Can Dogs Eat Vegetables?

Can Dogs Eat Vegetables?

As veterinarians, one of the most common questions we get from pet owners is "can dogs eat vegetables?" The short answer is yes, dogs can and should eat some veggies as part of a balanced diet. Vegetables are a healthy way to provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. However, not all vegetables are safe or appropriate for dogs. As experts in canine health and nutrition, we have compiled this ultimate guide on feeding produce to dogs.

An Overview of Vegetables for Dogs

Vegetables can be a nutritious addition to your dog's diet. Here are some of the benefits:

·         Vitamins and minerals - Many vegetables like carrots, spinach and broccoli are loaded with essential vitamins like Vitamin A and C as well as minerals like calcium and iron. These serve important roles in your dog's vision, bone health, immunity and more.

·         Fiber - Vegetables are also great sources of fiber. Fiber helps regulate digestion and promote gut health in dogs. It also helps them feel full.

·         Antioxidants - Colorful veggies are packed with antioxidants. These help prevent disease and cumulative damage from toxins and free radicals in your dog's body.

·         Low in calories - Unlike treats or table scraps, most vegetables are low in fat and calories, making them a healthy choice.

Now that we've covered the main benefits, let's explore some specifics on which vegetables dogs can and can't eat.🚀

Vegetables Dogs Can Eat

Most vegetables are perfectly healthy and beneficial for dogs to consume. According to veterinary nutrition guidelines, there are some vegetables that can make up 5-10% of your dog's total daily calories. Here are the most common and safe to feed:


An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium, carrots are also a classic treat many dogs love. Baby carrots can be fed raw for a crunchy snack. For older dogs, cook carrots to soften them before feeding.

Carrots are over 90% water, so they can be useful for hydration too. Just watch portion sizes since too much vitamin A can be toxic in high amounts. Stick to a few baby carrots or pieces per day.


Part of the highly nutritious brassica family, broccoli contains a powerhouse lineup of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. It offers nutrients like vitamin C, K, iron, folate and potassium. Additionally, broccoli provides antioxidants and fiber.😋

However, broccoli also contains isothiocyanates which can irritate the gastrointestinal tract in some sensitive dogs. Always start with small portion sizes and monitor your dog's reaction when introducing new vegetables. Only feed cooked broccoli rather than raw.


Leafy greens like spinach are low in calories and provide lutein, zeaxanthin and other carotenoids to support eye health. Folate, niacin, zinc and vitamins round out spinach's nutritional value too.

Since spinach is high in oxalates which interferes with calcium absorption, it should be fed cooked and in moderation. Also, it does contain some compounds which in huge quantities could cause upset stomach or kidney stones. But occasional moderate portions of cooked spinach are beneficial.

Sweet Potatoes

An excellent alternative to white potatoes, sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They have the added benefit of turmeric, an anti-inflammatory phytochemical.

You can cook sweet potato slices or cubes to enhance digestibility. Some dogs may experience gas or digestive upset from too much starch, so monitor your pup's reaction. But overall, sweet potatoes in moderation are one of the top dog food ingredients.

Green Beans

Since they are low calorie, green beans can be the perfect weight loss food for overweight dogs. They provide vitamins A, C and K along with thiamine, iron, magnesium and more. Their high fiber and protein is beneficial while being low fat.

Look for low sodium varieties and serve green beans cooked rather than raw to allow easier digestion. Some dogs may not chew beans adequately on their own, posing a choking risk, so dice or mash them.

Overall, green beans can be served a few times per week as a tasty treat. Dogs might not love crunching on plain beans though, so adding some broth, cheese sprinkles or rice can enhance palatability.😆


In the same plant family as broccoli, asparagus offers vitamin K, folate, iron and antioxidants. The vegetable spear shape makes them ideal handheld treats. However, avoid the white stem portion since this is harder to digest.

Since asparagus contains purines which can exacerbate kidney and bladder stones in predisposed dogs, only feed occasionally and in moderation if your pet has a history of urinary tract conditions. Cook spears until just tender for optimal digestion and palatability.

