Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?
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Thread: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

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    Senior Member mitzi's Avatar
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    Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    My Vet says they don't and never ate them in the wild unless they were starving. Of course my vet has said some dumb things in the past if you will remember any of my previous posts regarding things like feeding only raw chickens, but this has me wondering.

    I see no harm in some fruits and veggies but are they really necessary?
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    Senior Member Pareeeee's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Well as most people know (but obviously not your vet) is that, while being in the order Carnivora, they still have a few omnivorous traits. That's the difference between dogs and cats, cats being true carnivores and dogs are more omnivorous.

    Dogs that are being fed a well balanced dogfood don't need vegetables but I see no problem in giving your pup some carrot, broccoli, celery or spinach as treats.

    Don't just take my word for it though, do some googling and wait for a few more answers by others
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    Senior Member Active Dog's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    I personally don't like the idea of feeding plants to my dogs. That might be just me, but I don't believe they are designed to process those foods. Dogs are physically structured to eat raw meat.

    (Dang it! I wish I could still be feeding RAW *sigh* only 4 more months!)

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    Senior Member KBLover's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Need? Probably not. Presumably, dogs might eat the digested vegetables out of a plant-eater's stomach (or while eating the stomach).

    I don't know dogs aren't physically designed to eat veggies - I mean, are they designed to eat crackers? (Of course, Wally would say "YES - YES WE ARE!" LOL). Not saying they ARE, but if dogs weren't designed to eat plants - wouldn't all plants hurt them and wouldn't it be a definitive DO NOT FEED like it is for grapes (and related products), apple seeds, chocolate, and onions?

    Heck, potatoes and pumpkin can be good for them. Those are also vegetables (well pumpkins are a fruit).

    That said, I HAVE read that if you do want to feed vegetables, the biggest thing is breaking down the plant cell walls. Dogs don't have the enzymes or whatnot to break them down to get the vitamins and stuff out of the plant itself. So putting them in a blender or boiling them would help with that.

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    Senior Member mitzi's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Quote Originally Posted by Active Dog View Post
    I personally don't like the idea of feeding plants to my dogs. That might be just me, but I don't believe they are designed to process those foods. Dogs are physically structured to eat raw meat.

    (Dang it! I wish I could still be feeding RAW *sigh* only 4 more months!)
    Why can't you feed raw? Sorry, I don't get to read or post here much, and actually I shouldn't be doing that today! I'm being bad!
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    Senior Member MoosMom's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Yoshi is on RAW. He get's bananas as treats, but not because I think he needs them. And that's it for fruits. He doesn't like vegies. He had excellent blood work back in October when he ate 2lbs of grapes and ended up at the ER. So I vote NO they don't actually need them.
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    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Just to play devil's advocate here: today's dogs are subject to environmental stresses that dogs in the wild never were, just as humans are. And I should think that just as humans remain healthier if they consume antioxidants, so would other mammals. Aren't fruits and vegetables relatively rich in antioxidants?

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    Senior Member mitzi's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Quote Originally Posted by philovance View Post
    Just to play devil's advocate here: today's dogs are subject to environmental stresses that dogs in the wild never were, just as humans are. And I should think that just as humans remain healthier if they consume antioxidants, so would other mammals. Aren't fruits and vegetables relatively rich in antioxidants?
    Some yes, blueberries and cranberries I know are rich in antioxidants. IDK for certain about the other fruits & veggies. My dog will eat all of the steamed vegetables I mix in with his homecooked, but wants nothing to do with raw carrots, apples or bananas. He loves tomato sauce and pasta, I never offer him any people cake or cookie, I know that is poison for them.
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Beagles who got 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day lived longer and did better than those who did not.

    Dogs don't need meat but they do need a certain intake of particular vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.

    They also do better with some antioxidant protection, which is usually best from whole foods rather than supplements. And almost invariably of plant origin.

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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmeds View Post
    Beagles who got 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day lived longer and did better than those who did not.
    Can you please provide a link to that study?

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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Yes I'd like to read that study as well.

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    Senior Member mitzi's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmeds View Post
    Beagles who got 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day lived longer and did better than those who did not.

