Can Dogs Eat Carrots? The Risks and Benefits

Written by Shaunice Lewis
Updated: October 23, 2022
Image Credit Javier Brosch/Shutterstock.com
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Carrots are a healthy powerhouse for people, but can dogs eat them and receive the same benefits as well? Are any parts of the carrot potentially toxic to them? And can they eat the carrots raw or do they have to be cooked first? How many carrots would be too much? These and many other questions you may have can be answered down below. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of carrots for your dog and whether or not there are any risks you need to be aware of.

Are Carrots Good for Dogs?

Many dogs love to eat carrots, especially when they get to enjoy them as a crunchy treat. Because of their nutrient-dense properties, carrots make a great addition as a healthy snack to accompany your dog’s diet. When dogs snack on carrots they get a boost of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. They also get potassium, niacin, beta-carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Carrots are also packed with lutein and lycopene, which are both essential phytonutrients that can help protect the eyes from UVB radiation and any other damage that can be caused by harmful free radicals.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important nutrients for dogs that can be found in carrots:

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  • Vitamin A: Carrots are very rich in vitamin A which will support your dog’s eye health. It also provides a boost to the immune system and makes your pet’s skin and coat healthier and shinier. Just be careful—even though vitamin A is an essential nutrient for your dog, it is possible for them to have too much of it. If he has too much of this fat-soluble vitamin, it can build up in its system and become toxic. If you are unsure of how much vitamin A your dog needs, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
  • Beta-carotene: This is a pigment that gives carrots their signature color. It also is the beginning form of vitamin A that is necessary to maintain good vision—especially at night. It also works as an antioxidant and helps prevent diseases and infection, ensures normal bone development, maintains good reproductive health, and can even prevent cancer.
  • Dietary fiber: Carrots are also rich in soluble fiber. One cup of raw carrots contains 3.58 g of dietary fiber. Fiber can help improve both digestive health and help regulate loose stools in dogs.
  • Low-fat and low-calorie: Carrots make great treats for dogs that are diabetic as well as preventing diabetes in those that are not. Carrots have only 53 calories per cup and make an amazing, healthy, treat option in between meals.
  • Great for teeth health: Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is very important in maintaining your dog’s oral health. Adding carrots to your dog’s diet is a great way to give your dog’s teeth a gentle clean and prevent further plaque buildup. Some vets will recommend giving frozen carrots to puppies as a way to relieve teething discomfort.

Can Carrots Be Bad for Dogs?

When fed in moderation, carrots are a healthy, low-fat snack as well as a low-calorie treat for your dog. However, just like many other fruits and veggies, they can be high in natural sugar. Too much sugar, whether from artificial sugars or natural ones, can cause obesity and dental decay.

Carrots also contain high levels of fiber. If you add large amounts of fiber to your dog’s diet too quickly, it can result in gas and an upset stomach. Therefore, you want to make are that you introduce carrots into your dog’s diet slowly and provide plenty of drinking water for him in order to prevent any blockages from developing. If you suspect that your dog has eaten too many carrots and you begin to notice signs of digestive upset such as vomiting, or diarrhea, be sure to get in contact with your vet right away.

In general, when it comes to serving carrots to your dog, the same rules apply as with any other treat that you might give him: carrots should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric needs. For context, an average-sized dog can safely consume 2 – 3 baby carrots each day. Just be sure that you chop them up into smaller pieces so that you avoid any choking hazards. Before you begin introducing any new food into your dog’s diet, you should always consult with your dog’s veterinarian. That way they can give you more accurate information and recommendations for your dog based on his personal health and medical needs.

Should Your Dog Eat Raw Carrots or Cooked Carrots?

Dogs can safely eat either raw carrots or cooked carrots. In fact, each part of the carrot is considered safe for your dog to consume. This includes the leafy green parts at the top as well. If possible, try to buy organic carrots so you can be sure that they do not contain pesticides. If you buy non-organic carrots, be sure to give them a rinse before you feed them to your dog.

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Raw Carrots

Grating raw carrots on top of your dog’s regular healthy dog food is a great way to add an extra layer of flavor as well as a nutrient boost to an already healthy meal. Just be sure to wash the carrots before you grate them over your dog’s food. Also, you do not have to peel the carrots before serving them to your dog. In fact, after you’ve peeled the carrots that you’ll be eating yourself, you can save the peels and cook them up to make a tasty puree for your dog.

It is important to note, however, that raw carrots do have a wall of cellulose that isn’t digestible by dogs, so it might be better for you to cook them in order to reap the full nutritional benefits for your dog.

Juiced Carrots

Carrot juice is rich in vitamin A, which as we mentioned before, is great for your dog’s eye health and keeping their immune system functioning at its peak. However, when carrots are juiced, they lose most of their dietary fiber. You can return some of the fiber by adding back in some of the pulp from the carrots that was separated during juicing. This ensures that your dog does not miss out on any of the health benefits that come along with having enough fiber in its diet. You do not need to peel the carrots prior to juicing them—simply wash them off thoroughly, and then run them through the juicer. If you have some left over afterward, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for one day.

Frozen Carrots

Although raw carrots can make tasty treats for your dog, he will have a hard time breaking them down, which means that you may find pieces of carrots in their stool. In order to take advantage of the full range of health benefits of carrots for dogs, they should be broken down into fine mush or flakes before you freeze them into cubes. This is to ensure that they will be easier for your dog to digest and he will get all of the health benefits that come along with them.

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Cooked Carrots

Cooking the carrots before serving them to your dog is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to serve them. You can steam the carrots for about 10 minutes and this will be enough to enhance the carrots’ flavor as well as retain most of the nutrients. Another way you can cook the carrots for your dog is by baking them. Carrots are perfect for baking because of their natural sweetness, which baking them really highlights. You can preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the sliced carrots onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, and then bake for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender and golden brown.

Can My Dog Eat Carrot Cake?

Although none of the ingredients that are usually found in carrot cake are toxic to dogs, you will want to avoid giving your dog carrot cake. The high sugar content and the presence of various milk ingredients make it a recipe for an upset stomach for your dog.

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Overall

Carrots are a very tasty, healthy, and versatile snack for your dog to enjoy. They’re safe when given on a daily basis and are able to provide a healthy, low-calorie alternative to many commercial dog treats. Having carrots either in their raw or cooked form can be a great addition to your dog’s regular food, as a training reward, or as a simple snack on its own. As always, only feed your dog carrots in moderation, as too much of anything can be a bad thing. In the case of carrots, too many can lead to your dog consuming too much fiber which can cause unwanted side effects like gastrointestinal issues, and discomfort.

In some instances, carrots can pose a choking hazard—especially for small dogs, so if you plan to give some to your dog, always cut them into smaller, more manageable pieces and stay near your dog so that you can keep an eye on him while he enjoys his snack. Always follow your vet’s advice when it comes to how many carrots are safe to give to your dog, as they will have the most accurate advice for your dog based on its specific needs and medical history, as each dog is different. Doing so will help you to protect your dog from weight gain, digestive struggles, and other health issues that may arise.

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French bulldog with carrot in its mouth on white background
Carrots, including the leaves, are generally safe for dogs.
Javier Brosch/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

Freelance writer specializing in natural health and wellness.

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