When you're snacking away on some baby carrots or perhaps chopping up carrots for a delicious soup, you wonder whether or not you can give some to your dog. They're safe for humans, so shouldn't they be good for pups, too?
Before you feed a carrot to Fido, you should make sure it's actually good for him. So is it safe for dogs to eat carrots?
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Where do carrots come from?
Carrots are root vegetables, just like celery, coriander, fennel, and parsnip. While domestic carrots came from Central Asia, wild carrots originated in Western Asia, Europe, and North Africa. They come in a variety of colors like orange, red, yellow, white, and purple, and people use them for salads, soups, snacks, and cooking vegetables. Since fresh cut and baby carrots were introduced in the 1980s, the root vegetable has become very popular. The United States is one of the largest producers of carrots in the world behind China, Uzbekistan, and Russia, with the majority of carrots coming from California, Texas, and Michigan.
Can dogs eat carrots?
Yes, dogs can eat carrots. You can give them to your dogs as snacks or add them into your dog's meal whether the carrots are cooked or raw. Even if the carrot has the leafy green top on it, it's safe to feed your dog.
Carrots contain healthy essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, potassium and beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A. They are high in fiber and they can also strengthen your dog's teeth and remove plaque at the same time. They are low-calorie and low-fat, and an overall very healthy snack for your dog.
The best ways to feed carrots to dogs
You can incorporate carrots into your dog's diet or give him carrots as a snack, but don't feed him only carrots throughout the day. They won't satisfy his nutritional needs and you could be harming him by giving him too many. Additionally, if you have a small dog or a puppy, cut the carrots into very small chunks so that they're not a choking hazard. You can feed your dog raw or cooked carrots; just make sure you gauge his reaction to them to see if he likes them.
Are there any concerns with feeding carrots to dogs?
There are some moderate concerns to keep in mind when feeding carrots your dog. You should always feed your pup carrots in moderation, like any food.
High in sugar
Carrots are tasty because they are full of natural sugar. However, even natural sugar can cause weight gain, tooth decay, and other health issues in excess, so don't overdo it. Since carrot juice contains so many carrots, you'll want to avoid giving it to your dog, because it's especially high in sugar.
Too much Vitamin A
A dog that consumes too much Vitamin A might be at risk for Vitamin A toxicosis, which could lead to arthritis. In extreme circumstances, your dog may have trouble eating or be unable to move his neck. Carrots are not usually a source of these high levels of vitamin A, as the most common sources are animal products like liver and egg yolks. However, since carrots do contain Vitamin A, it's something to be aware of.
The possibility of choking
If you have a small dog or you're feeding carrots to a puppy, you need to make sure you're cutting them into bite-size chunks. Otherwise, your dog could choke on them.
Whenever you feed your dog a vegetable or fruit, you need to wash it thoroughly because it could contain pesticides. You can purchase a fruit and vegetable spray for pesticides as well, as long as the ingredients in it are not toxic to dogs.
It's perfectly fine for dogs to eat carrots as long as you're not overdoing it and your dog can easily chew and swallow them. Carrots are a fun treat that can improve your doggy's health as well as satisfy his sweet tooth.
If you're wondering about other foods your dog may enjoy, check out our list of everything dogs can and cannot eat.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.