Can dogs eat vegetables?

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If you’re a vegetable fan, you might be tempted to give your dog some to try too. Good news: you can, because they’re also healthy for dogs, in moderation. A few types can be harmful, so make sure you know your stuff before you go wild in the veg aisle. We asked our Lead Nutritionist, Dr Samantha Ware, to give us the lowdown.

Are veggies good for dogs?

Vegetables are a good source of carbohydrate, insoluble fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some contain protective antioxidants that can help keep your dog healthy. And most vegetables are low in calories, so they make a good snack if your dog finds the time between meals a struggle.

What vegetables can dogs eat?

Bright colours and a mix of crunchy, juicy and squishy textures – veggies can be a fun and exciting snack. Dog-friendly vegetables include:

Asparagus

Best served cooked, asparagus contains vitamins A, C and E, zinc, manganese, chromium and selenium, as well as the amino acid asparagine which supports brain development and function. It’s also a dietary source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that supports the immune system.

Beetroot

A source of fibre, vitamin C, B6 and folate, plus manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and copper. It contains flavonoids and unique phytonutrients called betalains – this is what gives beetroot its distinctive snout-staining colour. Raw or cooked is fine, but stick with the fresh stuff if you can – pickled and preserved beetroot often contain ingredients or additives that can upset your dog’s stomach

Broccoli

High in vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Broccoli is safe to give most dogs, but too much can cause stomach upsets, so stick to small amounts. Dogs with thyroid issues should avoid veg like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, as they contain a natural chemical that can affect thyroid function.

Carrots

A good source of vitamins A and K and high in potassium and fibre. Serve raw or cooked as a satisfying snack, or use it to add flavour and crunch to dog-friendly bakes.

can dogs eat vegetables

Cucumber

Cucumber is 95% water, so only contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
However, it can be a refreshing, low-calorie summertime treat for dogs who like its distinctive taste – not all will.

Green beans

A good source of fibre, vitamins A, C, K and some B vitamins like B6 and folate. They’re also rich in minerals: iron, calcium, silicon, manganese, copper and potassium.

Peas

A good source of vitamins C and K, fibre and folate calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. Peas also contain beneficial natural chemicals called phytonutrients, including phenolics, flavanols and polyphenols  – as well as pisum saponins I and II and pisomosides. The latter are only found in peas, and are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Spinach

A source of vitamins A, C, K, and B6, folate, manganese, magnesium, fibre and potassium. Spinach also provides antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids – thought to be beneficial for dogs that have inflammatory or cardiac conditions, or some cancers. No wonder it’s Popeye’s favourite.

Squash and pumpkin

Good sources of vitamins A, C and E and B vitamins: thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and B6. A lovely squishy texture makes cooked or pureed pumpkin or squash a fun treat for your dog.

Sweet potato

High in fibre, and rich in vitamins A, C, E and minerals including manganese, calcium and phosphorus. Sweet potato also contains unique flavonoids that help with blood glucose control, and can help support your dog’s immune system as they get older.

At tails.com we include high-quality vegetables in our food – in particular peas, sweet potato and potatoes. If you want, you can add extra seasonal vegetables to your dog’s meals too, just be careful not to exceed your dog’s recommended daily calories.

What veg is bad for dogs?

Some veg that’s healthy for us can be harmful to our dogs. Vegetables to avoid include:

Onions, leeks, shallots and garlic

This family of veg contains thiosulphate, a substance that’s been linked to tummy troubles and a severe form of anaemia in dogs.

Mushrooms

Not all mushrooms are harmful to dogs, but it’s best not to take the risk. That way, they won’t be tempted by the potentially poisonous ones you see in the countryside.

Related blog: What foods are harmful to dogs?

How can I introduce veg into my dog’s diet?  

Ready to introduce your dog to veggies? Start with our top tips:

Introduce it gradually

Start with a very small serving so there’s less chance of your dog getting an upset stomach.

Try one type at a time

Dogs like familiarity, so it’s best not to introduce a lot of new flavours at once.

Watch for ones they like

Greens, like broccoli and spinach, can be particularly divisive. If your dog doesn’t like a type of veg on its own, try mixing it in with their main meal instead.

Make sure it’s fresh

Spoilt or mouldy veg can be harmful to dogs. Don’t give your dog anything you wouldn’t eat yourself.

Give it in moderation

Veg is a great source of nutrients, but should always be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Got a question about which vegetables are OK for dogs? Our veterinary and nutritionist team has all the answers. Get in touch at hello@tails.com.

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