Dogs don’t necessarily need fresh vegetables in order to meet all of their nutritional needs, but they can provide a nice dose of added vitamins and nutrients. They also serve as fantastic low-fat and healthy meal toppers and treat replacements for dogs on weight loss programs.
As is true any time you give “people food” to your dog, however, you’ll want to do your research in order to determine what’s safe and what’s better left off the menu.
Not all vegetables are equally great for our pups, and others (think garlic, onions, and leeks) can be downright harmful. It is also important to only feed vegetables in moderation since, again, they’re not a necessary part of a dog’s balanced diet.
To help you take the guesswork out of what veggies you can and cannot feed your furry one, we’ve compiled this quick list of eight of the best vegetables for dogs—as well as ones that you should be sure to avoid.
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Dogs are usually big fans of carrots, which are sweet, crunchy, and fun to chew on. Feed them fresh, cooked, or frozen, but do be sure to cut them down to a proper size for Fido or blend them to make sure they are easy to digest and don't present a choking hazard.
- Carrots are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin A
- Noshing on these veggies may even improve your dog’s dental health by gently scraping teeth to prevent plaque build-up
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Sweet potatoes are super nutrient-dense and offer a huge range of health benefits for both humans and canines. Serve baked, roasted, or pureed. Never feed sweet potatoes raw as they contain a compound called solanine which can be toxic for dogs.
- High in vitamin A, which helps promote healthy skin and coat and also provides benefits to eyes, muscles, and nerves
- Can help add more fiber to your dog’s diet and may be able to offer soothing relief if your furry one is experiencing an upset stomach
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Okay, so they’re technically legumes, but peas are still worthy of a spot on this list when fed in moderation. Just avoid canned varieties, since they may have added sodium or preservatives.
- These tiny treats feature both protein and fiber, as well as vitamins A, B, C, and K.
- Their small size makes peas great for training treats
- Peas are a healthy and easy meal topper since they don’t require any chopping
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Dogs usually aren’t as picky as kids when it comes to eating their greens, so why not see if broccoli is something they enjoy? You can serve it raw or cooked so long as you stick to dog-friendly seasonings, or simply give some frozen broccoli as a quick and easy snack.
Be aware that there is a risk associated with this cruciferous veggie as it contains compounds called isothiocyanates. These can cause gastric irritation in some dogs when too much is fed, ranging from mild to severe. Moderation is defintely the key when it comes to offering broccoli.
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- Broccoli is low in fat, which makes it an excellent treat for dogs who need to lose a few pounds
- This green vegetable is rich in vitamin K, which improves bone strength and density
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Cooked or raw, celery is a safe choice for dogs, many of whom really enjoy its super crunchy texture. Do keep in mind though that celery is a natural diuretic, so you’ll want to avoid it if your dog has stomach issues or doesn’t tend to drink enough water throughout the day.
- Celery can provide a boost to your dog’s dental health, supporting healthy teeth and gums and possibly even freshening their breath
- Their high water content makes celery super low in calories without detracting from their nutritional density
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The natural sweetness of green beans makes them a palatable choice, while their many nutrients (protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K, to name a few) make them a healthy occasional treat option.
- The iron in green beans helps promote the production of red blood cells
- Green beans can help your dog feel full without loading on fat and calories, which is a big bonus if your pup needs to lose some pounds
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For something that’s so high in water content, cucumbers sure do pull their weight when it comes to nutritional value. And they’re an especially useful treat if you live in a hot climate, offering a quick dose of hydrating refreshment on a balmy day.
- Cucumbers contain phytochemicals that may be able to fight against bad breath
- These nutritious veggies also contain silica, a trace mineral that helps with the growth and maintenance of the body’s connective tissues
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Cauliflower has been having its moment, but it’s not just us bipeds that can benefit from it. Dogs can safely eat cauliflower in many preparations—including raw, steamed, roasted, and riced—and there are lots of opportunities to make it extra enticing with additions like fresh doggy-safe herbs.
- Contains antioxidants that could help reduce inflammation, making it a good choice for dogs who suffer from joint pain
- Chockful of fiber to promote healthy gut activities
Veggies aren’t always a good thing when it comes to your dog. To keep them safe, avoid feeding them any of these vegetal varieties known for being toxic for canines:
Always do a quick bit of research to make sure that a vegetable is okay for your dog to eat before feeding it to them.