October 23, 2020 5 min read


Can dogs eat vegetables? 

Some vegetables are safe for dogs to eat and can be very beneficial when mixed into their food or fed as a treat.  Additionally, feeding some vegetables can help maintain a healthy weight and boost your dog’s immune system.  And since dogs are omnivores like us, they need more than just meat in their diet to ensure they get the proper balance of nutrients and vitamins.  

 However, some vegetables contain chemicals that do not interact well with a dog’s system, even leading to toxic poisoning and death. And even if vegetables are not considered poisonous to dogs, they may still not be the ideal choice to feed your pup.


Vegetable Dogs Can’t Eat

Asparagus – Asparagus is non-toxic and can safely be fed to dogs if adequately prepared. 

  • If you feed your dog raw asparagus, it is best to cut it into smaller pieces to avoid choking hazards. However, asparagus is difficult to digest and can cause GI upset, including, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea1. If you choose to feed your dog asparagus lightly cooking it first is best, with little to no fat. Steaming or grilling is best.

If you grow asparagus, note that the fern part of the plant is considered toxic to canines, so it should be kept out of reach of curious pups.

  • Mushrooms – Some mushrooms are incredibly toxic to dogs, though not all. Essentially, if a mushroom is considered toxic to humans, it is also toxic to dogs. Store-bought mushrooms are considered safe for dogs to eat and even have several health benefits. But it is best to avoid wild-mushrooms unless you are 100% sure they are non-toxic.
  • Onions and other Allium species – All types of onions contain an alkaloid, N-propyl disulfide, which is toxic to dogs. Additionally, other Allium species like leeks, garlic, and chives also contain the same alkaloid making them equally dangerous to dogs. All parts of these plants are also poisonous, even if cooked or dehydrated. 

Toxicity in dogs can occur with as little as 100 grams of onions in a 44-pound dog, so it would not take much to affect smaller dogs. Toxicity may cause oxidative damage to red blood cells2, even causing them to rupture. 

Plus, some dog breeds are more sensitive to this alkaloid than others. According to Colorado State University3, Akita and Shiba Inu breeds are more susceptible to this specific toxin.

Signs of poisoning:

    • Change in pulse, increased or weak
    • Staggering
    • Anemia
    • Increased respiratory rate
    • Lethargy
    • Pale Gums
    • Dark red-brown colored urine
  • Brussel Sprouts – Though not toxic, Brussel Sprouts, can cause digestive upset, primarily in the form of gas and bloating. However, if given in moderation, Brussel sprouts are very healthy and contain little sugar, so they are an excellent choice for dogs with weight issues, as long as they are not prepared with fats.   
  • Tomatoes – Technically, tomatoes are fruit but are commonly referred to as a vegetable. Ripe tomatoes are safe, though they are more acidic, which can cause GI upset. 

However, green tomatoes contain solanine, though unless consumed in excess will not result in toxicity. But green tomatoes will cause significant digestive health issues, including vomiting and diarrhea. Also, in severe cases of solanine poisoning dogs may experience lethargy, weakness, and confusion.

Other vegetables in the nightshade family, similar to tomatoes that contain solanine, are eggplant, bell peppers, and cayenne peppers.

  • Potatoes – Cooked potatoes can be good dogs and are often found in commercial foods and treats. However, raw potatoes contain higher solanine levels, making them a poor choice to give to your dog. Cooking potatoes reduces the solanine content4, rendering them safe for consumption. 

Also, potato plants and green potatoes contain high levels of solanine. Green potatoes are known to cause toxicity issues in humans.

  • Avocados – Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin, persin5, which can cause significant health issues in dogs, including death. Although persin is unique in that some dogs are somewhat resistant to this toxin. That being said, it is not worth the risk to find out that your dog is sensitive to persin, so it is best to avoid giving avocados to dogs.

Plus, even if your dog isn’t adversely impacted by persin, the avocado pit is a choking hazard.

  • Beets – Another non-toxic vegetable, but raw beets can cause GI upset, including bowel obstruction, due to their solid nature. Also, beets have also been associated with bladder stones, so if your dog is prone to bladder stones or other bladder issues, it is best to avoid beets. Finally, beets like tomatoes are acidic and can cause GI upset, making them not the best choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  • Cabbage – Though unlikely to be on your dog’s favorite foods list, cabbage is safe but can cause gas and bloating. Plus, cabbage contains thiocyanate, and significant amounts can negatively impact the thyroid gland resulting in hypothyroidism.

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Vegetable Dogs Can Eat

If you are looking for safe vegetables to share with your canine, a few great choices include:

  • Green Beans, Zucchini, Spinach, Broccoli – Can be given raw, cooked, or frozen. And they are low in sugar, making them an excellent choice for dogs with weight issues. 

Most dogs don’t like raw spinach, but adding cooked spinach is full of nutrients.

  • Carrots and Green Peas – Can also be given raw, cooked, or frozen. Though they are higher in sugar, so if your dog has weight issues, only give in moderation. Dogs particularly enjoy frozen green peas as a food topper.

Conclusion

Many dogs enjoy variety in their diets, and vegetables are an excellent low-calorie option and a great way to boost your dog's vitamin and nutrient intake.  Also, vegetables are a superb choice to increase fiber, especially for dogs looking to lose weight or combat minor constipation.

However, there are some vegetables dogs can't eat because of toxicity or other possible adverse effects such as GI upset, choking hazards, and bowel obstructions.  But if you choose safe vegetables, they can make for great food toppers, treats, or added to homemade food recipes.


Nicole DeVault

Nicole DeVault author of vegetables dogs can't eat

Nicole is a professional dog trainer who has been in the business for about 5 years. She has two dogs of her own. Milli is a ten-year-old Beagle with plenty of sass to go around, and Axel is her three-year-old Pit bull who has more energy than anyone knows what to do with. Both of her dogs are rescues who came to her with their own set of issues. Working with troubled dogs is where her passion for dog training started. She has grown to learn that teaching people how to communicate with their fur babies allows them to enjoy happy and stress-free lives together.

Working through a multitude of different dog problems has allowed Nicole to become very knowledgeable of the best products out there: collars, leashes, toys, treats, beds, crates, and even hiking, camping, and boating gear for pups with a more “extreme” lifestyle. Nicole is always learning and growing, so she can find what is best for her dogs and yours!

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Nicole DeVault
Nicole DeVault



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