As you whip up a lovely green salad for yourself, you might be tempted to toss a veggie or two to your pampered pooch as she gives you her best puppy-dog eyes, hoping for a snack. It’s healthy, right?
What’s healthy for you isn’t necessarily safe for your dog. If you’re a table-scrap tosser, you might be wondering: What vegetables can dogs eat? You want your dog to have a well-balanced diet, so let’s take a look at the vegetables dogs can eat, which ones aren’t safe or healthy for our canine companions, and some other tips for a healthy dog diet!
Things to Know Before Giving Vegetables to Your Dog
Like anything, introducing vegetables into your dog’s diet has some benefits and drawbacks. Here are some things to consider before you go too crazy with the table scraps.
Veggies Offer Variety
The occasional table scrap and healthy veggie can add variety and interest to your dog’s daily diet. Sharing a special moment with you while you cook dinner can be great for both your dog’s body and their mind! Variety is an important part of your dog’s daily life and letting them try new vegetables, even just occasionally, can be exciting and fun. Even if they spit them out, it’s a new experience!
Vegetables Are a Bonus for Dogs
A dog’s diet should never be vegetable-centric. In fact, just the opposite: what a dog eats in a day should be 40 to 70 percent protein! Dogs are descended from their wild ancestors, who were carnivores, and their natural eating habits should be honored. Salads and vegetable mixes don’t make a sufficient meal for a canine – they need protein from egg, meat, and maybe even beans. That carrot or sweet potato bite should be an occasional treat, not a steady diet.
How to Prepare Vegetables for Dogs
Wondering how to prepare vegetables for dogs? Good news – you don’t have to! Your dog can eat most of the dog friendly vegetables on this list raw. So when you’re chopping that salad, feel free to just hand one over.
But prepared vegetables – baked, cooked, steamed, and even pureed – can also be a delight for your pooch. Cooking vegetables also reduces the risk of choking. Dogs with sensitive teeth or gums also might have a hard time chewing on raw veggies, so they’ll appreciate how the vegetables will soften during the cooking time.
If you decide you want to prepare the vegetables before giving them over to your canine companion, remember not to include any oils, cooking fats, seasoning, or salt. These items aren’t healthy for your pet.
Everything in Balance – Even Dog Friendly Vegetables!
It’s important to remember that everything in your dog’s daily routine needs to be balanced. Too much exercise can leave them sore, and too little exercise can make them overweight. Too much time alone can make them bored, and too much playtime with you can be overstimulating. That same careful balance applies to your dog’s diet, and especially to the amount of table scraps and human food your dog gets.
In addition to watching out for the vegetables and foods dogs should not eat, you need to watch how often you give your pet these dog friendly vegetables. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing – so don’t be too liberal with the table scraps!
Vegetables Dogs Can Eat
Now that you have some background, here are some of the best vegetables for dogs:
- Green Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
Some of these veggies come with special warnings, so read on for more information.
If you have a toddler, you’ve likely had a pea or two (or 500) fall onto the floor and get snapped up by your dog. This might leave you wondering – are peas good for dogs?
You’ll be relieved to hear that the answer is yes, so you can keep running your canine vacuum! Peas are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, and they’re also a decent source of protein and fiber.
Can dogs eat carrots? Yes! Carrots are jam-packed with vitamins. They make a great canine snack because they are low in calories and easy on the digestive system, even when eaten raw. Raw carrots are definitely a crunchy snack, which is fun for our pets with strong teeth. But carrots will need to be cooked for senior dogs and those with sensitive mouths.
Especially because this vegetable is long and stringy, even the pet owners who know a lot about dog diets are still not sure. Can dogs eat green beans? Good news – this vegetable is another resounding yes on the dog friendly vegetable list!
Green beans of all varieties are great for dogs to eat as a snack. Like carrots, they are rich in fiber and vitamins and low in calories. You can even feed canned green beans to your dog, as long as there is no added sodium or seasonings.
