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Over centuries of domestication, dogs have adapted to eat many kinds of foods, and while there’s some controversy about whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores, they’re definitely able to eat and enjoy their veggies. And eggs. And apple slices! Many (though not all) fruits, veggies, and other whole foods are powerful boosters to your dog’s diet, whether they’re supplementing kibble or being fed to your dog as a healthy snack.
What’s more, offering your pup a plant-based diet or vegetarian dog treats from time to time helps cut down your dog’s carbon pawprint. You can find these treats online or in stores, and they’ll contain dog-friendly ingredients such as peanut butter, kale, and coconut.
Here are some tasty vegetarian options for your dog!
Best Vegetarian Dog Treats
A snack dogs will go coconuts for, there’s nothin’ but dehydrated, certified organic coconut in this bag! These soft chips are free of added preservatives, salts, sugars, dyes, and bleaches, and make for a yummy and high-fiber snack.
Feed your sweet potato pup a little wholesome sweet potato—and carrot and quinoa—with these baked non-GMO, vegan dog cookies. Also available in Peanut n’ Pumpkin.
These treats are bananas—literally! The dried fruit is also made with coconut oil and good for sensitive tummies. Be sure to check out their other veggie-friendly flavors.
Made with organic blueberries and other nutritious ingredients, each treat is made in the USA without soy, wheat, or corn. Berries not your dog’s jam? Check out other V-Dog biscuit flavors.
Wet Noses checks a lot of boxes: its ingredients are certified organic, they are made in the USA, and their treats are made without gluten and fillers. Plus, they offer tons of flavors that are yummy and gentle in your dog’s tummy.
Good for the digestive system and the teeth and gums, win-win-win! Sustainably produced, these dental treats are not only meat free, but also free of gluten and grains and are just one of many vegetarian treat varieties by Whimzees.
Hello fiber! Each crunch is not only packed with sweet potato and pumpkin, but also hearty ingredients such as oatmeal, rice bran, and pearled barley. Free of animal by products and fillers, these snacks (available in more flavors) are less than 10 calories per treat, so be sure to keep ’em handy for training.
Kale doesn’t exactly sound like it would bring on a happy dance, but we have a feeling that the 100% natural peanut butter does the trick. Plus, the healthy combo of kale, flax, whole oats, and rice flour without fillers really is dance-worthy.
Feel the beet! Think of this treat as the gravy to the turkey, if you will, but super healthy! Made without additives or GMOs for dogs with allergies, the nutritionally dense and anti-inflammatory root veggie can help prevent and relieve a myriad of issues from tear stains to yeast infections.
Made in the USA, these crunchy little bone treats are made with all organic, human-grade ingredients. Check out more flavors here.
Whole Food Vegetarian Dog Treats
Crunchy, delicious, and light, cucumber also promotes healthy skin and eyes for dogs. A few slices of cucumber can keep dogs happily hydrated on hot days, too! Your pet will benefit from the fiber in the peel, so there’s no need to remove it.
Since whole cucumbers are a choking hazard, slices are best for optimal enjoyment.
A wholesome ingredient in many delicious treats, flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and risk of disease. Add milled flaxseed (or flaxseed oil) to mashed banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, or sprinkle it over your dog’s meal for a nutritious boost.
3. Chia Seed
Chia is packed with fiber, B-vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Try these gourmet Strawberry Coconut Cream Chia Seed Dog Treats for a tasty fiber boost to your dog’s day.
If you’re cooking for your dog, you can add chia to a recipe instead of eggs. Grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder and blend 1 tablespoon of ground chia with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes and use the mixture to replace one egg in a recipe.
4. Hard-Boiled Eggs
When we think of vegetarian dog treats, we often think just of fruits or veggies. But eggs are healthy, easy treats for your pup. They provide protein and a range of B-vitamins, among other benefits. Keep a few hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator to use as training treats or a midday snack. Plus, the calcium in eggshells can help your dog’s teeth and bones!
Note: Senior dogs and puppies may not be able to crunch up the shell, and some dogs are picky about the texture. In that case, hard-boiled egg pieces (or scrambled eggs) are your best bet.
Cooked or fresh, lettuce is packed with vitamins and minerals that support overall health (though iceberg lettuce is mainly water, which isn’t a bad thing!). Serve it plain or with carrots and rice, or add lettuce to your dog’s usual meal.
The vitamin C in strawberries is great for boosting your dog’s immune system, and it’s a fruit your dog can safely enjoy. Offer her fresh strawberries when they’re in season, or a frozen berry as a delightful treat in summer. Avoid strawberries with added sugar or syrup.
Broccoli contains essential micronutrients like potassium, calcium, and iron. Fresh broccoli, especially the stalk, is excellent for keeping your dog’s teeth healthy.
When you’re slicing broccoli for cooking, you can offer your dog the scrap leaves and stalks, or add these leftovers to your pet’s next meal (sometimes the dog is the compost bin).
A safety note: avoid giving your dog large quantities of broccoli as it can cause stomach upset. Most dogs are unlikely to eat so much broccoli that it makes them sick but do keep this in mind. Find out more here.
Pineapple is a vegetarian dog treat, and also a treat for human vegetarians. Packed with manganese and magnesium, stick to fresh or cooked pineapple, rather than canned or syrup-packed options. Bring cut pineapple along to the park so you and your pet can both enjoy a picnic! Just be sure to keep the serving sizes small and snackable.
Another great fruit for pets, pears contain vitamins A and C, along with plenty of fiber. Slice the pear open to remove the seeds and core—your dog should not eat these, as pear seeds contain (very) trace amounts of cyanide (also bad for humans, of course!) The peel won’t harm your pet.
Village dogs around the world eat rice, which is easy for dogs to digest. While it’s not a necessary part of your dog’s diet, cooked, plain rice can be a great supplement for dogs with tummy troubles. Many vets recommend plain rice and boiled chicken for dogs recovering from diarrhea, for instance.
Can Dogs Be Vegetarian?
Vegetarian and vegan diets are technically possible for dogs, but it’s not typically recommended by vets. Your pet may not be suited to such a limited diet—and growing pups especially need higher doses of protein. If you choose to go beyond supplementing with veggies, check with your vet.
That said, the health benefits of fresh, wholesome foods for dogs can’t be underestimated. The nutrients they contain can make a real difference in your pet’s health. And for dogs who struggle with dry food, experimentation will go a long way in multiplying his mealtime options.
DIY Your Own Turdoggen
Celebrating a special occasion? Try this epic Turdoggen treat recipe made by Rover dog chef Kiki.