Leafy greens are known for having a lot of health benefits for both dogs and their humans, but if your dog isn’t a big salad eater then it might seem challenging to add the leafy food to their meals. Frozen treats and smoothies are generally made with mostly fruit and veggies, so they are a perfect opportunity to add some greens to your (or your dog’s) diet. And better yet, unless you use some obscure ingredients frozen treats and smoothies are all pretty tasty for us humans too!
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I knew I wanted to give Ralph and Luna the chance to celebrate but alas they can’t partake in all the Guinness drinking and would probably eat more than their fair share of Kerrygold cheese and corned beef. Don’t worry, they would leave you plenty of cabbage though. To protect my cheese and beer and of course to keep things a bit healthier, I whipped them up a batch of green frozen treats to enjoy.
Benefits of Greens for Dogs
Kale – May help prevent some forms of cancer including colon and bladder. Kale is low in calories, but a great source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Dogs can enjoy this green raw, lightly cooked, or dehydrated.
Spinach – Helps maintain good bone health and growth and may help prevent some types of cancer. Spinach is full of necessary antioxidants and iron along with vitamin K.
Swiss Chard – An excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C as well as fiber and protein. However, eating too much Swiss Chard (or Kale) may affect calcium absorption, so make sure your dog’s diet has enough calcium already!
Other fruit and vegetables also have important vitamins and minerals and some added health benefits including pears, celery, and bananas.
Pears – May help lower the chance of a stroke. Pears are full of copper, vitamin K, and vitamin C plus they are loaded with fiber. Just make sure to dispose of the pit and seeds before serving.
Celery – May help promote a healthy heart and fight cancer. Celery is crunchy and fun to eat, plus it is full of vitamins A, B, and C. Added bonus? It helps fresh bad doggy breath!
Bananas – Great low calorie treat. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are also low in cholesterol and sodium, but high in sugar. Don’t go overboard with these sweet treats!
Apples – Great for senior dogs. Apples are low in protein and fat, but high in vitamins A and C. Just make sure to avoid the seeds!
Cucumber – May help boost your dog’s energy levels. Cucumbers contain no carbohydrates, fats, or oils, but are high in vitamins K, C, and B1, potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.
Ginger – Helps combat nausea and bloat. Ginger is also known as an anti-inflammatory, so it may help with arthritis. It may also be helpful in fighting cancer and treating heartworm.
Spinach, Pear, Celery, and Ginger Frozen (Green) Dog Treats
- 2 cups Baby Spinach (cleaned)
- 1 cup Water
- 2 cups Pear (pealed and chopped into 1" pieces)
- 1 cup Celery (cleaned and chopped into 1" pieces)
- 1 tsp Fresh Ginger (pealed and finely chopped)
- Ice (optional)
- Clean and chop all your fruit and vegetables.
- Add your spinach and water to blender. Blend until leafy bits are gone.
- Add all your fruit and vegetables to the blender. Blend for about 1 minute until smooth.
- Pour mixture into a silicone mold or ice cube tray.
- Freeze for 3 hours or overnight until firm.
Pro tip – You don’t have to wait to enjoy this recipe. I actually only froze half of the mixture and the rest we enjoyed as smoothies right away. That’s right my boyfriend, myself, Ralph, and Luna all got a share!
If you are making a smoothie instead of a frozen treat, I recommend adding a bit ice to the blender before serving and blend just enough to break the ice apart. This will cool down the mixture and give it more of a frozen feel.
Feel free to mix and match leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits depending on your or your dog’s personal preference. If you aren’t a huge ginger fan, try apple or banana instead. Riper fruit will likely taste sweeter, so you might need to balance it out with more leafy greens.
How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your pets?
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