If dogs are carnivorous or omnivorous animals, it has been a cause for debate. Depending on the sources consulted, you can have an opinion or another. Therefore, the question arises whether dogs can eat vegetables or not.
Are dogs carnivorous or omnivorous?
Dogs are mammals that belong to the Canidae family. Within this family, you can find different types of animals, such as the wolf ( Canis lupus ), the jackal ( Canis aureus ), the coyote ( Canis latrans ), or the dingo ( Canis lupus dingo), among others.
The members of the Canidae family share a series of features:
- They are digitigrade. They walk on the toes.
- They have a powerful denture.
- Their claws are not retractable or sharp. They do not use them in hunting.
- They have a strong complexion.
- There is a social hierarchy in those who live in packs.
Of all of them, the only ones that underwent a domestication process were dogs. Therefore, dogs are domestic mammals involved in hunting, grazing, or protection. Currently, there are more than 500 different breeds of dogs.
Although it was originally a carnivorous animal, some now consider it an omnivorous animal. However, the dog is an optional carnivore. This means that they have characteristics of carnivores, although they are able to assimilate nutrients such as carbohydrates.
Among those features are sharp teeth, such as premolars, fangs, and molars. There are also other characteristics, such as the length of the intestine or the type of intestinal flora, which favors the fermentation of nutrients.
In addition, each dog breed has its own peculiarities. For that reason, it is convenient to remember that, due to their intestinal flora, some races tolerate nutrients better and others worse.
Can dogs eat vegetables?
Due to their domestication, it is known that dogs are able to assimilate many nutrients of plant origin. For that reason, dogs are able to eat and digest vegetables.
In their natural habitat, dogs would feed exclusively on meat, whether they were pieces of meat, offal, muscle or bones. However, domestic dogs may have a more varied diet.
Dog feeds contain a high percentage of carbohydrates, which allows lowering the cost. Thus, more people can afford to feed their dogs.
This supposes a decrease in the nutritional quality in the feeding of the dog.
The BARF diet proposes the following: feed dogs or other pets with totally raw products. Thus, depending on the animal, those products that provide the most appropriate nutrients for their development will be included.
In dogs, it would consist of the contribution of protein and fatty products. And, to a lesser extent, in the administration of products that provide fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.
Therefore, dogs can eat vegetables and fruits, although it is unknown if they are able to assimilate them fully. In addition, no studies have been found that reflect the complete assimilation of nutrients.
It is believed that in the past, dogs acquired the contribution of fruits and vegetables from the stomach of their prey. These foods were already partially digested and thus could assimilate their nutrients.
Vegetables are positive for health, as they provide antioxidants that eliminate free radicals. In humans, it prevents premature aging, but in animals, it does not manifest itself. In them, the cellular oxidation will cause the weakening of the immune system, which favors the appearance of diseases.
In addition, vegetables provide fiber, which favors the digestive transit of both humans and animals, which fights constipation. However, we must not overdo it; a contribution of 3.5% fiber in the dog’s diet is suggested.
In this way, you can vary the dog’s diet if you only eat feed and provide all the necessary nutrients. For this, it is advisable to include fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Dogs can eat vegetables, but which ones?
Within all the foods that make up the list of vegetables, dogs can eat some vegetables. Specifically, they are the following:
Lettuce and Spinach
Lettuce is a food rich in iron and antioxidants, which provides vitamins A, C, E, B and F. On the other hand, spinach has a high content of vitamins A, C, E, and K. Both have to be washed and cut in small pieces, to avoid possible choking.
This food is suggested in dogs with arthritis because it has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes digestion. Thus, the pain caused by this disease in dogs decreases.
Pumpkin and carrot
Both have antioxidant properties, but pumpkin is usually applied mostly in constipation conditions, while the carrot strengthens the teeth.
Dogs are pets that have adapted their diet throughout history. Because of this, it is advisable to include vegetables in your diet, about 15%, provided that the feed does not contain the right amount.