Can dogs eat beets? Should dogs have any root vegetables? What is the ideal diet for my dog to eat anyway? When it comes to our dogs, nutrition is always a big concern. Feeding your dog the proper foods is very important. What happens when the proper diet is hotly disputed though?
Hi my name is Mike and I’m a dog trainer. This website was developed to help people with dog questions get some solid answers to their inquiries. Today we will be discussing proper nutrition concepts for a dog and answering the question, “Can dogs eat beets?”. The answer may be a bit more involved than you think. Lets get into it!
Can Dogs Eat Beets?
Beets are a very colorful vegetable and often used in a variety of dishes. They can be served raw or cooked. I personally have only ever had them cooked as the raw version can be very tough and hard to chew. Can your dog eat beets though? The short answer is yes, in moderation. Beets are by no means an ideal food for dogs to snack on but they do have some nutritional value and shouldn’t pose any serious risks if used in moderation. The major exception to this rule would be if your dog was actually allergic or had a food intolerance to beets already.
I’ve seen beets used in different ways when it comes to dogs. Some owners have claimed that they will just toss them raw chunks when preparing the beet for their own meals. Others swear by mashed beets or steamed and shredded beets used as toppings for various meals both human and dog related.
The important thing to remember about beets is that they can be tough to chew and digest. This could pose not only a choking hazard but digestive discomfort as well. If you find that your dog is acting off or has stomach upset after feeding them some beets, stop and reevaluate the situation. There are plenty of other foods out there that dogs can digest better which provide similar nutrition profiles. Getting one of these options might be better in the long run. Next, we can take a look at some better food and nutrition options for your dog and how they can fit into or change already existing meal plans. First Lets take a quick look at root vegetables in general.
Can Dogs Have Root Vegetables?
So know that we have answered the question, “Can dogs eat beets?”. what about other root vegetables? Are there some that are ok for dogs to eat? Lets talk about some of the most common root vegetables we use today on our own dinner table and see if any of them have a place in a dog’s diet.
Potatoes are a common ingredient in many a meal we make as humans. Should dogs partake though? Are potatoes good for dogs to eat?
Potatoes belong to a family of vegetables commonly referred to as nightshade vegetables. Other members of this family include vegetables like tomatoes (more on this one later). These nightshade vegetables contain an ingredient in them called Solanine. This is toxic for dogs in high levels as our furry friends have problems breaking it down once ingested.
You should never feed your dog a raw potato because the levels of this compound are much higher when raw. A cooked potato does have less Solanine but there is some other emergent evidence suggesting that potatoes might be best left off the menu altogether.
While there are some beneficial compounds and nutrients in potatoes that could help our dogs, I think the overall risk isn’t really worth taking the chance. If your dog scoops up some spilled mashed potatoes, its not cause for alarm. I wouldn’t be feeding this to them as part of their regular diet though.
Here we have another nightshade vegetable. Tomatoes belong to the same root vegetable family as potatoes and as such, they should generally be avoided when it comes to your dog. They have less concentration of toxic compounds for your dog to ingest but should still be kept away regardless.
With that being said, if your dog does have a bit of tomato now and then, it shouldn’t affect them negatively unless they have an intolerance or allergic reaction to it. If this is the case, contact your vet for next steps. Grabbing a slice off the floor or snagging a bit of tomato in a sandwich scrap should be completely fine though.
Onions are another common food that we tend to use on a weekly if not daily basis to flavor and augment our own food. Does that mean we should be giving slices of raw or cooked onion to our dogs? The answer here is a definitive no. Onions contain high concentrations of toxic compounds and belong to the same nightshade family of root vegetables. Onions can add a bit more complications because they are often served raw instead of cooked. Cooking these vegetables allows a certain amount of their toxic compounds to break down and thus make them easier for dogs to digest. With onions though, this isn’t often the case.
Once again, a stray bit of onion ingested by your dog should pose no real danger. Keep this out of their regular diet though.
What about carrots then? Where do they fit in on this list? Carrots are generally safer to eat than some of these other options out there. They provide a generally healthy profile for our dogs and don’t contain any of the potentially dangerous compounds that nightshade roots have. This is a good snack to give your dog both raw and cooked. Carrots can also be added to any dogs meal for some extra flavor and nutritional gain.
There are a few things to keep in mind with carrots or any other food for that matter.
