What vegetables are good for Labradors? Whether you’re trying to make the best homemade diet for your Lab, or simply wanting to know what’s safe to share with your pup, we have the complete list for you.
Dogs are omnivorous, so they are able to eat a wide variety of foods, including many vegetables. But, this doesn’t mean all vegetables are safe or good for our Labs.
We take a look at what vegetables are good for Labradors, vegetables safe for dogs, and the benefits they can offer.
So, you’ll know exactly what your dog can share with you.
Why You Might Want to Offer Your Lab Vegetables
If you feed your dog with a commercial food that he loves, you might not care about offering them additional snacks like vegetables.
But, many people are choosing to prepare homemade dog food for their Labradors.
As omnivorous animals, safe vegetables are also a popular option for training treats.
But, no matter what the reason you’re sharing vegetables with your dog, you need to make sure the ones you’re offering are safe.
On top of this, you need to be careful that you’re preparing them in the safest way possible. Some vegetables are safe in certain forms, but only once they’ve been cooked.
Others lose lots of their nutritional value when they’re cooked! So, always check before offering.
What Vegetables are Good for Labradors?
Let’s move on to the list of veggies that are safe for Labs and other dogs.
Remember that just because a vegetable is safe to eat, it doesn’t mean it’s especially nutritious for your dog.
So, check the benefits of each vegetable if you’re trying to give your dog a healthy homemade diet.
No matter which vegetable you offer, make sure to wash it thoroughly to remove any pesticides or harmful chemicals.
Asparagus spears are safe for Labradors to eat. The leaves of the asparagus fern are NOT safe for dogs to eat.
Generally, store bought asparagus spears do not have these leaves. But, it’s always best to check before offering to your dog.
Raw asparagus is tough to chew and digest. It can cause digestive issues in Labs, such as diarrhea and vomiting. It can also be a choking hazard.
Some of the nutrients asparagus can offer include: folate, vitamins K, C, and E, beta-carotene, and more.
Grilling or cooking asparagus will soften it, and make it easier for your Lab to digest. But, whether you are offering it raw or cooked, make sure to chop it small to reduce the risk of choking.
Beets are another veggie that make the list of ‘what vegetables are good for Labradors’.
Raw beetroot is quite firm, and can be hard for dogs to chew and digest. This means it is also a potential choking hazard.
Cooking beetroot will soften it, and make it easier for your dog to digest without issues.
Beets contain vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron, among other nutrients.
Plain cooked beetroot is safe for Labs to eat, and contributes some great nutrients to their diet.
Broccoli florets are safe for Labs to eat in small amounts. This vegetable contains vitamins C, A, B1, B5, B6, calcium, zinc, and other nutrients.
However, broccoli should never exceed 10% of your dog’s daily food intake.
This veggie also contains isothiocyanates. If your dog eats too much broccoli, the isothiocyanates can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal distress.
They can even be fatal if your dog consumes a large amount of this veggie. But, the amount will depend on your dog’s size, weight, age and more.
So, you may want to speak to your vet before offering this vegetable. If you do offer it, only give very small amounts.
Cooking broccoli will help to soften it and reduce the risk of choking. It will also make it easier to digest.
What vegetables are good for Labradors? Brussel sprouts can be good for Labs in small amounts!
Brussel sprouts contain vitamins K, A, C, B1 and B6.
But, this is another vegetable that contains the substance isothiocyanate. Too many sprouts can lead to severe gastrointestinal upset for dogs.
So, only ever offer your dog a small amount of this vegetable. And be aware that it can cause pretty smelly gas!
Cooking brussel sprouts will help to make them more digestible. Cut them up to reduce the risk of choking.
Carrots are a safe and popular vegetable choice for Labs and other dogs. In fact, it’s a very common ingredient in commercial dog foods.
Carrots contain antioxidants, vitamin K and vitamin B6.
Raw carrots can be a choking hazard, but some dogs will also enjoy their hardness to chew on.
Raw carrots can also help to combat the buildup of plaque, and improve dental health.
Cooking carrots will soften them, making them easier to chew and digest.
You can offer carrots with the skin on or off, but either way, make sure they are washed.
What vegetables are good for Labradors? Cauliflower florets make the list!
Cauliflower contains vitamins K and C, fiber, calcium, potassium, and more.
Uncooked, this vegetable can be hard to digest, chew, and can cause a choking risk. But cooking them will soften them and reduce this risk.
Feeding too much cauliflower can cause gastrointestinal issues like gas and stomach upsets.
So, only offer small amounts of this vegetable.
Celery contains fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as various antioxidants.
Like other vegetables, it should be chopped up into small pieces before offering to reduce the risk of choking.
Don’t feed your dog too much celery as a regular part of their diet, as it has a relatively high salt content compared to other vegetables.
On top of this, too much fiber can cause digestive problems.
But, in general, this food is a safe occasional treat for Labs.
Although corn is a staple cereal crop, many people consider corn on the cob to be a vegetable. So is this a good vegetable for Labradors?
The corn kernels are safe for your dog to eat. But the cob itself is not. The cob can cause intestinal blockages that are very dangerous.
So, if you really want to feed your dog this vegetable, remove it from the cob before offering it.
Corn is quite a starchy food. It can be hard for dogs to digest, and can even pass through their digestive system intact.
So, whilst corn is safe, generally other vegetables will offer more nutrition and be better for your dog.
What vegetables are good for Labradors? Green beans are another safe and tasty treat.
They contain iron, magnesium, potassium, and a number of good vitamins. However, they have a lot of fiber, so can cause issues if your dog eats too many green beans.
