Can Dogs Eat Carrots? An Expert Weighs In
Slicing up carrots and wondering if you can toss one to your dog? Here's what you need to know.
What's up, doc? It's Easter time and though you have a dog, not a bunny, you may be wondering if your dog can eat carrots too? Shhh… don't tell the Easter Bunny but your pup can enjoy a carrot just as much as his furry bunny friends.
"Dogs absolutely can eat carrots as a snack or treat," says Dr. Stephanie Lantry, a Sarasota, Florida veterinarian at Airvet, a 24-hour televet virtual service.
Can Dogs Have Raw or Cooked Carrots?
Dogs can eat carrots raw or cooked. "Many dogs do like the crunch and it is a quick, easy snack for the pet parent to give raw carrots," says Dr. Lantry. Although it's not common, some animals will find the roughage irritating to their stomach. This can be solved by cooking or steaming the carrots, which also help unlock their nutrients for better absorption and easier digestion.
Dr. Lantry says, "Every dog is different so you should introduce carrots (like any new food addition) slowly." Carrots should be cut into small pieces so they're not a choking hazard. The smaller the dog, the smaller the pieces should be.
How Many Carrots Should You Feed Your Dog?
Like any other dog treat, carrots should not exceed 10 percent of your dog's daily food intake. This means throwing a few carrot bites or cut up baby carrots in your pup's bowl or supervising one big, fat, crunchy carrot stick for a large dog is okay. However, even though carrots are a low-fat, healthy snack, obese-prone dogs following a measured calorie diet still must count carrot calories!
The Benefits of Carrots for Dogs
Carrots are a healthy, low-fat, and low-calorie snack. They also may be beneficial for a dog's fiber intake. In addition to fiber, carrots contain healthy nutrients, like:
- Vitamin K (helps metabolism and blood clotting)
- Potassium (good for energy, heart, nerves, and muscles)
- Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A (helps overall health, bone growth and boosts immune function)
- Lycopene and lutein (these phytonutrients protect the eyes)
What's more, carrots can help keep your dog's teeth clean as well. Chewing carrots helps dogs clear plaque from their teeth and remove food debris because carrots rub roughly against your pup's chompers. So, set aside a carrot or two to give your pup a treat.