We tend to think of dogs as meat eaters, but a healthy diet for dogs actually includes both meat and vegetables. Some vegetables need to be cooked before being fed to dogs, and some should be avoided altogether, but many vegetables are perfect for dogs raw. In addition to being tasty treats, raw vegetables have a range of health benefits for dogs.
Carrots, including sliced carrots and carrot sticks, make a great, crunchy treat for dogs. They make a great substitute for doggie biscuits, making them an ideal choice for dogs who need to lose weight. Dogs love the crunch of carrots. Carrots should be a treat rather than a part of every meal, however; they are comparatively high in sugar, meaning that dogs who eat too many can put on extra weight.
Apple slices or chunks are another crunchy treat dogs love. When cutting apples for dogs, however, it's important to be sure that the seeds and core are completely removed. Apple seeds contain small quantities of cyanide. Over time, this can build up in a dog's system, causing harm; a dog's body lacks a human body's ability to safely process this substance. As long as no seeds are included, however, apple slices or chunks are terrific dog treats.
Other raw vegetables
Other raw fruits and vegetables for dogs can include blueberries, bananas (frozen to give them a firmer consistency), sweet potatoes and green beans. Celery sticks are another great crunchy treat; dogs will gnaw on these like a vegetarian bone substitute. Popped corn is suitable for pets, but it should be popped corn kernels without salt or butter, not commercially-available popcorn, which typically comes with these additives.
Vegetables to avoid
Not every vegetable is equally good for dogs. In fact, some can be genuinely harmful. Grapes and raisins contain harmful chemicals, and anything more than a very small amount of garlic can also be harmful. Any fruit with a pit should have it removed -- some are toxic, and all create a risk of choking. Onions contain harmful compounds, as do many nuts. Macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous to animals.