If you are a dog lover, it is most likely that it is not just your best friend—you consider your pet a member of your family. You want the best for your dog; you provide the best diet for its nutrition, bring it to regular checkups and screenings, and watch its behavior and health. But despite your desire to do all of these, it can get costly and expensive, especially in times of financial troubles. What, then, is a cheap yet beneficial alternative that you can add to your dog’s diet? Carrots.
Since childhood, we have learned in schools and educational shows about the nutritional value of carrots. We have always heard that it can improve our vision, strengthen our immune system, and give us good skin health.
This vegetable is also tasty, and it is a common addition to our diet. That’s why the benefits of carrots make this a no-brainer when it comes to its advantages. Veterinarians and pet enthusiasts also say the same when it comes to pets, including dogs. In this article, we will explore the benefits of this inexpensive crop to your dog’s nutrition and welfare.
Carrots are super healthy
While having low caloric content (only 53 calories), it contains so much Vitamin A, Vitamin K, beta-carotene, potassium, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. As mentioned earlier, Vitamin A can optimize eye health and the immune system. But it does so much more than what we usually hear.
According to Healthline, an online health magazine, this vitamin can decrease aging deterioration and promotes bone health—and this can help your dog too! Like Vitamin A, Vitamin K helps calcium and Vitamin D in bone growth. It also aids blood-clotting, Live Science says.
Beta-carotene, which is abundant in carrots and colorful vegetables, is a valuable antioxidant, according to Medical News Today. Imagine how healthy your dog would be with a regular diet of carrots!
Carrots can be used to reward good behavior
Are you a professional dog trainer or a regular pet owner who wants to teach tricks to your dog? Instead of buying expensive flavored food, you can use carrots to reinforce your dog’s positive behavior!
They also find this vegetable delicious, so they would love to eat it always. Plus, it is so nutritious! But if you think your dog’s taste does not favor carrots that much, you can add the vegetable to meals they love.
Carrots promote dental health
If your puppy is starting to develop teeth or you find it very difficult to regularly brush your dog’s mouth, carrots can help you. This vegetable is often recommended by veterinarians for your beloved pet’s dental health.
If you have puppies, you can give them a frozen carrot to chew and munch, easing their discomfort in teething. Not just that: in doing so, they can receive the valuable nutrients that will aid in their growth. (Just make sure to give them big carrots so they won’t choke!)
As for adult dogs, according to Julia Szabo, a renowned pet care expert, carrots can polish dog teeth and prevent the build-up of plaque. But, as a responsible pet owner, do not just rely on carrots. This vegetable is only a supplement, not a complete substitute.
Carrots can be eaten by your dog in many forms
This nutritious vegetable can be consumed by your dear dog in different shapes and sizes. You can either give them raw, cooked, steamed, or frozen.
According to studies, making a carrot puree for your dog can help it absorb beta carotene much easier. To avoid choking or indigestion, you can also chop the carrots into bite sizes or peel them. Such flexibility is one of the key features of preparing carrots for your dog. (More on this below!)
But be mindful that this vegetable, like dog treats and snacks, should only make up 3-10% of your dog’s intake every day, as advised by WebMD.
But be careful!
Too much of a good thing is bad, as the saying goes. Carrots should only be eaten in moderation. Yes, they are very nutritious and safe to eat, according to the British Journal of Nutrition. But dogs are carnivores; carrots should only be used as a supplement to your dog’s primary meals.
Moreover, you must be careful not to overdose your dog with vitamins, because they can become toxic just like in humans. This vegetable also contains sugar, so eating too many carrots can lead to unhealthy weight gain and worsen dog diabetes. Also, be cautious not to turn the carrots into a choking hazard! It would be best to consult your veterinarian as well before introducing new food to your pet’s regular diet.
If you are a pet owner who wants to make an effort to your pet dog, you can consider these carrot-infused recipes that your dog will surely enjoy:
- Carrot juice. If your dog is not into chewing and swallowing the vegetable, you can give carrot juice a try. While this drink is high in Vitamin A, fiber is lost during the juicing process. To fix this, you can add some pulp into the juice. Just make sure that you wash the carrots properly and the juice would be consumed within the day.
- Steamed carrots. You can do this by slicing the carrots and putting them in a steamer basket over boiling water. You can steam them for at least ten minutes. This enhances the vegetable’s flavor while retaining its nutritional components and chemicals.
- Baked carrot treats. If you truly want to give your dog the best healthy treat, you can bake a carrot-based snack for your pet, and it is very easy to do! First, make a dough with combined whole-wheat flour and mashed or steamed carrots.
Then, you can roll out the dough, form shapes with it if you want, and place them on cookie sheets and parchment paper. Once it is ready, preheat your oven to 177°C (or 350°F) and bake the cookies for at least twelve minutes or until they turn golden brown.