    Dogs don't need meat but they do need a certain intake of particular vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.

    They also do better with some antioxidant protection, which is usually best from whole foods rather than supplements. And almost invariably of plant origin.
    I'm more interested in the "Dogs don't need meat" statement as what I have been reading is dogs only need meat
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19703441

    Most people have no clue about diets. If anyone makes a claim, ask for a study. There is no biological requirement for meat in their diets but there are lots of requirements for various vitamins and minerals. All those dog food ranking sites that rank based only on meat content are junk.

    But dogs do need B12, adequate amino acids, etc. so if you don't give them meat you have to give them some other means of getting what they need.

    One of the oldest dogs in the world was a vegan.
    http://dogsinthenews.com/issues/0209...es/020918a.htm

    It takes a bit of brains and effort to make a vegan diet work for a dog, though.

    I have one of those nutrient calculators and the National Academies Press book on Nutrient Requirements for Dogs. I use a little bit of fish and eggs but mostly beans with various starch or fruit sources: oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, apples, etc.. Plus lots of veggies, usually pureed greens. The calciumhosphorus ratio is also critical.

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Thanks for the link!
    "The antioxidant diet included cellular antioxidants (vitamins E and C, fruits and vegetables) and mitochondrial cofactors (lipoic acid and carnitine)."

    So the diet got the vitamin E and C from plant material. Carnitine is found in higher concentration in meats than in plants. Lipoic acid is found in both plants and animals. My raw fed dog gets plenty of vitamin C which he ought to be synthesizing himself from the organs fed. I do supplement vitamin E but he gets a lot from fish, egg, chicken skin and beef as well. What about omega 3? Why wasn't that mentioned in the abstract?

    Yes you can formulate a diet without meat that will adequately nourish a dog or you can feed meat, a little bone and organ in variety and not work so hard at it. Max really enjoys the workout figuring out how to eat his varied diet which must count toward the behavioral enrichment part of the study. I am amazed that a senior dog can improve his body condition once he got enough protein.

    Fish and egg counts as meat. I would have no problem feeding my dog a diet based on those foods if he wasn't able to eat mammalian or avian meats. My dog does poorly on grains and cannot digest veggies no matter how well processed. Beans have good quality protein but far less of it than meat, unsure how well he would do on them. Max would need to eat 4 ounces of canned kidney beans to get the same amount of protein he gets from an ounce of raw top sirloin meat for instance. After seeing his condition improve so dramatically getting 1.6 grams of protein per pound of dog I really want him to get his protein!

    There is also no biological requirement for carbohydrates of which you are offering up plenty. The natural foods that naturally provide all of what dogs require in the correct proportions are all meats. Dogs do digest some carbohydrates as some glycogens are found in organs, but carbohydrates found in plants must be be very well processed in order for the dogs to get any value from them.

    There have been a number of studies comparing digestibility of meat protein to vegetable protein. Plant based foods can work but meat is more efficient seems to me.
    http://jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/79/8/2162.pdf?ck=nck
    Another
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1250243/
    and here is the one I was looking for.
    http://www.iams.com/dog-article/impo...dog_foods.aspx

    Max not only improved condition because of the protein, the fat helped his coat tremendously. How much fat is your dog getting?

    Good job on feeding your dog though, that is a lot of work.
    Last edited by Kathyy; 01-26-2011 at 04:05 PM.

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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Carnitine is found in higher concentration in meats than in plants. Lipoic acid is found in both plants and animals.

    There's no requirement for either of those.

    What about omega 3?

    They require 110 mg of alpha linolenic acid, the one obtainable from plants, per 1000 kcal of food as per NRC requirements. AAFCO requires 0.

    My dog does poorly on grains and cannot digest veggies no matter how well processed.

    They are fine pureed and cooked. I use collards and broccoli mostly.


    There is also no biological requirement for carbohydrates of which you are offering up plenty.

    Nor for humans. But so many other good things accompany foods that are rich in them.

    There have been a number of studies comparing digestibility of meat protein to vegetable protein. Plant based foods can work but meat is more efficient seems to me.

