The 5 Healthiest Vegetables Dogs Can Eat and 3 to Avoid

Written by Marisa Wilson
Updated: June 26, 2022
Image Credit Stickler/Shutterstock.com
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Dog owners have to be constantly on the lookout for what their dog eats. Giving them only the best dog food is one of the many things dog parents have to do. But what about when we want to spoil our furry friends with some ‘people’ food? Dogs are often thought of as carnivores, but they benefit from eating various foods – including vegetables. 

Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and they can help boost your dog’s immune system. They’re also a low-calorie option if your dog is trying to lose weight. In addition, some vegetables can help to clean your dog’s teeth. At the same time, not all vegetables are suitable for dogs. Some can actually be pretty harmful. So, which ones should you avoid feeding your dog? Let’s take a look at the best and worst vegetables for dogs. 

Top 5 Healthy Vegetables for Dogs

Beagle dog asks for cucumber in the kitchen
The healthiest vegetables to feed your dog are cucumbers, carrots, peas, broccoli and celery.

Viktoriia Bu/Shutterstock.com

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The five most nutritious veggies to feed your pup are:

  1. Cucumbers are not only a refreshing and healthy treat for humans, but dogs can benefit from eating them as well. Cucumbers have low calories and fat, and they contain vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like potassium and magnesium. They can also help keep dogs hydrated since they are made up of 95% water. In addition, cucumbers can help to reduce bad breath and keep teeth clean.
  1. Carrots have a high source of Vitamin A, essential for maintaining healthy eyesight. Vitamin A is also necessary for a robust immune system, and it can help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. They’re an excellent source of fiber, which can help regulate your dog’s digestive system.
  1. Peas are high in fiber, which can help to regulate digestion. They’re great for vitamins A and C, iron, and potassium. They make a healthy snack for dogs while watching their weight. It is also an excellent choice for dogs who can’t eat tough or crunchy foods.
  1. Broccoli contains antioxidants that can help to protect against cell damage. Broccoli is safe in small amounts for dogs to eat. It’s essential to give them only small pieces cooked well. Raw broccoli should be avoided, as it may cause stomach upset.
  1. Celery is low in calories and fat, but it also contains essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Celery has high water content, making it a great way to keep your dog hydrated. Too much, however, can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach.

How to Prepare the Healthiest Vegetables for your Dog

Hungry brown dog waiting to be fed next to empty bowl
Washing is essential for all vegetables and it may be best to cook most of them for optimum digestion.

iStock.com/Zontica

It’s important to wash each vegetable before you follow these steps. Washing them helps remove pesticides and dirt.

Cucumbers

  1. Remove the ends, then slice them into thin pieces. 
  2. If you’re concerned about your dog choking on the cucumber, you can remove the seeds before giving them a bit. 
  3. Once the cucumber is prepared, let your dog enjoy it as a healthy snack or use it as a training treat. 
  4. Supervise them while they’re eating, as some dogs may try to eat the whole cucumber at once!

Carrots: 

  1. Slice the top and bottom of the carrot off, then cut it into small pieces for your dog to chew. 
  2. You can either give the carrots to your dog raw or cook them first. 
  3. If you decide to cook them, steam or boil the carrots until they are soft. 
  4. Let them cool, then treat your dog.

Peas:

  1. If they are frozen peas, follow the instructions on the package.
  2. For fresh peas, remove the pods from the peas.
  3. Cook the peas until they are soft. You can boil them or steam them.
  4. When the peas are cooked, mash them up into small pieces.
  5. Remove any stringy bits or hard parts that could be choking hazards. 
  6. Once the peas are mashed, they are ready to serve to your furry friend.

Broccoli: 

  1. Dogs can’t digest raw broccoli very well, so it’s essential to cook it first. 
  2. Steaming or boiling are the best methods, as they preserve the most nutrients. 
  3. You’ll also want to cut the broccoli into small pieces, as large pieces can be a choking hazard.

Celery: 

  1. To prepare celery for your dog, wash it thoroughly and cut it into small pieces. 
  2. If you’re using whole celery stalks, you may want to remove the stringy center core before giving it to your dog. 
  3. You can either offer the celery raw or cook it briefly before feeding it to your pup.

Avoid Feeding These 3 Vegetables 

Feeding dogs onions can lead to anemia, mushrooms and raw potatoes can be harmful as well.

New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Be careful about your dog getting its paws on these, as they are not on the list of vegetables dogs can eat:

  1. Though onions may make our dog’s food taste better to us, they are bad for our furry friends. Onions in the allium family, like garlic, shallots, and chives. If your dogs eat these, it can damage a dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia. This can lead to death. If your dog ate onions, watch for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and trouble breathing. They may need a blood transfusion to treat the anemia.
  1. While some mushrooms are harmless, others can be poisonous to dogs. The risk is even higher if the dog ingests a large amount of the mushroom or if the mushroom is of a particularly potent variety. The dog might be hospitalized to receive treatment in some cases. So, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep an eye on your dog outdoors to help prevent them from coming into contact with any wild mushrooms.
  1. You might not think twice about snacking on a raw potato while you chop it up, but, for a dog, they can be downright dangerous. Raw potatoes contain solanine, a compound that can be toxic to dogs in high enough concentrations. Specifically, solanine can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and even diarrhea. So next time you’re in the kitchen cooking up a storm, remember: what might be harmless (or even healthy) for you could be harmful to your dog. If you notice any symptoms mentioned above and think your dog may have eaten any of these, it’s essential to get them to a vet.

Conclusion 

It’s easy to forget that dogs aren’t the same as humans, mainly because they are a part of the family. Dogs can benefit from healthy food just like people, and there are a few vegetables, in particular, that pack a serious nutritious punch. While this list helps you know a general idea of what you can and can’t feed your dog, you should always check to see if the food is safe. Always watch for signs of allergic reactions when giving them new food. Treat your dog to some healthy snacks while you cook by getting some of the five vegetables listed above that have the most nutrients. Your four-legged friend will thank you for it!

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.