by Stephen Burroughs
I try to be a responsible pet owner at all times, but in the end I’m only human.
On one autumn afternoon I let a friend borrow my car, but then realized it was just about dinner time for Herschel, my Min Pin, and I was totally out of dog food — and the Co Op I buy it from is not within walking distance.
I knew my car would be back within a few hours, but I had to give the little guy something to tide him over before a late dinner. Generally, I pay more attention to the healthiness of what my dog eats than I do to what I eat, so my options were pretty limited when I looked in the refrigerator. Thankfully, I had a bag of baby carrots. And even more thankfully, a quick Google search revealed that they were perfectly safe. Much to my surprise, Herschel devoured them with ferocity and passion I’d never seen before!
I think it’s safe to say that if Herschel was capable of using a computer, he’d “like” carrots on Facebook. So what’s the deal with dogs and carrots?
Here’s to Good Health
Dogs are primarily carnivores, but they need you to look out for them. They need a diet that incorporates different food groups, and carrots might be a great way to get some vegetables into your dog’s system. Carrots are a great source of antioxidants, fiber and Beta Carotene (which breaks down into Vitamin A). All of these things can help with their immune system, teeth, digestion, healthy fur, healthy skin and help maintain their vision. Carrots are by no means a magical food that will make your dog instantly healthy, but they’re full of little benefits and free from drawbacks.
Diet, Don’t Riot
If your dog is overweight, carrots are a perfect treat. Most dog treats, even some that claim to be organic or holistic, are high in fat and calories. These can still be used on extremely special occasions, but carrots are an excellent substitute for a regular treat. Dogs love the crunch of carrots and they don’t seem to mind the taste, either. Additionally, carrots just require a quick trip to the grocery store and can hang out in the fridge with the rest of your food. Carrots are a treat you can enjoy together.
Moderation is Key
Okay, there is one catch when it comes to carrots and dogs. Nothing is perfect. The catch is pretty simple though—feed carrots to your dog in moderation. Just like almost everything else that isn’t your dog’s normal, sustaining meal, too many carrots can have some minor, but annoying side effects. Use common sense and don’t use carrots as an all-the-time meal replacement, just think of them as a fun, nutritious treat. It is normal to see some undigested carrot pieces in your dog’s stool, and that’s no cause for alarm—but make sure you’re not feeding your four legged friend too many of these healthy orange vegetables.
Before my panic incident with Herschel, I’d never even considered a connection between dogs and carrots. Now Herschel enjoys carrots pretty regularly, as they’re pretty much the perfect dog treat. They’re natural, healthy and pretty inexpensive — and I can snack on them too!
Carrots are especially beneficial for overweight dogs, but they’re also great for fit, skinny dogs as well. Carrots won’t fix all of your dog’s problems, but they’re a great addition to any dog’s healthy diet.
Stephen Burroughs is a writer, blogger and Humane Society volunteer. He enjoys blogging about everything pertaining to dogs and responsible pet ownership. His best friend is a Miniature Pinscher named Herschel.