Cooling foods for pets: 7 fruits and vegetables to include in your dog’s summer diet – Hindustan Times

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By, New Delhi

Apr 21, 2024 06:10 PM IST

Fresh foods can provide both essential hydration and a variety of health benefits that can keep your pet vibrant and healthy.

Amid the ongoing heatwave conditions in many parts of the country, hydration plays an important role in your furry friend’s diet for overall well-being. Apart from offering them sufficient water to drink, it’s important to include liquid foods as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables that can help cool their bodies. Dogs are at an increased risk of heatstroke and dehydration as their thick fur may prevent heat from escaping and sweat glands work properly mainly in their paw pads. To ensure your pooch stays comfortable in scorching summer heat, one must make crucial changes in their diet by adding high fibre, hydrating and nutritious fruits and vegetables to their meals. (Also read: Summer-proof your pet! 5 pet care mistakes to avoid during heatwave conditions)

As temperatures soar during the Indian summer, keeping your dog's diet light yet nutritious is essential. (Pexels)
As temperatures soar during the Indian summer, keeping your dog’s diet light yet nutritious is essential. (Pexels)

“As temperatures soar during the Indian summer, keeping your dog’s diet light yet nutritious is essential. Fresh foods can provide both essential hydration and a variety of health benefits that keep your pet vibrant and healthy,” says Ingrid Smolders, Nutritionist Harley’s Corner.

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Smolders suggests seven fresh foods that you can safely add to your dog’s diet during the hot months:

1. Cucumber: These are perfect for hydration and are very low in calories, making them an excellent choice for dogs. They also contain vitamins K and C, and magnesium, which support overall health.

2. Watermelon: This fruit is a hydration hero with 92% water content. It is also a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Be sure to remove all seeds and the rind to avoid choking and gastrointestinal blockages. Also, feed watermelon to your dogs not more than twice a week as the sugar content is also high.

3. Carrots: A great source of fibre and vitamin A, carrots can improve a dog’s dental health and vision. They can be served raw or cooked, offering a nutritious, crunchy snack. Once cut into batons, these can also be frozen to make it a cooling snack as well.

4. Sweet potatoes: Packed with dietary fibres and vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes support digestive health and are best served cooked and plain. The best variety of sweety potatoes for dogs are the orange variety.

5. Apples: These provide vitamins A and C and help clean residue off a dog’s teeth. Always remove the core and seeds to prevent any choking hazards for your dog.

6. Blueberries: These small fruits are antioxidants powerhouses, supporting the immune system and overall health. They’re also great for older dogs as they help with cognitive functions.

7. Curd/yoghurt: High in calcium and protein, plain yoghurt is beneficial for a dog’s bones and teeth. It also helps improve digestive health. Ensure it is unsweetened and without any artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic to dogs. Also, chilled chicken soup is also a great way to keep your dog cool.

Besides keeping your dogs cool with these foods, it is also imperative to ensure your dogs are not walked during the mid-afternoon, when the sun is at its fiercest.

“Incorporating these foods into your dog’s diet can enhance their health by providing necessary nutrients and hydration needed during the hot months. Always introduce new foods gradually and monitor your dog for any adverse reactions. Fresh, diverse foods not only promote health but also add enjoyment to your dog’s daily meals,” concludes Smolders.

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