Saturday, February 8, 2014

Feed cats and dogs fresh produce, and they will reap the health benefits

By Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M   
I believe fresh organic food contributes to improved health in my patients. There are many foods that are easy to grow, appeal to most pets, and provide health

Fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories, which means they make great treats for pets on a diet. As for how much to feed a pet, I don't suggest a particular amount, as long as the vegetables or fruits make up no more than 20 to 25 percent of a dog's diet (if you are feeding a processed natural food) or 40 to 50 percent of a natural homemade diet.
Carrots. Most dogs like carrots, either whole or cut into pieces. The tops of carrots can be fed whole to pet rabbits and rodents, or chopped fine and used as a topping on dog food.
Beans. Many owners give their dogs varieties of green or string beans. Bean pods (including the seeds) can be used whole or cut into small pieces.
Broccoli. Broccoli is one of my favorite recommendations to pet owners, especially for pets with disorders of the immune system, including cancer.
Dark leafy greens. Any dark green leafy vegetable is good for pets. Some dogs will eat the greens after they are cooked.  
Dark-colored berries. I think of fruit as more of a dessert than a main ingredient; therefore I recommend no more than 10 to 15 percent of the diet contain healthy organic berries
Foods to Avoid
While most pets can eat pretty much anything you grow, there are some things to avoid due to potential toxicity. Cats and small dogs are sensitive to some of the chemicals in onions and garlic, as these foods can cause red blood cell damage leading to anemia. All pets should avoid onions. Garlic has many health benefits (antibacterial, anti-blood clotting, immune system support), and I like my patients to have small amounts if their owners desire. I recommend one small clove per 10 to 25 pounds of body weight per day. Regular blood testing (every 3 to 6 months) can detect anemia, wh
ich is unlikely at this dosage. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and should be avoided.

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