With their distinctive red color, unique taste, and endless benefits, beets take a proud stance among other vegetables and fruits. They contain minerals, vitamins, fibers, and many essential nutrients that humans need.
But dogs don’t have the same nutritional requirements as we do; they’re primarily carnivores. So can dogs eat beets? Or is it best to stay away from adding the ever delicious root vegetable to their diets?
In this article, we’ll answer your questions in detail, along with how to prepare beets before offering them to your dog. So without further ado, let’s jump in!
Are Beets Safe for Dogs?
Yes, they are. Beets are a safe and delightful treat because they taste sweet and have a soft texture that dogs seem to love.
That said, you shouldn’t offer your dog beets daily or in large amounts. And we highly recommend you consult the vet before adding any human foods to your dog’s diet.
Benefits of Beets for Dogs
Beets are rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, and fibers. All of those contribute to the health benefits that beets provide. First, the rich iron content benefits anemic dogs and helps the blood cells carry more oxygen.
Second, fibers support dogs’ digestive systems and improve their gut health. As a result, the AAFCO recommends including fibers in all dogs’ meals, with the average amount ranging from 1% to 10%. Fibers also help dogs that suffer from constipation by improving bowel movement.
As for vitamins and minerals enhance dogs’ immune systems, strengthen their skin and fur health, and regulate their pH balances. That’s why it isn’t uncommon for vets to recommend adding beets to the diets of dogs who suffer from fur or hair loss.
Beets are also rich in folate, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese. These nutrients can improve your pet’s digestive system and prevent upset stomachs.
Finally, beets make for an exciting addition to dogs’ diets. While animals have different diets from us, they also love a change every once in a while to avoid getting bored.
Drawbacks of Beets for Dogs
There are a few points you should consider before giving your dog beets. First of all, beets are rich in oxalates, which increase the risk of getting kidney and bladder stones in dogs.
It’s worth mentioning that some types of dogs are more prone to getting those stones than others. So if your dog is among the high-risk group, you should stay away from giving it beets.
Second, beets are very high in acids, which means they can give your pet gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea, gas, or an upset stomach.
Another drawback that isn’t necessarily harmful to your dog’s health is that beet stains everything red, from your dog’s fur to its tools and urine.
Which Type of Beets Is Better for Your Dog?
In this section, we’ll discuss different forms of beets and whether you should serve them to your dog or not.
Raw red beets pose a choking hazard for dogs because they have a solid body with a tough texture. They can also obstruct your pet’s stomach or small intestines, a severe condition requiring immediate medical care. So if you want your dog to eat red beets, we don’t recommend serving them raw.
Golden beets differ from red beets in that they have a sweeter flavor. They’re also beneficial to dogs, and they’re an excellent source of fibers.
Moreover, golden beets are rich in antioxidants which help your dog against inflammations. However, feeding them to your dog carries the same risks as red beets.
While many people confuse them, sugar beets aren’t the same as red beets. Instead, they have a white color with bright green foliage, and they contain a much higher concentration of sucrose.
This means that they’re more harmful to dogs, and if ingested in large amounts, they’ll lead to obesity issues, like heart disease, for example.
Which Form of Beets Is Better for Your Dog?
The best form of beets to offer to your dog is cooked ones. They’re soft and pose no choking hazard whatsoever. Also, they have a high nutritional value.
That said, cooked beets are also full of fibers, which might upset your dog’s stomach if ingested in large quantities because dogs aren’t supposed to eat as many plant-based foods as we should.
Some dog owners like to serve their dogs refreshing beet juice, but this isn’t ideal for several reasons. For starters, beet juice contains concentrated carbohydrates and sugars, which are harmful to your dog in large quantities and may cause obesity.
Second, beet juice doesn’t have as high of a nutritional value as the vegetable itself. Therefore, dogs would have to ingest too much beet juice to benefit from drinking it. This point causes the negatives of serving your dog beet juice to outweigh the positives.
Suppose you insist on giving your dog beet juice. In that case, you should look for a brand that doesn’t contain highly harmful ingredients such as preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and fillers. Also, instead of going through this hassle, you can make it at home without adding too much sugar.
You shouldn’t offer your dog pickled beets or any pickled vegetables, for that matter. Pickles are very high in salt, which is harmful to both humans and dogs.
Our digestive systems can take large amounts of salt without facing adverse effects, but dogs don’t enjoy the same privilege. Salty and spicy pickles may affect your dog’s digestion process and cause issues like diarrhea and vomiting.
If you feel obliged to give your dog a taste of pickles, make sure it’s a small amount, and do it on very rare occasions.
