Beets are one of those vegetables that people seem to either love or hate. These veggies — sometimes called beetroot — can be cooked, pickled, or eaten raw, and they’re used in all sorts of dishes from soups and stews to salads and casseroles. But whether or not you like beets, you might be wondering: Can dogs eat beets? Are they good for our dogs, or harmful?
Beets are root vegetables, and root vegetables are a mixed bag for our furry companions. Veggies like onions and garlic are root vegetables, and they can be highly toxic to our canine friends. On the other hand, some root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are very good for dogs and are often used in commercial dog food formulas.
So, where do pups stand with beets? Can dogs eat beets or not?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat beets. These vegetables are not toxic for dogs and actually offer various health benefits. However, feeding your dog beets does come with a few risks to be aware of, so you want to be sure you’re giving Fido this veggie in a safe manner. Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of beets, the risks, and how to give beets to your dog the right way.
Health Benefits of Beets for Dogs
Beets aren’t toxic for our dogs like other root vegetables, such as onions and garlic. And adding beets to your dog’s diet in a safe manner can help give them an added health boost because dogs can receive nutritional value from this veggie.
Some of the nutrients that beets offer dogs are:
- Fiber: Fiber assists in regulating your dog’s digestive system to avoid issues like diarrhea, and helps your dog feel full after eating.
- Potassium: Potassium is an electrolyte that supports the functioning of electrical charges in your dog’s heart, muscles, and nerves. It also aids in hydration.
- Iron: This mineral helps your dog’s red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Many older dogs suffer from iron deficiency, so foods like beets can be useful in these cases.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and helps fight the effects of oxidation throughout the body while supporting a healthy immune system.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin supports your dog’s eyesight, bone growth, and immune response. It also has antioxidant properties.
- Magnesium: Magnesium aids in normal muscle and nerve function and is also a source of energy for your dog.
- Manganese: Manganese helps your dog produce energy, aids in healthy bones and joints, and assists with the metabolization of carbohydrates and protein.
- Folate: Folate, or Vitamin B9, helps with red blood cell production and DNA synthesis.
- Phosphorus: This mineral helps to keep your dog’s bones strong and also aids in energy production.
As you can see, feeding beets to your furry friend may provide plenty of good nutrition. But there’s an important caveat: Beets can also present a few risks to your dog’s health. Keep reading to learn more about the hazards beets can present to your canine friend so you know how to avoid them.
Risks of Feeding Beets to Dogs
Just like when you feed most human foods to your dog, it’s important to give your pup beets the right way. Dogs can eat beets, yes, but they also pose a few risks that you’ll want to take steps to avoid.
Some of the risks of feeding your dog beets include:
Raw beets are tough and can present a choking hazard for your dog if Fido tries to swallow a beet whole, or if they bite off a large chunk.
Beets contain a naturally occurring chemical called oxalate, which can cause bladder stones and kidney stones when consumed in huge amounts. Oxalate poisoning is very rare because dogs would have to consume a very large amount of the vegetables and fruits that contain them — but it’s still not worth the risk. Make sure to limit the amount of beets your dog is chowing down on.
Surprisingly, beets are relatively high in sugar. If your dog were to eat a large quantity of beets, the sugar content can start to cause problems including obesity or even pancreatitis. It’s also important to note that canned beets and beet juice contain even more sugar, plus lots of sodium and preservatives. These are definite “no-nos” for your pooch. Moderation is key.
How to Prepare Beets for Dogs
Can dogs eat beets? Yes, and they can get plenty of nutritional value from them. But beets also present a few hazards, as described above. So, how can a dog eat beets safely?
Here are the best tips to prepare beets for your dog:
Wash Beets First
Always remember to wash beets before giving them to your dog. This gets rid of any dirt, germs, or pesticides that may be on the vegetable’s surface. Another best practice is to choose organic beets, which are less likely to have been exposed to pesticides.
Make Beet Puree
Raw beets can be tough on your dog’s stomach, and they present a choking hazard. Cut raw, fresh beets into small pieces if you want to give them to your dog. Even better, consider blanching, steaming, or boiling them to make cooked beets, and then mash them down to create a beet puree. You can spread the beet puree onto your dog’s meals or stir it in, or serve it to your pup as is.
We might add salt, garlic, or other types of seasonings to the beets we eat. But these additions aren’t good for our dogs. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and even sodium ion poisoning in large amounts, while garlic can prove toxic. Only feed your dog plain beets or beet puree.
Always Use Moderation
Dog owners should always feed human foods in moderation, beets included. Only feed your dog these veggies in small quantities at a time, and make it an occasional treat rather than a habit. For instance, you can make these tasty heart-shaped dog treats with just five simple ingredients, including beets.
Remember: Your dog’s kibble should provide them with a complete and balanced diet all by itself. That said, you can always boost the diet with healthy dietary supplements. Try Native Pet’s Beef Broth to help give your dog’s meals a nutritious boost — and add some great flavor to your dog’s food at the same time. Or, consider our probiotic powder, which can help support complete gut health and digestive wellness.
Can Dogs Eat Beets? Yes, When Prepared Properly
Yes, dogs can eat beets. These root vegetables have plenty of health benefits for our canine friends because they’re full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Beets do pose a few risks for dogs, though. Raw beets are a choking hazard. And because of oxalates found in beets and their relatively high sugar content, eating a lot of beets at once could cause health problems including kidney stones, pancreatitis, and more.
Wash beets to remove pesticides and germs. Cut beets into pieces and cook them before mashing them into a puree, which is much easier and safer for your dog to eat. Remember to skip the seasonings and use beets only as the occasional dog treat, not as a regular part of the diet. Following these steps is the best way to give your dog this vegetable in a safe way.
Looking for additional insights into your dog’s health and wellness needs? Visit the Native Pet blog for more articles.