Dogs can eat anything, right? Well, they might try to, but that doesn’t mean everything is good for them—or safe!
If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know how important it is to feed him the right foods. You’ll also know that dogs are naturally curious about different ‘edible’ items. They often eat first and think later—usually without you even noticing. Unfortunately, this means that he might happily chow down on something that isn’t good for him or may even make him sick.
In other cases, a dog owner may unknowingly feed their precious companion a particular food that they think is okay, but it turns out to be a very bad idea.
There are lots of human foods dogs eat that harbor nutritional benefits for them, too. Some of them might surprise you!
One of the foods that many dog owners might not have considered giving their dog is beets. Beets are fantastic for humans—but can dogs eat beets, too?
Red beets are a root vegetable and they are safe for dogs. Recent research has hailed them as a ‘superfood’ thanks to their enormous range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While beets are mostly eaten for their root, their leaves can also be eaten either raw or cooked. So yes, dogs can eat beets—the entire plant, in fact!
The benefits of adding beets to your dog's diet:
While beets are abundant in health benefits, there are a few things to be mindful of before serving them up to your pet.
Like any root vegetable, beets can be a potential choking hazard if not chopped up properly. Chunks of raw beet may be quite tough to digest, and could cause an obstruction in the small intestine—the last thing you want your dog to endure!
Beets can also be somewhat messy! The bright red dye can seep into your dog’s fur, or end up on the carpet or furniture. Take care to keep them in the dish, or serve them outdoors only.
And here’s one thing to watch out for: beets can also turn your dog’s feces bright red. If you feed your dog beets, don’t panic when you see blood-colored stools. It’s quite harmless, but it can be quite alarming to see.
Another concern is that beets are high in oxalates. This can cause health problems in dogs who are prone to bladder infections or kidney stones. Beets also tend to be highly acidic, which means that too many can lead to gastrointestinal distress such as gas and diarrhea. Check with your vet if you aren’t sure whether beets are safe for your particular breed of dog.
Last but not least, beets have the highest sugar content of nearly every other vegetable. That’s why moderation is key.
For these reasons, it’s probably best to limit your dog’s intake of beets if he has some health issues.
Dogs can eat raw beets just fine. But if you want to try serving your dog beets, it’s recommended that you start with cooked beets. Choose fresh beets and wash thoroughly, then chop them into small chunks before cooking.
Boiling beets is the best way to make them tender, which will help with chewing and digestion. Steaming is also a good option. This involves cooking the beets in a closed pot or vessel with minimal water, which allows the vegetable to retain all of its nutrients. You should also remove the tough peel from the beet before giving it to your dog. This can be done simply by using a paper towel to wipe the skin off.
As with any vegetable, make sure the beets are cooked all the way through before adding to your dog’s dinner. Observe his response after introducing him to this new vegetable, and if all his well, you should be fine to continue adding them on occasion.