    They are about an order of magnitude LESS efficient to produce. I try to stay lower on the food chain. It's doable, it can produce healthy animals.

    How much fat is your dog getting?

    They were getting about 10 g of linoleic acid and about 6 g of ALA per 1000 kcal each, with flax, walnuts, and egg yolk. But they're both gone now. I'm not feeing the new puppy exclusively with home cooked food yet. She just gets it as a treat for now.

    Good job on feeding your dog though, that is a lot of work.

    It's not, really. My dogs got used to it, and on the occasions when I got lazy and used commercial food as backup they acted as if I were trying to torture them. You can download cron-o-meter for free (it's a nutrient analysis calculator) and use the doggie micro- and macronutrient requirements to give them good nourishment that is lower on the food chain. You can use meat as a flavoring agent.

    Mine really loved beans. I had best luck with the quick-cooking ones--lentils, split peas, and blackeyed peas. You get a full protein contingent when they are combined with starches. I usually used potatoes or sweet potatoes for that. I never had a problem with grains though. Mine did great with oatmeal also.

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    Senior Member ioreks_mom's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    personally, i feel that if you want to feed a pet vegetarian then you should get a pet that is naturally vegetarian, not a dog. but that is my personal opinion.

    i have 2 dogs that i feed raw. they do not get any grains, fruits, veggies, nothing like that. well, they do get the occasional piece of sweet potato or carrot when i am cooking them for my husband and i. they are happy and healthy and love what they eat.
    mindy and the fuzzbutts!

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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Yea I'm stickin to the meat as well for my dogs, I totally agree with ioreks mom. My horses are vegetarians but my dogs are not. Yes they get veggies because we eat them every night so they do get offered them but they don't eat them but they do scarff up the meat. I offered brocoli last night, the only one that took it was Mollie (puppy) and I found it shredded on her dog bed, she enjoyed playing with it but didn't eat it.

    Mine get raw a few times a week but their main kibble is grain free.

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    study the physiology of dogs.

    they do not have the physiology to eat plant material. let's not confuse their relationship with wolves and their physiology.

    it's their physical make up that allows me to believe that protein/bone/organs are what they need to thrive.

    veggies and fruits have sugar which is poison to the pancreas and teeth.

    veggies and fruits have to be pureed to pass through the digestive tract of dogs

    dogs are carnivores and are built like carnivores. their bodies are wonderfully designed for raw with no veggies and fruit.

    better to look at the anatomy and physiology of dogs than any study out there.....because quite frankly, there are not enough studies that are independent for dog's needs food wise....and the ones that ARE out there are generally funded by dog food processed food companies.

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    Senior Member ioreks_mom's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horseshoe View Post
    Yea I'm stickin to the meat as well for my dogs, I totally agree with ioreks mom. My horses are vegetarians but my dogs are not. Yes they get veggies because we eat them every night so they do get offered them but they don't eat them but they do scarff up the meat. I offered brocoli last night, the only one that took it was Mollie (puppy) and I found it shredded on her dog bed, she enjoyed playing with it but didn't eat it.

    Mine get raw a few times a week but their main kibble is grain free.
    my dogs are the same. i offer the veggies and they will take them but most of the time iorek doesn't eat them. iorek takes them and plays with them and then brom will eat them. he will eat anything and everything... haha!
    mindy and the fuzzbutts!

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    Senior Member Wimble Woof's Avatar
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    Re: Do Dogs Really NEED Fruits & Vegetables?

    I dont feed fruits and veggies to mine on a regular basis, they get fresh ground tripe which I feel is a more natural way to obtain what they could need from plant matter, and seeing as though the cow who's stomach they are eating has already digested most of the grasses perhaps its easier for the dogs??? Not scientific but I try to remain as close to prey model as possible for my guys.
    Its been 5 years now and not a single problem and all blood work comes back with in good range of where it is supposed to be so somethings working right?
    I dont have a problem with people feeding veggies to their dogs. Our bully gets a carrot a day because he loves them and when I'm going out to give them to the horses he is going crazy to get one too.


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