Veggies are healthy for humans, so it’s natural to presume they’re safe for dogs. Yet while sweet potatoes, green beans and brussels sprouts can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet, onions and wild mushrooms are a strict no-go.
It’s also good to know what vegetables are good for dogs to help you avoid high vet costs that add up even if you have a policy with one of the best pet insurance companies.
To save you some time, we’ve put together a list of what vegetables dogs can eat (and which are bad for them). Read our list below.
Table of Contents
- What vegetables are good for dogs?
- What vegetables can dogs not eat?
- What if my dog eats something toxic?
- How to prepare vegetables for dogs
- What vegetables are used in dog food?
- What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat? FAQs
What vegetables are good for dogs?
Most vegetables are safe for dogs to eat. These nutritious treats provide important vitamins and minerals essential for your pooch’s well-being. However, while vegetables support a balanced diet, these and other treats should only make up 10% or less of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
When introducing vegetables to your dog’s diet, start with small portions to observe its reaction. Steer clear of canned veggies, as they often contain salt (sodium chloride), which isn’t safe for dogs to eat.
Here’s a list of safe and tasty veggies for your dog:
Dogs can enjoy green beans in any form — raw, steamed, boiled or roasted — as it’s safe for them to eat. This crunchy snack is a good substitute for dog treats because it has nutrients such as calcium, vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals like manganese and potassium.
Dogs can enjoy sweet potatoes, but it’s best to serve them boiled or steamed without the skin, as the skin can be hard to digest. Also, if your dog scarfs down its food, consider giving them mashed sweet potatoes to prevent choking.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and potassium. They also have a powerful antioxidant called beta-carotene that helps protect against cancer and heart disease. While safe for dogs, sweet potatoes are high in sugar and must be fed in moderation, especially if your pup is overweight or diabetic.
Brussel sprouts are a healthy addition to your dog’s diet because they contain antioxidants that improve blood circulation, as well as fiber to help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy. They also contain vitamins K, A and B and minerals (calcium, manganese and potassium) that are all important for keeping the brain, heart and nervous system healthy.
The downside to feeding your pup brussel sprouts is that they may cause bloating and gas in dogs. While a healthy addition to your canine’s diet, make sure you prepare brussel sprouts without salt or garlic and only serve in moderation.
Beets are healthy for dogs when given in moderation and cooked. In fact, some commercial dog foods contain beets. You can boil, bake or roast them in easy-to-eat slices.
Beets contain vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and zinc, among other vitamins and minerals. Potassium is good for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it essential for muscle function and maintaining a healthy heart.
Beets are also high in fiber, which helps with digestion and bowel movements. However, beets contain many carbohydrates and sugars that aren’t healthy in excess. Also, we suggest you consult your veterinarian as beets are high in an oxalic acid that can create kidney issues such as urinary crystals and stones.
Yes, dogs can eat both raw and cooked zucchini, but in moderation and preferably cooked so it’s easier to digest. If you plan on giving your dog zucchini, wash it well to remove any bacteria and cut it into small pieces to avoid a choking hazard.
Zucchinis contain vitamins A, B6, C and K, as well as antioxidants, magnesium and potassium, which can all contribute to your dog’s health. Magnesium is especially beneficial as it helps absorb other minerals and boost hydration. You can add this vegetable to an overweight pet’s diet as it’s high in fiber and water content and low in calories.
Dogs can eat bell peppers as long as you remove the seeds and core. This crunchy, low-calorie snack contains beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, E, B6 and K. Beta-carotene and vitamin A are great for maintaining healthy skin, coat and eyes, while the other vitamins promote healthy body functions.
Bell peppers are also high in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, making them a great snack for dogs with arthritis. As with other vegetables on this list, if you cook bell peppers, avoid using salt, garlic or butter. Also avoid feeding your pup any spicy peppers as these contain a chemical that’s harmful to canines.
Other vegetables dogs can eat
The following vegetables have similar vitamins and minerals than the ones mentioned above.
