Guide to My Little Dog’s Barf Diet: Fruit and Vegetables

Today’s post is about a small, but very important part of a dog’s diet: fruit and vegetables. We’ll start with a general discussion about what vegetables are good for dogs and why, and end with our step-by-step photo guide on how to prepare a veggie mix for your dog.

Dogs are mainly carnivorous but, as discussed in one of my previous posts, a meat-only diet is unbalanced and, in the long run, detrimental to a dog’s health. Some vegetables – like broccoli – contain vital nutrients that cannot be found in meats and animal food products and should be part of a healthy canine diet. The advice seems to be that raw vegetables should represent up to 20% of a dog’s diet, whereas cooked vegetables, due to the fact that they’re easier to digest, can form up to 40% of the daily intake. It’s up to you to choose which way to feed them.

Our selection of vegetables often includes: broccoli, cucumber, carrots, parsnip, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and spinach. These form the base of George’s vegetable diet mainly because he loves them and are rich in nutrients. Broccoli is full of phytonutrients, helps protect against carcinogens, is a good source of B-vitamins and minerals and is also high in fiber. Cucumbers are low-glycemic (non-starchy) and contain trace amounts of important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6, B12, A, E, K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, most of which can also be found in cabbage. Carrots are famous for their beta-carotene (vitamin A) content, but should not be fed in excess, as they are also quite sweet. They can be a good alternative to chewy sticks, though, and George loves munching on them – or a broccoli/cabbage stalk – whilst out in the garden. 

There are a other ‘good’ vegetables that dogs can safely eat – like celery or green beans – but mine is not too keen on them and prefers to stick to his limited selection. He will, however, top up his diet with the odd pea pod or corn leaf from the garden when he gets the chance. 

As far as fruit is concerned, George loves bananas, apples, pears and blackberries, and that’s about it. He tried a few others, such as mango, orange and tomatoes, but did not like them very much. Again, he’s hard to shift from his favourites, so we only add those to his veggie mix. If your dogs eat vegetables, fruits are not even necessary, so it’s fine to leave them out entirely.

There are a number of plants, fruits and vegetables that are toxic for dogs and could have harmful, even lethal effects. Raisins, grapes, onions, flower bulbs, apple seeds and apricot kernels are just a few that I know of. Whenever I contemplate giving George anything that he hasn’t tried before, I first go and research whether it is harmful or not. I think everybody should do the same to ensure that they dogs do not ingest anything that could make them very ill or even kill them. You’ll find a useful list of toxic plants on the Dog’s Trust website, at this link:  http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/_resources/resources/factsheets09/factsheetpoisonoussubstances09.pdf .  

Apart from general toxicity, potential allergies that individual dogs may have to certain plants should also be taken into consideration.

If you’re willing to give feeding vegetables a go, here is or step-by-step photo guide to how you can make a raw veggie mix.

1) Put together a mixture of vegetables (and fruits) of your choice. If you’ve never fed vegetables before, start with only a few in order to identify what your dog likes or doesn’t like.

                https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

2)  Dogs can have difficulties in digesting raw vegetables, therefore it is important that you make it easier for them. Chop the fruit and vegetables into chunks large enough to fit in a food processor.

                https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

3) Add a sprinkle of olive oil and process until finely chopped. You could process the mixture even further by pulping or liquidising it in a blender (a bit of water may be required). It all depends on how your dog likes it, the rule of thumb being ‘the smaller the better’. Here is how George likes his vegetable mix:

                https://mylittledog.wordpress.com/

This is it! Simple really, and the better part is that it freezes well, so you could make a large amount in one go and then freeze it in small portions for further use. All is left to do is defrost the mix and add it to the meat, together with the mixer and supplements (if used).

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29 Comments

Filed under Nutrition

29 responses to “Guide to My Little Dog’s Barf Diet: Fruit and Vegetables

  1. Hi Diana. Just found your blog and love it! What a gorgeous picture of George — he is beautiful. My dog, Grace, loves carrots and I hadn’t thought of adding other chopped veggies for a yummy snack. Thanks for sharing this idea and I look forward to reading more from you and George!

    • Hi, Robin. I don’t know how you found my blog, but I thank you for stopping by and leaving a nice comment. If Grace loves carrots, she’s likely to enjoy other vegetables, too. Try it and see what she thinks 🙂

      • Hi Diana. I found your blog via a link on Twitter. Having just started a blog about my dog and how it relates to people, (particularly in the workforce), I have been interested to read and learn from others. To my surprise, too few are of high quality and I found yours to be a perfect blend of rich content with a writing style that makes it accessible. Even the quality of the comments by your readers are wonderful — witty and helpful! It feels like being home — thank you for sharing with us.

      • Oh, it’s good to know that Twitter works! I’m new to it and wasn’t convinced it was worth the fuss, but it looks like my husband (big Twitter fan) was right 🙂
        Thank you for your nice words about my blog. I’m glad you like it and find it interesting. That’s all a blogger can hope for, right? I agree with what you say about my readers (Gosh, ‘my readers’ sounds so pretentious!) – they are wonderful people I’ve met since I started my blog, and they all write nice blogs and have a lot of interesting things to share themselves. When you have a spare minute, I recommend you take a look at some of their websites, it’s worth it.

        P.S. Edited to say: I would love to take a look at your and Grace’s blog. Could you post the web address on here? I promise I won’t delete it from the comment 🙂

      • Your husband is right — Twitter works! So glad to have found you. I will definitely take your advice and explore the sites of your readers. I look forward to that. And thanks for asking about my blog; I could not find the ‘reply’ button on your edited response, so I’m sending it along here. I would very much appreciate feedback and I hope you enjoy it at http://blog.peoplesenseconsulting.com/. Thank you!

      • Thanks for the link, Robin. You’ve asked for feedback, here it is: I absolutely love your blog. I’m not just saying that, I think you’ve got a great idea and a very nice writing style, and Grace is an absolute sweetie. I’ve left you two comments and have subscribed, so that I don’t miss your future posts. I’m really glad you found me so that I could find you 🙂

      • Thanks, Didi, for the feedback, it means a lot coming from you. I look forward to reading more from you and George!

  2. lifewith4cats

    your writing style made this post a delight to read. Its got a spring garden feel to it. This is a wonderful idea of using carrots for a chew stick. And probably letting him sample different tastes and textures fresh from the garden gives him mental stimulation as well.
    One of my cats loves vegitables and I always let her drink the juice from the cans of peas I open.

    • Sara, you always leaves such nice comments 🙂 You’re making a good point about mental stimulation, it’s important for keeping dogs (and kids!) out of trouble. George is not allowed in the main vegetable garden, but every year we make sure to plant a few vegetables (like peas) in the back garden for everybody – especially George – to enjoy. I can picture your cat (who is it?) drinking from the pea can, and it’s a very cute picture indeed. It could be a good idea for one of your witty posts.

      • That would be my black and white cat Littlegirl. She really has some strange food preferences and it all leans to vegis. It may be because she almost starved to death as a baby. Probably only survived by eating grass and scraps. And so she ‘imprinted” on them.

        I agree with Robins comment about finding good pet blogs. You engage the audience in a thoughtful way.

  3. Whether for humans or dogs — anything that freezes well is top rated in my book! I’m going to forward this post on to my friends with dogs… the pictures make it really easy to digest. (Sorry!)

    • I’m the same with freezing, it’s saved the day on many occassions. Thanks for forwarding the post, I appreciate it. And if it gets more dogs onto healthy food (or snacks) then it’s mission accomplished! Glad you found the pictures a bit more palatable than the offal one, I actually thought of you when I posted them 🙂

  4. And whenever we give our dogs vegetables, they spit them out on the floor! Fruits are another issue, though. It always cracks me up that mine like fruits but not vegetables!

    I love how easy you make these posts to understand!

    • I know a lot of dogs who don’t like vegetables. It’s like people, we don’t all like them either. Luckily, your girls like fruit, which is also packed with vitamins. I guess George will also choose a piece of fruit over vegetables most of the time, but he likes all of them enough to eat them when mixed together. There are also different herbal mixes available as food supplements, and they’re a good option for dogs who don’t like any fruit or vegetable. I’ll dwell more on this idea in Friday’s post.

  5. Good, helpful information presented in a simple way. We don’t feed the BARF diet, but we do supplements the dogs’ food with fruits and veggies, and the processor is a good idea. Iggy, in particular, likes to share an apple or pear with me. He recetnly discovered nectarines and just loves those, too. Thanks again.

    • Thank you for your nice comment, Michael. Iggy sounds like my kind of dog, and is a sweet looking boy, too (it is him with those funky sun glasses, right?). Nectarines are very tasty and healthy, clever dog for choosing them.
      I’ve had a little browse through your blog and really liked it. That post about the forum comments is so funny, it made me laugh out loud. I liked the St. Patrick post, too, a lot of effort and research have gone into that, and you made it a very enjoyable read. Thanks for finding us, we’ll be visiting you again.

