Chances are you’ve heard it before: Freshly picked seasonal produce packs optimal flavor and nutrients. Plus, supply and demand mean seasonal fruits and vegetables may actually be a bit more economical. Sounds like a win-win-win to me—for both us humans and our spoiled canine companions!
Next time you swing by your local grocery store or farmers market, keep an eye out for the following dog-approved summer fruits and veggies. This list is pulled from the United States Department Of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Seasonal Produce Guide. Plus, I’m also dishing up a few ways you can serve these healthy treats to your pooch!
You know what they say: An apple a day helps keep the veterinarian away! Because of their yummy flavor and many nutrients, I love feeding apples to my dogs. Sure, you can simply dice them up and serve them as is (just make sure to remove the seeds first). But that’s not the only way to work the popular fruit into your pup’s diet. In my cookbook Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes, I’ve included an easy recipe for homemade apple chips and incorporated organic applesauce into a few of the biscuits.
Here are some of the apple recipes you’ll find inside:
Pictured: Apple Chips (Pg. 115), Pumpkin Apple Pooches (Pg. 43), and Garden Fresh Soft Chews (Pg. 55)
My newest pooch, Pippa, is absolutely obsessed with bananas! When I peel one open to much on, I usually find her right by my feet with those “are you gonna share?” look! Bananas are a great snack straight up. Or, try my Grain-Free Banana Bread Soft Chew recipe!
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that help protect both the human and canine body in many ways. Plus, they’re super delicious! So, when you grab a box of fresh blueberries this summer make sure to split some with your fur kid by adding a few to their food bowl, making these brain-boosting frozen treats, or trying the Gluten-Free Blue Bones featured in my Proud Dog Chef cookbook.
I don’t personally buy many cantaloupes because I’m not a huge fan of the summer fruit. But, if you are, definitely slice a few small cantaloupe cubes for your pup. While low in calories, cantaloupe is an excellent source of dietary fiber, various vitamins (such as A and C), and minerals. The popular fruit also boasts a high water content, making it a tasty way to stay hydrated in the blazing summer heat. Along with slicing a few small cubes for your dog to munch on, you can also toss the rind, pop the juicy flesh into a blender, and then pour the purée into a silicone mold to create refreshing pupsicles.
I must admit I’m a bit obsessed with carrots. You can usually find a big bag of organic carrots in my refrigerator and I love to finely grate them for my homemade dog treats. In fact, in my cookbook, I’ve included carrots in 8 out of the 60 treat recipes. That’s because carrots create a bark-worthy sweet flavor and pack powerful nutrients that benefit our dogs’ health.
If you’re raising an overweight canine then you may want to consider slicing some fresh cucumbers as treats. They provide a nice crunch without packing on the calories. Plus, cucumbers are 95% water, helping your pooch rehydrate!
Served either boiled or dehydrated, green beans are another healthy treat for overweight canines.
Like blueberries, strawberries are rich in antioxidants that fight free-radicals in the body, helping to ward off various illnesses. I incorporate them into my dogs’ diet a few ways. I either chop this brightly colored berry into tiny bites to mix into their food bowl, purée them to create frozen pupsicles, or fold them into biscuit doughs.
Watermelon is the epitome of summer foods. Is there really anything more refreshing than biting into a chunk of yummy watermelon and letting the juice drip down your arms? Last year, I shared a fun watermelon cocktail/mocktail recipe with my Proud Dog Mom pack—you can check that recipe out here! Or, try this easy frozen watermelon recipe by Dr. Karen Becker:
*Whatever watermelon treat you decide to make for your pooch, just don’t forget to remove the seeds!
While I don’t share my zucchini noodles with my dogs during dinner time, I do share homemade zucchini chips with them! Tossing your pooch a super crunchy zucchini chip after walks or during training sessions is a great way to keep control of their calorie intake. Get my zucchini chip recipe in the Jerky, Chews & Chips chapter of my cookbook!
Which summer fruits and veggies do you feed your pooch? Share your favorite recipes and feeding tips in the comment section below 🙂