Many dogs will happily munch veggies as treats or as part of their daily diet. Because they come packed with vitamins and minerals, incorporating vegetables into your pooch's diet can help promote his good health and nutrition. Some veggies that provide your pup with nutritional or health benefits are best consumed in small amounts, while others should be avoided entirely.
Vegetables That Are Safe for Dogs
Roots, Tubers and Stalks
Cooked sweet potatoes and yams are safe for your pup to eat. as well as white potatoes, but may want to limit the quantity as they are high in starch. Roots like beets and turnips are also fine for dogs to eat. Yucca, according to Cesar's Way, provides relief from canine digestive problems and holds anti-inflammatory properties. Carrots are safe and are rich in vitamins and minerals. As for stalks, asparagus is safe for pooches to munch and provides vitamin K and B vitamins. Celery is fine for dogs and provides an excellent source of iron, calcium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Because your pup's teeth aren't designed to grind hard, crunchy vegetables such as raw tubers and stalks, they should be chopped into small pieces, ground or steamed to a soft consistency for easier consumption and digestion.
Cabbages and Greens
Cabbages and inflorescent vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli are not only safe to feed Fido, they are chock-full of fiber and nutrients, including vitamins K and C. Salad greens like romaine lettuce and arugula can be fed to your pup, as can spinach, kale and collard greens. Dogs can eat iceberg lettuce, but feeding it to your pup won't provide him with any of the nutrients he needs. Greens will be most easily consumed after being chopped and cooked -- steaming is best for maximum nutrient retention.
Beans, Pods and Fruit Vegetables
Green beans provide your pooch with vitamins and fiber, and peas -- snap, snow, sugar and English, are good for him too. Edamame is safe for dogs and is a good source of protein. Some fruit vegetables like tomato (not the plant or green tomatoes -- those are toxic), cucumber, zucchini and bell peppers are safe for dogs to ingest, but avocado should be avoided, as it is considered poisonous to canines. The gourds you eat are usually safe for your pooch, including acorn, butterfly and buttercup squash. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber and beta-carotene and can help your pup overcome some digestive maladies, according to Cesar's Way, but because pumpkin is very high in vitamin A -- which is highly toxic in excess -- this harvest-season favorite should be fed in small amounts.
Veggies to Avoid
Not every plant that is safe for human consumption is safe for canines. Onions, shallots, scallions and garlic, for example, can be poisonous to dogs, according to the ASPCA, with the stronger-scented/flavored garlic the more toxic of the bunch. While dogs usually won't gobble up enough raw garlic or onion to cause serious malady, the ASPCA says that if they are used to add flavor to a tasty soup or stew, your pooch may be inclined to eat more of it than he would if it were raw. If consumed in a great enough quantity, plants from the onion family can damage your pup's red blood cells. Rhubarb should be avoided, as it can cause renal failure. Not all mushrooms are toxic to dogs, but it is best to avoid feeding them to Fido, according to Pet Poison Hotline.
By Christy Ayala
ASPCA: Tomato Plant
ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Dogs
ASPCA: Foods That Are Hazardous to Dogs
Cesar's Way: Dog Nutrition: A to Z
Dog Tip: Feeding, Dieting and Nutrition Tips
Vet Info: Ingredients for Homemade, Healthy Dog Food
The Cooks Thesaurus: Vegetables Category
Diamond Paws: BARF Vegetable and Fruit List
Pet Poison Helpline: Poisons
ASPCA: Acorn Squash
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: Potentially Toxic Garden Plants
About the Author
Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University's George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.