An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is true, not only for you, but for your companion animals too. In
fact, providing your dog or cat with a variety of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can help him live a
healthier, longer life, even reducing the risk of certain diseases, including cancer.
Choose orange, red, yellow, and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables to support your animal
companions’ daily diet. Buy organic produce whenever possible, and say “no” to dyed, waxed, irradiated and
genetically engineered items. This is particularly important because the skin on fruits and vegetables is
usually the most concentrated source of nutrients, so you don’t want to have to remove it.
Our animals do not have the necessary enzymes to break down cellulose walls, which are indigestible
carbohydrates found in the outer layers of fruits and vegetables like apples, broccoli, green beans, and
carrots. We have to break down the walls for them, so these power-packed foods become as bio-available
as possible. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
• A food processor, blender, or grinder can quickly create a wonderful purée for your feline and canine
family members. Most fruits just need a fast spin in a processor.
• Cooking and steaming vegetables will also break down the cellulose walls.
• Juicing produces lots of fantastic pulp. Visit your local organic juice bar or health food store, and ask if
you can have some of their extra pulp. The pulp freezes beautifully, so you always have something on
hand when you can’t do the work yourself, and you can use it as a base for wonderful frozen treats and
The following ten fruits and vegetables are major players when it comes to the health and well being
of our feline and canine family members:
The carrot is one of the kings of the vegetable patch. There are over 100 varieties, from deep purple and
white to the brilliant orange we are most accustomed to. Each is a storehouse of nutrient power that’s good
for our canine and feline friends. Carrots contain pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamins B, C, D, E and K,
riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, copper,
and iodine. They support the immune system, aid digestion, and are also recognized as a glandular tonic,
skin cleanser & eye conditioner.
Broccoli, a phyto nutrient-dense member of the cruciferous family, is a low glycemic vegetable king pin. This
means it does not cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. Broccoli contains lots of vitamin C and betacarotene,
as well as vitamins A and D. It is one of the most important cancer fighting vegetables. It contains
no fewer than three cancer protective biochemicals, including sulforaphane, which boosts the immune
Other members of the cruciferous family include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, rutabagas, kohlrabi,
bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, collards, and turnips. Clinical studies are currently examining the role of
cruciferous vegetables and their possible link to lower cancer rates.
Broccoli should be fed in moderation, because it can depress thyroid function if fed in large amounts. When
it comes to the cruciferous family, try cooked rather than raw, because cooking releases indole, a cancer
3. Green Beans
Green beans are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. They are an excellent source of vitamin A
because of their concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Green beans also include vitamins C
and K, calcium, copper, fiber, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium,
protein, riboflavin, thiamin, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin K stands out because it is important for
maintaining strong bones. Vitamin K-1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone, and
acts as an anchor for calcium molecules inside bones. Green beans are heart smart, too.
If your canine or feline companion is experiencing occasional bouts of constipation or diarrhea, pureéd
pumpkin may be just what the doctor ordered. It’s a terrific stool softener, which makes it a perfect remedy
for constipation, often helping dogs or cats with an upset stomach or indigestion. Since pumpkin is very rich
in fiber, all you have to do is add one or two teaspoons to your animal’s food. The dietary fiber contained in
pumpkin absorbs water, so it is also a great remedy for diarrhea. If your cat or dog is a little bit on the rolypoly
side, pumpkin can help because it quickly creates a feeling of being full.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin E. They also provide many other important nutrients, including
an abundance of vitamins A, B-6, and C, calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, thiamine, and iron. Sweet
potatoes are a complex carbohydrate and another example of a beta-carotene rich vegetable, which may be
a significant factor in reducing the risk of certain cancers. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and
help promote a healthy gastrointestinal system.
Over 72 different studies have demonstrated that tomatoes have the ability to lower the risk of some kinds of
cancer. The secret to the tomato’s success is lycopene, the chemical that gives tomatoes their bright red
colour. Tomatoes that have been processed by cooking actually contain more lycopene, because cooking
breaks down the cellular walls, allowing carotenoids to be more concentrated. To make tomatoes even more
beneficial, add a little fat like cold pressed olive oil. This simple trick allows the lycopene to be even better
absorbed into the body. Along with lycopene, tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
That simple apple a day, can be used in so many ways. Apples are the perfect training treat, and
applesauce is an ideal base for all kinds of biscuits as well as fruit and vegetable mixes for home cooked
and raw diets. One apple contains the equivalent of about 1,500 mg of vitamin C. Researchers have found
that red delicious, northern spy, and Ida red apples contain more potent disease fighting antioxidants than
other red apples. In fact, red delicious were shown to have higher antioxidant levels than seven other
varieties. Pectin, the fiber found in apple skins, is fermented in the intestines; this produces short-chain fatty
acids that help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and support the cells of the intestinal lining, making
apples yet another excellent cancer fighting food. Keep in mind, that organic apples may contain around one
-third more antioxidants than regular apples.
8. Blueberries and Cranberries
Scientists from the USDA have discovered that blueberries and cranberries contain significant levels of resveratrol, a natural compound found to have anti-cancer qualities and is also believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. Blueberries are mini powerhouses of antioxidants.
These antioxidants come from anthocyanins, the pigments that give blueberries their deep blue color. Like
cranberries, blueberries help prevent urinary tract infections because they contain condensed tannins, the
compounds responsible for keeping bacteria from attaching to the wall of the bladder. A sprinkle a day
keeps UTIs at bay.
Cantaloupes belong to the same family as the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin. They are an excellent
source of vitamin A due to their very high concentration of beta-carotene, and help support good vision.
Cantaloupe is also a good source of vitamin B-6, vitamin C, fiber, folate, niacin, and potassium. Cantaloupe
is considered an especially safe fruit because it is not commonly allergenic, and doesn’t contain measurable
amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, purines, or pesticide residues.
The USDA Research Service has declared that watermelon packs a more powerful lycopene punch than tomatoes—40% more, that is! Watermelon also contains vitamins A, B-6, C, and thiamin.
Not all fruits and veggies are good for your animals. Here’s what to avoid or limit:
• Avoid onions. The American Journal of Veterinary Research has reported that onion induced oxidation
of canine red blood cells has caused severe reactions in some dogs, even those who consumed only
small amounts. A sensitive dog may develop Heinz-body anemia; symptoms include, lethargy, red urine,
and pale or bluish gums, especially with exercise.
• Grapes and raisins have the potential to be toxic to your canine companion. A bunch of grapes, or even
just a few raisins, can lead to acute renal failure. Pesticides, heavy metals, and fungal contaminants
have been ruled out as causal agents, so take extra care with this popular fruit. Symptoms of toxicity
include abdominal pain, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.
• Spinach and Swiss chard contain oxalic acid, a compound that interferes with calcium absorption. Serve
them with care.
• Limit vegetables from the nightshade family, including eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, as they can
aggravate inflammatory conditions, like arthritis. If your canine companion has arthritis, give papaya and
mango a try instead.