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To answer the question can a dog eat vegetables we must understand that dogs are carnivores by nature and omnivores by design.
However, the importance of adding vegetables to a dog’s meal has increased, and adding them to a meat-based diet can increase their health if it is managed properly.
So to keep our dogs happy and healthy this article lists the most popular vegetables that are considered safe for dogs to eat, in moderation, and informs you of a few that are unsafe and should be avoided.
Can a Dog Eat Vegetables? (A – z Listing)
Asparagus is an excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, K, chromium, potassium, and antioxidants.
Dogs may have difficulty chewing and digesting raw asparagus as it is so tough and extremely fibrous making it a potential choking hazard.
Therefore the optimum way to prepare asparagus for your dog is to steam it until soft.
2. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers (red, green, orange, yellow ):
First of all, you should know that bell peppers are also known as capsicum or sweet peppers in some countries.
All bell pepper varieties provide beta carotene, fiber, and antioxidants. Make sure to cut peppers up into manageable-sized pieces and feed with the stem removed to help boost immune function.
They are rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, Vitamin B6, potassium, and folate.
Bell peppers can be eaten raw or cooked, but raw peppers can be hard to digest, so a little light steaming is preferable.
Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamins K and C, and folic acid whilst being low in fat.
But you must give this vegetable in small quantities; because broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially severe gastric irritation in some dogs.
The large stems are also a potential choking hazard, and, therefore, dogs should only eat small pieces.
Puppies should not be fed broccoli until they are old enough to handle the isothiocyanate otherwise they will suffer gastric irritation or worse.
Purple, red, and savoy are all types of antioxidant-rich cabbage that are safe for dogs to eat.
All cabbage varieties are high in vitamins C, and B-6 plus calcium, minerals, and fiber whilst also being low in calories. Eating cabbage can aid digestion, help fight cancer, and improve skin and fur health for dogs.
The anthocyanins found in red cabbage are well-documented, anti-inflammatory compounds; and make red cabbage a standout anti-inflammatory food for this reason.
It is best to cook cabbage before feeding to allow for easier digestion.
Carrots contain the essential vitamins A, C, K, and B-6 plus the minerals potassium, magnesium, and iron. They are a very healthy treat for your dog in both raw and cooked forms.
Some dogs just like to crunch on them without even eating them!
They also contain beta-carotene, which helps maintain healthy eye and skin health.
Cauliflower is a good source of fiber, vitamins K, C, B-6, calcium, potassium, iron, and folate whilst being low in calories.
This high mix of essential vitamins and minerals helps to maintain and improve the health of your dog’s vision, blood, liver, muscles, immune system, and more.
A cauliflowers mix of vitamins and antioxidants may reduce inflammation and help older pets with arthritis pain. However, too much cauliflower may lead to an upset stomach, gas, and other digestion issues.
Serve steamed, plain, without the leaves or stem, or even crushed up and placed into the dog’s regular wet food.
Celery is low in fat and cholesterol and is packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, along with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, and manganese. It also has high water content, (95%), and has been shown to help freshen your pet’s breath.
However, too much celery is also reported to cause some dogs to urinate a great deal more than usual.
You have been warned!
8. Collard Greens
Collard greens are leafy green and leafy greens should not be eaten raw as they are difficult to digest and may cause a tummy upset or an intestinal blockage.
The green stems should always be removed and discarded to make digestion easier and the green leaves should be steamed or boiled with no salt or additives.
Collard greens are packed full of nutrients but also contain calcium oxalate which can lead to kidney and bladder stones so only feed them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
9. Green Beans
Green beans are a good source of protein and iron for dogs, whether raw, frozen, chopped, steamed, or canned. Green beans should be cut into small pieces before being offered to a dog to minimize the risk of choking.
On the list of the world’s healthiest foods, green beans, among other legumes, have repeatedly shown the ability to lower the risk of chronic diseases.
The list of diseases includes type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease. As a bonus, green beans can make a healthy snack that can help dogs to slim down!
Dad’s tip: Dogs love a frozen, pre-cooked green bean snack in the summer.
Lettuce helps to add water and much-needed fiber to a dog’s diet—this aids in keeping them both hydrated and regular during hot weather.
Lettuce is an excellent snack for dogs as it is a good source of fiber and contains vitamins A, C, and K, and is very low in calories.
It would be best if you always cut lettuce leaves into skinny slices to make them palatable. These can then be placed within or scattered on top of their usual food.
Frozen, thawed, steamed, mashed, or canned; peas can make a nice, one-off snack or complement a dog’s normal diet. As with all canned products, though, please check the additives and sodium contents first.
Peas contain vitamin B, thiamin, and potassium, which can boost energy levels while improving a dog’s bone health.
Widely regarded as a superfood, spinach contains almost every vitamin and mineral required to meet your dog’s dietary needs.
That being said, spinach is high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage.
Although huge quantities would need to be digested for this to occur, a dog with pre-existing kidney problems would do its best to avoid this food.
Boiled spinach quickly loses its nutritional benefits; however, raw spinach cannot be broken down by a dog’s stomach. Therefore in truth, it may be easier to avoid this superfood altogether.
These little balls of flavor are packed full of essential nutrients and antioxidants that are great for dogs. They are naturally high in fiber, low in calories, and contain good calcium, iron, and magnesium quantities.