Celery is a crunchy vegetable that your dog will enjoy immensely, and rumor has it that it might even freshen his breath (bonus!).
In addition to the vitamins and minerals in this veggie snack, your dog is also getting a lot of healthy hydration from celery. Celery is about 95 percent water.
Brussels sprouts are super nutritious and delicious for your pet. They provide a source of vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, which support your dog’s mobility.
Brussels sprouts come with a small but significant warning (more for you than them): they can cause gas. As with any new food, introduce brussels sprouts to your pooch slowly and see how the new food affects their digestive system. If it doesn’t get too smelly, Brussels sprouts can make a great treat for Fido.
Potatoes – Both White and Sweet
Cooked white and sweet potatoes can both be an excellent source of carbohydrates for dogs. Never give your dog a raw piece of potato, though – raw potatoes have solanine that is poisonous for dogs (more on that below – solanine is also found in unripe tomatoes).
You also want to be extra careful about quantities when it comes to feeding potatoes to your dog. They are high on the glycemic index, so overdoing it with potatoes could give your dog blood-sugar or weight problems.
Vegetables Dogs Should Not Eat
Now that you’re opening up your pet’s horizons to the wonderful world of dog friendly vegetables, it’s important to know the veggies that aren’t so friendly to your pooch – and might even be toxic. These include:
- Tomatoes (especially unripened)
- Corn on the cob
- Alliums (garlic, chives, onion, leeks, and shallots)
Dogs Should Avoid Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes, while tasty and sweet, are also very acidic. They can cause gastrointestinal distress for your dog, so just keep an eye on them if they get a hold of a ripe tomato. But if your dog gets his paws on an unripened or green tomato – or worse, the woody stem and leaves of this plant – the consequences are more severe.
The stem, leaves, and unripe flesh of a tomato contain a substance called solanine which is poisonous to dogs and might make them lethargic. If your dog takes a bite of unripened tomato or chews on your tomato plant, call your veterinarian immediately.
Corn on the Cob Is a Choking Hazard
Corn on the cob might seem like the perfect vegetable snack for dogs – part yummy sweet corn, and part bone – but don’t be fooled. Corn on the cob is a major choking hazard and should never be given to your dog. Plus, corn doesn’t have much nutritional value, so your pooch isn’t missing out.
Alliums Are Toxic to Dogs
Most kitchens are chocked full of vegetables from the allium family: shallots, garlic, onions, chives, and leeks. These are all super flavorful, tasty vegetables for humans – but these are foods dogs should not eat, ever. They are highly toxic to your pooch and can cause anemia.
Remember this especially if you’re thinking about handing over a bite of a prepared vegetable, like a side dish you’ve made to go with dinner. Steamed broccoli is fine for your pooch. But once you add minced garlic to it, it’s off limits!
Mushrooms Aren’t Great for Dogs
Wild mushrooms should definitely be avoided. Don’t let your dog go munching down on fungus in the forest or those mushrooms that pop up in yards in the spring – they might be poisonous! While store-bought mushrooms aren’t going to make your dog sick, they are rarely appealing and they don’t offer enough nutritional value to be worth it. Instead of a mushroom, offer your dog a snack from our list of dog friendly vegetables instead.
Rhubarb Can Cause Canine Nerve Issues
The summer rhubarb season is a special time and rhubarb pie is an extra special treat – for humans only. While this veggie isn’t super common in most kitchens, it’s important to know that it’s one of the foods dogs should not eat. Not only can rhubarb irritate your pooch’s mouth, it can also cause kidney stones and even damage your dog’s nervous system.
Introduce a Dog Friendly Vegetable to Your Pooch Today
A well-rounded dog diet is important to your pet’s overall wellness, so it’s great that you’re thinking about the vegetables dogs can eat and which ones aren’t safe. We want our pet to experience a wide range of flavors and foods, so consider adding a yummy, dog friendly vegetable snack to their daily routine!