It's summertime -- the perfect moment to share some easy, nutritious, hydrating treats with your beloveds!
Many of us add summer fruits and vegetables as treats for our dogs. Some of our felines will also enjoy some fruits and vegetables. Which ones are especially good and why?*
1) Cucumber is super hydrating because they are mostly water, and they contain cucurbitacin, which has anticancer, anti-atherosclerotic and antidiabetic potential.
2) Asparagus — Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, A, B1, B2, C and E, along with the folate, iron, copper, fiber, manganese and potassium, but above all, microbiome-building prebiotic fiber. Asparagus is a great kidney tonic. Some cats adore it and will happily eat it. Try cutting the tips off for her and offering them with a bit of yogurt or even butter.
3) Berries — Fresh or frozen, berries are a fantastic treat. Blueberries are loaded with phytochemicals, and their deep blue hue is the result of anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries are also a good source of healthy fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and E. Raspberries have lots of vitamin C, most of the B-vitamins (especially folate), vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The minerals in raspberries include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Strawberries are full of potassium, manganese, vitamin C and fiber, with smaller amounts of iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B6, K, and E.. Add these to plain, low-fat yogurt or kefir for an extra boost of probiotics. NOTE: Always get organic strawberries as they are one of the most highly pesticide sprayed fruits around!
4) Cherries -- Sweet cherries are an awesome treat. They are high in polyphenols, which help arthritis and support good gut bacteria, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that support eye health. However, again, ALWAYS buy organic cherries as they are heavily sprayed and avoid plastic packaging if possible (buy local or in bulk with your own reusable bag). Sustainably grown cherry trees help sequester carbon and nourish the soil. NOTE: Be sure to remove pits and stems, and cut to an appropriate size. Don't overdo as you don't want your puppy staining herself and your carpet with cherry tinted you-know-what!
5) Broccoli — Broccoli supports detoxification processes and contains healthy fiber to aid digestion; is rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin C; has anti-inflammatory properties; supports eye health; helps repair skin damage; and supports heart health. Broccoli also has more protein than most vegetables. NOTE: Although organic is preferable, it is one of the safer conventionally grown vegetables pesticide-wise.
6) Carrots — Carrots are low in calories and high in phytonutrients and vitamins Biotin, B6, K1, along with fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Their beta carotene converts to Vitamin A and also lowers the risk of cancer. Many dogs enjoy snacking on a fresh crunchy carrot, and some will even eat the green tops. The tops can be chopped and added to meals and sliced baby carrots make great training treats.
7) Green beans — Fresh, locally grown green beans are a source of vitamins A, C, and K. They also provide calcium, copper, fiber, folic acid, iron, niacin, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, and thiamin, as well as beta carotene. One chopped green bean yields 3-4 bite sized training treats, a perfect low-calorie reward for overweight
8) Watermelon -- Super hydrating and an excellent source of vitamins A and C and lycopene without the acids of citrus and tomatoes.
9) Frozen Treats Here's Dr. Karen Becker's fabulous recipe:
Low Fat Freeze Pops for Pups (I'm pretty sure cats will enjoy this one too!)
Pop out this low-fat and refreshing treat on hot summer days! Note: do not offer these treats to dogs that “inhale” (don’t chew) their treats.
3 cups fat-free organic broth (chicken, beef, or veggie)
1/4 cup plain, organic kefir
1 jar organic meat or veggie baby food (Make sure that it has no onions!)
Procedure: 1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on low until smooth, for about 30 seconds. 2. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Store extras in the freezer to keep them from melting. This can stay fresh for up to three months.
To serve: For dogs 1) put one in a big bowl and let him lick it up 2) give it to him outside in the grass. For cats, smash up a cube and put in a bowl so she can play and lick up the smaller pieces.
May you and your beloved dogs and cats have fun with these nutritious, tasty treats this summer!
With Love, Your Voice of Animals,
* Thanks to Dr. Karen Becker for her fruit and veggie recommendations and recipe.
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