Your furry best friend with four paws has been there through good times and bad. Always with love in his eyes and a friendly wag to his tail. So, naturally, you want to share everything with your favorite bud, including those tasty snacking carrots you’re munching on while you’re lying on the couch with him. But should you? Can dogs eat carrots? Are carrots good for your dog? If so, how much is too much? And what’s the best way to feed them to him? This article seeks to allay your fears and guide you in being the best chef for your ‘good boy’.
What Do You Need To Know About Dogs and Carrots?
So, what’s in a carrot? For one, did you know that carrots come in a variety of colors? They range from orange, red and yellow to purple, black and white. Few people realize that we actually eat the ROOT of the carrot while throwing away the edible and nutritious leafy bit that grows above ground.
The root of the carrot contains a healthy dose of alpha- and beta-carotene. These are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
- Vitamin A is the reason for the carrot’s bright orange color. In the form of retinol, it also protects the membranes around your eyes that absorb light.
- Vitamin K is required for blood coagulation (blood clotting for the wound to heal when you are injured) and also for controlling the binding of calcium in your bones and other tissues.
- Vitamin C is a nutrient with anti-oxidant properties that plays a role in tissue production as well as immune system support and iron absorption.
- Vitamin B6 performs a number of functions; ranging from assisting the digestive system to the cardiovascular, immune, muscular and nervous systems.
With little to no fat or protein in it, carrots are considered to be a healthy food option in weight-loss endeavors. Carrots are a wonderful source of nutrition for humans, what with the fiber, anti-oxidants and very satisfying crunch you get with every bite!
As much as humans require these vitamins, so do dogs. While dogs are most definitely carnivores, they require a certain amount of plant life to supplement their vitamin intake. This is why you may see your dog munching on grass at times.
A lack of vitamin A in dogs has resulted in night blindness, poor quality skin, and hair as well as stunted growth. More seriously, a deficiency in vitamin K can lead to hemorrhaging and increased clotting time.
A vitamin C deficiency can result in your dog contracting scurvy with symptoms like bleeding mouths, swollen gums, anemia, loose teeth and blood in his urine. Without vitamin B6, expect to see skin lesions and anemia in your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
A resounding yes! Carrots are a great treat for your pooch and not only will they help his digestive system, but they will also strengthen his teeth and bones. With the variety of forms in which it can be fed to your fur-baby, it can be used as a rewarding snack or as part of a meal.
When raw, be sure to cut your carrot into bite-size chunks to prevent choking or even shred them if possible. Carrots are even more nutritious when cooked so take the time to prepare your vegetables in a way that will benefit your dog.
A frozen carrot can also make a great chew toy, especially for that painful teething period. Even carrot juice can be given to your dog. Have some carrot tops left over? Sprinkle them over your dog’s food as a delicious garnish.
As always, though, moderation is important. Be aware that carrots contain carbohydrates and sugar so should your dog be diabetic, rather avoid giving him any.
Health Benefits of Carrots for Dogs – Are carrots good for dogs?
So, yes, you can feed carrots to your dog but why should you? Here’s a whole host of reasons your dog will benefit from the inclusion of carrots to his diet:
- Carrots contain beta-carotene. Once absorbed by your dog’s intestine, it will then make its way to his liver where it pairs up with fats to become vitamin A. This vitamin A is stored and released when it is required. This may include traveling up to the retina where it is used to communicate the images being seen to your dog’s brain.
- Beta-carotene also has antioxidant properties which aid in the prevention of disease and infection by protecting the body from free radicals which can damage cells resulting in chronic illnesses. With the inclusion of beta-carotene in your dog’s diet, expect to see a shiny coat of hair on your dog as well as healthy skin and good bone development.
- Vitamin K will strengthen your dog’s teeth, bones and other internal processes with the help of calcium. This means your dog’s risk of osteoporosis or s similar disease is greatly reduced with the addition of this vitamin to his diet. Other benefits of vitamin K include the activation of calcium-binding characteristics of proteins (which assist with coagulation) as well as the prevention of heart disease by minimizing the calcification of arteries.
- Falcarinol is a natural substance found in raw carrots which have been proven to greatly reduce the risk of cancer. It has been shown to retard the growth of cancer cells thereby creating a hostile environment for a cancer invasion.
- Carrots are jam-packed with fiber and, as such, any bowel discomfort your dog is feeling may be relieved with the inclusion of carrots to his diet. The anti-diarrheal properties of fiber will have your dog back to normal in no time by increasing the bulk and water in intestinal contents. Be sure to have lots of water at the ready if you’re using it for this purpose.
- With the rate of obesity in dogs on the rise as a result of overly-nurturing owners, healthy treats have become a must. A small carrot that’s approximately 5.5” long contains a mere 20 calories, so you can safely toss one for your dog to devour without fear that his belly will soon be dragging on the ground.
- When frozen, carrots make a fabulous chew toy! If you’re tired of finding your new shoes in a mangled mess with a pair of big, brown eyes staring guiltily at you, this is the way to go. Not only will it provide your dog with relief, the side of the carrot will act as a toothbrush, scraping your dog’s teeth as he moves it with his jaws. This will give his teeth a nice shine as it removes any accumulation of buildup and provides a polishing function.
In terms of health benefits, you really can’t go wrong with carrots provided you feed it to him in moderate amounts.
When Are Carrots Bad For Dogs?
It is always best to serve your dog younger carrots as the more the carrot matures, the woodier the texture of the vegetable. This may result in your dog not being able to digest it due to the shortness of his digestive tract which is also poorly geared to handle carbs well. This will be evident by the presence of carrot bits in his feces. If your dog is especially sensitive to this, large amounts of carrots may lead to inflammation of the intestines.