- Broccoli - Good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Safe in small quantities.
- Carrots - High in fiber and beta-carotene. It makes for a crunchy snack that’s good for your dog's teeth.
- Cauliflower - Safe to eat, but may make your dog gassy as cauliflower is high in fiber. Also contains vitamins A, B and K, antioxidants, potassium, calcium, magnesium and beta-carotene.
- Celery - A low cholesterol and fat crunchy snack that includes vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber, potassium and manganese, with the added benefit of freshening your dog’s breath.
- Corn - Safe in small amounts, raw or cooked. Good source of vitamins C, B, E and K, protein, antioxidants, carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium and potassium.
- Kale - Similar to spinach, it contains vitamins A and K, as well as iron and calcium. Best served raw or steamed.
- Peas - Includes fiber and vitamins A, C and K, and is also a good source of proteins. (Avoid canned peas because sodium and salt are toxic to dogs.)
- Potatoes - You can give your dog cooked white potatoes. These contain iron, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C. (Avoid cooking with butter or cheese or frying.)
- Pumpkin - Best if roasted or pureed. Its main benefit is that it helps with constipation and stool softening given it’s high in fiber.
- Spinach - This leafy green contains iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamins A, C and K. Safe in moderate amounts.
What vegetables can dogs not eat?
While vegetables can offer dogs nutritional benefits, certain veggies are harmful to their digestive tract and could be toxic. Feeding your dog the wrong vegetables can lead to a myriad of health issues ranging from upset stomach and nausea, to vomiting, diarrhea, blocked intestines and even anemia.
Knowing which foods can cause this harm is essential for every responsible dog owner. For example, avoid giving your dog canned vegetables as these often have a lot of sodium chloride (salt), which can cause dehydration when eaten in large quantities.
Don’t feed your dog the following vegetables:
Onions, garlic, chives and leeks
Onions, garlic, chives and leeks all belong to the allium genus of plants, which contain a toxic compound known as N-propyl disulfide and another compound called thiosulfate. These substances can cause the breakdown of red blood cells, leading to a condition called hemolytic anemia or lack of red blood cells. When dogs (or humans) are anemic, their organs don’t get enough oxygen, which can result in organ failure and death.
Symptoms of anemia include red or brown urine, fainting, weakness, pale gums, lack of appetite, vomiting, panting and elevated heart rate. Take your dog to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment if you suspect it ate an onion or starts showing these symptoms.
Japanese breeds such as shiba inu and akita, as well as dogs that take certain medications or that have diabetes, liver disease, or anemia, are more susceptible to poisoning from onion, garlic, chives and leeks.
Although store-bought mushrooms are safe for dogs, it’s important to keep your dog from eating wild mushrooms found in your yard or during walks. If your dog happens to eat a wild mushroom, take a sample of what it ate and call your vet immediately. Also, keep an eye out for common symptoms of poisoning such as:
- Abdominal pain
Don’t forget to check your backyard periodically for wild mushrooms and keep an eye on your dog on walks or hikes to make sure it doesn’t eat any mushrooms.
Green or unripe tomatoes (along with the stem and leaves of tomato plants) have a high concentration of solanine, which is poisonous to your pup. If ingested, your pooch may experience weakness, ataxia (loss of balance, coordination and trouble walking) and gastrointestinal irritation.
However, don’t worry if your dog eats a ripe tomato as these have low solanine concentrations and therefore aren’t toxic.
Corn on the cob
While raw or cooked corn is safe for dogs in moderation, corn on the cob is not. Giving your dog corn on the cob puts it at risk of choking or intestinal blockage.
Eating the cob can also cause reduced activity, vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, lethargy or diarrhea. Take your dog to the vet immediately if it ate corn on the cob and you notice it is experiencing any of these symptoms.
What if my dog eats something toxic?
If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, you must act quickly. Dogs can be sneaky and their heightened sense of smell helps them find food wherever you hide it. Therefore, it’s important to be on the lookout for any symptoms.