  6. FRUIT! G’s favourite! Sometimes I think she prefers a banana to a piece of meat. She stand there and DROOLS when we eat fruit. What goes eh? :p

    I like to do 1 raw [usually carrot celery sometimes herbs like parsley] and 1 cooked [leafy greens, brocolli, beans, etc] Whatever’s on offer. I’ve also started feeding the dogs lentils and chickpeas which are yum even if I say so myself. Our vet seems good with that. And the dogs were thriving on it for the longest time before this bad turn of tum 😦 Very sad as I absolutely adore the idea of giving them vege. I hope to return to it someday.

    Just out of curiosity, have you heard anything about lentils, and any more on garlic?

    Well, unless there’s another BARF post, this is it! I loved reading all of them. They were very informative and simple to read. Not having a very scientific mind, that’s ALWAYS a bonus! Thanks for putting them out 🙂

    Wow! It’s 2.30. I really should try to get some shut eye. Goodnight Didi!

    • Well, Georgia’s a clever girl for liking fruit, it’s good for her. In moderation, of course. You’ve picked some of the best veg to feed them, celery and parsley are also often found in supplement powders. I don’t understand where Georgia and Rufus are getting their bad tummies from, you seem to be doing great at feeding them the right things. Are they prone to picking up stomach bugs if you take them walking in new places? I’m asking this because George always gets a bad tummy and a bout of diarrhoea after every trip we take to a place he’s never been before. But he’s a sniffer and a licker, so it is to be expected. I’ve learnt not too worry too much, as he’s always back to normal by the next day.
      I don’t know anything about lentils and chickpeas being fed to dogs. I know we, the humans in the family, love them, and they’re a great source of protein, which is why they form the base of our diet on non-meat days. They’ve obviously been good for your dogs, so I’m intrigued to find out more. I’ll go and do some research, probably at the weekend. I’ve got no more news on garlic, so I’m sticking to my opinion that it’s good for dogs and continue to add it to George’s liver treats and use garlic tablets/powder in his food.
      There will be one more Barf post on Friday, and that will be it for the moment. I’m glad you found my posts easy to read. I haven’t got a very scientific mind either (got a degree in Humanities), so accessibility is high on my priority list.
      I really appreciate your input and the time you’ve put into these comments. I’m very lucky you’re my blogging buddy. Which is why I worry that you’re not getting enough sleep at the moment and am glad you’ve decided to go to bed. Sleep tight and see you around!

      • Haha! Well, didn’t sleep AT ALL last night. Rufus had a bad tum all night ….turned to blood. He has many digestive issues, has had them for years. These are his end times, I’m afraid, so things are not going to get better 😦 he’s now back on meds again. I hope they settle his tummy soon so he can eat something again without getting sick.

        It’s been a pleasure to read about your research and your BARF experience. Until the next one, good night again! 🙂 xox

      • It makes me really sad that Rufus is not well. I hope the medicine works and brings him (and you) a bit of peace. It’s heart breaking to see them ageing, isn’t it?

  7. Reading your post makes me miss feeding Gus a homemade diet. Every two weeks we’d get out the food processor and whirl up a gigantic batch of veggies to mix with his (cooked) meat. We did exactly as you mentioned and froze batches so they were easy to thaw.

    I’m very anxious to keep reading more of your posts. As I’ve said before, we’re so interested in feeding Gus a diet similar to George’s!

    • ‘Gigantic batch of veggies’ – I like the mental picture that paints in my mind! Especially with Gus being such a tiny boy 🙂 I hope poor baby is feeling better, I’ll stop by your blog a bit later to catch up. x

  8. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a wonderful thing! Maple would wait patiently by the kitchen entrance and watch ever so intently as I chop up some fresh treats for her. We recently discovered that Maple would pass on mangoes (like George) but devour peaches 🙂

    • Oh, Maple is not only pretty and clever, but she’s also got perfect manners! I love peaches, anytime and anywhere, but George wasn’t soo keen last time he was offered some. I’ll ask him again this summer 🙂

  9. Love this article. Sheila usually makes a stew with the veggies and our dogs love it. I really like your idea because I could always freeze the veggies from your article in little cups and serve them with their crunchies as needed. Thanks.

  10. Pingback: Guide to My Little Dog’s Barf Diet: Fish | my little dog

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  12. terry

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful information on feeding fruits and veggies to dogs. I just started this healthy diet for myself using my new nutribullet and as I was chopping up some fruits and veggies for myself a piece of carrot fell on the floor and lo and behold, my sassy (a very cute pug, if I say so myself) picked it up and chowed it down. So I dropped a piece of apple, on purpose this time, and she ate that too!! That started it……she now gets a mix of apples, carrots, cucumbers, frozen bananas, etc. everyday. I found this blog, thank you very much, to see if it was healthy for her. I am so happy it is. So now Sassy is my health partner both in eating and exercise….(to the dog park twice a day!!) yeah

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