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It’s summertime and that means warmer temperatures are being faced by both people and pets in all parts of the U.S.

As we strive to keep cool despite elevated temperatures, our attention turns to refreshing beverages and treats made of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many owners do not realize that there is a plethora of human foods that can be fed to pets that have a cooling effect, provide moisture, and pack a punch of whole-food nutrition. Only a 10% loss of the total body fluids can lead to serious illness, so it’s crucial for owners to frequently promote pet hydration in warm environments and eating food-based moisture is a generally healthy means of doing so.

As a holistic veterinarian, I am a big proponent of pets eating a diet rich in whole foods, including real fruits and vegetables. In my practice I use this strategy to reduce the quantity of processed pet foods and treats made with feed-grade ingredients, artificial colors and flavors, and chemical preservatives that owners seemingly gravitate toward when feeding their canine and feline companions.
Here are my recommendations for fresh fruits and vegetables to give to your pets and those that should be avoided for concern of creating health problems.

Fruit- sweet and nutrient-rich snacks or meal additives

Fresh or frozen fruits can be given as a cooling and healthy snack packing moisture, fiber, antioxidant, vitamins, and minerals. Apple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cantaloupe, cherry, melon, pear, plum, raspberry, strawberry, and watermelon are my top picks as they are typically accessible in grocery stores and farmer’s markets regardless of season.

Sweet fruits tend to be more appealing to pets than those that are bland or bitter. Ripening enhances fruits sweetness and palatability, so serve them ripe to increase the likelihood they will be willingly consumed by your pet.

Outer skins (banana, melon, etc.) should be removed or opened (berries, etc.) to reveal the inner fruit. Fruit can also be mashed or pureed and added to your dog’s current food. You can even blend various fruits with enough water to create a smoothie that can be served as a refreshing and nutritious beverage or frozen (without a stick, of course) to create your own D.I.Y. ‘pupsicles.’

Always be cautious in the size of the piece of fruit you give to your pet. Any provided piece should be small enough that it can be easily chewed and not swallowed as a large chunk that could potentially cause choking by getting caught in the esophagus or trachea.

Read more at The Honest Kitchen Blog
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