Beets are packed with nutrients. But as healthy as they are for humans, are beets safe for dogs? Yes, they are, when served fresh and in moderation. Beets are found in some commercial dog foods.
Are Beets Good for Dogs?
Beets are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and magnesium. The skin contains betalain pigments, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
In moderation, as a snack or food topping, beets are beneficial to a dog’s skin and coat and their digestion. Your dog should be getting all the nutrients they need in their regular diet, so think of beets as a little something extra.
Are There Health Risks in Giving My Dog Beets?
Beets are high in oxalic acid, which can form bladder stones, urinary crystals, and kidney stones. Oxalic acid can also cause calcium deficiencies. If your dog is prone to kidney stones or has a calcium deficiency condition like osteoporosis, check with your vet before giving your dog beets.
Beets are also high in carbs and sugar, so your dog should eat only small quantities. Too much sugar in their diet can contribute to pancreatitis or obesity. Beets are an acidic vegetable, which can cause digestive trouble in some dogs, including gas and diarrhea. Despite their many nutritional assets, beets would have to be a large part of your pet’s diet to meet daily dietary needs, so we recommend using them only as the occasional treat or snack.
Can My Dog Eat Fresh Beets?
Fresh beets are, in fact, the best option, and you can feed them to your dog either cooked or raw. As with all vegetables, raw beets will have the most nutritional bang for your buck. Organic beets are the safest choice; they’re grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
Even so, the beets should be scrubbed clean and peeled. Then you can grate them and use them as a topping on the dog’s food or cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. If you do give your pet raw beets as a treat, you might want to do so outside. That beet-red pigment really stains!
Cooked beets are the most versatile choice. Bake them in slices or wrap the beet in foil and roast them whole. The easiest cooking method is to boil them. Then, depending on your dog’s preference, mash the beets up or cut into small chunks. No matter how you cook the beets, keep them plain and unseasoned.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Beets?
Yes, but be very careful when selecting them; find a brand with no salt added and no other additives.
Regardless of how you give your dog beets, keep a few things in mind:
- Scrub and peel, as the peel is very hard to digest and not too tasty.
- Serve in very small pieces—or even mash or puree. Larger chunks can be a choking hazard.
- Skip the seasonings, as garlic, onion, and other such ingredients can be toxic.
- Save it for snacks. As always, offer treats only in moderation.
Can Beets Turn My Dog’s Urine Red?
Yes indeed, so don’t panic if your dog pees dark pink or red for the next 12 to 24 hours after eating beets. The betalain pigments (betacyanin) that give beets their color are excreted in urine and shouldn’t cause any medical problems. But if the color doesn’t disappear after a day, there may be something else going on, such as a urinary tract infection, kidney or bladder stones, or cystitis.
In short, you can add beets to the list of human foods that are safe for dogs. Go ahead and share some of these sweet, tasty vegetables with your dog, but follow the guidelines to make sure beets are safe for your canine buddy.