Can Dogs Eat Beets?

Today’s question: Can dogs eat beets?

Beets are healthy root vegetables that are popular all around the world. They have a pleasant sweet taste and offer a lot of health benefits for us humans. If you are a dog owner who likes beets, then you might find yourself wondering, can dogs eat beets too?

The short answer is yes, dogs can eat beets. In fact, as beets are amazing sources of many important nutrients, it can be rather good for dogs to eat beets. However, you have to follow a few rules when feeding your dog these root vegetables.

Important things to know:

  • A small amount of beets is perfectly safe for dogs, but eating a large amount can cause diarrhea, and is therefore best avoided.
  • Beets are a great source of many valuable nutrients like dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin B-6, iron and potassium that can benefit your dog’s health.
  • For easy digestion, it’s best to cook and puree the beets before offering them to your dog.
  • Avoid feeding your dog pickled and canned beets, they usually contain a lot of sodium, which would not be good for your doggy.

Can Dogs Eat Beets? Only in Moderation!

The old saying “Too much of a good thing is not good” applies perfectly to feeding your dog beets and other vegetables.

While eating beets in moderation can be quite good for your dog, eating a large amount would not be good.

Beets are a good source of dietary fiber, which eases digestion in both dogs and humans. However, too much dietary fiber can cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and excessive gas. Because of that it’s necessary to always moderate the amount of beets or other vegetables you give to your dog.

You don’t want to entirely cut dietary fiber rich foods out from your dog’s diet either. Eating beets or other dietary fiber rich foods is still very beneficial for your dog’s digestive system. The right amount of dietary fiber can prevent both constipation and diarrhea in dogs[1].

On top of that, dietary fiber can help to reduce the risk of colon cancer and aids in weight loss[1].

How Much Beets Can Dogs Eat?

Can dogs eat beets?

Cooked beet slices can be the perfect healthy treats for any dog.

It’s easy for me to say that your dog can eat beets in moderate amounts, but how much is a moderate amount?

According to Lev Olson, author of the book “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs”, 25 percent of your dog’s diet should be vegetables[2]. (The remaining 75 percent should be animal protein.)

To provide your dog with a diverse selection of nutrients, it would be for the best if the 25 percent wouldn’t just be one type of vegetable, but a few different vegetables.

Depending on the size and level of activity, dogs need around 20-40 calories of food per a pound of body weight in a day[3].

So, an active medium-sized dog who weights around 40 pounds, needs around 1000 to 1200 calories a day. 25 percent from that is 250 to 300 calories, and that could be made up of vegetables like beets.

As beets are low in calories, you can feed a medium or large size dog up to 4 or 5 medium-sized beets in a single day. Smaller dogs, of course, should be given a little less. I wouldn’t recommend to feed a small dog  more than 2 beets in a single day.

How Can Dogs Eat Beets?

Most dogs don’t properly chew their food, but swallow it in large chunks. Because of that it’s difficult for dogs to digest raw vegetables.

What is recommended for you to do is to cook (boil or steam) the beets and puree them in a food processor or a blender, before offering them to your dog. This way you can ensure an easy digestion.

You may also combine the beet puree with other nutritious ingredients such as buckwheat to cook homemade dog treats for your doggy.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Beets?

While dogs can eat beets, canned beets are best avoided.

Canned beets contain preservative and large amounts of salt. And dogs, as you may already know, do not tolerate large amounts of salt. Ingesting too much salt can lead to salt poisoning in dogs, which is a serious condition that can even become life-treating if not properly treated.

The Health Benefits of Feeding Beets to Your Dog

We already talked about the importance of dietary fiber for your dog, but what else makes beets good for dogs?

Beets can also provide your dog with good amounts of magnesium, vitamin B-6, iron, potassium and phytonutriens.

Magnesium is an important mineral for dogs. For your dog to be in good health, it is required that she gets quite a lot of magnesium from her diet. Magnesium is essential for bone health and growth.  It’s also needed for the production of protein, proper use of many vitamins and functioning of many enzymes in your dog’s body[4].

  • Vitamin B6 is also essential for your dog to be healthy. It is needed for the body to use amino acids. If your dog is deficient in vitamin B6, then it can lead to many health problems such as anemia, kidney stones, tooth cavities and skin lesions.
  • Iron is essential for blood health and for the proper functioning of many enzymes. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia in dogs.
  • Potassium too is important for your dog. It is needed for the muscles, nerves and many enzymes to function properly.
  • Phytonutriens may not be essential for your canine friend, but they have been linked to protection from cancer, so it’s definitely good for your dog to have some phytonutriens in her diet.
  • Last but not least, eating beets would cleanse your dog’s liver from toxins. Beets can improve your dog’s liver detoxification abilities due to high antioxidant content.

Beet Pulp in Dog Food

If for some reason your dog doesn’t seem to like cooked beets, then you could simply buy commercial dog food containing beets.

Because beets are a good source of dietary fiber, beet pulp is often added to pet foods to increase fiber content.

Beet pulp, of course, is not the same as the garden vegetable. It’s the by-product of beet sugar, but it’s still a good source of fiber for dogs[5].

Conclusion on Can Dogs Eat Beets?

In conclusion, the answer to the question “Can dogs eat beets?”, is definitely yes. Beets can provide you dog with a wide selection of important vitamins and minerals, so it’s definitely beneficial to include some beets in your dog’s diet.

However, keep in mind not to feed your dog canned beets as it is likely that they are too salty for dogs. Fresh beets are okay for dogs, but it would be better if you’d cook the beets before feeding them to your dog to make them more easily digestible.

Does your dog like beets? Do you know any good dog treat recipes with beets? Don’t hesitate to comment and let us know!

References:

  1. “The Benefits of Dog Food Fiber.” Dog Food Advisor. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
  2. “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, Revised Edition: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals.” Lev Olson, PhD. 2015.
  3. How Many Calories Does My Dog Need?” Petnet. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
  4. Magnesium Requirementsin Dogs.” Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
  5. Beet Pulp: Its Benefits in Pet Food.” Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.

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