Another possibility is a buildup of large amounts of vitamin A which may lead to chronic toxicity. However, this is near impossible to achieve when vitamin A is supplied in its natural form i.e. carrots as opposed to chemically manufactured vitamin supplements.
Also note that if your dog is suffering from diabetes, stay away from carrots altogether as he will not be able to process the sugar contained in carrots. In this case, stick to leafy green vegetables for his vitamin intake.
While not commonly found, it is possible for your dog to be allergic to carrots. This is caused by the over-reaction of the immune system to the proteins found in carrots. Symptoms include inflamed and itchy skin and possibly indigestion, wheezing and ear infections. Anaphylactic shock is also a possibility but is extremely rare.
It is not advisable to give your dog large amounts of carrots for the above reasons. Moderation is key. This is dependent on the size of your dog as well as their feeding patterns and special needs.
What To Do If My Dog Was Sick Because Of Eating Carrots?
So your little rebel has managed to find your stash of carrots and has proceeded to overindulge-what do you do now?
You need to monitor your dog for the next 24 hours. Firstly, take a look at his stool. If you see large pieces of carrot in it, chances are he’s struggling to digest it. Make sure there’s plenty of water available to prevent dehydration.
Dogs are incredibly self-sufficient so you may find him nibbling on some grass to induce vomiting. If this happens, he’s pretty much on the road to recovery. If you’re still concerned, have a chat with the vet, just in case.
If your diabetic dog has eaten a number of carrots in one sitting, take him to the vet immediately. This meal could have caused your dog’s sugar levels to spike which is why it is best to get his vitals monitored by a professional as soon as possible.
In the event that your dog is showing signs of an allergic reaction to carrots, immediately take him to the vet. Symptoms could include itchy and inflamed skin or sudden wheezing. While it is very rare for this to happen, it’s better to be on the lookout.
How to Feed Carrots to Your Dog Safely
In order to give your dog a good dose of beta-carotene, stick to using orange carrots. Firstly, whether raw or cooked, your carrots must be a comfortable size for your dog.
There is a real threat of your dog choking if the carrot is too big. So, start by peeling the carrot, chopping off the top and cutting it into smaller pieces. You can then feed it to your dog immediately if you wish.
Alternatively, you can cook the carrot. This is actually considered the better route as a cooked carrot will release more nutrients thereby making it a more beneficial meal for your pooch.
Cooking may take the form of boiling, steaming, pureeing or mashing. Be careful not to cook the carrot for too long as you will lose those valuable vitamins. Also, don’t add any kind of seasoning or sugar-the carrot is flavorsome enough.
Once your delicious carrot has cooled down, either mix it with your dog’s regular food or add it to a spectacular home-cooked meal. Then let your dog have at it! Better yet, use it for a scrumptious treat recipe like the one below!
As with any new food being introduced, start off with small quantities and carefully monitor your dog for any adverse reactions. It’s even possible to juice a carrot for your dog if it is easier for him to ingest. Stay away from store-bought carrot juice as there may be added sugar.
Can Dogs Eat Carrots Safely?
Absolutely! Pop a carrot in the freezer for a tasty summertime teething treat or cook it down so it may be mashed or pureed, making it easier for your pup to eat and digest. Including carrot in your puppy’s diet can start as early as 5-6 weeks old and easily continue on into adulthood with your preparation being appropriately adjusted.
Start with small quantities and monitor your pup closely. This yummy vegetable will not only provide your pup with the nutrients they need but also soothe their gums and take care of those teeth.
Can Dogs Eat Carrot Peels and Tops? Are Carrot Peels and Tops Bad for Dogs?
While no mention has specifically been made of the edibility of carrot peels for dogs, most advisors state that the carrot should be peeled before being fed to your dog. Better safe than sorry! As for the carrot tops, it has been suggested that sprinkling it over the food may be beneficial to your dog. It has only recently been accepted by humans for consumption and even then, it is sometimes described as bitter. If you stick to using young carrots, this shouldn’t be a problem.
How to Make Your Own Carrot Dog Treat Recipe
Carrot & Banana Natural Dog Treat Recipe
- 2 and a half cups of regular flour
- 1 bunch of carrots, either grated of chopped finely
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- Two or three bananas, depending on the size. (Mashed)
- Vegetable oil (1/3 cup)
- 1 beaten egg
- A half cup of water
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and have your cookie sheets greased.
- Mix the cornmeal and flour in a big bowl, then add the carrots, egg, bananas, water, and oil until the mixture comprises of a well-textured dough that is easy to work with.
- Set some flour onto your working area and roll out the dough to the desired thickness. Cut the cookies to any shape you desire. Tip: Using dog shaped bones is a real treat and looks good too.
- Place your dog cookies on a baking sheet and set to bake for 30 minutes.
- When the baking process is done, switch the oven off and leave the cookies inside for about 40 minutes until crispy. Be sure to follow this step as it ensures the texture of the cookie is hard and not dough-like.
- Once you have achieved a crispy texture, remove the cookies and let it cool down. Put the cookies in containers or freeze them to access at a later stage.
- Note: I chopped the carrots and bananas into large chunks, and then put them into a food processor. This allowed me to create a good texture for the dough and final cookie product.
Can Dogs Have Carrots – The Final Verdict
Can dogs eat carrots? Without a doubt, they can. As illustrated by this article, not only are carrots a quick and easy snack but they also supremely beneficial to your dog’s health.
With the copious amount of vitamins and innate crunchy factor, your furry friend is sure to adore you even more than he already does.
While we have a tendency to latch onto what works and run with it, remember to take it easy when it comes to doling out these gorgeous orange veggies.
Raw or cooked, whether it’s a stealthy hand sneaking it under the table or a treat balancing on the tip of an adorable, button-nose, carrots are treats that are sure to go down well.
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