Watch for symptoms
Keep an eye out for symptoms such as:
- Changes in balance
- Unable to stand or hold themselves up
- Drinking or urinating more or less than usual
These symptoms will be the first indication that your dog might have ingested something harmful or toxic. If you notice any of these signs, stay alert and observe how the symptoms progress.
First, figure out what your dog might have eaten and when it might have eaten it. Next, write down the symptoms and their frequency.
For example, if your dog is vomiting, log the frequency and physical appearance of the vomit. Providing details about what your dog ate and when will help the veterinarian determine the appropriate treatment.
Call your vet or emergency center
The best option if you think your dog ate something toxic is to call your vet, as they’ll have a record of your dog's health and treatment. Option two is to contact your local emergency vet center.
If your veterinarian or emergency vet center is unavailable or closed, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) by calling (888) 426-4435. Their poison control experts are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also call the Poison Pet Helpline at 855 764-7661, however, be aware that they do charge a per incident fee of $85 for their services.
One of the most common ways to treat poisoning in dogs is to induce vomiting to help them expel whatever they ate. The optimal time for his treatment is within two hours of ingestion as this is usually the amount of time substances remain in the stomach.
If more than two hours have passed since your dog ingested the toxin, it’s likely your vet will administer medicine to reduce symptoms and pain. It is also possible your vet will recommend an IV to flush out the toxins and hydrate your pup.
Keep in mind that this type of treatment will likely be costly. According to CareCredit, an emergency vet visit can cost between $800 and $1,500. To help offset these costs, we suggest you consider getting one of the best cheap pet insurance policies available.
How to prepare vegetables for dogs
When feeding your dog vegetables, the goal is to make them easily digestible. Cooking softens the vegetables, making them safer and easier for dogs to chew and digest.
First, wash the veggies thoroughly to remove any dirt or pesticides. Then, you can steam, boil or bake the vegetables, but don’t add salt, butter or oil as these can be harmful to your dog.
Before feeding your dog the veggies, keep them away from your dog while they cool down to room temperature. We don’t want your dog to burn their mouth. It’s also good to cut vegetables into bite-sized chunks before serving them to prevent choking.
Lastly, incorporate new vegetables into your dog’s diet gradually, and closely monitor for any signs of allergies or sensitivities.
What vegetables are used in dog food?
The best dog foods often contain a variety of vegetables. Some of the most commonly used vegetables in dog food are beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, celery, corn, green beans, peas, spinach and sweet potatoes. These vegetables are not only easily digestible for dogs but they’re also rich in essential nutrients.
Vegetables in dog food serve as excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. They offer balanced nutrition for your canine companion, support digestive health and boost your dog’s immune system. The specific vegetables included in dog food vary depending on the brand and type of food you choose.
What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat? FAQs
What is the best dog food?
Can dogs eat scrambled eggs?
How much protein is in dog food?
The amount of protein in dog food will vary depending on the brand, type of food (dry, canned, grain-free, raw, vegan or vegetarian) and the recipe used. Food for puppies and more active dogs will generally have a higher protein content to support growth and energy needs.
It's important to choose a dog food that aligns with your dog's age and activity level. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate protein content for your pooch.
What human food can dogs eat?
What to put in dog food to stop eating poop?
Summary of Money’s What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat
Including vegetables in your dog’s diet can boost their health, but it’s important to choose wisely. Safe options like sweet potatoes, green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots, peas and spinach provide your dog with essential vitamins and minerals. Cooking these veggies makes them easier to digest and chopping them into small pieces prevents choking hazards.
It’s important to keep onions, garlic, chives, leeks and wild mushrooms out of your dog’s reach as they can be harmful. If your dog accidentally consumes these foods, watch for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. In such cases, we also suggest contacting your veterinarian so they can guide you on the necessary steps to follow, including potential diagnostic tests and treatment options for your pet.