There are many fruits and vegetables that can make for tasty treats for both you and your dog, including carrots.
Dogs are naturally carnivorous - so even though dogs may not necessarily need vegetables, they can be used as a supplement to a meat-based diet.
Read on to find out more about the potential benefits of feeding your dog carrots, and how to do so safely.
Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
Yes, your dog can eat carrots. Because of their nutrient-dense properties, raw and cooked carrots can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. Every part of the carrot can be good for dogs, including the leafy greens at the top. Many dogs love the flavor of a carrot, especially when enjoyed as a crunchy treat.
However, carrots should not be used as a full meal substitute from your dog’s primary food. Carrots contain higher amounts of natural sugar than other vegetables, so while they are safe for dogs to eat, they should be enjoyed in moderation. Too high of a sugar intake could cause weight gain, which could lead to other health issues later in your pup’s life. It also could cause an upset tummy if introduced too quickly.
Just remember: While carrots are highly nutritious, they should still be used only as an occasional treat, fed in small amounts and balanced with a healthy source of protein. For example, Our free-range dehydrated chicken entree balances organic carrots and other healthy vegetables with nutritious protein.
Carrot Nutrition Facts
Below is the nutrition information for 1 cup raw, chopped carrots according to the USDA:
- 53 Calories
- 1.19 grams protein
- 12.3 grams carbohydrates
- 3.58 grams dietary fiber
- 21400 IU Vitamin A
- 10,600 mcg Beta Carotene
- 410 mg Potassium
- 16.9 mcg Vitamin K
Benefits of Feeding Carrots
Carrots are a great option for a low-calorie snack that you dog can enjoy. They are packed densely with nutrients and antioxidants making them a perfect healthy option for a quick treat.
According to a study by The British Journal of Nutrition, vitamin A is essential for a dog’s well-being. It supports overall health, a good immune response, healthy reproduction, bone growth and cellular differentiation. It can also aid with decreasing the likelihood of eye infections and can help keep your pup’s peepers in tip-top shape.
How to Prepare Carrots for Dogs
Because dogs have different digestive systems than people do, they can’t always eat things prepared in a way that we would.
Start by feeding baby carrots, and work your way towards a higher intake (with vet approval) rather than starting with a large portion. Cutting carrots too large could present a choking hazard, especially to smaller dogs. Additionally, feeding too many carrots too quickly can cause gastric upset, which means a gassy pup and a potential to cause diarrhea. Not fun for anyone.
Similar to dog treats, carrots should only take up roughly 3% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. This way, it won’t spoil their diet and won’t cause an upset tummy.
Here are a few useful tips to keep in mind when preparing carrots for your dog:
1. Cook them or keep them raw
Dogs can eat carrots either cooked or raw. Studies have suggested that cooking or feeding pureed carrots can lead to a better absorption of beta carotene, one of the key nutrients found in carrots. However, many experts recommend feeding chopped or peeled carrots to your pup as a crunchy snack. You can play around with textures to see which your furry friend prefers.
2. Use carrots to balance a healthy meal
If you are unsure as to whether or not your dog likes carrots, try incorporating them into a meal that you know they love. Adding carrots to your pup’s bowl can increase the nutrients in a meal and can give it a fun new taste for them to enjoy.
3. Try the freezer
If you have a puppy that is teething, they may enjoy munching on a frozen carrot to ease their discomfort. Not only will the cool temperature feel nice on their gums, but carrots can provide a slew of vitamins and minerals for your pup, too. If you decide to try this, make sure you’re not feeding a puppy baby carrots, as they can pose a choking hazard.
4. Choose organic
If possible, buy organic produce. This helps keep pesticides off the vegetables you feed to your pet (and yourself).
5. Always wash your produce
Just like humans, dogs don’t like to eat unwashed produce. If you buy non-organic, make sure you give the veggie a rinse, so that your pup can enjoy it to the fullest.
6. Bite-size can be better
If your dog loves to inhale their food, cut up the carrots you are serving into bite-sized chunks for them to enjoy. This will prevent the potential of a choking hazard, and it can also encourage your pup to eat a little more slowly.
Remember: Always Consult Your Vet
The most important thing is to do your own research and always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet. Even if they may be good for you, that might not always be the case for your four-legged friend.