WHAT VEGETABLES CAN MY DOG EAT SAFELY?
Below are a few of the more common types of household vegetables. Some are safe for your dog to have, and some are not. We like to treat them like our children, but dogs are a different species and can’t always safely eat what we do.
Although a few vegetables included with your dog’s food, or as a special treat, may add important vitamins or minerals to his diet, remember that dogs are carnivores. A few carrots, or a piece of broccoli every now and then is fine; but anyone who tells you a dog can live on a vegetarian or vegan diet is wrong. Trying to force a carnivore into surviving without animal products leads to malnutrition and death. Dogs do not thrive without meat and other animal products – unlike humans, they are not able to process a diet based entirely on plants, even with supplements.
CAN I FEED MY DOG……?
Asparagus is a low calorie, high nutrient vegetable. It contains the following vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, and Vitamin E. Of these, they have the highest amount of Vitamin K, followed by A and C. They add only 20 calories to your dog’s food, making them a great choice for chubby pooches.
CAN DOGS SAFELY EAT ASPARAGUS?
Yes. Feed only the top parts (above the woody stem). Because raw asparagus is hard to digest, for humans as well as for dogs, steamed asparagus is the best way to go. (Raw can cause bloating and diarrhea.) A word of caution: Just like in humans, eating asparagus can cause your dog’s urine to stink.
Asparagus contains a lot of Vitamin K which is good for encouraging blood-clotting and keeping strong bones. It is also very low in calories, so may make a good filler for dogs who are overweight.
Avocados are high-calorie fruits (included here, because humans mostly use these as a vegetable). They contain Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B-6. Avocados also have the following minerals: Potassium, Sodium, and Magnesium. They are great for HUMANS, but not for dogs…. Avoid feeding.
CAN DOGS SAFELY EAT AVOCADOS?
No. Avocados contain persin, which is toxic to dogs. Symptoms include diarrhea, heart damage, pancreatitis, and vomiting. Large amounts can cause death.
Don’t panic if your dog has eaten a small bit by accident, but never deliberately feed your dog avocados.
Broccoli is a very common vegetable containing the following vitamins: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Folate (Vitamin B9). It also has potassium (good for the heart), manganese, and iron. Broccoli is a low-calorie vegetable and can safely be used as an occasional filler mixed with their regular dog food.
CAN DOGS SAFELY EAT BROCCOLI?
Yes. Broccoli in small amounts is just fine for dogs. However, too much can cause stomach problems. High in Vitamin C, broccoli helps strengthen the immune system.
As a treat, fine; on a regular basis, no. Raw or cooked is okay. Just be sure to cut the florets up into small enough pieces to prevent choking.
SAFE – IN SMALL AMOUNTS
Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Containing Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, and Manganese, they’re a high nutrition choice. People either love or hate Brussels sprouts – I have to admit I absolutely love them. I suspect the same will be true of your dog – either wholehearted enjoyment or disgust.
CAN DOGS SAFELY EAT BRUSSELS SPROUTS?
Yes, either boiled or steamed. A caveat here – brussels sprouts can have the same side effects that they do in humans. And we all know gas from a dog can clear a room faster than anything else. Still, they’re high in nutrition, and, fed in small amounts, are good for your dog.
SAFE, but potentially a source of unpleasant odors.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF CARROTS
Carrots are nutritional powerhouses, and most dogs love them. Be sure to cut them up in small pieces, particularly for toy and small breeds. Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, which promotes eye health and helps in weight loss. These orange veggies also have Biotin, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and Potassium.
CAN DOGS SAFELY EAT CARROTS?
Yes, raw or cooked. They can also be used as healthy chew toys for larger breeds. Carrots are great to use as training treats, as they’re naturally low-calorie, loaded with nutrition, and, best of all, inexpensive.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF ONIONS
Although onions contain vitamins and minerals, they are NOT suitable for consumption by dogs. Along with Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, and Potassium, they also contain a compound which can cause a breakdown in your pet’s red blood cells.
