A complete guide to carrots for dogs. Includes can dogs eat carrots that are raw or cooked, can dogs have baby carrots and can dogs eat carrot cake! We’ll answer all your questions in this extensively revised and updated for 2019 article.
If you’re wondering, can dogs have carrots? The answer is yes. Dogs will eat carrots with very little prompting, and they are safe for dogs to eat. In fact, many popular wet and dry dog foods contain a small amount of carrots.
Carrots are one of the most popular root vegetables eaten around the world. They appeal to us for their sweet flavor and health benefits.
Raw, steamed, baked or juiced – there are hundreds of ways to prepare and eat carrots. But how do you prepare carrots for a dog? And, can dogs eat whole carrots?
Can Dogs Eat Carrots
We’ve established that dogs can eat carrots and that most dogs do because it’s in their regular dog food. Let’s take a closer look at that and learn more about carrots for dogs.
In dry dog foods, carrots are generally low on the list of ingredients and do not add much to the nutritional value of the food.
In wet dog foods, carrots are usually a little higher on the list of ingredients. Typically, you can see pieces of carrots in wet food when you serve it.
Many dog food and treat recipes also contain carrots.
Carrots and Dogs
Carrots are an excellent source of the antioxidants alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are converted to vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining a healthy immune system, keeping skin healthy and promoting good vision.
Too much carotene can lead to a condition called carotenemia in which the skin takes on a yellowish hue. In human babies, this is often mistaken for jaundice, but it is not harmful and a decrease in carotene intake alleviates the discoloration. Unless raw carrots are a staple of a dog’s diet, the risk of carotenemia is extremely low.
When Are Carrots Bad for Dogs?
Carrots are a nutritious and delicious food that dogs enjoy, but as with anything, moderation is key.
It would be difficult to feed your dog enough carrots to cause carotenemia or toxicity. However, carrots are not nutritionally complete, so avoid feeding your dog so many carrots that your dog doesn’t eat his regular food.
Although they are low calorie, the fiber in carrots can fill the stomach removing or reducing the motivation to eat regular food. In addition, too much fiber can cause food to move too quickly through the digestive tract for nutrients to be properly absorbed.
Are Carrots Good for Dogs?
We know carrots are good for us (and delicious), but can dogs have carrots? In short, yes! Carrots are good for dogs in much same way that they are good for us.
Aside from carotenes, carrots are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6. Vitamin K is vital to blood clotting and vitamin B6 helps turn carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Carrots?
Yes. Dogs enjoy chewing on carrots. The hardness of a raw carrot promotes healthy teeth by combating the buildup of plaque. But, carrots for dogs don’t take the place of regular brushing!
The fibrous nature of carrots makes them an excellent binding agent which promotes healthy digestion and bowel movements.
Caution: Raw carrots for dogs are a choking hazard due to their hardness. This is rare, but err on the side of caution and don’t leave your dog, particularly small dogs or puppies, alone while eating carrots.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Carrots?
Yes. Cooked carrots for dogs are ideal since cooking breaks down the carrot’s tough cellular walls allowing greater absorption of its vitamins and nutrients.
Some recipes call for raw carrots that are then baked; some call for precooked carrots.
Baked, broiled, boiled or steamed, cooked carrots are a beneficial ingredient to any recipe.
Carrots for dogs should not have butter, salt or other spices unless a dog food recipe specifically calls for it. The extra fat and salt take away from the beneficial nature of carrots.
Can Dogs Eat Peas And Carrots?
Peas, like carrots, are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients and can safely be fed to your dog.
Also like carrots, cooked peas provide more health benefits to your dog since cooking breaks down the celluloid walls of peas and allows greater nutrient absorption.
Again, avoid butter and salt when serving peas and carrots to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Baby Carrots?
Baby carrots are either carrots harvested while still small or pieces of a regular-size carrot cut to baby-size. In either case, they are still carrots and have the same nutritional benefits as regular carrots.
While a full-grown, medium-to-large dog can be given a whole, regular-sized carrot, that may be too much for a puppy or small dog. Baby carrots can be a convenient way to add carrots to your puppy or small dog’s diet.
