Would You Like Veggies With That?

There are several views amongst raw feeders as to whether or not veggies are appropriate for our household carnivores or whether they are simply useless.  The argument rages – seemingly without end.  Prey Model feeders (Franken-Prey) are adamantly opposed, the other side is just as stringent in making sure veggies comprise anywhere between 10-15% of their pet’s diet.  Who is correct?  It honestly just isn’t THAT cut and dried.

The honest truth is that dogs DO get nutrition from vegetables.  Let’s face it, as much as we would like to believe that they are straight carnivores, over the centuries dogs have become opportunistic carnivores rather than obligate

Our Just Veggies Too! offers low glycemic veggies that offer many benefits to your pooch

carnivores.  This means that they have learned to survive on whatever they can find – hence the fact that some dogs live long long lives on Ol’ Roy which still baffles most of us.  What this means is that dogs are adaptable to eating many different types of food – some good for them and some not so good for them.  All the same, their systems can and do handle a myriad of foods that provide a myriad of nutrients.

Without question, the mainstay of your dog’s diet SHOULD be meat, bone and organs.  Those are the three MOST important aspects of any dog’s diet, no question, no argument.  The thing to remember is that sometimes those are no longer enough.  Our meat sources are someone less nutritionally dense than they once were.  The grass is less nutritious, hay included.  Many minerals and vitamins that could be procured through eating an animal that ate those things are no longer available or are somewhat compromised.  While a dog can do just fine with the three mainstays, it doesn’t hurt to boost their diet with some veggies along the way for the vitamins and overall nutrition that they convey.

It is true that dogs cannot break down the cellulose cell walls of vegetables.  Its a given.  To some this means that they are not meant to eat them and should not eat them.  This is a puzzling point.  Just because something needs to be broken down in order to be useful doesn’t mean that its not just that – useful.  This is true of veggies.  Yes, in order for a dog to utilize them they must be either pureed raw (best way to serve them), cooked/steamed, or frozen (may not completely break down cell walls).   It simply does not follow that because a dog cannot do this on their own that they should never eat veggies.  In fact, veggies provide the same vitamins and minerals to dogs as they do to us as humans.  Vitamins and minerals that aren’t always, or sometimes ever, available in a straight meat/bone/organ diet.

Regardless of what one faction might argue, dogs can and do benefit from consuming vegetables.  Even Tom Lonsdale, author of Raw Meaty Bones and guru of the prey model group admits that vegetables can be nutritionally beneficial to dogs and that they are not harmful even in large amounts.  Its a matter of personal preference.  Sometimes a dog can react to missing enough of a particular vitamin in their diet and this lack can express itself in different ways (coat issues, skin issues, bone/nail issues etc).  If the dog can increase his consumption of that particular vitamin which is in deficit by eating pureed raw veggies rather than from a synthetic supplement, which do YOU think is better?  Whole food source vs. non-food source….you be the judge.

While veggies aren’t an absolutel necessity for dogs, they do give plenty of nutritional benefits and if your dog will eat them than no reason not to feed them!

Some dogs readily eat their veggies and in fact LOVE them.  Remember that simply because your dog is a aficionado of whole baby carrots this doesn’t mean he’s getting anything from those easy to toss treats – he’s getting nothing.  Those babies are coming out just as they went in after a stroll through his digestive tract.  They aren’t giving up ANY of that veggie power on the way through.  Veggies MUST be processed in some way (pureed, cooked, frozen) in order for the dog to gain nutrition.

Do dogs need veggies every single day?  No more than they need anything every single day.  Balance over time, add veggies here and there and voila – in a two week period you are balanced!  Some dogs won’t TOUCH the stuff – remember that some of us were like that as kids!  What if we can’t get them to eat any veggies?  Chances are they will be right as rain – won’t seem to suffer from it at all.  If you do think that your anti-veggie pooch is having some issues, that lack of veggies may be something to consider.  If there is no way to get your dog to ingest the dreaded greenery, try a multivitamin, preferably from a whole food source – along the lines of Fido Nutrients or similar.  It may solve your problem.

Some dogs eat veggies, some don’t.  Of those who don’t, some may never suffer a problem from it, others may show signs of minor deficiencies.  Are veggies absolutely necessary?  Not really.  Are they absolutely taboo?  Not at all.  The fact of the matter is that they do have something to offer and its your choice as a raw feeder to decide how much or how little of that offering you use.  When buying APFP raw mixes we attempt to cater to both sides of the aisle – we have meat only mixes and we have their veggie containing counterparts.  We also offer Just Veggies and Just Veggies Too! for those of you who wish to add what YOU believe is the appropriate amount of veggies for your dog.  As with many things, it is a personal choice to add or not to add but don’t let anyone tell you there is no need or that its wrong wrong wrong – there often is a need and as this post has demonstrated, its most definitely not wrong wrong or wrong!