Are Carrots a Safe Dog Treat?
Vegetables are a healthy snack for people, but can dogs eat carrots? Here’s what to know before feeding your four-legged friend.
In a world full of artificial foods, it's nice that we can say, yes, carrots are safe for dogs to eat—and good for them too! (Even the green, leafy part that we humans skip.) Carrots can be served raw, cooked, dehydrated, or frozen, as long as they're not too hard on the teeth and not a choking hazard.
Whether your dog will actually want to eat carrots, of course, is another question.
"Some dogs really like them, some don't seem to," says Ahna Brutlag, DVM, and director of veterinary services & senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, which answers potential poisoning questions for veterinarians and pet owners.
Carrots have well-known vitamins and nutrients, like beta-carotene that gives the carrot its color and is converted into vitamin A, which is good for the eyes.
Other healthy fruits and vegetables that dogs can eat include apples, peas (avoid canned), green beans or broccoli. "Some dogs even like lettuce," Brutlag says, with a few really falling in love with that crunchy spine in a romaine leaf.
How Many Carrots Can I Give My Dog?
With healthy foods like carrots, lettuce, or anything else, the issues always involve frequency and serving size. Carrots are relatively low-calorie, but if your dog isn’t used to high amounts of a fiber, there's a chance that too many carrots might give a dog an upset stomach and diarrhea.
If your dog can’t get enough of this vegetable, consider putting slices in a food-dispensing toy and letting him spend some time (and energy) fishing out his favorite food.
How Should I Feed Carrots to My Dog?
Through his mouth, of course! We kid. In all seriousness, food size is an issue.
"Baby carrots are a perfect size to get stuck in the esophagus of a 20-pound dog like a Pomeranian or Shih Tzu," says Brutlag.
A larger dog who eats quickly could hypothetically try to wolf down an entire carrot without chewing it and possibly choke. The safer option is to cut the carrots into slices or smaller pieces.
If you're considering carrots as a substitute for fattier, higher-calorie treats, or are concerned about how your dog will react to this orange treat, ask your veterinarian about the best course of action.