Can Dogs Eat Carrot Cake?
Although the ingredients usually found in carrot cake aren’t toxic to dogs, the milk and high sugar content may cause tummy troubles, including vomiting and diarrhea.
If you want to share your carrot treat with your dog, it’s best to stick to carrots for your dog while you enjoy the cake.
Can Eating Carrots Cure My Dog’s Vision Problems?
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A, and healthy vitamin A consumption is linked to good vision. Because of that, the carrot’s reputation for curing and improving eyesight is legendary.
However, in order to prevent toxic levels of vitamin A, the body reaches a saturation point where it will no longer convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. The exact number of carrots it would take to reach this saturation point is not documented, particularly considering the size differences among dogs.
Can dogs eat carrots to cure a vision problem? No. Using carrots as a remedy for vision problems is not recommended.
According to a 2014 Scientific American article, “Most eye problems stem from vision-impairment caused by issues such as genetics, aging or diabetes that cannot be aided with an infusion of beta-carotene.”
Ultimately, concerns about your dog’s vision should be brought to your veterinarian.
Should I Give My Dog Carrots
We’ve answered can dogs have carrots, but should we make a point of giving our dogs carrots? There are some good reasons to give your dog carrots.
Carrots are an inexpensive addition to your dog’s regular diet and treat regimen. They are safe to serve daily and can be added to any feeding.
When training your dog, carrots provide a healthy and low-calorie alternative to other dog treats.
Letting your puppy chew on a frozen carrot can alleviate pain from teething.
Whether you include carrots as a crunchy treat or add them to a recipe for additional sweetness, you’ll know you are strengthening your dog’s immune system, aiding in digestion, maintaining good vision and promoting overall nutritional balance.
How to Prepare Carrots for Dogs
You should scrub carrots clean, but you don’t have to peel them. Dogs will chew them to bits. In fact, this sometimes makes a mess since bits of carrots tend to break off during chewing, and dogs are not notoriously good housekeepers!
Dogs can eat carrots raw or cooked and there are benefits to each preparation.
For the greatest health benefits, steaming or boiling is the best preparation. As noted, this breaks down the carrot’s cellular wall and allows the most nutrients to pass to your dog. Just make sure carrots are totally cool inside and out before feeding.
For the benefits of both cooked and raw carrots, lightly steam them so they retain a little crunchiness for dental health but also provide better nutrient absorption.
You can also add pureed or juiced carrots to foods and treats for some extra sweetness and your dog won’t even know it’s good for him!
Carrot Recipes for Dogs
If you’re still wondering to prepare carrots for dogs, these books include some great carroty recipes and cooking tips for your canine companions. Enjoy!
- Cooper, C. “Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy”
- Filardi, C. “Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog”
- Van Rosendaal, J. “In the Dog Kitchen: Great Snack Recipes for Your Dog”
Can Dogs Eat Carrots Summary
The answer to can dogs eat carrots has been answered with a resounding yes. And, can dogs eat raw carrots is another hearty yes. We’ve talked about the health benefits of carrots and looked at the best ways to serve carrots for dogs.
Plain raw or cooked carrots are a healthy addition to regular food as well as a pleasant snack or training reward. But, remember to feed them to your dog in moderation as excess fiber has undesirable side effects.
Carrots can pose a choking hazard, especially for puppies and small dogs, so only feed them small pieces and keep an eye on them while they enjoy it.
What’s your favorite way to include carrots in your dog’s diet? Tell us about it in the comments.
References and Further Reading
- Burke, Anna. “7 Nutrients Your Dog Needs for a Healthy Lifestyle” American Kennel Club. 2017.
- Fine Maron, D. “Fact or Fiction?: Carrots Improve Your Vision,” Scientific American. 2014.
Morris, P. J., Salt, C., et al. “Safety evaluation of vitamin A in growing dogs,” British Journal of Nutrition, 2012.
- Pet Assure, “Constipation in Dogs: Causes and Prevention,” www.petassure.com, 2019.