Yes, carrots are a healthy snack option for your dog. As humans know, carrots are a versatile vegetable. They can be eaten as a snack, paired with a roast and potatoes, or added to a stock or soup for flavor. Carrots are also versatile in the generous selection of nutrients they provide your dog.
According to Purina experts, many of the same vitamins and minerals that make carrots great for humans are also excellent for dogs. Not only can dogs have carrots, but most dogs really enjoy them. In fact, carrots are so dog-friendly that they’re a common ingredient in dog food.
Are Carrots Good for Dogs?
Yes. Like many other fruits and vegetables, dogs get health benefits from carrots. In fact, every part of this vegetable, from the carrot itself to the leafy green tops, is safe for dogs to eat.
They’re a good, natural treat, and most dogs seem to like the flavor, too. That’s why carrots are such an appealing alternative if you want to mix up your daily dog treat routine.
Carrots contain essential vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A), vitamin K, potassium, antioxidants and fiber.;
Health Benefits of Carrots for Dogs
- Vision: Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by the liver. Vitamin A helps support vision, including night vision. That’s because vitamin A travels through the bloodstream to the retina, where it nourishes the rods and cones. In turn, the rods and cones, which are sensitive to light, communicate with the brain what your dog is seeing.
- Heart health: Carrots are rich in soluble fibers, which can help manage blood cholesterol levels, benefitting the heart.
- Digestion: Carrots also contain a high amount of insoluble fiber, which plays a vital role in removing toxins from the colon and keeping bowel movements more regular.
- Skin and coat health: The vitamin A and antioxidant content within carrots helps promote a healthy and shiny coat while boosting skin health.
When are Carrots Bad for Dogs?
Carrots are only unhealthy treats for dogs if fed too often. In moderation they’re a healthy, low-calorie treat.
Like other fruits and vegetables, carrots contain natural sugar. This is why carrots are so tasty to dogs and humans alike. Too much sugar can cause weight gain and other health issues, though.
“Ninety percent of your dog’s diet should consist of a complete and balanced dog food,” says Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS. “The remaining ten percent can consist of treats.” Treats include anything other than your dog’s usual food—raw hides, dental chews and dog-safe table food like carrots or bananas.
How to Serve Carrots to Dogs
Before giving your dog a new food, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian to get the ideal serving size. You can slice them into rounds or cut them into sticks or small or large pieces, depending on your dog’s size.
Your dog may enjoy the crunch and flavor of raw carrots, but if they don’t like them raw, try giving them cooked carrots. If you’re worried about altering the carrots’ nutritional value by cooking them, don’t be.
“By steaming or minimally microwave-cooking carrots, you’re not majorly changing the vitamin and mineral content,” explains Carbo-Johnson. “Boiling carrots, on the other hand, tends to leech out nutrients. Whichever way you serve them, however, carrots are safe for dogs.”
Always follow your veterinarian’s advice, even with people foods that are safe for dogs. Doing so helps to protect them from digestive upset, weight gain and other health problems.
Making sure your dog is eating healthy foods is an essential way to care for your dog. For more information about keeping your dog healthy, visit our Pet Expertise and get advice from our pet experts.