Beans and other legumes are also common culprits for canine flatulence!
Dogs can eat green beans either raw or cooked. But, they will be softer and easier to digest when they are cooked.
Make sure to cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces so they are less likely to present a choking hazard.
Okra is another vegetable that is safe for Labs to eat as an occasional treat. Even the seeds of this vegetable are safe for dogs.
Okra has high levels of vitamin C, folate, calcium, and potassium.
Uncooked okra can be hard to chew and digest. Cooking it will soften it and make this easier.
This vegetable can make a nutritious occasional treat, but shouldn’t make up too much of your dog’s diet.
You should not give your dog fried or pickled okra.
What vegetables are good for Labradors? Peas are a popular choice! This vegetable has many variations that are safe for dogs: sugar snap peas, garden peas, snow peas.
Generally, if the pods are safe for humans, they are safe for dogs. But, all pea pods have the potential to cause choking in dogs.
Peas contain vitamins A, K, and B vitamins. They also contain various minerals.
As an occasional snack, peas are a great option for most dogs. But, they aren’t a great choice for dogs that have kidney problems, due to the amount of potassium and phosphorous in them.
Cooked, peeled potatoes are safe for dogs to eat. But, raw potatoes, potato skins, and potato sprouts contain a substance called solanine, which is dangerous to dogs.
Potatoes are a high-carb vegetable that can be a great energy source. But, too many can lead to weight gain in your Lab.
In small amounts this vegetable can be good for Labs.
But, never give them too much potato, as Labs are known to gain weight easily. And, never offer raw potatoes, or potato skins and sprouts.
In small amounts, spinach is safe for dogs to eat. It contains vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as various minerals and antioxidants.
It is easier for dogs to chew and digest than hard root vegetables.
But, there is a downside.
Spinach is high in oxalic acid. This substance prevents your dog’s body from absorbing calcium correctly, causing a metabolic imbalance.
In extreme cases, this can cause kidney failure. So, although small amounts of spinach are safe, other vegetables are a better option.
Unlike normal potatoes, sweet potatoes don’t contain solanine (which is bad for your dog).
Raw sweet potatoes can still be hard to chew and digest though. So, it’s best to peel and cook them before offering this carbohydrate-rich vegetable to your dog.
Too much sweet potato can lead to weight gain. So, it shouldn’t be a large part of your dog’s diet.
But, sweet potatoes can be a good treat for dogs.
A zucchini (or courgette) is another vegetable that is safe for Labradors in small amounts.
Zucchini contains fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals. So, it can be a pretty healthy option for your dog.
It’s relatively low in calories, fat, and cholesterol. So, they can be a better treat choice for overweight dogs.
But, this vegetable should still only be an occasional treat for your pet.
Raw zucchini can be hard for dogs to chew and digest. But, it can be cooked to soften it. Also, chopping it into smaller pieces will help to reduce the risk of choking.
How to Prepare Vegetables for Labradors
Now we know what vegetables are good for Labradors and other dogs, it’s important to learn some basics about preparing them.
For the majority of veggies, cooking will improve their digestibility, and make them less of a choking hazard.
But, some cooking methods can also be bad for dogs. Frying vegetables is a less healthy way of cooking them, and the extra calories may cause your Lab to gain weight.
Steaming or boiling vegetables is often the best way to cook them. But, you may also want to grill them.
The most important preparation tip is to always wash your veggies first. Remove skins if they are bad for dogs.
And don’t add seasoning. Although it tastes great to us, it can be harmful to our dogs. They will be just as happy, and safer, to have plain veggies as an occasional treat.
What if my Dog Doesn’t Like Vegetables?
There may be some veggies on this list that your dog simply doesn’t want to eat. That’s okay!
Dogs can get the nutrients they need from a number of places, so don’t panic if they won’t eat some of these vegetables.
If you’re worried that something is missing from your dog’s diet, speak to your vet for some alternatives you can offer.
Everything your dog needs should already be present in their food. So, usually, vegetables are just offered as a treat to your dog.
Feeding a New Vegetable
We know what vegetables are good for Labradors. But, every time you offer a new veggie to your dog, you should watch them carefully.
Only offer a very small amount for the first time. And watch for any gastrointestinal upset.
Just because these veggies are generally safe for dogs doesn’t mean all dogs will react well to them.
Some dogs could be allergic to certain vegetables or food families.
If your dog shows any signs of feeling unwell after eating a new food, speak to your vet.
Vegetables You Should NEVER Give Your Lab
There are some vegetables that are dangerous for our dogs.
Onions and leeks are toxic to dogs. They should never be offered as a treat, and never included in any of the other foods you give your dog.
Store bought mushrooms are generally okay for dogs to eat, but wild mushrooms can be very dangerous. If you aren’t sure they are safe, it’s best to avoid the risk.
Similarly, very small amounts of kale are okay for dogs. But, many vets recommend against feeding this vegetable. It contains harmful compounds such as calcium oxalate and isothiocyanates.
These compounds can lead to kidney problems and gastric irritation.
Additionally, any mouldy food should be avoided. Make sure any vegetables you are offering your dog are fresh and washed.
What Vegetables are Good for Labradors?
Have you ever tried giving your Lab some of the vegetables on this list? There are quite a few dog friendly vegetables.
But, not all dogs will love them! Which veggies are your dog’s favorites?
References and Resources
- ‘Harmful Substances and Foods for Dogs’, Purina
- ‘Poisonous Plants’, ASPCA
- Craig, J. ‘Food Intolerance in Dogs and Cats’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2018)
- Ratnofsky, M. ‘Human Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog’, MSPCA Angell
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website