Just like in humans, however, Brussel sprouts can cause flatulence issues, so it is best not to overfeed your dog with these treats.
Unfortunately, Leo loves them, but I wish he didn’t!
14. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato contains vitamins A, C, and B-6 and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium thiamine, niacin, and even copper. Because of these nutrients, sweet potatoes are much more beneficial to dogs than regular white potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are also a rich source of fiber and water, which, over time, can work together with these nutrients to soothe digestive problems and can settle many stomach upsets.
The zucchini is treated as a vegetable in a culinary context, although botanically, zucchinis are fruit.
Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium and may offer dogs some protection from infections, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Dogs love to eat zucchini which is great as it can be fed raw, steamed or cooked but as with all foods you are feeding to dogs, don’t be tempted to season it!
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Vegetables?
Dogs love to eat frozen foods as they are carnivores by nature and still prefer to crunch and gnaw through their food.
When the weather is hot I give my dog ice, frozen fish, pieces of frozen apple, and the odd frozen vegetable to gnaw on and he loves it.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Vegetables?
Canned vegetables are safe for dogs if they are free from additives, flavorings, sugars, and salt.
However canned vegetables are often very soft to the touch and your dog may reject them because of the consistency.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Vegetables?
Dogs prefer to eat their food as they would find it in the wild, raw and without additives and this applies to vegetables.
Raw vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that will aid in your dog’s mental agility, physical agility, coat development, and overall physical health.
However, when vegetables are cooked a lot of these vitamins and minerals are destroyed or reduced, so it is always best to feed your dog vegetables in their raw form.
Vegetables that are hard to digest or may cause a blockage should be finely chopped or crushed before adding them to your dog’s meal.
What Vegetables Can Dogs Not Eat? – (Unsafe)
For more information on foods can’t eat please read:- Toxic Foods For Dogs + Signs Your Dog Is Poisoned
1. Cobs Of Corn
Corn is an added ingredient in many processed dog foods but this corn is off the cob and has been cooked, crushed, and pummeled to make it an acceptable ingredient. Fresh corn on the cob however is hard to digest and may cause a blockage if eaten in large quantities.
The hard core of the cob is indigestible and for many dogs, it is hard to chew into small pieces. Corn cobs therefore should never be given to a dog as it is a choking hazard and may cause a painful internal blockage that could require surgery to remove.
Signs of an intestinal blockage in dogs include:-
- Vomiting – (both food and water)
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Inability to rest or find a comfortable position
- Haunched appearance
If you suspect your dog has an internal blockage you must seek veterinarian advice as harmful bacteria may be building up around the blockage.
2. Garlic, Chives, And Onions
Garlic, chives, and onions are all part of the Allium, (onion), a family which is toxic to dogs as they can destroy a dog’s red blood cells.
Garlic is 5 times as potent as chives and onion but all of them can cause hemolytic anemia which if left untreated can prove fatal.
Hemolytic anemia occurs when the red blood cells are destroyed but if caught early enough the condition can be halted and the red blood cell count can increase. Source
Small amounts of these alliums may be ok if your dog ingests them. However, each dog has a different tolerance level to poison so it is best never to allow your dog to access these vegetables.
Signs of Allium poisoning at high toxicity levels in dogs include:-
- Pale gums
- Increased heart rate
- Exercise intolerance
3. Wild Mushrooms
There are thousands of species of wild mushrooms across the world but only a few of them are dangerous to dogs. The problem is that only a mushroom expert can tell you which mushrooms to avoid.
For this reason, you should never pick a wild mushroom and then feed it to your dog as you may be playing Russian roulette with the dog’s life.
Signs of wild mushroom poisoning in dogs include:-
- Visual disturbances
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
5 Tips For Serving Fruits And Vegetables To Dogs
- Always introduce new foods gradually and look for any signs of discomfort before proceeding further.
- Wash and clean your fruit and vegetables in a baking soda wash. This will disinfect, rinse away dirt and remove any residue of pesticides and chemicals.
- Make fresh fruit and vegetables even easier to eat. Cut them into small bits, mash them, or even puree the food for easier digestion. For larger dogs, serve by the slice or whole berry (pits and seeds removed) but never overfeed.
- Remember to keep these treats under the ratio of 10% of the natural dietary intake.
- Try feeding them as frozen treats. (as some dogs prefer to eat them this way).
When In Doubt About Foods Safe For Dogs To Eat, Ask A Veterinarian For Advice
If your dog is acting strangely or experiencing minor symptoms of weakness, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., and you think they may have consumed something they shouldn’t have, seek a veterinarian’s attention immediately. If you wait too long, your dog might not make it.
What If You Cannot Reach Your Veterinarian?
In an emergency, when you cannot reach your veterinarian, immediately contact your local animal emergency clinic or call the animal poison hotline at 888-232-8870. You can also try the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Links to related articles:
- Toxic Foods For Dogs + Signs Your Dog Is Poisoned
- Essential oils and the danger to cats, dogs, and birds
- Zero waste dog care from puppy to oldie the ultimate guide.
Disclaimer: Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. The only clear option for ensuring your dog’s health is to feed commercial-grade dog foods and treats only. Feeding human foods of any sort carries some degree of risk and is not under this website’s control.