It’s autumn once again, and there are many fall foods and flavours that are popular during the harvest season. Many of these fall favourites are quite popular with our canine companions — and they are good for them, too!
Here are a few of healthy harvest treats that your furry friends might enjoy:
Apples — Apples are a safe and healthy snack for your dog. With so many apple varieties, there are a range of flavours for your dog to try. Apples are full of antioxidants, and are an excellent source of vitamin A, C and B6 too. However, while apples are a great treat for dogs, it is extremely important to ensure that apple seeds are removed. Apple seeds contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs.
Pumpkin — This is both a healthy treat and a great source of fibre for your dog. Pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C and E. The amount of fibre in pumpkin makes it both a great filler food and dietary supplement for overweight dogs. Supplementing some of your dog’s food for pumpkin is a healthy way to help with weight loss — and is also a great natural solution for both constipation and diarrhea in your dog. It is important to feed your dogs fresh or raw canned pumpkin, and not the sweetened canned pie filling.
Sweet potatoes — This is a sweeter treat that is also a great source of fibre. Sweet potato contains vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients including vitamin B6 and vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, iron and magnesium, too. Dehydrated sweet potato chips or baked sweet potato chews are becoming a popular homemade snack for dogs. Most dogs enjoy a little cooked sweet potato added to their diet, too. While this is a healthy treat for your dog, remember that potatoes do contain starch and should be given in moderation to prevent weight gain.
Green beans — This veggie is full of dietary fibre and often recommended as a partial dietary supplement for overweight dogs. Green beans contain vitamin C, iron and potassium, and add roughage to your pet’s diet. Green beans can be fed raw, cooked or canned. (Try to avoid added salted in canned or frozen green beans.)
Oatmeal — This is a healthy food for your canine companion, and oatmeal is often used as an alternate to grain for dogs with wheat allergies or very sensitive stomachs. Oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fibre and should be served plain and cooked. Oatmeal is easy on the stomach, and can be added to your dog’s diet as a treat. Note that it should not be fed as a meal replacement, as too much oatmeal can have a laxative effect.
Flax seed oil — This can be added to a dog’s diet as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for your dog’s skin and coat. Flax seeds are also high in both soluble and non-soluble fibre, which aids the circulatory and digestive systems. Flax seeds can go rancid easily if not stored properly, and proper storage is important. Flax seed oil should only be added in small amounts — often a half teaspoon is enough for a dog under 20 pounds, where one to two teaspoons can be added for larger dogs.
When introducing new foods to your dog’s diet, it’s important to remember to do so in moderation, to avoid causing gastric problems.
If you have a dog that is on medication or has health issues, be sure to contact your vet before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 18, 2012