For many of us, carrots are a staple vegetable. They are nutritious, taste delicious, and are very versatile. Raw, boiled, steamed, roasted, mashed, juiced… there are so many possibilities!
Because they are so good for us, it is natural to wonder whether we can safely share these tasty treats with our dogs too.
So, can we safely feed dogs carrots? Are there any benefits to feeding carrots? And how can you best prepare carrots for your canine companion?
Are carrots safe for dogs?
The short answer to this question is, yes!
When prepared correctly and fed in moderation, carrots are a safe, healthy, and tasty treat for our four-legged friends!
They are packed with a generous selection of nutrients that dogs can benefit from too. Carrots are a healthy alternative to commercial treats which are suitable for most dogs.
Not only can dogs eat the standard orange carrot, but they can have yellow, purple, white, or red carrots and baby carrots too.
How many carrots should I feed my dog?
It is important to remember that the main source of nutrition for your dog should always come from complete and balanced dog food. In fact, it is recommended that only 10% of your dog’s diet is made up of treats.
Complete diets have been specially formulated to provide all of the nutrients your dog needs, so you don’t need to worry about adding in a variety of additional foods to keep him healthy.
Your veterinarian will be able to guide you about portion sizes for your own pooch because this will depend on his life stage, body condition, exercise levels, and any health conditions that he may have.
What are the benefits of feeding carrots to dogs?
Carrots are packed with vitamins and minerals which are healthy for not only us humans, but for our dogs too. What’s more, carrots are lower in calories than many of the commercially available dog treats and are generally a much healthier alternative.
Dogs love variety, so adding a small amount of carrots to his feeding routine will probably go down a treat!
Carrots contain plenty of B Carotene which is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to maintain vision, especially in low light and at night.
Vitamin A is also important for supporting the immune system and is necessary for good skin and coat health too. They contain plenty of other healthy nutrients also, such as vitamin C, vitamin K1, and potassium.
Carrots are packed full of fiber; this helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels which is important for heart health. Fiber can also help to keep bowel movements regular, and because fiber adds bulk to a dog’s stools, carrots can be beneficial for some pooches suffering from diarrhea.
Speak to your veterinarian first if your dog has diarrhea to make sure he doesn’t need any other treatment, and to check that carrots are suitable for him.
Eating carrots can support dental health and help to keep teeth clean. The mechanical action of the carrot against the tooth as a dog chews helps to remove food particles from the teeth.
That said, feeding carrots doesn’t take the place of manually brushing the teeth with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste – this is the best way to keep your dog’s teeth in good condition.
What are the downsides to feeding carrots?
Any treat must be fed in moderation, and it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian if you are in any doubt about whether it is safe to feed human food to your dog.
Feeding your dog too many carrots can cause diarrhea, so it is important just to give a small amount at a time. Some of our canine companions have particularly sensitive stomachs or even food allergies, so even a mouthful of human food could cause a digestive upset.
Just like other fruit and vegetables, carrots do contain natural sugars, and excess sugar can lead to weight gain. Obesity is associated with lots of health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems, and can increase the risk of some cancers. Therefore, it is important to keep your pet in a healthy body condition and not give him too many treats.
How should I serve my dog carrots?
Whenever you are introducing a new type of food into your dog’s meal plan, it is important to start by offering him just a small amount first. This means that you will be able to check the carrots don’t upset his stomach.
Just like when we prepare fresh fruit and vegetables for ourselves, it is always important to wash the carrots first to remove any dirt or pesticides.
Some dogs love the texture of raw carrots. In fact, some dogs even love to chew on frozen carrots! However, if your dog just doesn’t love the crunch, then it is safe to steam, boil or even microwave his carrots. Just avoid adding any butter, seasonings, or spices because this could cause gastrointestinal upset.
One of the most important things to recognize with carrots is that they are a choking hazard. For this reason, they should be fed in bite-sized chunks only, either by slicing the carrot into rounds or by cutting them into small sticks.
If you find that your puppy is suffering from teething, then you can try feeding him very small pieces of frozen carrot… this can work a treat at soothing his sore teeth and gums!
However, puppies are at an even higher risk of choking, so make sure any carrot is chopped into very small bite-sized pieces first.
It is always advisable to speak to your veterinarian before introducing any new type of food into your dog’s diet to ensure it is safe to do so.
When fed in moderation and properly prepared, carrots are a safe and healthy snack that we can safely share with our canine companions. It is important to give your dog only bite-sized pieces of carrot at a time because they can be a choking hazard.
The good news is that carrots are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are a lower-calorie alternative to many commercially available dog treats.
Rosa graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2016 and since then has worked in both charity and private practice. She enjoys all areas of clinical practice, but is currently undertaking a post-graduate certificate focussing on small animal medicine.
You are cooking when, suddenly, your dog looks at you. You want to give him a little treat but you wonder if he can eat the food you are holding in your hand.
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