Can Dogs Eat Carrots? All the Vegetables Your Pooch Should Consume

Any good pet owner will tell you a balanced diet is a crucial component of a happy dog's life.

Canines may share some of the anatomical traits of their carnivorous cousins, wolves, but vegetables have always played an important part in their diet since way back in the day of their hunter-gatherer ancestors.

But what are the best vegetables to feed your dog? And which are the ones that should be avoided? Should dogs avoid eating carrots? Are any other vegetables off the menu for our four-legged friends?

To find out, Newsweek spoke to Gerald Pepin from The Canine Nutritionist and his responses proved enlightening to say the least.

Can Dogs Eat Carrots?

Carrots have proven a popular healthy snack for both children and adults eager to watch their figure so it makes sense that dog owners would want to share the benefits with their canine companions. The question is, can they? According to Pepin the answer is a resounding yes.

"Carrots make an excellent low-calorie snack for dogs, especially any dog in need of losing a little weight," the dog nutritionist told Newsweek. "They're tasty, crunchy, rich in vitamins and dietary fiber and most dogs love them. What's not to like!"

Best Vegetables for Dogs

The good news is that carrots aren't the only vegetables canines can enjoy either.

In fact, when it comes to identifying the very best vegetables for dogs, Pepin said"green leafy vegetables win hands down."

"Research tells us that adding green leafy vegetables to a dog's diet two or three times a week can considerably reduce the risk of cancer," he explained. "Green leafy vegetables would include kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts."

According to animal charity Blue Cross, green peas are also a safe and delicious addition to your dog's bowl as they "are rich in protein, vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K, minerals and dietary fibre."

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

A popular staple of the human diet, potatoes are similarly suitable for dogs.

Blue Cross indicated that sweet potatoes, in particular, come recommended as "one of the best dietary sources of vitamin A" available to canines, being also "rich in fiber, vitamin C and B6, potassium, calcium and iron."

It must be noted that Blue Cross advises dog owners to only serve their pets "small amounts" of this particular root vegetable, boiled or steamed.

Standard white potatoes are also safe for your canine to eat and offer a "good source of potassium and carbohydrates." These potatoes should not be cooked with oil or seasoning. "[A] simple baked potato works best," said the Blue Cross on its website.

Green potatoes should be avoided.

Best Vegetables for Dogs on Diet

The canine nutritionist also has a recommendation for any dog owners eager to help their pet pooch lose a few extra pounds in a safe and healthy way.

"Green beans are an excellent vegetable for dogs and ideal for any dog looking to shed a few pounds. They will make a dog feel full without piling on the calories," he said.

The nonprofit American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also lists celery, cauliflower and cooked pumpkin as "good snack options" for dogs due to the fact that they are low in fat and calories.

A dog and a bowl of vegetables.
Stock image of a dog about to eat a bowl of vegetables. Newsweek spoke to a canine nutrition about the best - and worst - vegetables to feed your pet pooch. anastas_/Getty

Cooking Vegetables for Dogs

Pepin is keen to note that there is just one important caveat when it comes to feeding dogs vegetables: the preparation.

He said that in order to gain the "maximum nutritional benefit" and improve overall "digestibility" it is important for dog owners to either lightly steam or puree their pet's greens before serving.

"Most vegetables are covered in a protective layer of cellulose," he said. "Steaming, lightly cooking or pureeing them breaks down that cellulose giving the dog better access to the nutrients inside."

Vegetables Dogs Cannot Eat

According to Pepin there are four main vegetables dog owners should avoid.

The main two are onions and leeks which contain a toxic principle called N-propyl disulfide which, if consumed by dogs, can result in the breakdown of red blood cells and, eventually, anemia.

The American Kennel Club states that anemia can manifest itself in a general lethargy, weakness and decreased appetite among canines. Vomiting and an elevated heart rate are also signs that a dog is suffering from onion toxicity. If encountered, pet owners are advised to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Alongside these, Pepin also advised against feeding dogs corn on the cob "purely because the cob itself is a choking hazard" and also "potatoes if they are green."

This is because green potatoes are high in solanine, which can be harmful to both humans and dogs. Consumption can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and even paralysis of the central nervous system.

Though Pepin notes some experts advise against feeding dogs garlic and asparagus, he said "both are okay in small amounts."

Blue Cross warns dog owners to be especially wary of their canines consuming avocado stones. "They contain persin, which is a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs," it explains.

The animal charity also advises against wild mushrooms which it says are "toxic to dogs" and "can cause severe reactions that can lead to fatalities."

All the Vegetables Your Dog Can Eat

  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Green Peas
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potato (in small amounts)
  • White Potato
  • Green Beans
  • Pumpkin
  • Garlic (in small amounts)
  • Asparagus (in small amounts)

A list of all the fruits your dog can and can't eat can be found here.

Dog leaping up on kitchen counter.
Stock image of a dog going up on a kitchen counter. Knowing which vegetables a dog can or can't eat is crucial for a pet owner. nikkimeel/getty