Crunchy, refreshing, crisp carrots. What’s not to like about these delicious vegetable snacks? Media has portrayed carrots as a bunny’s favorite snack, which may be true in some cases. But that doesn’t mean dogs won’t enjoy a few slices of chopped carrots. However, as a responsible owner, you need to always ask the questions: Can dogs eat carrots? Are carrots good for dogs?
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Carrots
Dogs can safely eat carrots when given to them in moderation. In fact, carrots contain a lot of great vitamins and minerals dogs can benefit from, including a surplus of Vitamin A, Biotin and Vitamin K. Carrots and the rich Vitamin A contained in them have been known to provide dogs with better vision. However, enhancing your dog’s vision is not the only health benefit that they may reap from eating carrots.
Now that we know the answer to the question (can dogs eat carrots?), let’s further investigate the health benefits.
Health Benefits: Carrots and Dogs
To fully understand how dogs may be able to benefit from eating carrots, we need to examine the nutritional contents of carrots. The truth is, these vegetables contain many more nutrients. However, these are just a few of the top vitamin and minerals found in carrots.
In One Cup of Carrots (Roughly 122 grams):
- Vitamin A – 133%
- Biotin – 20%
- Vitamin K – 18%
- Fiber – 14%
- Molybdenum – 14%
- Potassium – 11%
- Vitamin C – 10%
- B6 Vitamin – 10%
- Manganese – 9%
- B3 Vitamin – 8%
- B1 Vitamin – 7%
- Pantothenic Acid – 7%
- Phosphorus – 6%
- Folate – 6%
- Vitamin E – 5%
- B2 Vitamin – 5%
Note: These percentages (%) are the recommended daily value for humans, and not for dogs. These numbers are meant to give you an idea of just how much of a nutrient is contained in carrots.
Carrots Promote Better Dog Vision
The most obvious health benefit your dog can receive from the consumption of carrots is better vision. The reason why is because of the amount of Vitamin A found in carrots. When looking at the list of nutrients in carrots, perhaps the most shocking number is the 113% daily value of Vitamin A.
A dog’s vision is usually pretty sharp. They’re able to see from far away and even in the dark a lot better than human. However, there are some scenarios where a dog will need to sharpen their vision and improve their eyesight. For example, if you have an aging dog that’s losing some vision due to old age, a few carrots may be a good idea.
The eyesight of a dog is so important to them, it may be a good idea to even feed carrots to young dogs. Carrots may even help prevent or slow down any decline in eyesight of your dog as they age.
Carrots For Healthy Bone Density in Dogs
The vitamin responsible for keeping our bones healthy and strong is Vitamin K. More specifically, this nutrient will help your dog by increasing their bone density. This keeps them ready to take on the wear and stress of their daily activities. Fortunately, carrots contain a very respectable 18% of our recommended daily value for the K Vitamin.
This means that carrots make a lot of sense for working and/or active dog breeds. If your dog likes to run and jump a lot, you can help protect them by increasing their Vitamin K with carrots. Even large dog breeds that have to bear their heavy bodies can benefit from carrots.
Carrots For Good Dog Oral Hygiene
Did you know that carrots can actually help with your dog’s oral hygiene? When your dog chews on carrots, the crunchiness helps by scraping off the plaque, food particles and other gunk stuck in their teeth. This is very similar to how apples can clean your dog’s teeth.
However, that is not all they do. Because chewing on carrots will stimulate your dog’s gums, they will also trigger a lot of saliva. The alkaline saliva from your dog will counter the acidic bacteria that forms cavities. Also, the minerals found in carrots help prevent any tooth damage to your dog.
This isn’t to say that you should completely replace brushing your dog’s teeth with feeding them carrots. Brushing is still very necessary, but a few carrots can help on days you don’t have time or forget to brush your dog’s teeth.
Other fruits and vegetables that have a similar effect of cleaning your dog’s teeth include apples and celery.
Carrots Promote a Healthy Dog Heart
Through years of research, nutritionists have concluded that carrots are associated with a lower risk of heart disease in humans. This same benefit of carrots may be experienced with your dog as well.
Carrots contain a high variety of carotenoids. In fact, carrots don’t just have beta-carotene, but also alpha-carotene and lutein. For those that don’t know, carotenoids are what creates the orange / red pigment (color) in carrots. However, they provide so much more than just an unique colored vegetable. They help promote a healthy heart for your dog.
Studies have also showed that regular consumption of carrots can reduce cholesterol levels because of the high amount of soluble fibers. This means that the occasional consumption of carrots may be a good idea for aging dogs.
Carrots For a Healthy Liver
Yes, it’s true that Vitamin A is extremely helpful in promoting good eyesight. But that’s not the only thing this vitamin can do for your dog. Vitamin A can also assist your dog in flushing out the harmful toxins in your dog’s body. This, in turn, helps the liver with the workload.
Vitamin A has also been known to reduce all the bile and fat that collects in the liver. A little pieces of carrots can go a long way in the health of your dog’s liver.
There are other fruits and vegetables that can help with cleaning your dog’s liver. For instance, cantaloupes, celery and cucumbers will also work.
Side Effects of Dogs Eating Carrots
Despite the wonderful benefits that carrots can provide your dog, there are also certain risks and side effects that arise. Potential side effects and risks may increase in chance the more carrots you feed your dog. This is why we always stress to feed your dog in moderation only. Too much of a thing can become a bad thing.
Dog Diarrhea From Carrots
When eating foods high in fiber, there is always a chance that you may experience diarrhea. However, eating fiber is generally a good thing for humans. Dogs, on the other hand, do not necessarily need as much fiber in their diets as human do. There’s a reason why their diet consists of mainly protein and not fiber.
