Just like fruits, vegetables are a good source of nutrients for both humans and dogs alike. However, most owners ask the question: can dogs eat vegetables? If yes, what vegetables can dog eat, and is there any vegetables that they should avoid?
After hours of research, I compiled two lists of vegetables – the first is those you can safely feed your dog, while the second lists those you should avoid. Vegetables can be a healthy and tasty snack if served correctly in moderate amounts.
I have structured this article such that you can be very clear on:
- The vegetables that your dog can eat
- The vegetables that you should avoid feeding your dog
- How to introduce vegetables into your dog’s diet
|Beets||Brussels Sprouts||Corn||Lettuce||Peas||Sweet Potatoes|
Vegetables Dogs Can Eat
Dogs can eat the vegetables listed here, but for some, limited consumption is advised. In general, fresh and frozen vegetables are much healthier and more recommended over canned vegetables, which may contain additives harmful to your dog.
Bell peppers can be a very healthy treat that contains capsaicin, phosphorous, magnesium, various vitamins, and fiber.
Excessive consumption can lead to stomach pain in some dogs, so do feed them in moderation. Also, the exterior skin can be hard to digest; cooking or pureeing them before feeding them to the dog will help digestion.
Brussels sprouts contain nutrients and antioxidants good for humans and dogs alike. Consuming them can help to protect the heart, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation.
A downside to consuming Brussel sprouts is the gas that they will produce. Therefore, limit your dog’s consumption to prevent stomach upset and diarrhea.
Carrots are a crunchy, low-calorie, and highly nutritious snack for dogs, containing vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. They are easily affordable and available, making them the go-to option when owners want to search for healthy snacks.
Do remember to cut the carrots into bite-size chunks before feeding to prevent choking. Also, it will be good to wash and peel the carrots thoroughly to remove any dirt and pesticides before treating your dog.
Celery is low in fat and cholesterol and contains nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, helping in heart health and immunity. Owners who worry about their dogs’ bad breath can also try feeding them this particular vegetable.
Contrary to the belief that corn is just a ‘filler’ in dog food, corn is a healthy ingredient with multiple nutritional benefits. Corn contains proteins, which are essential for maintaining healthy muscles and hair, and antioxidants, supporting their healthy immune system.
Do ensure that the corn that you feed to your dog is free of butter, oils, and other seasonings. Also, the corn cob may be a choking hazard, so remove the kernels from the cob before feeding them to your dog.
Cucumbers are low in fats, carbohydrates, and calories. They also contain nutrients such as biotin, copper, and vitamin K, C, and B1, making them a good choice for dogs on a dieting routine.
Overeating cucumbers may lead to stomach issues, so be sure to feed them in moderation.
All green beans, filled with important vitamins, minerals, and fiber and low in calories, are safe for dogs to consume.
However, avoid preparing the beans with other ingredients as you might potentially make them less healthy or even dangerous for your dogs to consume. Some ingredients to steer clear include salt, oils and spices, and other harmful vegetables (e.g., onions).
Dogs can eat lettuce, but they will not get as many nutritional benefits.
If you want your dog to eat healthily, you can try other alternatives, such as carrots and green beans.
Peas, often included in commercial dog food, can be a treat for your dog. They contain lutein, an antioxidant that is good for the skin, heart, and eyes.
However, peas also contain purines, a chemical compound that produces uric acid, and excess may lead to various kidney conditions. Therefore, avoid feeding dogs with kidney problems any peas.
While peas can be eaten fresh or frozen, it is best to avoid canned peas as they may contain other additives that are harmful to dogs.
Potatoes are rich in iron and can be fed to most dogs. However, raw potatoes can be hard to chew and digest. Cooking the potato before feeding it to your dog can significantly reduce the chances of digestive issues and choking.
Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which can help to improve their eyesight. Like potatoes, cooked sweet potatoes are fine for dogs, but raw ones can cause digestive issues.
When preparing the sweet potatoes, avoid additives such as sugar, milk, or oils which may turn the healthy snack into something unhealthy or cause digestive issues.
Vegetables Dogs Should Avoid
Although most vegetables on this list are safe to consume in small amounts, the hassle and complications that they bring are more than the nutritional value that your dog will get. It will be better to avoid them altogether and choose from the previous list with safer options.
Although asparagus does not contain toxins for dogs, I will caution owners who want to feed them to their dogs. This is because raw asparagus is too tough for most dogs to chew and digest thoroughly and safely, while cooked asparagus loses most of its nutrients that another fruit or vegetable will be a better choice.
