They’re Good for Me… But Are Carrots Good for Dogs?
When I was a child, my parents always told me that carrots help us to see in the dark. Of course, they were trying to encourage me to eat my vegetables. However, there is some truth in what my parents said, since carrots contain vitamins that help our eyes function in low-light. But how about dogs? Can dogs eat carrots? Can carrots actually be bad for dogs?
In this post I’m going to discuss the health benefits and potential risks of feeding your dog carrots. I’ll also discuss how you might introduce carrots into your dog’s diet and provide examples and opportunities for you to do so.
I’ll be focussing on the following topic areas:
Table of Contents
- Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
- The Benefits of Carrots in a Canine Diet
- Can Carrots Be Bad for Dogs?
- How to Add Carrots into Your Dog’s Diet
Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
Yes… as a general rule, all dogs can eat carrots!
Carrots provide a whole range of vitamins and minerals that offer multiple health benefits for dogs. So including carrots into a canine diet as a “treat” is generally a healthy and safe practice.
However, as with any treat there are a few things you should bear in mind:
- Carrots should be used as an occasional treat or snack built around balanced meals that are high in protein.
- Dogs can’t digest raw carrots in the same way as cooked carrots. They can still eat raw carrots, but in order for dogs to gain the full nutritional benefit, they should be steamed or lightly cooked.
- As with any treat, overfeeding is unhealthy. A calorie is a calorie, and if your dog consumes more calories than it needs, it will become overweight… even if the treat provides important nutrition.
There are some foods that all dogs shouldn’t eat. Find out more about them in this guide to foods Whippets should avoid.
The Benefits of Carrots in a Canine Diet
According to the US Department of Agriculture, 100g of carrots contain the following nutritional values:
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|Total lipid (fat)||0g|
|Vitamin A||7051 IU|
Carrots are very low in calories and fat, which makes them an ideal snack for most dogs, especially overweight dogs and those with diabetes.
Conversely, carrots are high in fibre. Unlike other food groups like protein, fibre isn’t digested.
Fibre helps to make a dog’s stools easier to pass, and helps move waste through the digestive system quickly, preventing constipation.
Additionally, Carrots are vitamin A rich. Vitamin A helps to maintain eye health, keeps the skin and coat in good condition and boosts the immune system.
The potassium in carrots keeps a dog’s heart healthy, aids kidney function, maintains bone density at healthy levels and supports muscle growth.
Furthermore, carrots are packed with antioxidants such as Vitamin C, providing a further boost to the immune system. Antioxidants neutralise the effects of inflammation, which is a common symptom of many canine health problems.
Carrots also contain:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin K
Find out more about how nutrients help to keep dogs healthy in this post on WebMD.
Can Carrots Be Bad for Dogs?
While dogs can eat carrots, indeed they contain nutrients that are extremely beneficial, they can be bad for dogs too.
Before feeding carrots to your dog, you should always wash them beforehand to remove dirt and pesticides that might make it poorly.
Since carrots are high in fibre, introduce them into your dog’s diet gradually. Too much too soon, or over feeding, can cause gas or stomach upsets.
A dog could choke while eating a whole carrot. To avoid this, cut carrots into bite-sized pieces, especially if you have a small dog.
As I mentioned earlier, even healthy treats can have an unhealthy effect if you overfeed them to your dog. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention calls all treats “calorie grenades”, so you need to give them to your dog sensibly.
Carrots can be added to a dog’s diet as a healthy supplement, but take care not to overfeed, even with apparently healthy treats.
Supplemental treats should not total more than 10% of your dog’s recommended calorie intake.
Adding Carrots to Your Dog’s Diet
In order to gain the full nutritional benefit from carrots, lightly steam them before feeding them to your dog.
One of the easiest ways to add carrots to a dog’s diet is to grate or finely dice them and then add them into your preferred dog food. Grated carrot makes a great topping to a meal.
You can also steam or boil carrots,mash them up and mix them into your dog’s food.
For teething puppies, dice and boil or steam carrots, let them cool and then freeze them. Freezing carrots in this way are great for a puppy to chew on and eat.
Of course you can always bake your own dog treats that include carrot. For those of you who like baking there are dozens of treats you can make at home.
You could try this tasty and healthy carrot dog treat recipe I regularly make my Whippet Misty. I also have a great recipe for a carrot, pumpkin & peanut butter dog cake, that’s both gluten free and vegan.
Dogs can eat carrot, in fact introducing carrot is a healthy way to supplement your dog’s diet with the nutritional benefits carrots provide.
Dogs can eat carrot raw or cooked, but it’s better to steam or cook them to gain the maximum benefits they offer.
Carrots are low in calories, contain no lipid fats and provide dogs with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
While it’s lovely to give your dog treats, be careful not to give them too many.
Do you have any thoughts on incorporating carrots into a dog’s diet? Why not leave a comment below?