Do you want to give your Labrador a lovely carroty snack? In can dogs eat carrots, we take a look at how to feed your dog these delicious veggies.
Carrots are one of the most popular root vegetables eaten around the world.
Raw, steamed, baked and juiced – there are hundreds of preparations for carrots.
They appeal to us for their sweet flavor and their health benefits. But can dogs have carrots?
And are raw carrots good for dogs?
In this article we’ll talk about the health risks and rewards of carrots for dogs.
Are Carrots Safe For Dogs?
Yes. Dogs eat carrots with very little prompting. In fact, many popular wet and dry dog foods contain carrots.
Carrots in dry food for dogs are generally low on the list of ingredients. This does not add greatly to the nutritional value of the food but is not harmful.
In wet dog foods carrots are usually a little higher on the list of ingredients and you should be able to see pieces of carrots in the food.
Many dog food and dog treat recipes also contain carrots.
Are Carrots Bad For Dogs?
No. 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 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 actually the condition is not harmful and a decrease in carotene intake will alleviate the skin discoloration.
Unless raw carrots for dogs is the staple of their diet, the risk of carotenemia is extremely low.
Are Carrots Good For Dogs?
We know carrots are good for us (and delicious), but can my dog eat carrots?
Aside from carotenes, carrots are a good source of Vitamin K and Vitamin B6.
Vitamin K is vital to blood clotting and Vitamin B6 turns carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy.
Carrots in the amounts present in dog foods will not provide the total vitamin requirements for your dog but are a favorable addition to any dog food formula.
Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
Dogs can eat carrots raw or cooked and there are benefits to each preparation.
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!
Can Dogs Eat Raw Carrots?
Yes. Dogs enjoy chewing on carrots. The hardness of raw carrots is good for promoting healthy dog teeth.And the fibrous nature of carrots makes them an excellent binding agent and promotes healthy digestion and bowel movements.
A full grown, medium to large dog can be given a whole regular sized carrot. Puppies and smaller dogs do better with shaved carrots or baby carrots.
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 little bits of carrots tend to break off during chewing and dogs are not notoriously good housekeepers!
Caution: The hardness of carrots does make them a choking hazard. This is rare but err on the side of caution and don’t leave your dog – particularly small dogs or puppies – alone with carrots.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Carrots?
Yes. Cooked carrots are actually ideal for dogs since cooking breaks down the carrot’s tough cellular walls allowing greater absorption of 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.
Note, cooked carrots should not be buttered or salted or otherwise spiced unless a dog food recipe specifically calls for it. The extra fats and salts take away from the beneficial nature of carrots.
Can Dogs Eat Peas And Carrots?
Peas, like carrots, are an excellent source of fibre and nutrients and can safely be fed to your dog.
Also like carrots, cooking peas will provide more health benefits to your dog since cooking breaks down the celluloid walls of peas and allows greater nutrient absorption.
Avoid butter and salt when serving carrots and peas.
Can Eating Carrots Cure My Dog’s Vision Problems?
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A and a 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.
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.
Feeding Dogs Carrots
Raw 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.
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 feedings.
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.
Carrot Recipes For Dogs
If you’re still wondering how can I feed my dog carrots, 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”
The Labrador Handbook
Then why not pick up a copy of The Labrador Handbook.
A complete owner’s guide to our favorite breed of dog.
Including care, health, training, exercise and feeding tips that you and your Lab will benefit from.
Fine Maron, D. (2014) “Fact or Fiction?: Carrots Improve Your Vision”