- Bite sized chunks are best: If you are going to give your dog some carrot, make sure that you are giving it to them in manageable pieces. This goes double for smaller dogs. Large dogs can slide on this one a bit as it is less of a choking hazard for them.
- Watch the frequency: While carrots do provide a good nutrition profile for your dog, they are also loaded with sugar. Too much sugar for your dog is generally a bad thing. Because of this, I advise serving carrots to your dog in moderation and not every day of the week.
To sum it up, carrots are a good vegetable to give your dog on occasion. Watch the frequency and size of pieces though. Dogs with metabolic issues can get expensive to care for.
Lastly, lets take a look at garlic. Is garlic ok for dogs to eat? Absolutely not. Garlic may be one of the most delightful smells out there for humans. We may also think that dogs would feel the same way about it too. The truth is, garlic is very toxic for our dogs and could lead to some serious blood and organ issues when ingested. I would advise keeping your dog away from all forms of garlic including seasonings and oils wherever possible. This is just not something you want to risk your dog’s health on.
Common Dog Diets
In this next section, I want to take a look at some of the more common dog diets. Dogs evolved eating one type of diet but that has changed a lot over the years due to their domestication. There is now a wide range of diets available to your dog. Some good and optimized while others not so much.
Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food or dog kibble usually consists of some kind of brown pellet infused with different nutrients and minerals to help keep your dog in good health. This is probably the most common version of a dog diet available out there today. While this diet is generally accepted as a whole, the branding and quality of ingredients become the major pitfalls here. Some brands will use the lowest grade quality of meat and food meal byproducts allowable by law. These ingredients are widely unregulated and can lead to a pretty poor quality of life combined with serious potential health issues as your dog ages.
Other brands will use very high quality ingredients and are much more appealing to keep our dogs healthy and happy in the long term. How do we tell the difference though? I would strongly suggest working with your local vet to choose a quality food source if you are going to go with the conventional dry food route. They should possess some good information about local brands that they can convey to you and hopefully get you on the right path.
Wet Dog Food
This food is a bit more flexible than the dry variety. For one, it needs to be cared for differently (usually refrigerated with a much shorter expiration date). This food also tends to be a bit more expensive than dry food in general. I’ve also worked with a lot of owners and vets who like to use this food in addition to their dry food brand.
The bottom line with wet food is proper storage and getting a quality brand with fresh and valuable ingredients. If you get a cheap sub par brand, odds are the ingredients are going to be reflected in the lower price point. I’m not saying spend fifty bucks each meal but do your research and work with your vet to select your dog some quality brands.
Raw Food Diet
The raw dog food diet is exactly how it sounds. The objective here is to feed your dog raw quality food sources that you procure locally. The bonus here is that you control the quality of the food because you are seeking it out and purchasing it first hand before it’s processed into any kind of wet or dry mix. The downside is the pricing. Usually, a raw food diet for your dog will cost more because the ingredients are of a much higher quality and the prices can quickly add up. You will notice the effect much more the bigger your dog is and the more they eat!
I’ve worked with dogs on all different kinds of diets but I do notice less overall health problems on a raw food diet. Why is this you may ask? This kind of diet is the one that dogs originally evolved on out in the wild. This means that they are more genetically fit to eat and process foods in as raw and natural a format as they can get it. This doesn’t just include meat either. Dogs will happily chow down on fruits and vegetables too. The difference here being that those foods will make up a much smaller portion for them compared to the meat they ingest.
Can Dogs Eat Beets Summarized
The “Can dogs eat beets?”, question has been answered and we’ve been able to look at several other things as well. I would recommend dogs stay away from most root vegetables but some are clearly more harmful than others. Carrots are a solid choice when it comes to a snack food that’s kept in moderation. The sugar content can become too much for your dog if they indulge upon this treat too long and too often.
Another thing to take a look at is your dog’s diet in general. What are you feeding them? Have you discussed their current diet with your vet? Are they beginning to show any chronic health concerns? A change in diet can really help put things in perspective.
If you do decide to change your dogs diet after consulting your vet, make sure you do it gradually. Changing a diet too quickly can lead to your dog having an upset stomach and indigestion for a few days or weeks. Switching things up slowly and surely is the way to go there.
To sum it all up, dogs should be kept away from most root veggies. When in doubt, keep it from them and check with your vet at your earliest convenience.