Imagine the following situation: you’ve had a very busy month and have forgotten to order the replacement food for your pooch. You’re starting to notice that your dog is nosing around – it’s pretty obvious that he wants a treat. Unfortunately, you’re out of treats and simply can’t give him one.
But still, you decide to open the fridge and check out if there’s anything you could give him. At that moment, your eyes spot a pack of carrots in the corner of the fridge. Your dog is still looking at you with his big, beautiful eyes, so you pick up the carrots and start wondering – are carrots good for my pet?
Can I Give My Dog Carrots? YES, Definitely
The carrot sticks are actually widely considered to be among the healthiest alternatives to the standard pet treats. The obesity rates in dogs are over 50% in the US, which means that many of our furry companions could actually benefit eating treats that won’t make them even more obese.
For the caring pet owners, the carrots are a nutritious and an affordable snack – it’s almost the perfect thing for rewarding the pooch for his good behavior. Let’s take a look at the list of benefits that this type of vegetable can bring to your four-legged companion:
- Vitamin A
As you can probably already guess, the Vitamin A is something that provides the pet with a lot of nutritional benefits. Not only does this vitamin support the dog’s eye health, but it also boosts his immune system and supports his coat and skin health.
The dogs with Vitamin A deficiency are, actually, very rare, as this is an essential nutrient for these animals and is a required additive in almost all commercially produced dog foods. Those that make dog food at home or only purchase supplemental foods will have to add some of this vitamin to their pet’s meals.
The Vitamin A is a so-called fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it’s also capable of becoming toxic by building up in the body. This is why we advise you not to exaggerate with the items that contain it.
When you were little, your parents probably told you that eating carrots is very good for your eyesight. They weren’t lying! Beta-Carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A, and one of the most well-known carotenoids and antioxidants. Due to the walls of not-digestible cellulose that come together with carrots, one has to cook these vegetables before giving them to his pooch.
One thing is certain – they are rich in soluble fiber. Just three ounces of small carrots contain over two grams of fiber, which can come in quite helpful in case your furry companion has a loose stool. The fiber inside the carrots is guaranteed to add bulkiness to his stool.
One very important thing here is to be slow with adding carrots to the pet’s diet. They can easily cause an intestinal upset if the pup isn’t used to extra fiber. Make sure that your dog has plenty of water at his disposal, as it could help him with getting all that fiber through his digestive system.
- Low Fat, Low Calorie
If you’re an owner of a pooch that really likes to eat, giving him carrots between the feedings would be a very wise decision. These vegetables are low fat and low calorie, which makes them one of the healthiest treat options that there are.
- The Dental Health
All dog parents have a certain challenge to face – the pet’s dental health. If you start brushing the dog’s teeth while he’s still young, he will eventually learn to tolerate a daily brushing session. In an ideal kind of situation, he’ll even enjoy it.
Those adopting a senior dog whose teeth weren’t brushed from the young age will undoubtedly find some plaque buildup on his teeth. If your current dog has this problem, a wise decision would be to take him to a professional who will clean up the plaque. After that, it’s essential to add some tough chews to the pup’s routine and thus prevent any additional buildup.
There are many types of these chews to choose from, and the raw carrot is among the best ones – it tastes delicious and has a very crunchy texture. These vegetables will gently scrap the pup’s teeth and thus support his dental health.
However, as we mentioned earlier, not every puppy will be able to digest the raw baby carrots due to the walls of cellulose that protect the cells of these vegetables. If you want to reap all those nutritional benefits that come with the carrots, you’ll have to steam or cook them.
What About Eating Raw Carrots?
Yes, they can – but that doesn’t go for all dogs. As we said, the hardness of the raw carrots is something that promotes the pup’s dental health, and the full-grown dog can be given a whole standard-sized carrot.
However, the best way to serve the carrots to your pet is to cook them. In that way, you’ll reap all the nutritional benefits and prevent this vegetable from becoming a choking hazard. To cook the carrots, follow these steps:
- Use a brush to remove the dirt from the carrots. Do this under running water, below the faucet in your kitchen.
- Take a knife and trim off the ends. Use a peeler to peel the vegetables, but try to keep as much of the surface as you can – it’s where all the vitamins are.
- Add one teaspoon of salt and two cups of water to your saucepan.
- Cut the carrots into circular slices. Washed and trimmed, they’re ready for the cooking!
- Boil the water (with added salt) and slowly add the carrots. Cover the saucepan and leave it boiling for about five to ten minutes. Test the tenderness with a knife.
- If you want, you can sprinkle the mixture with parsley flakes and minced onion flakes.
That’s it – a healthy, colorful meal is ready for your pooch!
What Vegetables Are Good For Dogs?
The standard dog food is optimized for the needs of most dogs, but adding some vegetables is guaranteed to provide every pooch with some extra health benefits. Let’s take a look at the best veggies you could give to your pup:
Broccoli – the stalks of broccoli can help the pooch fight the arthritic inflammation and also boost his immunity. This veggie can also act as the natural toothbrush that will remove the plaque from the dog’s teeth while he’s chewing it. Just don’t give too much of it to the pup, as that could upset his digestive system.
Sweet Potato – pureed, mashed, or cooked, the sweet potatoes are very healthy for the pup’s stomach and will undoubtedly boost his system with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Of course, you shouldn’t give whole potatoes to your pooch – cut it into wedges and thus prevent the risk of choking. Replacing one-quarter of your pet’s standard food with sweet potatoes is guaranteed to boost his health.
Pumpkin – pumpkins are rich in fiber, and that can be very helpful to pets who are suffering from diarrhea or constipation. Most pups love the taste of pumpkin, so you can replace some of your pet’s meal with it and help his bowels get back into a normal state.
Mushrooms – mushrooms can help with the allergies and stimulate the immune system. But the main issue here is that, as you know, some mushrooms are toxic. This is why it’s important to talk with your vet before you decide to add some mushrooms to your pet’s diet.
Green Beans – If you have an obese puppy, you could try replacing about 5% of his meal with green beans. These veggies are rich in fiber and can be beneficial to the pup’s bowel movement. They are also high in healthy omega-3s.
Asparagus – adding a couple of ounces of steamed asparagus will add some vitamins, minerals, flavor, and variety to your dog’s meals. Make sure to cut the asparagus into small pieces and thus remove the risk of choking.
Kale – this sort of vegetable comes with tons of benefits – it’s of great help with fighting allergies, arthritis, urinary tract issues, and heart diseases. Too much of it can cause bloating, so make sure to add just one ounce of dried, chopped, or steamed kale to your pup’s bowl and boost his immune system.
Parsley – not only does this veggie bring beta-carotene for the dog’s eyes and potassium for his joints, but also acts as the ideal breath-freshener. Adding just a sprinkle of it is certain to quickly remove the bad breath.
Zucchini – a couple of ounces of shredded zucchini will add some fiber and water to the pet’s diet. It will also quickly fill up his stomach and remove the hunger.
As you can see, carrots are great for the dog’s health – adding some of them to his everyday food will make the pup healthier and happier. Follow the steps in our recipe and give your pet a tasty, healthy meal that he deserves!