Feeding Vegetables: Tips to Save Money and Time
I am a huge fan of adding vegetables to a dog's diet - in fact, I consider vegetables an essential part of your dog's overall nutritional plan. Green vegetables are especially important for dogs who are on a dry kibble diet.
You can read about the benefits of vegetables and fruit here and here.
These tips will help you save money and time while greening up your dog's meals:
Frozen is fantastic: Frozen veggies and fruit are good options. Frozen vegetables and fruit are usually picked at peak ripeness, cleaned, chopped and frozen right away, thereby preserving the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. In many cases, (leafy greens and squash for example) there is no need for extra preparation - just thaw and serve. If you have freezer space, stock up when bags of frozen veggies are on sale.
Save the stalks: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, carrots, celery, lettuce, etc. all have stalks that are often tossed into the green bin. Save money and save these for your dogs. Firm vegetables will need to be cooked and then pureed or finely chopped before feeding them to your dog.
Clear out the fridge: It's a little alarming to hear the statistics on the amount of food that gets wasted by the typical North American family. Wilted or slightly passed their peak produce (not slimy or moldy) can be cleaned and whizzed in the food processor for your dogs.
Share: While you are preparing vegetables for your own dinner, wash and puree a little extra for your dog. Leave off the butter, salt, seasonings, and cheese sauce (even though we know cauliflower tastes great with a cheese sauce!)
Select seasonal: Local, in-season produce is usually less expensive than veggies and fruit that have been picked before ripe, and transported thousands of miles to reach local grocery stores. Look for locally grown celery, green beans, leafy greens, squash, zucchini etc. in the summer.
Make a big batch: I like to prepare vegetables for my two golden retrievers in big batches. I wash, steam the veggies that need to be slightly cooked, and puree large amounts of vegetables at once. I then freeze the veggie mix in ice cube trays, and transfer the frozen cubes to a storage container. That way, I always have something on hand to add to my dog's meals. Vegetable cubes should be thawed before serving.
Be sure that your dog is accustomed to any vegetable you might include in your batch.
Articles About Feeding Veggies and Fruit
This article outlines my top 10 vegetables for dogs.
This article talks about my 5 favourite fruits for dogs.
This article gives practical advice for amounts of veggies to feed your dog.