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Here’s The Right Way To Give Carrots To Your Dog

Littlethings writer Phyllis Maddox by Phyllis Maddox
Phyllis is a retired English teacher and a freelance writer for LittleThings.

Can dogs eat carrots? That’s a good question. Growing up, we were told constantly that eating carrots would make our eyes better and that spinach would make our bodies stronger.

But is this the same case for our pooches?

I know my dog loves his treats, but I feel guilty because I know when he gobbles up those treats, it’s like me scarfing down a whole big bag of high-calorie chips! This is when I begin to wonder about the healthy vegetables I can incorporate into his diet, like carrots. I know how apples and dogs mix, and the no-nos of onions and garlic, but what’s the deal with carrots?

Carrots are a health powerhouse for people, but are they good or bad for dogs?

Are they potentially poisonous? If I do feed my dog carrots, should they be cooked or raw? Do dogs like carrots, or would I have to sneak them into his diet through carrot cake?

These and many other questions may be on your mind, and we have the answers!

So, Can Dogs Eat Carrots?

Feeding dog carrot
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Yes! Your dog can eat carrots to her little heart’s content, as long as she doesn’t have too many at one time. As with all food outside their normal diet, dogs can experience digestive problems, such as vomiting or diarrhea, if given too much at one time. With this in mind, carrots are actually pretty good for dogs. One benefit of raw carrots is that when your dog munches on them, her teeth are cleaned as the carrots scrape against them, which can help prevent plaque buildup.

According to the American Kennel Club, “Some vets even recommend cold carrots for teething puppies as a way to relieve teething discomfort, and large frozen carrots make cheap and edible chew toys.” Most of the other benefits for dogs, however, are optimized when the carrots are cooked.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Carrots?

Happy dog with carrots
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Carrots are healthy for dogs, just as they are for people, with the same vitamins and minerals benefiting their systems as they do ours. According to Organic Facts, carrots contain beta-carotene, which has been connected to a reduced risk of several cancers.

Also, “this root vegetable is a good source of antioxidant agents. Furthermore, carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.” The vitamin C and antiseptic/antibacterial properties in carrots boost the immune system, helping the body to fight diseases.

Are Carrots Good For Dogs’ Eyes?

Dog with glasses and bowl of carrots
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

The stories your parents told you are true! Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A, which improves eyesight. Though I’m not sure if dogs can get macular degeneration, a disease causing vision loss that happens to a lot of elderly people, older dogs do tend to have weak eyesight.

According to Organic Facts, “Research has found that people who ate the most amount of beta-carotene (of which carrots have a lot!) had a 40% lower risk of macular degeneration compared with those who consumed the least.”

Are Carrots Fattening For Dogs?

Dog running with owner
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Carrots contain only 44 calories per 100 grams, or 35 calories per 3 ounces. That’s why we humans eat carrots when we’re trying to lose weight!

Jessica Potosky, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, tells LittleThings, “Carrots are not fattening [for dogs], and I actually recommend them as treats instead of dog biscuits.” They are low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins. If your dog is having a problem with loose stools, the fiber can help to add bulk to his stools.

Do They Cause Diarrhea?

Putting carrots in dog food
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Carrots, and any other food that is not a part of your dog’s usual diet, should be given in moderation. An average-sized dog can safely eat two or three baby carrots a day, and they should be chopped up into smaller pieces in case they want to swallow them whole — you don’t want them to choke!  My Yorkie is small, so I don’t give him an entire baby carrot, just several small slices. Giving any food to your dog in moderation is a good idea because you don’t want to cause gastric upset.

How Should Carrots Be Prepared for Dogs to Eat?

Cooking with dog watching
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Even though they are low in calories, carrots are a sweet treat that dogs love! At least mine does, anyway; carrots are his favorite vegetable — he loves them even more than his favorite fruits. Because carrots contain cellulose, which dogs can’t digest, you need to cook them to give her the optimal nutritional benefits that carrots have to offer.

Easy Carrot Dog-Treat Recipes

Easy Carrot Dog-Treat Recipes
LittleThings Studios

Carrot Dog Treats, via Baking Mischief

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oats (quick for dogs)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup (about 1 large) carrot, finely grated
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

 

Soft Peanut Butter Carrot Dog Treats, via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ¾ cup skim milk
  • 1 large egg, or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large carrot, shredded (or about 8 baby carrots), around 2/3 cup shredded
  • 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup oats (either whole-rolled or quick)

Since my dog adores apples as well as carrots, I plan to make both of these!

If you have found this article helpful or interesting, please SHARE with friends or family who also have dogs!  They would probably love the recipes!