A cup of carrots contain a good 14% of a human’s total recommended daily value. Although it’s true that carrots don’t have as much fiber as other vegetables (like broccoli and avocado), you should still tread carefully when feeding carrots to your dog.
If your dog experiences any signs of diarrhea shortly after the consumption of carrots, immediately cease feeding them carrots. If diarrhea persists, contact and consult with your local veterinarian.
Dogs May Not Digest Carrots
In some cases, dogs may experience moderate to severe indigestion from the consumption of carrots. In other words, a dog may not be able to digest carrots properly. But don’t worry, most dogs can eat and digest them just fine.
You’ll be able to tell if you can spot pieces of carrots in their stool. If that is the case, it’s better to stop feeding your dog carrots altogether. There are so many other great vegetables that can provide your dog with the same amazing health benefits.
After ceasing the consumption of carrots, if your dog begins to experience diarrhea or constipation, call your local vet immediately.
How Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
We’ve already concluded that dogs can eat carrots when given to them in moderation. However, there are some best practices that owners should learn before preparing carrots for their dogs. Don’t grab a carrot stick out of the freezer and give them straight to your dog without any preparation. Failure to do so can cause them to become sick or choke on a carrot stick.
Carrot Preparation For Dogs
The first thing you want to do is wash the carrot thoroughly. And unless you are using baby carrots, you need to use a shredder to remove the exterior skin and the carrot top (green top).
Raw carrots, like most fruits and vegetables, contain a lot of pesticide and bacteria on the outside. Although dogs can deal with a little bacteria, the pesticide can lead to more serious health issues. The cortex of the carrot contains mainly starch, which you don’t want to be feeding to your dog anyway.
Next you’ll want to slice the carrots into smaller pieces for your dog. Giving the whole carrot stick to your dog can certainly pose a choking hazard and is not recommended. Remember that a small dog breed will likely need to be fed smaller pieces (compared to a medium or large dog).
Pro-tip: Sometimes your dog won’t have the proper enzymes to fully break down raw carrots. If that’s the case, you can cook the carrots to make it easier to digest. To keep things clean, simply boil a few carrots (or baby carrots) in water after shredding and washing.
Look For Unusual Symptoms in Dog
After you feed your dog carrots for the first time, it’s extremely important to observe them carefully for at least 24 hours. Make sure to examine their stool very carefully before continuing to feed them carrots in the future.
If your dog has a change of stool habits (e.g. diarrhea, constipation), stop feeding them carrots. Revert back to their normal diet. Sometimes, there will still be chunks of carrots in your dog’s stool, which means your dog wasn’t able to digest the carrot slices properly. In this case, it’s better to feed your dog other vegetables.
Without any unusual symptoms, it means that your dog is good to go. Feel free to feed them carrots, but always remember to do so in moderation.
How Many Carrots Can I Give My Dog?
Once again, this will depend on how big your dog is. Larger dogs can eat more carrots and smaller dogs should eat less.
To be safe, always start off with just a few slices of carrots. I would not give a dog more than half a stick of carrot a day for more than 3 days a week. A few pieces of baby carrots per day for 3 days out of the week should suffice. For more information on how many carrots to give to your dog, consult with your veterinarian. Because your local vet deals with your dog personally, they would know better.
Can Dogs Eat Baby Carrots?
Yes, dogs can eat baby carrots. In fact, my dog loves to eat baby carrots. Not only are they as nutritious as regular carrots, but they are certainly more convenient.
The best part about baby carrots is that the preparation for dogs gets cut down. You’ll most likely still have to wash the carrots, but shredding the cortex and removing the carrot top won’t be necessary anymore. In addition, baby carrots are bite-sized, meaning that you may not need to cut the carrots depending on the size of the dog. For small dogs, I would still at least break the baby carrots in half.
Don’t feel like preparing carrots for your dog? No shame taking the easy way out and picking up some baby carrots on your way home next time.
Carrot Dog Treat Recipe
What pairs well with carrots and is something that dogs love to eat? Peanut butter! In our carrot dog treat recipe for today, we will be learning how to make soft peanut butter carrot dog treats! Treat your dog to a few of these and they will absolutely love you for it. This dog treat recipe is made possible by Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Note: If your dog has never had carrots before, it may be a good idea to feed them a few pieces to see how well they digest carrots. Dogs aren’t allergic to carrots, but there is always exceptions and a chance of negative side effects.
- 1 Cup of Creamy Peanut Butter (organic and/or natural)
- ¾ Cup of Skim Milk
- 1 Large Egg
- 2 ¼ Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Large Carrot (shredded)
- ⅓ Cup Oats (whole-rolled)
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 large baking sheets with silicone mats.
- Mix peanut butter, skim milk, egg and shredded carrot together in a large bowl.
- Mix in the baking powder and flour in to create the dough.
- Add the oats and continue to roll the dough until it’s mixed in well (heavy and thick).
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to ¼ thickness.
- Cut into dog treat shape of your choice with a cutter.
- Arrange on baking sheets and put into the oven for 15 minutes or until a light brown.
- Flip the treats around and continue to bake for 10 to 15 more minutes.
- Let the treats cool down in the fridge.
The Smart Canine is an online resource dedicated to providing dog owners with the best information on dog care and training. Our team has done thorough research on the consumption of carrots by dogs. However, we cannot guarantee your dog will experience a health benefit or side effect from eating carrots. We still recommend that you always consult with your veterinarian before feeding them any human foods, such as carrots.