Parsnip are a fibrous powerhouse of dietary nutrients so is it safe to add this vegetable to your dog’s diet? Parsnips, like most root vegetables are safe for your dog to eat when given in moderation. Read on to find out more about the dietary quality of parsnips and how you can feed them to your pooch.
What is a Parsnip?
Parsnip is a root vegetable. Parsnips look quite similar to carrots but these vegetables differ in colour. Parsnips are a creamy beige colour while carrots are typically orange, purple or yellow.
You can compare parsnips with rutabaga or turnips. Their taste, texture and dietary qualities are similar to each other. An important difference between parsnips and other root vegetables is that parsnips have a very high glycemic index. Read more about the dietary quality of parsnips below.
Which Dietary Nutrients Are Found in Parsnips?
Parsnips contain a range of nutrients such as healthy dietary fibre, vitamins B and C, minerals and antioxidants. However, as mentioned, parsnips are very high in starch so should only be given to your dog in moderation.
Dogs need fibre in their diet to help keep things moving along in their digestion, just like humans do. However, unlike humans, dogs only need a very small amount of dietary fibre. Too much fibre can create gastrointestinal discomfort in your pooch. It is also better to cook high fibre foods before feeding them to your dog. Cooking a vegetable like parsnip will ease their digestion.
Parsnip contains the vitamins B and C. Vitamin B helps your dog keep a healthy metabolism and all the muscles and cells working accordingly. Vitamin C provides your dog’s immune system with a boost. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps prevent inflammatory reactions.
A valuable mineral found in parsnips is potassium. Potassium is an important mineral for keeping your dog’s bones and muscles strong and healthy. For dogs that are prone to joint disease or osteoporosis, adding potassium in their diet might be recommended by your vet.
Another interesting quality of parsnips is that they contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to clear your systems from free radicals and have anti-inflammatory properties.
All these nutrients make parsnips a beneficial dietary source for your pooch. However, remember that parsnips also have a very high glycemic index. This means that it is high in starch and thus a high-energy food. If your dog is diabetic, obese or overweight, then parsnips might not be the best addition to their diet. For dogs with diabetes or dogs whose weight needs to be controlled, it is best to find a fibrous vegetable alternative with lower calories and less starch. Carrots are good alternative to parsnips.
How To Prepare Parsnip for Your Dog’s Meal
More and more dog owners are seeing the benefit of preparing home made food for their pooch. It gives you more control over the ingredients. By preparing home made dog food, you can be sure that the ingredients you use are of high quality and without any additives or fillers that don’t have any nutritional value.
If you are looking for a fibrous vegetable with plenty of vitamins and minerals for your pooch, then parsnip is a good option. Parsnip is a healthy addition to your dog’s meals as long as it is served in moderation.
Most of the nutrients found in parsnips are actually found on the skin and right underneath the skin. Peeling the parsnip will then also remove these nutrients. If the parsnips are cooked properly, then the fibre in the skin should not create discomfort in your dog’s digestion.
Parsnip can be given to your dog either raw or cooked. The most important part to remember is that dogs don’t chew their food properly. This means that the parsnip needs to be cut into bite-size chunks or puréed before adding to the dog bowl.
Cooking breaks down fibres in the parsnip which might otherwise be more difficult for a dog’s digestive system to process. Too much fibre (and starch) can cause gastrointestinal upset for your furry companion. However, the fibres that are found in parsnips can also aid Rover’s digestion. The simplest way to benefit from the fibres in parsnips, and other nutrients for that matter, is to cook the vegetable first. Cooking the parsnip first will make it easier for your dog to digest the vegetable and so avoids an upset stomach.
When cooking for your four-legged buddy, avoid using oils and fats. A quick method of cooking vegetables for your dog is to simply steam or boil the vegetables. No oil is needed for that.
How To Add Parsnip To a Doggie Diet
With any new food, take gradual steps in adding it to your dog’s diet. A dog’s digestive system needs time to adapt to new foods. Sudden changes in their meal composition will create gastrointestinal discomfort. Also, just like humans, dogs can have allergies for certain foods. Therefore, when you want to introduce a new food to your dog, start with just a few bites and increase gradually.
Start by adding a few cubes of either cooked or raw parsnip to their regular meal. Then, with each mealtime, you can increase this amount. Don’t add too much parsnip to their diet. Around 10% of their meals is enough for your dog to benefit from all the vitamins and minerals found in parsnips.
Always consult your vet when you are making significant changes in your dog’s diet, especially when you are switching from store bought meals to home made meals. Your vet will be able to advise you on the ingredients that are needed to make your dog’s meals nutritionally balanced. Parsnips can be an affordable vitamin and mineral boost for your dog. A few cubes in their chow is all that is needed to gain the benefits.