What Vegetables Are Good for Dogs

The Best Vegetables Dogs Can Eat

For many dog owners, their dogs aren’t just pets: they’re members of the family. And dog moms and dads are more invested than ever in making sure their dogs are getting the best and healthiest food. As more human food incorporates both fresh and dry plant-based ingredients and more people adopt vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, it’s natural that they’re interested in those options for their dogs, too. But not all vegetables are ideally suited for a dog’s diet, and it takes a little research to pick the best vegetables for dogs.

What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Though the evolutionary ancestors of dogs were purely carnivores, modern dogs have evolved to eat a variety of foods that include plants. In fact, if formulated properly, it is possible for a dog to have a balanced diet that comes exclusively from plant-based foods. Doing so may require supplements, however, since there are some important vitamins that dogs would normally get from animal products that aren’t readily available in plants. Below are some of the best choices for vegetables that can dogs can eat in terms of nutrition and health benefits:

  • Carrots: Sweet and crunchy carrots are often included in dog food and are great as a low-calorie snack. In addition to being a good source of fiber, carrots have high nutritional value. They are especially high in beta-carotene, a compound that gives carrots their distinctive orange color and is also converted into vitamin A in the liver.
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are both high in fiber and rich in a number of different vitamins and minerals. Fiber is important for a dog’s digestive health because it promotes regularity and can prevent colon problems that stem from the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Sweet potatoes are also high in manganese, a mineral that is important for metabolizing proteins and making fatty acids.
  • Broccoli: Dogs can eat broccoli raw or cooked without any seasoning as long as it’s in relatively small quantities (less than 10% of their daily intake of food). Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C. Just like with humans, vitamin C has antioxidant properties that support a dog’s immune system as it fends off disease. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin K, a vitamin that improves bone health.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumbers are another low-calorie, crunchy snack that your pooch will probably love. Because cucumbers have so few calories and high water content, they’re especially great for dogs who might be a little overweight and need to lose a few pounds. It’s worth noting, however, that while cucumbers are good for dogs, pickles are not; the salt and spices in the brine can potentially be harmful.
  • Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that are packed with nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin A as well as a lot of fiber. Yet as healthy as Brussels sprouts are, dogs can’t handle them in large amounts; they contain compounds called isothiocyanates that are known to cause gas or even an upset stomach.
  • Beets: Beets are a great occasional treat for your dog because they are full of vitamins like folate and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Beets can be prepared cooked or raw, but if fed to your dog raw it should be peeled and cut into small pieces.
  • Green beans: Green beans have a natural sweetness that make them appealing to dogs, but they also have high nutritional value with numerous vitamins and minerals like iron, manganese, and calcium. You can give your dog bite-sized pieces of green beans or mix them in with their regular kibble. Because they have so few calories, green beans are another great filling choice for dogs who are a little overweight.
  • Zucchini: The fiber content of zucchini makes it a great choice for a snack that is good for your dog’s digestive system, but it also has a lot of other nutrients that are beneficial for dogs.
  • Celery: Celery is another good choice as a low-calorie snack for dogs. In addition to containing many important nutrients, the crunchy texture of celery can help clean your dog’s teeth and even potentially freshen their breath.
  • Peas: Peas are already added to some dog food because they are high in protein and other valuable nutrients. They can also be a snack for dogs or mixed in with their food, though you should never give a dog canned peas because of the possibility of added sodium.

It should be noted that dogs don’t require vegetables in their diet in the same way that humans do. Dog food that is available at grocery stores often has all of the nutrients your pooch requires—but vegetables like the ones listed above are fine for dogs to eat and may provide some additional benefits. And, more and more, commercially available dog foods are now adding dried vegetable ingredients to their mixes to increase the nutritional value and cater to the needs of health-conscious dog owners. For raw vegetables though, dog owners should be mindful of giving their dogs bite-sized pieces and softer textures to avoid any kind of choking hazard.

What Vegetables Should Dogs Not Eat?

Even though there are plenty of vegetables that are fine for dogs in small quantities, there are some that should be avoided completely. Some vegetables can be harmful for a dog’s digestive system and cause symptoms like constipation and diarrhea. Also, many of the spices that we prepare for human consumption can be harmful to dogs so even if the vegetable itself is safe, the way it was prepared could be a problem. Below are some of the vegetables that dogs should never eat:

  • Onions: Essentially any vegetable in the Allium genus should be avoided; this includes onions, leeks, chives, scallions, and garlic.
  • Wild mushrooms: Some mushrooms available in stores may be safe, but any kind of wild mushroom can be toxic. They may only cause digestive problems, but they can also lead to a much more serious condition.
  • Tomato plants: While ripe tomatoes in small amounts can be safe for dogs, the plants themselves and young, unripe tomatoes contain the toxin solanine that is dangerous for dogs.
  • Avocado: Avocados contain a toxin called persin that is dangerous to many animals; while dogs seem to do better with this chemical, it’s safer to avoid avocados.

High Quality Pet Food Ingredients from Silva

There are many veggies dogs can eat raw, but as a pet owner, it’s generally better to approach them like dog treats and limit them to 10% or less of a dog’s food intake. For commercial manufacturers though, Silva’s healthy, dried vegetable ingredients can be used in a wide variety of dog food applications. To learn more about incorporating our high quality dried ingredients into your recipes, please contact us today.