If you’ve ever wondered, “Can dogs eat carrots?”– the answer is yes. Here is a breakdown of the reasons why carrots are one of the best vegetables for dogs, along with ideas and recipes to share this vegetable with your dog ASAP!
In one of our past posts, “The Ultimate Guide to Vegetables Dogs Can Eat PLUS Our Top 4 Favorites,” carrots made our list of top 4 favorites. Why? As mentioned in the post, carrots are low in calories, high in fiber, and full of beta-carotene. But that’s not all!
Can dogs eat carrots, and should they?
- Carrots are one of the greatest sources of the carotenoid beta-carotene.
- Beta-carotene, a provitamin that converts to vitamin A in the body, gives carrots their bright orange color. The provitamin ensures that dogs’ daily needs for vitamin A are met.
- Additionally, beta-carotene benefits dogs’ health by supporting their immune systems, protecting skin and eyes, and reducing their cancer risk.
- Carrots are like a natural toothbrush, and – chewing on them will actually clean your dog’s teeth! How does it work?
- Crunching on high-fiber raw vegetables like carrots stimulates saliva production, which helps to reduce plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth. The saliva neutralizes acids and washes away food particles and bacteria.
- As dogs chew carrots, the abrasive texture rubs against their gums and the surface of the teeth to break down plaque. The rubbing is simultaneously massaging their gums to enhance blood flow.
- Vitamin A created by the beta-carotene in carrots keeps gums healthy and helps to maintain strong tooth enamel.
- Carrots are high in nutrients, low in calories.
- Beyond vitamin A, carrots are also an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins K and C.
- The potassium in carrots helps regulate blood pressure, and fiber helps decrease LDL cholesterol (aka the “bad” cholesterol).
- Although dogs can synthesize vitamin C on their own, it’s beneficial to supplement the naturally produced vitamins with those found in fruits and vegetables.
- Carrots are one of the best vegetables for dogs who are overweight or need to watch their calorie intake because they can be a healthy treat alternative!
- Carrots support vision and overall eye health. You’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale about eating carrots to improve eyesight. It turns out this is partially true!
- Carrots are high in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lutein, which support eye health, mainly through their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Beta-carotene and vitamin A protect the cornea, or surface, of the eye by keeping it moist and healthy. Vitamin A is also vital for night vision because it helps convert light into nerve impulses sent to the brain.
- Lutein is a carotenoid known to prevent loss of eyesight or deterioration of eye health. Lutein can reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, which could otherwise lead to blindness or vision impairment. Lutein also filters light to protect eye tissues from damage from light sources such as blue light.
What to look for when buying carrots?
Buy organic carrots! Researchers have found that organically grown carrots typically contain more vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene and vitamin B1, than conventionally grown carrots.
Non-organic carrots will also absorb high levels of pesticide residue, which may seep below the vegetable’s skin. If you’re searching for the best vegetables for dogs, organic is always the best choice for your dog’s health and for the environment!
How can dogs eat carrots?
When feeding dogs carrots, there are several things to remember.
- Cut or shred each carrot into small pieces to avoid any choking hazard.
- Before giving your dog carrots, be sure to scrub them to remove any dirt or debris.
- Carrots are best served unpeeled. As long as you thoroughly clean carrots, dogs can eat carrots without the peel removed. PLUS … the peel contains the highest concentration of vitamin C and niacin, as well as an equally rich amount of beta-carotene as the deeper layers of the carrot.
Four ways to feed dogs carrots:
- For a natural toothbrush, cut raw carrot sticks into bite-sized chunks for your dog to munch on. Frozen carrot pieces can be used to soothe your teething puppy’s gums! But, always make sure to watch your dog when feeding them chunks of carrots or anything he could choke on.
- Steam carrot slices to be soft and easy to consume.
- Grate, peel, or puree carrots for a nutritious topping on your dog’s food.
- Bake, mix, or blend carrots into dog recipes that your dog will love. Some of our favorites that are coming soon to our blog are Carrot “Pupcakes,” Creamy Carrot Smoothies, and Crunchy Carrot Cookies with Peanut Butter & Oats. These treats have another one of our favorite ingredients for dogs in common: oats.
So, the answer to your question, “can dogs eat carrots?” is a resounding yes! No matter which way you choose, carrots will be a nutrient-dense addition to your dog’s diet!