The Top 5 Reasons to Include Carrots In Your Dog's Diet

Redbarn Team January 19, 2021
Silhouette of a dog in front of carrots

Imagine you had a busy month and forgot to stock up on Redbarn® Natural Bully Sticks.

Your dog is sniffing around, looking for a yummy treat, but you’re fresh out! 

While waiting for that glorious shipment to arrive or for your spouse to return from the local pet store, you notice your pup is becoming more and more anxious. If they are a young puppy, he or she might even be experiencing teething pain. 

No one likes to see their dog suffering! 

To buy yourself more time, you open up your fridge to see if there’s any people-food you can safely share with your hungry, and possibly teething, pup. Your eyes lock on the vegetable crisper where you hope to find a healthy option. 

What’s that you see? Fresh, bright orange carrots! 

You may pick them up and wonder, “Are carrots good for my dog? Are carrots safe for me to feed my dog?”

While some of the vegetables we love are unsafe to feed our dogs, carrots are a perfectly safe and nutritious treat for your dog. 

Top 5 Reasons to Feed Carrots to Your Dogs

5) Carrots support your dog’s dental health! 

As loving pet parents, one of the challenges we all face is keeping our dog’s teeth clean. 

When it comes to doggie dental health, it’s recommended you start dental maintenance when they are young puppies. Most dogs learn to tolerate a daily brushing of their teeth— and if you’re lucky, some dogs even enjoy it! 

“If you adopted an older dog or did not start brushing proactively, take a closer look. You may be surprised to find plaque buildup on your pup’s teeth. If your dog currently has a buildup of plaque, you’ll want to take him for professional cleaning,” advises Steve Doerr, Research and Development Scientist at Redbarn Pet Products. “After a professional cleaning, it’s recommended that you add tough chews to your dog’s routine to prevent further buildup from occurring.

Frozen carrots can help support dental health by gently scraping the teeth and preventing plaque buildup. Mechanical scraping of the teeth and massaging of the gums by chewing on tough chews is one of the ways to give your dog’s teeth a gentle, daily cleaning.”

It’s important to note that dogs cannot metabolize the nutrients of raw carrots. 

 “Each cell of a carrot is protected by a thin wall of cellulose. If you do feed your dog raw carrot, you may notice that the chunks of carrot your dog chewed up will pass through him looking the same they did going in as they do on the way out,” Steve said. “To fully reap the nutritional benefits of carrots, you must lightly cook or steam fresh carrots. Most dogs love cooked carrots as much as the raw crunchy ones. The healthiest way to cook carrots is to lightly steam them, which enhances their flavor while retaining most of the nutrients.”

4) Carrots are a low calorie, low-fat treat for dogs.  

If your pup is diabetic, has a tummy pooch, or is working on their figure, carrots can provide dogs with low-calorie satisfaction for sweet and crunchy cravings between feedings.  Carrots are low calorie and low fat—with only about four calories per baby carrot— making them a healthy treat option.

3) Carrots can help canines with bowel movement regularity. 

Carrots are high in soluble fiber. Just nine baby carrots (about 3oz), contains 2 grams of fiber. If your dog has loose stools, he may benefit by adding carrots to his diet. The added fiber may help to add some bulk to his stools.

“You’ll want to be cautious when adding them to their diet in large amounts too quickly —start slow. They may cause some gas and intestinal upset if they are not used to the additional fiber. Always be sure to provide plenty of fresh drinking water to assist the fiber through the digestive system comfortably, and to prevent blockages.” Steve advises. 

2) Carrots are rich in beta-carotene.

When you were a kid, did your parents tell you to eat carrots because they would improve your eyesight?  The reasoning behind that parental nugget of wisdom is pretty spot-on.

“Beta-Carotene is a carotenoid that is an antioxidant and a precursor to Vitamin A. Carrots have a wall of cellulose that isn’t digestible by dogs, it’s best to cook the carrots to reap the full nutritional benefits for your dog,” says Steve.  

And that’s a perfect transition to our final nutritional benefit of carrots. 

1) Carrots are rich in Vitamin A. 

Vitamins support many critical roles in your dog’s diet and are essential for growth and health maintenance. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, providing a host of nutritional benefits to your dog.  Beyond supporting eye health, it also assists in supporting a thriving immune system and healthy skin and coat.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for dogs and is a required additive to all commercially produced dog foods, so it is almost unheard of for dogs to have a Vitamin A deficiency. 

Because Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, it can build up in the body and become toxic.  

Please be careful to not over-do it with any item that contains Vitamin A.  If you have any questions regarding how much Vitamin A is appropriate for your dog, please consult your vet before moving forward with any supplements.

5 Ways Pet Parents Can Safely Feed Carrots to Their Dog

Most dogs will happily eat carrots, but if you happen to have a fussy eater, there are still ways to get carrots into their diet. 

1. Complete and Balanced Meals with Carrot 

Just like all treats, carrots are meant to compliment a complete and balanced diet. 

“You can find carrots mixed into balanced meals for added nutrition and palatability, (that means taste!) for your dog to enjoy. Every recipe in Redbarn’s canned food line is grain-free and features natural ingredients,” Steve said. “Our canned food also has added functional ingredients like Dandelion Greens, Green Lipped Mussels, Brewer’s Yeast and Salmon Oil. These functional ingredients help cater to your dog’s particular health needs.”

2. Grate or shred carrots for your dog!

Pet parents can easily add grated carrots on top of their dogs already prepared food for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition. Be sure to wash your carrots thoroughly before grating or preparing them for your pet.

3. Juice carrots for your dog!

Carrot juice is a refreshing and delicious treat many humans enjoy. But did you know some dogs like the taste of vegetable juices, too? Most dogs enjoy the sweet sate of carrot juice, and it’s a healthy option to share with your pup. 

Carrot juice is very high in Vitamin A, but the carrot will lose its high fiber content through the process of juicing. You can add some pulp back into their juice before feeding it to your dog to retain its full nutrition. 

“If you want to feed carrot juice to your dog, look for 100% carrot juice at your local bodega or if you have the time, juice the carrots yourself,” Steve says. “If you happen to have leftover carrot juice, make sure to discard it after 48 hours. Carrot juice, and most vegetable juices for that matter, do not store well even when refrigerated.” 

4. Steam and mash carrots for your dog! 

You can steam carrots for your dog and mash them into a paste, or blend for a tasty carrot puree. Add this puree to your dog’s food in moderation.

How to Steam and Mash Carrots for Dogs 

  • Boil 2-3 inches of water in a saucepan. 
  • Slice the carrots into strips or batons and place them in a steamer basket over boiling water.
  • Cover the saucepan.
  • Steam the carrots for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Drain the carrots into a colander.

5. Freeze carrots for your dog! 

For teething puppies, whole frozen carrots can do wonders to help relieve discomfort. 

It’s important not to freeze and feed baby carrots, as they can pose a choking hazard. 

Whole frozen carrots can also offer your pup vitamins and minerals. But, do not feed more than one whole carrot a day. 

Pro-tip:  Break down carrots into flakes or a fine mush before freezing into cubes! This makes the carrots easier for your pups to digest. 

According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 53.9 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. With that extra weight comes a greater risk that your dog will develop certain diseases, such as diabetes or respiratory problems. Treats, including carrots, should be fed responsibly and should NOT make up more than 10 percent of your pets’ diet.

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