Vegetables are essential to your dog’s diet.
Although dogs are primarily carnivorous, they can also benefit from a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in fresh vegetables.
Unfortunately, many dogs turn up their noses at vegetables, usually because they don’t smell interesting, so you may need to jazz up the veggies a bit.
Can You Feed a Dog … Carrots?
The first time I gave my Dachshund, Hank, a carrot, he looked at me as if I were insane. What on earth was this hard, odorless, orange thing I was shoving at his muzzle?
But after a little convincing — and a few tricks — he now looks forward to this vegetable as a tasty treat.
So, can dogs be fed carrots? Absolutely.
- Carrots in their raw form can help dogs maintain strong teeth because of the amount of chewing involved; these veggies also act as a great polishing agent to keep your canine’s bright smile shining.
- Nutritionally speaking, dogs can benefit from carrots just as humans can — the fiber, antioxidants, low number of calories and high concentration of beta-carotene are welcome additions to a balanced diet.
- For older dogs prone to sensitivity and irritation in the mouth area, cook or puree carrots and add them to their dog food. But don’t worry — the softened vegetable will maintain most of its nutrients.
Feeding Vegetables to Dogs
Not all dogs love carrots. If your dog turns up their nose at carrots, there are several other healthy veggie options you can choose from to supplement the diet.
But don’t just feed your dog anything from the scrap table. The ASPCA has published a list of people foods that are toxic to dogs and other animals, and it’s a good idea to take a look before feeding your dog foods you eat yourself.
In other words, do your homework on what’s best for your dog to eat and always talk to your veterinarian about any dietary changes for your pet.
Safe, Nutritious Veggie Options
With a few exceptions (onions, garlic and excessive amounts of tomatoes), vegetables are healthy for dogs — especially vibrantly colored ones high in the same vitamins that human bodies crave.
Choose the same quality of veggies that you’d serve your family, using them to supplement your pet’s regular diet.
My favorite vegetables to give dogs:
- Baby carrots
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Green beans
- Pureed spinach
They also enjoy strawberries, melon and fresh pumpkin.
Getting Your Dog to Eat Vegetables
The easiest way to get your dog to eat vegetables (and love them) is to trick the dog and mask those veggies.
- Purée 1 package of frozen spinach and 1 package of frozen broccoli.
- Press out the water.
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Your dog will be so busy lapping up the broth that they won’t notice the green stuff in it. Over time, add less broth until they’re eating only the pureed vegetables.
Dice the Vegetables if Your Dog Doesn’t Like Them
If your dog still objects, do this:
- Mix small amounts of vegetables into the regular food.
- Dice the veggies so your pup can’t root around for the “good stuff” and ignore them. (Pureed carrots are especially good for this maneuver.)
- Once your dog decides veggies are OK, give them as treats or regular meal supplements.
Keep in mind that although vegetables are low in fat and high in nutrients, they still contain calories. When you give your dog veggies, stay within the pet’s daily allotment of calories.