As pet owners, we always want the best for our furry friends, especially when it comes to their diet. So while there are numerous commercial options available for dog treats, nothing beats the freshness and healthiness of homemade treats.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 15 healthy treats for dogs made from fruits and veggies, each carefully selected for their nutritional benefits and taste appeal to ensure your pet enjoys a variety of wholesome, delicious snacks.
The Benefits of Fruits and Veggies as Dog Treats
When searching for treats good for dogs, think low-calorie, nutrient-rich — and that’s where fruits and vegetables come in. These natural treats for dogs provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers that can help digestion, improve skin and coat health, and keep healthy tails wagging.
Fruits and vegetables aren't just staples in a healthy human diet; they're also superstars in the world of canine nutrition. These healthy homemade dog treats also come packed with numerous benefits:
Rich in Essential Nutrients: Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals vital for keeping your dog healthy. For example, carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is important for eye health, while blueberries come loaded with antioxidants that support immune health.
Low in Fat and Calories: On the hunt for waistline-friendly snacks for your dog? Many fruits and vegetables make great low-calorie dog treats. They provide a satisfying crunch without the excessive calories found in many commercial treats.
Hydration and Fiber: Water-rich fruits like watermelon and cucumber offer hydration, perfect for keeping your pup cool during those long summer days. Vegetables like pumpkin and apple are high in fiber, which aids in digestion and can help prevent constipation.
Variety and Enjoyment: Why settle for boring when you can mix it up? Introducing a variety of fruits and vegetables as treats can keep your dog’s meals interesting. It's a great way to add both diversity and nutritional benefits to their diet.
Natural and Safe: By preparing healthy treats for dogs at home, you have control over what goes into them and you can skip unwanted additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors that often sneak into commercial treats.
Whatever dog treats you choose, keep in mind that treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s total daily calorie intake.1 The amount and size of treats that are right for your dog depend on their weight, size, and calorie needs. For example, a smaller breed with a lower calorie requirement will need smaller or fewer treats compared to a larger, more active dog.
Remember, while fruits and veggies are healthy, they should be introduced gradually into your dog’s diet to avoid gastrointestinal issues. You should also be mindful of foods that are a no-go for dogs, like grapes and onions. Making a big dietary change? It's a smart move to check in with your veterinarian first to make sure that the new diet plan suits your furry friend's health needs perfectly.
The 15 Best Dog Treats to Give at Home:
Carrot sticks or slices (30 calories/medium carrot): These are not only rich in beta-carotene and fiber but also serve as excellent healthy puppy treats. Their hard texture aids in dental health by cleaning teeth. Serve them raw for a crunchy snack or steamed for a softer texture.
Apple Slices (52 calories/apple): A great source of vitamins A and C, apples can help boost your dog's immune system. Make sure you remove the seeds and core, as they can be toxic. Apples can be served in thin slices or small chunks, making them an easy, digestible treat. Just remember to serve them in moderation due to the natural sugars.
Blueberry Pops (85 calories/cup): Freeze blueberries for a refreshing summer treat. Packed with antioxidants, they help maintain your dog’s brain health and can prevent cell damage.
Sweet Potato Chews (86 calories/medium potato): Slice and dehydrate sweet potatoes for a chewy snack that's rich in vitamins A, C, and B6. This treat is especially good for digestive health.
Green Bean Crunchies (31 calories/cup): Fresh or frozen, green beans are an excellent low-calorie treat. They are full of important vitamins and minerals and can be a great addition to a weight-loss diet for dogs.
Banana Bites (105 calories/medium banana): Freezing banana slices creates a creamy, potassium-rich treat. Given their natural sweetness, they should be offered as a special treat rather than a daily snack.
Watermelon Cubes (30 calories/cup): Providing hydration and sweetness, seedless and rind-free watermelon cubes are a perfect summer snack. They're also a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C.
Pumpkin (49 calories/cup): Plain, cooked pumpkin aids in digestion and can help with both constipation and diarrhea. Serve it pureed for a smooth treat or frozen (after cooking and pureeing) for a longer-lasting snack.
Zucchini Chips (20 calories/cup): Thinly sliced and baked or dehydrated zucchini chips are low in calories and make a crispy, healthy treat. They're also a good source of Vitamin C and potassium.
Pear Pieces (57 calories/pear): Pears are high in fiber and vitamins K and C. Remove the seeds and core to avoid any risk of choking or toxicity, and serve them fresh or frozen.
Cucumber Slices (16 calories/cup): Great for hydration and freshness, cucumbers are low in calories, making them a suitable treat for weight management. Serve them raw for a crunchy, refreshing treat.
Spinach Bite (7 calories/cup): Rich in iron, spinach can be steamed and frozen in small portions. Introduce spinach slowly into your dog’s diet as it's high in oxalic acid, which can lead to kidney problems in large amounts.
Broccoli Florets (31 calories/cup): Serve broccoli raw or steamed but in moderation to avoid potential gas. It's high in fiber and vitamin C and can be a healthy addition to your dog's diet.
Kale Chips (50 calories/cup): Baked or dehydrated kale chips are a crunchy, nutrient-rich snack. They are high in vitamins A, C, and K but should be given in moderation due to the potential for causing gastrointestinal upset.
Strawberry Hearts (50 calories/cup): Strawberries are a sweet treat high in fiber and vitamin C. Serve them fresh or frozen, but in moderation due to their sugar content. They can also help whiten your dog’s teeth.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your dog’s diet is a wonderful way to enhance their diet with nutrients while keeping calorie intake in check. As with everything, though, moderation is key, and you should always consult your vet before introducing new foods to your dog's diet.
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