Does my dog need vegetables?

Does my dog need vegetables?

Depending on what Google search or facebook group you read you will get a multitude of answers to this question.  Many raw feeders believe that a diet consisting purely of meat will give their dog every nutrient they need. Twenty years ago I would have agreed with them.  However the science has moved on, so let’s look a bit deeper.

Dogs are carnivores and definitely need a high meat based diet. Their teeth alone tell us that.  However they are definitely not pure carnivores like cats either.  Their diet is much more varied. For thousands of years they have eaten the stomach contents of prey and scavenged from hedgerows. 

Meats give your dog the essential amino acids they require but some vegetables provide important phytonutrients that aren’t found in meat. These are important in supporting liver health, protecting against cancers and helping gut health. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spring greens and broccoli are bursting with phytonutrients. The enzymes and antioxidants that are found in vegetables and herbs can help protect your dog against free radicals that are a major cause of ageing and disease. Antioxidants are not found in meat.

We all know vegetables are a great source of fibre, but why is this important for your dog?  

Much modern research into the gut microbiome shows that not only do we need to feed the dog, we also need to feed the dog’s gut. Raw vegetation passes through your dog stomach into the gut and the bacteria then ferment this fibre into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs)  The SCFAs then nourish the gut cells and maintain the integrity the lining of the gut wall, helping to protect against leaky gut. Protecting the lining of the gut wall is so essential for overall health.  So many illnesses and even behaviours are now known to be due to poor gut health. The bacteria in the gut which rely on fermentable vegetable to flourish, also produce many essential vitamins and hormones.

So now we can see that there is a good argument for providing some vegetation in your dog’s diet. The next question is what sort of vegetation should you add?

We would recommend you limit starchy vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peas and legumes especailly if your dog as a history of yeast issues. Instead look to feed seasonal dark green leafy vegetables but with the addition of as much other colour as you can provide. Each different colour will provide your dog with a different array of nutrients and polyphenols.  These vegetables are the perfect accompaniment to our Foundation/801010 range of meals which provide the base of meats, bone and offals. 

Alternatively, we have done the hard work for you with our Complete range of meals.   These include veggies, herbs, seeds and superfoods to a meat ratio of 80/10/10 making it 70/10/10/10/ overall.  Providing your dog with the best complete nutrition we possibly can.

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