Can Dogs Have Carrots

Picture of carrots

Carrots are such a common vegetable that they are often overlooked not only for human nutrition but also for canine nutrition. In fact, carrots make a great low-calorie, healthy treat for dogs. Dogs can have carrots. Learn more about carrot nutrition and how to give these root vegetables to your dog below.

Nutrition

You may or may not know that carrots come in a variety of colors other than orange. It’s true! Although they are typically orange, carrots can also be purple, white, red, yellow, and even black. Closely related to the parsnip, carrots probably originated as a wild species in central Asia. The Romans enjoyed them and so did the Moors. The word “carrot” first appears in England in 1530, though they were in Europe earlier.

Carrots are a good source of nutrients though there is a slight difference between raw carrots and cooked carrots. Raw carrots generally have slightly more nutrients but some of them are not fully available to humans (or to dogs) because of the cellulose in the carrots. For example, only 3 percent of the beta-carotene in a raw carrot is released during digestion. Pulping, boiling, or otherwise cooking the carrot can release up to 39 percent of the beta-carotene in the carrot during digestion. We usually think that cooking vegetables decreases the nutrients but that’s not always the case.

Carrots are a good source of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. On the down side, many of the calories in carrots come from sugars.

Raw carrots contain 88 percent carbohydrates, 5 percent fats, and 6 percent protein. They rate a very low 3 on the glycemic index.

One cup of chopped carrots (128 grams) contains just 52.5 calories with 12.3 grams of carbs, 3.6 grams of dietary fiber, 1.8 grams of starch, and 6.1 grams of sugars. It has 0.3 grams of fat and 1.2 grams of protein.

Carrots are exceptionally high in vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. They also have good amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese.

The dietary fiber in carrots is made up mostly of cellulose with smaller amounts of hemicellulose, lignin, and starch. The sugars in carrots include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

The bright orange color in carrots comes from beta-carotene but carrots also contain alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Alph- and beta-carotene are partially metabolized into vitamin A.

Carrots, raw

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 173 kJ (41 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.6 g
Sugars 4.7 g
Dietary fiber 2.8 g
Fat 0.24 g
Protein 0.93 g
Vitamins Quantity

%DV

Vitamin A equiv.

beta-Carotene

lutein zeaxanthin

104%

835 μg

77%

8285 μg

256 μg

Thiamine (B1) 6%

0.066 mg

Riboflavin (B2) 5%

0.058 mg

Niacin (B3) 7%

0.983 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5) 5%

0.273 mg

Vitamin B6 11%

0.138 mg

Folate (B9) 5%

19 μg

Vitamin C 7%

5.9 mg

Vitamin E 4%

0.66 mg

Vitamin K 13%

13.2 μg

Minerals Quantity

%DV

Calcium 3%

33 mg

Iron 2%

0.3 mg

Magnesium 3%

12 mg

Manganese 7%

0.143 mg

Phosphorus 5%

35 mg

Potassium 7%

320 mg

Sodium 5%

69 mg

Zinc 3%

0.24 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 88 g

 

Carrots, boiled

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 147 kJ (35 kcal)
Carbohydrates 8.22 g
Sugars 3.45 g
Dietary fiber 3 g
Fat 0.18 g
Protein 0.76 g
Vitamins Quantity

%DV

Vitamin A equiv.

beta-Carotene

lutein zeaxanthin

107%

852 μg

77%

8330 μg

687 μg

Thiamine (B1) 6%

0.066 mg

Riboflavin (B2) 4%

0.044 mg

Niacin (B3) 4%

0.645 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5) 5%

0.232 mg

Vitamin B6 12%

0.153 mg

Folate (B9) 4%

14 μg

Vitamin C 4%

3.6 mg

Vitamin E 7%

1.03 mg

Vitamin K 13%

13.7 μg

Minerals Quantity

%DV

Calcium 3%

30 mg

Iron 3%

0.34 mg

Magnesium 3%

10 mg

Manganese 7%

0.155 mg

Phosphorus 4%

30 mg

Potassium 5%

235 mg

Sodium 4%

58 mg

Zinc 2%

0.2 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 90.2 g

Carrot tops, or the greens from carrots, can also be eaten. Contrary to some old wives’ tales, they are perfectly safe. They do contain some alkaloids but so do all vegetable greens.

Allergies to carrots are very rare.

Eating excessive amounts of carrots over a period of time can lead to a yellow-orange skin discoloration called carotenemia. The condition is usually harmless and the skin color will return to normal when the amount of beta-carotene in the diet is reduced.

Can Dogs Have Carrots?

Yes, carrots make a great snack for dogs. They are low in calories, high in certain vitamins and minerals, and low in fat. Many dogs love to crunch on raw carrots. They are also reasonably safe for dogs to chew though it’s always a good idea to supervise your dog when he’s chewing on something. Compared to cookies and dog biscuits, carrots are a very healthy treat.

Carrots have the added benefits of being inexpensive. Even when prices are rising for many foods at the supermarket, fresh carrots are still very affordable. Plus, they are fresh and natural from farms. You can even grown your own, if you prefer.

If you want to make sure your dog gets more nutrients from carrots, you can puree them, boil them for a few minutes, roast them, or steam them. Then add a few to your dog’s meals. Softening the carrots makes them easier to digest so your dog gets more of the vitamins and minerals.

Lots of people give carrots as a reward when they are training their dogs in obedience, agility, and rally.

Carrots are also a good treat for teething puppies. You can even freeze a carrot to help relieve some of the discomfort from your puppy’s new teeth erupting. They make great edible chew toys.

According to some sources, chewing on carrots can also help your dog’s dental health by keeping teeth cleaner (though other sources dispute this claim).

Carrots are high in natural sugars so if your dog is diabetic, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian before giving him this vegetable as a treat.

How Many Carrots Can You Give Your Dog?

We recommend in most cases that you cut up carrots into smaller, bite-size pieces for your dog to chew. This is an especially good idea for small dogs. This can help prevent any accidents from choking or any blockages in the gastrointestinal system.

It’s always a good idea to wash and peel your carrots before giving them to your dog. This will help remove any dirt or pesticides they might retain.

We normally suggest that you don’t give your dog more than 10 percent of his calories in treats and snacks. In the case of carrots, one cup of chopped carrots is only 52.5 calories. An entire cup of carrots would be more than enough carrots for any dog, regardless of the calories. It would probably be too many carrots for smaller dogs. It’s probably better to cut up one single carrot for a small to medium-sized dog. A larger dog might be able to enjoy two carrots cut up.

Remember that carrots are high in sugars. If your dog is diabetic or if he has any other health issues, be sure to talk to your veterinarian before adding them to his diet.

How Often Can You Give Your Dog Carrots?

As long as your dog isn’t diabetic, you could use carrots as a reward during training or as a small snack on a daily basis. Just don’t give your dog too many carrots at one time. One or two carrots per day would be plenty.

Conclusion

Carrots are a very healthy vegetable and most dogs enjoy crunching them. There are many good ways to share them with your dog. They are tasty, inexpensive, and a good source of several important vitamins and minerals. We recommend that you cut up carrots into bite-size pieces so they are safer for your dog to eat. Carrots are great as a training reward, too!

 

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