If you open up your fridge right now, what veggies will you find? For many, carrots earn a spot on that list! Categorized as a root vegetable, these orange delights have been a favorite amongst the humans (especially those looking to cut calories) for ages. They’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber, key vitamins, and various minerals. While it’s clear they offer up many powerful health benefits for us humans, the question is: Can dogs eat carrots?
Short answer: Absolutely!
A Look At Carrot’s Nutritional Value
When feeding carrots to your pooch, moderation is key and a little goes a long way. So, you won’t be feeding your pup an entire carrot. But, to keep things simple, let’s take a look at the nutritional facts 1 medium carrot!
- Calories – 25
- Water Content – 86 – 95%
- Total Fat – 0.2g
- Total Carbohydrates – 5.8g
- Sugar – 2.9g
- Dietary Fiber – 1.7g
- Protein – 0.6g
- Potassium – 195mg
- Vitamin C – 3.6mg
- Vitamin E – .4mg
- Vitamin K – 8.1mcg
- Beta Carotene – 5,050mcg
- Vitamin A – 509mcg
- Folate – 11.6mcg
- Calcium – 20.1mg
- Iron – 0.18mg
- Carrots also contain assorted B vitamins and minerals.
The Health Benefits Of Carrots
- Aids In Healthy Weight – According to The Association For Pet Obesity Prevention, as of 2018, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States were either overweight or obese. Whether your pooch falls into this majority category or not, carrots are a perfect nutrient-rich, low-calorie, and low-fat snack that canines can enjoy.
- Immune Health – Carrots are loaded with antioxidants that help fight against free-radicals in the body, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells. If there are too many free radicals in the body, it can damage your dog’s DNA and lead to chronic disease. Experts link free radicals to various illnesses, including cancer.
- Anti-Cancer – According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. Thanks to the powerhouse immune-boosting nutrients in this veggie, carrots are a healthy addition to an anti-cancer diet.
- Eye Health – Did you ever read Shel Silverstein as a kid? He wrote a hilarious poem about carrots and eyesight. Check it out: Well, because of this, I always associate carrots with visual health. Turns out, it’s the Beta Carotene in this super veggie (that the liver converts to Vitamin A) that aids in maintaining and improving eye health.
- Digestion – Since carrots are rich in soluble fiber, they can benefit bowel health. Loose stools? Add some steamed carrots to your dog’s meal. Raw carrots are harder for a dog to digest, so if he’s experiencing a tummy upset, cook them before feeding.
- Bone Health – The bones are sure to benefit from carrots too! Vitamin A, Calcium, and Vitamin K in carrots help contribute to building strong bones.
- Dental Health – Carrots are reportedly great for your dog’s teeth. The brushing action that comes from chewing on a carrot will help scrape off plaque and tartar. They’re also soothing for teething puppies. Of course, the best thing for your pup’s teeth is still regular brushing!
How To Feed Carrots To Your Pooch
When picking out a pack of carrots to share with your pooch, it’s best to opt for organic. Always wash and peel to remove any pesticides.
Dogs can eat carrots either raw or cooked. But, it’s important to note, raw carrots are harder for dogs to digest. When adding them to meals, I suggest either lightly steaming, mashing, or pureeing them first. Note: If you see carrots in your dog’s poop – coming out looking the same as when they went in – they’re not being digested. Cook them first, it helps break-down the fiber.
My dogs get their daily dose of carrots every day in their breakfast and dinner. I feed The Farmer’s Dog and, one look at their personalized bags of fresh food, and you can easily spot these colorful gems.
Along with adding them to meals, carrots also make great treats! I feature carrots in a lot of the recipes in my cookbook, Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes. You can also find them in THIS Sweet Potato Puppy Muffins recipe! Try them — they’re easy to make, dogs love the taste, and they’re super soft (making them easy to eat for puppies and senior dogs).
One last note on feeding carrots to your dog: Slicing them into bite-size pieces helps to prevent a choking hazard and is more manageable for smaller dogs.
When it comes to feeding carrots to your dog, moderation is key. A medium to a large-size dog should be able to handle 2 or 3 baby carrots in a day. Smaller dogs should have less. Start with a smaller amount while they’re adjusting to the increase in fiber content.
Again, raw carrots are more difficult for dogs to digest, so go slow. Steamed or pureed carrots added to foods are much easier. If you have any questions or concerns, check with your veterinarian.
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature on carrots is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!