The video is around 20 minutes long so put the kettle on and grab yourself a comfy seat. As Dr. Becker says, dogs don’t produce amylase in their saliva but they produce a significant amount from their pancreas. This would allow them to survive in the wild on plant matter if needs be, which let’s face it, there could be periods of drought within the hunting seasons. Now I know our dogs no longer need to worry about this but it’s useful information which most people don’t know about.
All the above factors contribute to health and longevity. After all, didn’t we all start out with the hope that our dogs will live longer, healthier lives, free from disease and illness? We don’t often see any changes in puppies but usually the biggest changes are in our golden oldies.
So ask yourself this – why are you not feeding your dog vegetables?
Here are the most common responses: due to yeast intolerance, there are high sugar levels in certain fruit and vegetables, my dogs don’t like them or they don’t need them.
I’m hoping with what I have addressed above and with the video below, you might take another look. There’s also lots that can be done with a yeasty dog too, so don’t just rule it out completely.