While dogs can eat beets in small amounts, they are high in oxalates and are acidic. Therefore, dogs prone to kidney or bladder stones should avoid them at all costs. Also, their consumption can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea in dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Overall, beets are not suitable for some dogs, so if you are unsure whether your dog can take beets, avoid them and choose other safer alternatives.
Broccoli is safe to consume in small quantities by dogs, given their high fiber and vitamin C content and low fats. However, their florets may cause gastric irritation, and their stalks may obstruct the dogs’ esophagus.
To avoid any complications, I recommend not feeding your dogs any broccoli and choose some safer options such as carrots and green beans.
While not all mushrooms are toxic, those that are will deal a lethal blow to your dog when consumed. It can also be challenging for non-professionals to differentiate a poisonous mushroom from a non-poisonous one, so your best bet will be to avoid all mushrooms altogether.
Onions and other Alliums
Dogs should never touch onions or any plant that belongs to the Allium genus. Eating them can cause oxidative damage to the red blood cells and prevent them from carrying oxygen around the body .
It will take a few days after ingestion before symptoms that indicate a loss of red blood cells starts to show. However, some early signs you can look out for include a strong aromatic scent in the dog’s breath, vomiting, and diarrhea. If left untreated, Allium toxicosis can lead to your dog’s red blood cells being destroyed faster than they can be made, leading to eventual death.
Generally speaking, feeding your dog spinach in moderation should be fine. However, there is a chemical compound called oxalic acid in spinach that can cause kidney issues in large amounts.
While you will need to feed your dog a considerable amount of spinach to get this problem, why take the risk when there are other safer options? Carrots and green beans are two safer and healthier alternatives for your dog.
Technically, tomatoes are considered fruits in scientific terms, but most families view them as a vegetable, so we included it under this post.
Tomato plants contain a substance called solanine, which can be harmful to dogs in large quantities. However, they are usually concentrated in the stem, the leaves, and the unripe tomatoes, so ripe tomatoes are generally safe to feed. Then again, ripe tomatoes are acidic, which may cause stomach upsets in dogs with sensitive stomachs.
To steer clear of any complications, it will be best to avoid feeding tomatoes altogether and choose other healthy and safer vegetables to feed your dog.
Introducing Vegetables to Your Dog
Although dogs are omnivores, most pet dogs are not used to having vegetables as part of their diet. As such, owners have to give their furry friends some time to get accustomed to the taste and texture of vegetables. Listed below are some tips that you can keep in mind as you prepare fruity snacks for your dog:
Avoid Processed Vegetables
Processed vegetables, such as canned vegetables, should be avoided as they may contain additives that are not healthy or potentially dangerous for your dog. Canned vegetables often include a lot of salt for preservative purposes, and research has shown that consuming excessive salt can cause hypertension in dogs .
Prepare It Carefully Without Additives
Always remember the parts that you should remove and ensure that you remove them entirely from the portions you will feed to your dog. Washing thoroughly to remove any dirt and pesticides is very important.
To reduce the chances of your dog choking or experiencing digestion issues, chop the vegetables into bite-size chunks or use preparation methods such as pureeing.
Also, refrain from adding additives, such as oil, salt, butter, and spices, to make the vegetables’ tastier’ for your dog. Their presence may result in other health complications.
Introduce Slowly and In Moderation
When you introduce vegetables to your dog, start by serving small quantities and observing for signs of discomfort. Also, only introduce one new vegetable at a time so that you can be sure that the symptoms result from the consumption of that particular vegetable.
If there are any signs of discomfort, stop feeding your dog that particular vegetable immediately and avoid feeding any more of it to him/her in the future. If things turn for the worse or if symptoms persist over 1-2 days, consider bringing your dog to the veterinarian for a check.
It is always best to feed vegetables in moderation. Best to treat them as a tasty snack or an occasional treat as opposed to a regular diet!
Should I Feed My Dog Vegetables?
My personal opinion is that dogs should be fed safe vegetables as long as they are provided in moderation. Vegetables have important nutrients and vitamins that may not be found in meat. These nutrients can help to digest food and maintain the cells and organs. Also, most vegetables are a good source of water, which complements dogs’ diets on dry kibbles.
Remember to start slow when introducing new vegetables to your dogs and monitor for signs of discomfort or allergy. It is also best to feed them in a pureed form so that your dog will digest them better.
If your dog accidentally consumes any of the above-listed to-be-avoided vegetables (except for mushrooms), do not panic, as most are harmless. Be on the alert and monitor your dog for abnormal symptoms.
If your dog eats mushrooms, especially in the wild, bring your dog down to the veterinarian immediately, as it might be a severe case.
Time to go and prepare fresh veggies for your dog!