Other Veggies Dogs Can Eat in Moderation

Nearly all vegetables contain beneficial nutrients and antioxidants dogs can safely consume. Besides the veggies listed above, additional produce dogs can eat in moderation may include:

·         Bell peppers

·         Brussels sprouts

·         Butternut squash

·         Carrots

·         Cauliflower

·         Celery

·         Chard 🌱

·         Cucumbers

·         Eggplant

·         Kale

·         Pumpkin

·         Snow peas

·         Zucchini

When introducing new vegetables, begin with a small amount such as a spoonful or two to see how your dog tolerates it. Gradually work up to a few tablespoons daily for small dogs or around 1⁄2 cup for larger breeds as the maximum amount.

Cook vegetables thoroughly until very soft for easiest digestion. Dicing, chopping or mashing produce into small pieces also allows better breakdown during digestion.


Vegetables to Avoid Feeding Dogs

While most vegetables pose little risk to dogs, there are a few to completely avoid including:


Onions contain compounds called disulfides and thiosulfates which damage red blood cells and cause anemia in dogs when ingested. Garlic, shallots, leeks and scallions contain these same compounds, so should also be avoided.


The bark, pit and leaves of avocados contain persin, a toxin dangerous to dogs. However, the fleshy part humans eat has much lower levels of persin. Still, digestive issues are common from dogs eating avocado so it's better to avoid altogether.


Both store-bought and wild mushrooms can cause liver damage and toxicity issues in dogs. Avoid feeding any variety of mushrooms just to be safe.

Raw Potato

Potatoes contain solanine, chaconine and other compounds which can negatively affect dogs. Cooking helps deactivate these toxins, however it's still possible for dogs to have reactions to potatoes including vomiting, diarrhea or heart problems in severe cases. For safety's sake, try other veggies instead.😟


Tips for Feeding Vegetables

Now that you know which vegetables dogs can and can't eat safely, here are some tips for incorporating them into your dog's menu:

Cook thoroughly

Always cook vegetables to increase digestibility and deactivate antinutrient compounds found in some veggies raw. Well-cooked vegetables are easiest for dogs to break down and utilize nutrients from.

Start slow

Begin with just a spoonful or two of any new vegetables to check for signs of digestive upset or intolerance before giving more substantial portions.


Cutting vegetables into small pieces allows dogs to chew and swallow with less difficulty. Mash or puree veggies for puppies, elderly dogs or those with dental disease.

Mix and match

Rotating vegetables provides a variety of nutrients while minimizing risk of adverse reactions to any single food.

Use as treats

Reward your dog with bits of cooked veggies instead of biscuits during training sessions. Broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes can make nutritious mini treats to incentivize good behavior.👍

Add enhancements

Mix in some broth, rice, cheese or lean meat scraps to boost taste and acceptance if your dog turns his nose up at plain vegetables. As long as you minimize added fat and salt, this can encourage veggie eating.

Store properly

Refrigerate unused vegetable portions promptly and tightly sealed. Discard uneaten fresh veggies within 3 days to avoid spoilage.

Are Vegetables Necessary for Dogs?

While vegetables are highly beneficial for dogs to eat, they aren't strictly necessary. As carnivores, dogs can obtain complete and balanced nutrition without plant matter through specially formulated commercial dog foods. However, the vitamins, antioxidants and fiber supplied by veggies offers health advantages.

Talk to your veterinarian about whether your dog would benefit from more vegetables based on his age, size, activity level and medical conditions. Also discuss what amount to feed. Usually 5-10% of calories can come from veggies but percentages up to 20% are fine for most dogs.🐶


Vegetables serve as nutritious treats and additions that contribute valuable nutrients for dogs like vitamins, minerals and fiber. While not all vegetables are safe, choices like carrots, green beans, broccoli and sweet potatoes provide benefits without risks in moderation.

When in doubt, check with your vet on the safety of particular vegetables if your dog has any underlying medical issues. But for generally healthy dogs, work cooked veggies into your dog's diet for enhanced nutrition and health. Just introduce new items slowly and stick to dog-friendly choices only.

With a balanced diet containing the right vegetables among other whole foods, your dog can achieve optimal health and longevity while enjoying tasty plant-based treats.🥕👍