Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Just what IS in my dog's food? Part 5: Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables add vitamins, minerals and various phytonutrients. They are nice ingredients but by no means necessary and mostly only included in insignificant amounts. If a brand of food contains high quality protein, carbohydrate and fat sources but no fruits or vegetables, it's still a better choice than one with less ideal main ingredients that does have a few pieces of blueberries, peas or carrots added to make the ingredient list look more impressive. Sharing some of the fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables you eat yourself will add much more nutritional value to your dog's diet - just please do not give onions, grapes or raisins. (more.....)

Here are some of the better ones:
Carrots: Natural source of beta carotene (precursor to Vitamin A needed for immune function), excellent fiber.
Alfalfa: Source of chlorophyll, dietary fiber.
Dried Apples/apples: Provides good source of nutritional fiber.
Dried kelp/kelp meal: Good source of iodine for thyroid function and chlorophyll.
Dried Peas/peas: Source of protein/carbohydrates/fiber.
Garlic: Good antioxidant, antibiotic. IS SAFE TO USE in the small amounts present in food!
Sweet potatoes: Good alternative to regular potatoes provides carbohydrates for energy, nutrients, less sugar than beets.

Most fruits are in insufficient quantities to give much nutritional value to the food, but blueberries and cranberries are certainly good for dogs and people, too! Don't buy a food based on their inclusion since the amounts present in the foods are relatively small.

What to look for:
►Fruits and vegetables are a nice touch but should not be a deciding factor in choosing a brand. Unprocessed, fresh items are preferable to already processed ones, and organic is always the best choice. Sweet potatoes and apples are among the better ones to look for.

What to avoid:
►Apple pomace, grape pomace, citrus pulp
Grape pomace, or any form of grape or raisin, can be toxic to dogs!!
Onions are toxic to dogs as well.

Next time we'll take a look at preservatives..

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