Can dogs eat beets?

Can dogs eat beets? The answer is yes they can! Beets can offer a variety of health benefits for our canine companions.

Beets are a cultivated crop grown for human consumption and consist of a top leafy growth above ground and a taproot portion below ground. They have a variety of different names including; beetroot, table beet, garden beet, or just simply beets. 

Both the leaves and the roots are edible and rich in vitamins and minerals. Let’s take a look at their nutritional value, any potential risks, and how you can include them in your dog’s diet.

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Are beets good for dogs?

Beets are good for dogs in small portions and can be offered as part of a wider, more varied diet. Both the greens and the root of the beet plant are edible with a little preparation. 

There are numerous health benefits to be enjoyed by your dog, both inside and out, from including beets in their diet.

AN ARRAY OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS CAN BE FOUND In beets

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to protect cells from being broken down by oxidation. It supports the immune system and can reduce inflammation.

Folate

Folate is a vitamin that helps to support cell growth, produce new red blood cells, and control blood levels of amino acids. 

A lack of folate within a diet can cause symptoms such as anemia (low red blood cells), depression, and an increased risk of bleeding.

Iron

Iron is a mineral that is required for a dog’s body to function correctly. It helps to support the circulatory system in carrying oxygen around the body. 

A lack of iron can cause symptoms such as tachycardia (increased heart rate), weight loss, and anorexia (reduced appetite).

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that the body depends on for support in heart function as well as muscle and nerve impulses.

If a dog suffers from low potassium levels, symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, and depression can occur.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that helps to turn food into energy, ready for a dog to burn. Many functions within a dog’s body depend on magnesium to function correctly. 

A lack of magnesium can cause symptoms such as lethargy, irregular hearth rhythm, and muscle weakness.

Can dogs eat too many beets?

Dogs can suffer from a number of health issues if too many beets are consumed over a period of time. They should only be offered in small quantities in addition to their usual diet.

High in sugars – Beets might be a vegetable but they can be high in sugars. Too much sugar in a dog’s diet can cause obesity, dental issues, and in extreme cases, diabetes.

Pancreatitis – The pancreas is an organ within the digestive system that produces digestive enzymes as well as insulin to control blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes overloaded with sugars and fats, it can become inflamed and not function correctly.

Urinary issues – Beets can contain high levels of oxalates which can cause crystals to form in the bladder and contribute to the development of kidney and bladder stones.

Gastro-intestinal upset – As with any new food, beets may cause a gastrointestinal upset. Symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and lethargy may occur.

If you are concerned about any symptoms that your dog has following the ingestion of beets, always contact your veterinary practice for advice.

How to offer beets to a dogs diet

Beets can be served in a number of ways and some of them are better for dogs than others. Always ensure that any beets purchased are organic so that no fertilizers or chemicals have been used.

Raw beets – Can dogs eat beets raw? Yes, raw beets, both the leaves and the root, can be offered to dogs as a treat. Ensure they are cut into small chunks as they could become a choking hazard. It may be easier to blend the raw beets into a paste which would be safer to ingest.

Beet juice – Beet juice should not be offered to dogs as its sugar levels are highly concentrated and can cause health concerns. Speak to your veterinary surgeon if your dog has ingested high levels of beet juice.

Cooked beets – Can dogs eat beets cooked? Yes, the best way to cook beets for dogs to eat is boiled, steamed, or roasted. Be sure not to add any additional seasonings, such as salt. By cooking the beets, you can ensure that they are softer and are less of a choking hazard.

Canned beets – Can dogs eat canned beets? No, canned beets should be avoided as they contain high levels of preservatives and salts. These high levels can cause health problems for your dog.

Pickled beets – Can dogs eat pickled beets? No, pickled beets should not be given to your dog. Pickled beets are often made with salts, sugars, and vinegar. Concentrated levels of the preservatives used in the pickling process can be harmful to your dog.

Preparation of beets for dogs

If you would like to add beets to your dog’s diet, then there are a few options for how to prepare them. You should also consider the origin of the beets to ensure they are safe to consume.

Preparation is key – Prepare your beets as you would if you were intending on eating them yourself. Wash the leaves to ensure they are free from bugs and pesticides. Scrub the root to remove any remaining dirt. Ensure there are no signs of rotting or mold.

Choose how to serve – If you’re serving the beets raw, chop them into small pieces and offer small amounts. Otherwise, beets can be roasted, streamed, mashed, or pureed. After boiling, you can place them into a blender and blitz into a smooth delicious paste.

Beets dog treats – Beets can also be made into tasty dog treats! Once the beets (including the leaves!) have been boiled and blended, they can be included in recipes for homemade dog treats. 

How much beets can a dog eat?

Dogs should be fed beets as an addition to a diet and not as a replacement for their usual meals. They should be offered in moderation and not in excess quantities. As a general rule of thumb, you can follow the 10% rule, where treats and vegetables should not exceed 10% of the dog’s daily calorie intake.

Beets alternatives

Beets offer a whole range of health benefits that your precious pooch will most certainly appreciate. There are other natural foods than can be offered to dogs such as plantains, olives and basil! Other vegetables include:

Green beans – Green beans also offer Vitamin C and folic acid similar to beets. They also offer high levels of Vitamin K and fiber.

Carrots – Carrots also offer antioxidants that can help support a dog’s immune system. They also contain fiber which helps with digestion.

Pumpkin – Pumpkins offer Vitamins A & C as well as a good source of fiber. They also help to support the urinary system and aid in healthy digestion.

Zucchini – Zucchini helps with digestion, offers good sources of Vitamins A & C and also contains levels of potassium.

Seaweed – is packed full of vitamin A, calcium, and iron, along with a multitude of other benefits, although there is some guidance you should follow when feeding seaweed to dogs.

Papaya – contains Vitamins C, E, K, B9, and a whole host of other nutritious goodness.

Foods to avoid include pepperoni, prunes, and Oreos!

Suggested reading: Can dogs eat crab? Can dogs eat okra? Can dogs eat potato skins? 

Don’t be alarmed by the poop!

As they say, what goes in, must come out. Do not be alarmed if your dog’s feces is red or pink in color. This is just the color of the beets that have been digested by the body. In some instances, beets can also turn a dog’s urine a shade of red or pink. 

If you notice chunks of red in your dog’s urine, speak to your veterinary surgeon. Likewise, if you notice red liquid or a red, jelly-like substance in your dog’s feces, contact your veterinary surgeon for advice.

Final thoughts - Can dogs eat beets?

It is safe for dogs to consume beets in moderation. Beets are a great source of vitamins and minerals which help to support your dog’s natural functions and immune system. Beets can also help give your dog a nice, healthy shine to their coats.

As with any dietary changes, introduce beets slowly to your dog’s meals. 

It is normal for dogs to sometimes ignore and eat around a new addition to their diet. On the other hand, some dogs won’t hesitate to gobble anything and everything down no matter what is offered. 

Always monitor your dog for any adverse reactions and contact your veterinary practice if you are concerned.

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