Common Fruits and Vegetables in Dog Food

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Fruits and vegetables are becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in commercial dog food recipes. Most dog foods contain one or more of these, with some of the higher quality foods containing a half-dozen or more. Which raises a question: which vegetables are the most commonly found in commercial dog foods?


Why are Fruits and Vegetables in Dog Food?

Although dogs are carnivorous, they can obtain many great health benefits from fruits and vegetables, including:

  • Source of important vitamins and minerals
  • Source of fiber to aid digestion
  • Source of hydration
  • Natural sweetness and flavor enhancement


The use of fruits and vegetables in dog food has increased over the years, in part due to the ‘humanization’ of pet food. Consumers are becoming more aware of how to read the pet food labels and are demanding (with their wallets) to see more real, whole foods in the ingredient panel. In years past, pet foods would contain few fruits and vegetables and rely more on vitamin and mineral supplements to provide balanced nutrition. Although these older formulations technically met AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced meals, vitamin and mineral supplementation, especially with isolated or laboratory created synthetics, are not as nutritious as whole foods sources, and in some cases can negatively impact a dog’s health.


Most Common Fruits and Vegetables in Dog Food

I analyzed thousands of dog foods to determine the most common fruits and vegetables in dog food. The graph below shows the results of my analysis.


fruits and vegetables in dog food


Carrots and peas are at the top of the list. Carrots add sweetness and color and provide a wide range of vitamins. That peas are near the top is no surprise as they are often used, among other things, to enhance the protein content in foods. The rest of the list is mostly as I would expect, although I am somewhat surprised to see kelp and broccoli are so common. I would have also expected sweet potatoes to show up more frequently as it seems to me that they have become a dog food staple. Perhaps over the next few years, we will see them move closer to the top of the list?


In my next post, I will review the Chinese medicine categorizations of some of these commonly used fruits and vegetables.

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  1. we bought a food with pomegranate. against all odds Easy liked it, although it was lite. the last bag I bought said it’s with a new formula. they replaced the pomegranate with apples… and now Easy says: eeew! :o( seems we have to look for a new food :o(
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog SMART SUNDAYMy Profile

  2. It is always interesting to learn more about nutrition. I would have thought sweet potatoes and pumpkin too.
    Julie recently posted…SticksMy Profile

  3. These days, I expected sweet potatoes to be higher than they are.
    Emma recently posted…Road Trip To DuluthMy Profile

  4. Bentley LOVES fruits and veggies. Pierre is a bit pickier about what he eats. They both love bananas and carrots. Bentley is the first dog that I’ve ever had that loves celery. He will be getting some during the making of this year’s dressing /stuffing on Thanksgiving! ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…A Thanksgiving Feast Fit for Your Best FriendMy Profile

  5. Interesting. My huskies love veggies, especially baby carrots!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It!My Profile

  6. Missy & Buzz love carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, and apples! I’ve been pureeing them every now & then and have added them to their raw food. Pureeing them at home is easy and inexpensive, and very helpful when running out of dehydrated fruit & veggie pre-mixes 😉
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…How To Keep Your Dog Fit When You Can’t Exercise Him!My Profile

  7. We’ve been feeding Honey Castor and Pollux kibble which has dried veg and fruit mixed in. I wonder if there’s enough of it to matter nutritionally. But I’m sure it makes the humans feel better.
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  8. Never EVER thought about celery. I haven’t tried peas either – will see if they like it. Thanks so much for this post.

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