It’s a beautiful day and time to head out to shop the local farmer’s market. You come home with your reusable grocery bags filled with fruits and veggies and your pet awaits to see what you brought him home from the market. Well let’s ensure you do not disappoint your best furry friend. A day at the farmer’s market could turn out to be a happy day for you and your pet. The following are some pet friendly fruits and veggies that you can pick up for your pets.
Apples: Will an apple a day keep the vet away? Well it can hopefully help. Apples are a good source of potassium, fiber, phytonutrients and vitamin C. Always make sure to remove the seeds before giving apples to your dogs as apple seeds contain arsenic, and may also get stuck in a dog’s throat. Slice up these sweet delights and enjoy with your pet.
Kiwi: This little fruit is beneficial as it is a source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. You want to peel away the furry layer before feeding it to your dog. Kiwis also contain flavonoids, which protect cells from oxidative damage and may benefit the respiratory system and digestive health, as well as nourishing the skin.
Blueberries:These small berries have high levels of resveratrol that boast anti-cancer and heart disease fighting qualities. If your dog sometimes suffers from urinary tract infection, the tannins found in this fruit can help keep these infections away. You can add some blueberries to your dogs pet food as needed.
Cantaloupe: These come complete with vitamins A, B-6 and C, fiber, folate, niacin and potassium. They’re also a great source of beta carotene, which helps reduce the risk of cancer, prevents cell damage, and helps your dog’s eyesight.
Watermelon: How great is a fresh cool watermelon in the summer? Well your dog can enjoy it too. It will offer extra water to your dog and is a source of vitamins C and A, potassium, and magnesium. Dogs shouldn’t eat the seeds or rind.
Strawberries: Though you do not want to give too many, Strawberries are a source for fiber, potassium, magnesium, iodine, folic acid, omega-3 fats, vitamins C, K, B1 and B6. One or two strawberries are enough to give your dog.
Bananas: Does your dog love bananas? They are a good source of potassium, fiber, magnesium and carbohydrates. They also come complete with vitamin B6 and vitamin C. As a summer treat, you could freeze some pieces for a refreshing yummy treat.
Cranberries : These can help dogs with urinary tract infections because they help the acid-base balance in their body. This little red berry is rich in vitamins including A, B1, B2, C, is full of minerals and antioxidants, and a source of fiber and manganese. Your dog may prefer fresh or dried cranberries.
Carrots: These crunchy treats are high in beta carotene and loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, while also high in potassium and fiber. Good for skin, eyesight, and for cleaning teeth and gums.
Sweet Potatoes: Heart-healthy and easy on the digestive tract, sweet potatoes more nutrients than white potatoes. They are great for weight management and contributes to lowering blood pressure. High in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-vitamins.
Celery: It is rich in many vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C, and calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, and sodium. This vegetable improves heart health and can lower blood pressure while helping to fight cancer. A great bonus is that celery freshens doggie breath too!
Green Beans: These make a great low calorie snack. It is a great source of natural plant fiber and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. You may be surprised how much your pet may enjoy these. He has no clue they are good for him too.
Bok Choy: This Chinese cabbage contains calcium for healthy, strong bones and teeth, and is good for the heart while protecting against cancer. This low calorie veggie is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and potassium.
Pumpkin: Though not always found year round at a farmer’s market, pumpkins are a low calorie food rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. About one cup of cooked pumpkin contains 3 grams of filling fiber.
A few other veggies that can be put on your shopping list is asparagus (can be served steamed (and cooled) or raw), frozen Brussels sprouts are a perfect snack on a hot summer day, snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower.
We mostly talked about dogs, so let’s not forget the cats. Since they can be so finicky, there isn’t too much that will please them. In fact they may just laugh at you if you offered them anything but their favorite cat food and treats. You can try steamed broccoli and asparagus, tiny bites of greens, and green beans make healthy snacks for even the finickiest feline. Cats can get in on the fruit action with selections like bananas and seedless watermelon.
Organic Eggs: Another thing that dogs and cats may enjoy that some farmer’s markets offer is organic eggs. Take home a fresh batch and hard boil or scramble them up as a special treat for your pet. Bake and grind the shells for an all-natural calcium supplement that can be sprinkled over pet food.
Please note that some pets may have a sensitive stomach to some foods especially when not given in moderation. Feed fruit at least one hour before feeding meat or other proteins and a minimum of three hours after a protein meal because protein takes longer to digest and if you feed fruit and protein together, fruit may start to ferment, creating alcohol. Fruit simply doesn’t digest as well with protein. On its own, fruit exits the stomach quickly. When you feed fruit with protein, it sits in the stomach much longer.
Can you take your pet to the Farmer’s Market?
Some farmer’s markets welcome pets, just check on their website or Facebook page before you visit. Due to some laws, pets are not usually allowed to shop along side their owners in the market but if you are lucky enough, your local farmer’s market may have a special spot dedicated to watching your pet.
The local Farmer’s Market in the City of Orange, Ca. has a special “Park Your Paws” shaded tent with pet loving volunteers that will watch your pet while you shop. You and your pet can enjoy a nice day together and then go home and enjoy the same healthy snacks! For more information visit their website http://orangehomegrown.org. For a list of additional farmer’s markets visit: http://ocagcomm.com/services/markets
written by: Susan Lopez from Pet Hospital