What Are The Best Vegetables For Dogs? We Discuss
Are vegetables good for dogs? Whether you are making homemade dog food (raw or cooked), or just want a wholesome treat to enrich your dog’s diet, vegetables are (almost) always a good idea.
But what are some good vegetables for dogs? Let’s jump straight in and go over the best options. If you need help with understanding how exactly to introduce veggies in your furry friend’s diet, skip to the bottom of the article.
Types of Vegetables Best for Dogs
Carrots are one of the loveliest veggies you can feed your dog! They are crunchy, they are full of vitamins, and they are quite tasty which makes it more likely that your dog will like them.
My dog hates carrots and only eats them cooked and thoroughly blended with other food, but many dogs love to munch on raw carrots as a snack.
A piece of carrot is a nutritious low-calorie snack which is a benefit in itself. You might have also heard that carrots are good for your eyes, and that holds true for dogs too!
The same beta-carotene that carrots are chock full of is a great antioxidant, and carrots are quite rich in fibre which can aid your dog’s digestion.
Carrots are pretty safe for dogs and it’s quite difficult to do something wrong when feeding carrots. Still, they are quite sweet so it’s recommended to keep the doses limited if your dog is diabetic or obese (2)
There is a reason why sweet potatoes are called a superfood - they are packed with all sorts of nutrients! They can be eaten raw, but it’s probably better to boil, bake, or steam them before feeding them to your pooch since most dogs aren’t attracted to sweet potatoes and any chunks swallowed might prove difficult to digest.
Sweet potatoes are very similar to carrots in terms of the benefits they offer. Just like carrots, sweet potatoes support eye health as well as skin and coat health because they are rich in beta-carotene.
Since they are full of insoluble fibre, sweet potatoes can also be used as an occasional supplement to aid your dog’s digestion.
“Like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are also a starchy carbohydrate. That means they can cause blood sugar spikes. And they can feed bacteria and yeast in your dog’s gut, which leads to itching and ear infections.” - Marie Gagne, Dogs Naturally (3)
What this means is that sweet potatoes definitely shouldn’t be the main ingredient in your dog’s diet. Use them only as an occasional treat and keep the dosage low!
Beetroot is a frequent ingredient in dog food, mostly because it’s cheap. Even more frequently, beet pulp is used as a source of fibre - because it’s an even cheaper byproduct. But beets are a nutrient powerhouse. When feeding them to your dog, we recommend mashed or pureed cooked beetroots. Those are easier on a dog’s stomach.
The occasional dose of beets can be a great way to give your pooch the daily dose of vitamins and fibre.
Like some other veggies, beetroot contains a dose of oxalic acid. Too much of this can cause poisoning in dogs and might reduce the absorption of magnesium and calcium from food (4). But, as long as you keep the dosage low and use beets only occasionally, your pooch will most certainly be fine.
Raw or cooked, celery is always a nice treat both for humans and canines. Not all dogs like celery, though, but give it a shot and see how your pooch responds.
This crunchy veg is a great treat for dogs who need to watch their calorie intake since it’s very low in fat. It can also help freshen up your dog’s breath.
None, as long as you keep the dosage within limits.
Capsicum is a wonderful pet snack that is often overlooked. Crunchy, sweet, and full of flavour, slices of capsicum are a favourite treat for many dogs.
Capsicum is super rich in vitamin C which is an important antioxidant. Occasionally snacking on capsicums can help boost your dog’s immune system and keep them healthy overall.
Capsicum is totally safe for dogs as long as you don’t feed excessive amounts.
Leafy greens like silverbeet, spinach, kale, and cabbage are all nice additions to your dog’s diet.
All leafy greens are a rich source of fibre, which can aid your dog’s digestion. They are also full of antioxidants that support healthy ageing.
Not all dogs respond well to leafy greens, especially when they are fed in larger amounts. For some dogs, these can cause stomach upset and excessive gas, so make sure to watch your dog for signs of tummy problems the first time you introduce leafy greens.
