You don’t always want to give your dog “people” foods. But some might be perfectly fine as a treat. Case in point? Carrots! If Fido loves carrots, you’re in luck. They offer a lot of health benefits, and, as far as human foods go, they’re one of the best.
Here’s some information on the health benefits that carrots provide, and why you should consider giving your pet this incredible vegetable on a regular basis.
Benefits of Carrots for Dogs
Carrots aren’t only healthy, they’re also extremely affordable. You can use them in place of expensive dog treats that might contain toxic ingredients. And carrots are low in calories, so you won’t have to worry about your dog packing on the pounds. One cup of chopped carrots contains only 52 calories.1 Compare that to a cup of deli-sliced ham, which has 238 calories.2
Carrots can boost your dog’s health in several ways. They have antioxidant properties, and they contain many essential nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
Here are just some of the benefits of each:
These are substances that help protect your pet from the dangers of oxidation. For example, they help to limit the damage done by dangerous molecules known as free radicals. These molecules are missing an electron. As a result, they scour the body looking for electrons wherever they can find them. They will attack cells and proteins, leading to potentially severe tissue damage. Antioxidants can give an electron to a free radical, providing protection from that damage.4 Beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in carrots that not only gives the vegetable its color, but may also help improve a dog’s vision.5 Beta-carotene, according to research, helps protect the canine immune system as well.6 There is also evidence that a diet enriched with antioxidants could help improve a dog’s cognitive functioning.7
2. Vitamin A
Carrots are loaded with this beneficial vitamin. Vitamin A is extremely important to a dog’s health. It helps to protect the skin and keep the coat shiny. It may also help dogs avoid night blindness. (Night blindness is symptom of Progressive Retinal Atrophy where dogs tend to be nervous at night, bump into things when light is dim or reluctant to go into a dark room.) If a dog doesn’t have enough vitamin A, reproductive problems can result. Males can become infertile and females can give birth to puppies that have vision issues, hair loss and stunted growth.8
Carrots are rich in fiber. Just one cup delivers 3.6 grams.9 Fiber helps the digestive process, making sure that waste materials move through the intestines at the right pace. This ensures that your dog’s body will be able to properly absorb nutrients from the food they eat.10
4. Vitamin K
This vitamin, found in carrots, plays a key role in helping the blood clot. Vitamin K also helps the body convert glucose into energy, and it helps promote a healthy liver.11
This vital mineral in carrots helps to ensure a dog’s muscles and nerves work as they should. A lack of potassium can lead to appetite loss, overall weakness, and can even result in nerve and cardiac disorders.12
Sodium helps to transfer nutrients into cells and to take waste products out of them.13 Sodium also plays a role in regulating blood pressure. However, an excess of sodium can cause several different kinds of health issues. These include increased thirst, confusion, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can even lead to seizures and coma in severe instances.14
The bottom line: Carrots are safe for dogs when provided in moderation. Check with your veterinarian before you add them to your dog’s regular diet. Your vet can also tell you how many carrots your dog should be eating, based on their weight.
Also? Be very careful when you feed carrots to your dog. Cut the carrots into chunks that are small enough for your dog to chew safely. Watch carefully to make sure your pup doesn’t choke. This is especially important if you choose to give your dog carrot sticks instead.
Want to know what other human food is ok for dogs? Keep reading here: