10 Reasons Why Carrots Make Great Dog Treats
When giving your dog any new treat (including carrots) remember to use moderation. Changes in your dog’s diet can cause digestive issues, and some dogs are more sensitive than others.
Did you know that the average American eats 10.6 pounds of carrots per year? I’m pretty sure we go well above that in this household, and my dog Laika might even come close.
Call me weird but carrots are one of the few veggies I enjoy eating plain (sorry celery). But even weirder still is how nuts my dog Laika is for them. Who knew dogs would love carrots so much? My guess is it has something to do with the crunchiness. What dog doesn’t like crunchy treats?
Carrots are my favorite veggie to use as dog treats because they’re low in calories, easy to prepare, and something I’ve always got on hand. And did I mention how much Laika loves them? She drools for them — that’s how much she loves them. They taste great, they’re healthy, and they’re inexpensive – what’s not to love?
Still not convinced? Here’s 10 reasons why carrots make great dog treats.
1. Carrots Contain Beta-Carotene
Beat-carotene is an antioxidant which helps protect cells from damage. There is evidence suggesting that dogs (especially young ones) are able to absorb beta-carotene through their diet and receive immunological benefits.
It’s also well known for the benefits it provides for vision. Beta-carotene might not improve your dogs vision directly, but it has been shown to reduce the risk of them developing cataracts.
2. Carrots Are an Excellent Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in fat cells throughout the body, mainly within the liver. It’s important for their vision, growth, metabolism, and can help keep their coat & skin healthy.
Although rare there is a potential risk for vitamin A toxicity. As with any treat be mindful of proportions and feed in moderation. Carrots can make great supplement to your dogs diet, but not a replacement.
Vitamin A is one of the two vitamins in which oversupplementation can have negative effects. However, we have never seen a case of oversupplementation causing toxicosis, and in dogs, toxicity has been demonstrated only under experimental conditions. – Fat Soluble Vitamins: Vitamins A, E, D & K in Dogs
3. Carrots Are Low in Calories & Fat
If you’re looking for a low calorie treat for your dog carrots are a great choice. They’re easy to chop into small bits, and they contain very little fat.
A medium-size carrot has 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. The veggie is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily requirement in just one carrot. – 5 Fun Facts About Carrots, WebMD
4. Carrots Are Easy to Grow in the Garden
Do you know what vegetable shows up on all those “Easiest Vegetables to Grow” lists? Yep, it’s carrots. Carrots are simple and easy to grow, even for garden newbies like myself. The one drawback is that they may not grow very large, especially if you’re planting them in rocky soil.
5. Carrots Are a Common Household Staple
One of the reasons I love using carrots as dog treats is because they’re something I’ve always got on hand. I don’t have to worry about not having treats because I know I’ll always have carrots as my backup.
If I want to teach Laika something new but don’t have any actual dog treats I’ll just chop up a carrot or two. If she looks bored I’ll chop some up and play a game of “find the treats.”
6. Carrots Are Inexpensive
When it comes to price I consider whole carrots to be one of the most cost effective foods in my home. The average cost for carrots per pound in the United States is $.67, while baby carrots are $1.27 per pound.
7. Carrots Are High in Sobule Fiber
Although biber isn’t considered an essential nutrient for your dog it provides multiple benefits. It can help with digestive issues such as constipation & diarrhea, prevent anal gland issues, help control diabetes, and help with weight management.
8. Raw Carrots Make a Great Dog Chew
Some dogs really love chewing on crunchy stuff (Laika included), and it’s hard to find something more suitable than a nice sweet carrot. Since they’re very low in calories it’s a nice little extra treat for dogs that love to chew, especially those that are watching their weight.
Keep in mind that dogs can’t easily digest carrots, so it’s not unusual to see undigested carrot pieces in their feces. Rather than using a whole carrot you may want to chop them up into into smaller pieces or puree them if your dog is prone to digestive strain.
Carrots may help prevent plaque buildup on your dogs teeth by removing food particles and increasing saliva production. It’s important to remember that treats alone are not effective at preventing dental problems.
Brushing your dogs teeth on a daily basis and having them professionally cleaned when necessary is the best way to help prevent dental problems.
9. Carrots Make Great Kong Stuffers
One of my favorite boredom busters for dogs is Kong stuffing. I use some low sodium broth or peanut butter in a Kong to act as a base, and then I fill it with some healthy treats such as chopped up carrots.
If you want to make it a little more challenging try freezing some broth & carrots inside a Kong for a few hours. Frozen Kongs keep Laika busy for at least 30 minutes.
10. Carrots Are Easy to Prepare
The cells of carrots are surrounded by cellulose, a long chain of linked sugar molecules, that dogs cannot metabolize. In raw carrots (uncooked) the cellulose prevents dogs from getting the most out of a carrots nutrients.
For dogs to get the most nutritional benefits from carrots they should be cooked or pureed.
That’s not to say that raw carrots are bad for dogs; they’re very low in calories and have very little fat. They’re just more nutritious for dogs when they’ve been cooked or pureed since that process breaks down the cellulose and makes more nutrients accessible.
Just be careful if you give your dog a whole carrot — depending on how well they chew before swallowing carrots can be a choking hazard.
Does Your Dog Love Carrots?
Is Laika alone when it comes to her love for carrots? Does your dog perk up when you say carrot? What are your dogs favorite fruits & veggies?