OK, pumpkins are actually classified as fruits, but most people tend to think of them as vegetables (at least I know I do). In any case, they are one of the best veggie/fruit supplements you can give to your dog! Fresh, canned, baked, or as a puree - you can always add pumpkin to your pup’s dinner bowl
Pumpkin is often mentioned as a source of prebiotic fibre for dogs. And, yes, pumpkin is quite rich in fibre, so it can help bulk up your pup’s stool and it can even help resolve minor tummy problems.
Pumpkin is generally safe for dogs if fed in moderate amounts. Keep in mind that it’s very high in calories, so don’t overdo it if your dog needs to lose weight.
If using canned pumpkin, make sure to double-check the ingredient list for additives, some of which might not be suitable for dogs.
Think Twice: Questionable Veggies for a Dog’s Diet
While we think that veggies are a great supplement for a dog’s diet, not all veggies are great for your canine companion. These are some you should be careful about.
You’ve probably heard this one already, but let’s say it again, just in case: onions are bad for dogs. All veggies from the allium family contain certain compounds that can be toxic to dogs. This includes onions, leeks, shallots, chives, and garlic (more on this one below).
While your dog most likely won’t instantly die from a tiny bit of onion, we still recommend keeping your dog away from alliums in any form. So before you feed your dog some leftovers from lunch, think about whether there are some onions in there.
Garlic is also a plant from the allium family, but the story of this one is a bit more complicated. You might have seen garlic on the ingredient lists of some dog foods. That’s because garlic is full of healthy components, and it even has strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. For this reason, some pet parents do choose to introduce garlic in small amounts.
“Many holistic veterinarians and health care experts believe that feeding doses up to 1 small clove of garlic per 20 pounds of body weight per day are not likely to pose problems for dogs. When used topically for wounds or ear infections, it is harmless.” - CJ Puotinen, Whole Dog Journal (5)
Still, we don’t recommend adding garlic to your dog’s diet, especially if you don’t have a good reason. And if you decide to do so anyways, make sure to watch your dog closely for any adverse reactions.
Raw potatoes are not OK for dogs. They are toxic because they contain solanine. Cooked potatoes, on the other hand, are theoretically fine. But still, there is pretty much no reason to add potatoes to your dog’s diet, as they are full of carbs and not the healthiest veg.
How Much Veg Should a Dog Eat?
Veggies are a great supplement to a dog’s diet, but they should always be fed in moderation. No matter where you stand on dogs being carnivores vs omnivores debate, one thing is certain: dogs need meat and that should be the main part of their diet.
To stay on the safe side, fruits and veggies should make up around 10% of your dog’s diet. Some pet parents who make their own dog food go higher and include up to 25% of veg, but that’s the absolute maximum and we don’t recommend going that high without consulting your vet.
Tips for adding vegetables to your dog’s food:
- Start slowly. If your dog hasn’t been eating any fresh vegetables, start with very small amounts. Canines tend to be very sensitive to any changes in their diets, so it’s important to go slow.
- Use veggies as snacks. Some dogs love munching on various vegetables, and if that’s the case with your pooch, you can simply use vegetable chunks as an occasional healthy treat.
- Stay away from seasoning. You can add veggies in any form to your dog’s food, be it fresh, steamed, cooked, or pureed, but always make sure there is no seasoning - or at least not a lot of it. So, if you want to offer your pooch some of the same veg you are eating, make sure to set a portion aside before you add any seasoning.
- Kvamme, J. Apri 4, 2012. “Do Carrots Naturally Improve Your Dog's Vision?”. PetMD. Retrieved November 30, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_can_carrots_improve_dog_eyesight
- PetMD Editorial. August 20, 2022. “Can Dogs Eat Carrots?”. PetMD. Retrieved November 30, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-carrots
- Gagne, M. February 14, 2022. “What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?”. Dogs Naturally. Retrieved November 30, 2022. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/what-vegetables-can-dogs-eat/
- “Oxalates (Soluble) Poisoning in Dogs”. Wag!. Retrieved November 30, 2022. https://wagwalking.com/condition/oxalates-soluble-poisoning
- Puotinen, CJ. February 9, 2018. “13 Household Items Toxic to Dogs”. Whole Dog Journal. Retrieved November 30, 2022. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/author/cj-puotinen/