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Juicing hack: Drink the juice and feed the pulp to your pets

Dr. Katy Nelson is a contributor to Pet360 and an associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre. She also hosts "The Pet Show" on Washington DC's News Channel 8.

Juicing delicious fruits and vegetables has tons of health benefits for humans. But can our pets also benefit from this trend?

I must admit, when I first heard of the "juicing" trend sweeping through America, I had my doubts. Who could get full off of drinking juice? Most of the time, I'm hungry an hour after a full meal. Then I tried it... and I was hooked. I bought one of the $500 blenders so powerful that it can liquefy old sneakers and rusty nails, and I was off. Kale, apples, oranges, pineapples, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, an array of berries; they're all now victims of my morning ritual.

The nutrients in fruit and vegetable juices can protect against cardiovascular disease, various inflammatory diseases and even cancer. But what about the health of our pets? Can juicing benefit them, too?

I know, you’re thinking, "How am I going to get my dog to drink kale juice?" Trust me, I can barely get my husband to do that. But what if the by-products of creating healthy, delicious juices for ourselves could be turned into healthy treats for our pets?

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When you juice your fruits and vegetables, you end up with a lot of pulp... healthy, fiber-filled, nutritionally dense pulp. And what do you do with it? Most of the time I just chuck it into the garbage disposal. However, saving the pulp can greatly benefit your pets.

Try mixing the pulp and some of your pets' food with a little unflavored yogurt to make it a more palatable for those picky eaters. Yogurt also provides probiotics, which help with digestion and immune system health. Dogs love carrots, peas and sweet potatoes, and may enjoy the direct addition of the pulp to their regular meals.

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Avoid feeding the pulp of apples and other very sugary fruits as dogs don't tolerate these well, and never feed onions, garlic or grapes as these are toxic.

Adding all-natural coconut oil to the mixture of pet food and fruit/veggie pulp can also help to improve your dog's coat, lubricate his joints, boost his immune system and prolong his health in his senior years. Coconut oil is just as beneficial for your canine as it is for you and your entire family.

Photo credit: HeikeRau/iStock/360/Getty Images

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Here's a healthy treat recipe for your pups that you can make at home from your juice pulp:

  • 8 cups juice pulp, pressed dry with napkins
  • 1 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and then spread thinly onto two baking sheets. Use a pizza cutter or serrated knife to score the treats into desired shapes and sizes. Place in the oven at 175 degrees F for 2 hours, flipping once during cooking. If the treats are not completely crunchy, reduce heat to 135 and continue cooking until dry. Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Photo credit: Jonathan Ross/Hemera/360/Getty Images
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