Canned beets aren’t the best option for your dog either. In general, canned vegetables are full of preservatives and sodium, which dogs are highly sensitive to.
As a result, consuming canned beets in large amounts can give your dog dehydration, sodium toxicity, or even bladder stones in severe cases.
If you’re interested in beets, you might have come across a few recipes before for making beet chips. They’re delicious, easy to serve, and highly nutritional.
In general, if you want to give your dog a few beet chips to munch on, it’s okay. However, keep them as an occasional treat, not as an essential part of your dog’s diet.
Which Beet Part Is Better for Your Dog?
The beetroot is the large, red bulb part you can see on the plant. It’s what most of us eat since it’s the most delicious part.
However, the beetroot is relatively high in acids and oxalates, so you shouldn’t give it to your dog in large quantities. Also, you’ll need to cut it into small pieces and serve it cooked, not raw.
Beet greens are the large leaves that adorn beets’ plants. Generally, it’s okay if dogs eat beet greens as they’re full of health benefits.
For starters, they contain a considerable amount of minerals and vitamins. Also, they help balance your dog’s gut pH, which means fewer digestive issues for your little pet. Not to mention, they’re easier to chew and digest and don’t pose a choking hazard.
After extracting sugar from sugar beets, a fibrous material often remains as leftovers. It’s commonly known as beet pulp, and it’s an excellent source of fibers for your dog. In addition, beet pulps help your pet maintain a healthy intestinal system.
How to Prepare Beets for Dogs
After discussing the benefits and drawbacks of beets for dogs in detail, it’s time to let you know how to prepare the delicious vegetable for your pet.
Start With Organic Beets
Nowadays, most vegetables have traces of chemicals and pesticides on them. While those might not affect our digestive systems so much, dogs aren’t as invincible. That’s why organic beets and vegetables are much better for your pet than non-organic ones.
As we’ve mentioned before, vegetables often have harmful materials on their surfaces. This is why it’s essential to wash raw beets and any vegetables before serving them to your dog. You don’t have to overdo it; just a quick rinse with water will suffice.
Add No Seasoning
We love seasoning food because it enhances the taste and encourages us to eat bland-tasting food like vegetables. However, dogs certainly aren’t the same. Seasoning food might give them an upset stomach. That’s why you should always skip the seasoning when giving your dog beets.
Make a Mash
Mashing beets before serving them to your dog renders them easily chewable, so you’ll eliminate any choking hazards involved with feeding dogs large chunks of vegetables.
To do so, cut your beets into small pieces and cook them however you like; blanched, steamed, or boiled. Next, throw the tiny beets into a food processor or a blender, or you can mash them manually if you have neither tool in your kitchen.
This will result in a thick and delicious beet mash that you can offer your dog whenever you like. You can even mix it with another meal if you want.
Serve Them as an Occasional Treat
Generally, vegetable treats should make up about 10-15% of your dog’s balanced diet. So, to give your dog beets without affecting its health negatively, you should stick to this ratio.
And remember that dog food already has enough nutrients to keep your pet healthy and active, so you don’t have to offer vegetables for the nutritional value they offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Beets Be Poisonous?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), beets aren’t toxic to dogs. However, rare as the chance might be, your dog can be allergic to beets, so it’d be best to keep a close eye on your pet after feeding it the delicious treat for the first time.
Will Cooked Beets Hurt Dogs?
Not at all. Cooked beets are pretty safe to feed your dog; they’re actually easier to digest than raw beets. But, much like any form of this vegetable, don’t add too much of it to your dog’s diet. Just a treat here and there is all your dog needs.
Can Beets Make Dogs Sick?
It’s a possibility. Beets are acidic, so they might be hard for some dogs to digest, which can result in symptoms like diarrhea and gas. Raw beets, especially, are harder to digest. So it’d be better to start with cooked beets and see how your dog reacts to them.
Will Red Beets Hurt Dogs?
No, all types of beets are safe for dogs. So you can feed red beets to your dogs just fine. But, as with any human food, start with small quantities when first introducing them to your dog and keep a vigilant eye out for any allergic reactions.
Can I Add Sweet Potatoes to My Dog’s Diet?
Yes, you can add the delicious plant to your dog’s diet. Sweet potatoes aren’t toxic to dogs, and they have many health benefits for them. However, you should always cook a sweet potato before serving it to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.
To Wrap Up
Beets are a delicious treat for dogs, and they have a considerable number of benefits. Ideally, your dog can eat beets, whether cooked or mashed, once or twice each week.
However, make sure not to exceed that limit because beets are rich in sugars, acids, and carbohydrates, which can adversely affect your dog’s health if consumed in large amounts.