CAN MY DOG SAFELY EAT ONIONS?
All parts of the onion – skin, flesh, leaves – are toxic to both dogs and cats. Use care slicing onions so that none goes on the floor. And make sure the peels don’t drift away on the wind and are safely disposed of.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF POTATOES
Potatoes contain potassium, folate, vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. However, their use in pet food has recently been linked to heart disease. They’re also starchy and relatively high in calories. It’s better to err on the side of caution here, and not feed potatoes to your pet. At minimum, never feed them raw potatoes, only cooked.
CAN MY DOG SAFELY EAT POTATOES?
Not completely understood, but evidence is pointing against. For that reason, it is best not to include potatoes in your dog’s diet.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF PEAS
Peas pack a lot of nutrition in a small package. They’re highest in Vitamins A and K, and also contain Vitamin C, Iron, Phosphorus, Folate, Thiamine, and Manganese. Of all the vegetables, peas have one of the highest protein contents.
CAN MY DOG SAFELY EAT PEAS?
Yes, in small amounts. You’re better off removing the pods to prevent choking, at least for small dogs. A warning here – if your dog is suffering from kidney issues, do not feed peas. But, if your pet is healthy, there’s a lot of healthy compounds in peas.
ZUCCHINI (COURGETTE IN THE UK)
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF ZUCCHINI
Low in calories, and high in vitamins, zucchini has lots of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folate, Copper and Magnesium. This member of the squash family also contains Manganese, Potassium, Vitamin K, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6, and Thiamine.
CAN MY DOG SAFELY EAT ZUCCHINI?
Yes. Raw is best (make sure the pieces are small enough to prevent choking). You can also steam, grill, or microwave if you like. Remember, as with any vegetable, only feed a little.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF KALE
Kale is known as a “super food” containing lots of vitamins and minerals which are good for HUMANS. Among these are Vitamins A, K, B6, C, B1, B2, and B3. It also contains the minerals Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. However, what is good for humans is not necessarily good for our dogs.
CAN MY DOG SAFELY EAT KALE?
No. Kale can cause stomach upset in dogs with no health issues, and kidney and bladder stones, particularly in dogs that already have kidney issues. Despite the fact that kale is known as a “super food” for humans, for dogs it’s best to avoid completely.
Tomatoes are a good HUMAN source of several vitamins and minerals including Vitamins C, B9, and K. They also have a good amount of potassium, and a number of antioxidants. However, extreme care must be taken when giving tomatoes to dogs.
CAN MY DOG SAFELY EAT TOMATOES?
You can give your dog ripe tomatoes in limited quantities without an issue. However, green tomatoes, or, worse, leaves and stems, contain the pet toxin solanine. Solanine in large quantities can cause heart problems, stomach distress, seizures, and weakness in muscles. Because of this, it’s wise to make sure your dog cannot get into your garden if you grow tomatoes.
When I was a child, we had a beagle who would actually pick the ripe tomatoes from the bush and take them off to eat them. The first time I saw him with a tomato in his mouth, I panicked because I thought I was seeing a swollen tongue. But the mystery of the missing tomatoes was solved once and for all! He must not have eaten any of the green parts, since he lived to a ripe old age and never seemed to suffer any distress. But I certainly wouldn’t allow my dogs access to tomato plants now.
SAFE – ripe tomatoes only. UNSAFE – green tomatoes or any leaves, stems, or other green portions of the plant.
These are some of the most common vegetables in our kitchens. Always stick with fresh, not canned. Canned vegetables have high levels of sodium and have lost many of their nutrients due to processing. If you have any questions about the safety of other vegetables for your dog, ask your veterinarian. And, even if the vegetable listed above is marked as safe, please check with your vet before feeding to any dog which has medical issues. Summer’s coming – enjoy your veggies!
Dog with food toys Photo by Samia Liamani on Unsplash