Dog Nutrition: The Best Vegetables to Incorporate Into Your Dog’s Diet…And what NOT to add!

If you have children, you know how important it is to ensure they get adequate nutrition for optimal health. This might mean sneaking extra fruits and veggies into their meals to help them grow big and strong.

Yet, when it comes to furchilden, we often just assume their dog food has everything they need to thrive already built in. Sadly, this is usually not the case.

While many dog foods have greatly improved their formulas to be more consistent with a healthy canine diet, many dog foods—especially some dry foods—are still lacking the nutrients dogs need.

The good news…

You don’t have to go out and start buying premium brand dog foods. You can simply top your dogs food with a scoop of fresh veggies from your local grocery store. It’s so easy!

Before we get too far, I just want to mention one quick thing…

As a dog owner myself I am fully aware of how much dogs LOVE meat and so I want to say this upfront. Meat is undoubtedly one of the best things you can feed your dog. That said, not every person can afford fresh meat for their dogs (especially if you have a couple of Irish Wolfhounds!) and, to be honest, there is simply not enough meat in the world for every dog to eat fresh meat every day!

So with that said, let's take a look at the veggie options you can use to supplement your dog’s meals and provide your pup with variety and nutrition.

What should you be feeding your dog? Keep reading to discover which vegetables are safe to add to your pup's food, and which aren’t.


Carrots are a great veggie choice for two main reasons.

First, uncooked carrots are crunchy. When your dog bites into a piece of carrot, the carrot naturally acts as a toothbrush and helps remove tartar off your pup’s teeth. Just be careful—carrots can be a choking hazard so if you have a small puppy or a dog who is susceptible to swallowing large items you may want to make sure you chop them up into swallowable bites!

Second, carrots are also packed with antioxidants which can help improve eyesight and boost your dog's immune system.

To incorporate in your dog's food, chop up one full carrot (skin can stay on) and mix it (raw or cooked) into your dog's dinner.

Green Beans

Is your dog a little chunky, but always begging for more food? If so, green beans might be the perfect vegetable option to incorporate into your pup’s diet.

Green beans are a very low calorie veggie. This means you can bulk up your dog’s food bowl without having your pup pack on the pounds. In fact, some vets instruct owners of obese dog’s to replace a portion of their dog’s kibble with green beans to help them lose weight without losing nutrition.

Green beans are also high in fiber which is great for digestion and are packed with healthy Omega-3’s which support heart health.

For a medium-sized dog, add about a half a cup of cooked or raw green beans to your dog’s food. Adjust as necessary according to the size of your dog.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of iron, calcium, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin C. The best part—dogs LOVE them!

It’s safe for your dog to eat sweet potatoes raw, but they are sweeter, tastier, and less of a choking hazard after they’ve been boiled or baked.

Aside from topping your pup’s food with sweet potato, it’s really nice to cut the potato into strips, bake the strips, and use the strips as a dog treat!


Some might consider broccoli a super veggie because it contains all sorts of vital nutrients including iron, calcium, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin C. And not only are those vitamins and minerals good for humans, they’re also essential to your pups wellbeing!

On top of nutritional benefits, the stalky texture of uncooked broccoli also makes a great toothbrush for your dog.

While broccoli is a safe choice for your pup, be sure to limit the quantity to around 5% of your dog's total food. The reason: Broccoli can make your dog bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable if it’s consumed in a large quantity. You have been warned 🙂


If your dog suffers from either constipation or diarrhea, pumpkin just might be the solution for your pup’s problems.

Pumpkin is incredibly high in fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system. It’s also very tasty to most dogs, so if you’re having a hard time getting your dog to eat, a few scoops of pumpkin might be helpful.

You can safely replace up to a quarter of your dog’s food with pumpkin puree. Just make sure you’re buying plain canned pumpkin at the store and NOT pumpkin pie filling!

Incorporating Veggies Into Your Dog’s Diet

As you can see, there are so many benefits to adding vegetables into your dog’s diet. And it’s so easy to do!

While you can, of course, buy fresh produce at your grocery store, frozen bags of veggies and canned goods work just a well. In fact, you can save a lot of time and money and reduce waste when you buy prepackaged products.

A good tip is to also buy bags of blended veggies so your dog gets variety.

However, before you start adding new things into your dogs diet, I want to encourage you to talk with your vet first. While it’s generally safe to feed your pup vegetables, it’s also good to get your vet's opinion on what veggies to feed your dog, along with recommended portions so you don’t accidentally overfeed your dog.

A Little Note on Meats…

Vegetables are great for dogs, but please understand that dogs are carnivores that need meat and protein in their diet. In fact, they need more protein than humans do to thrive!

While vegetables do contain protein, they don’t contain nearly enough for a healthy dog diet. For example, carrots only provide 1 gram of protein per 100 grams!

For optimal health, dogs need a diet that is between 18% and 30% protein.

As a general guideline, the Association of American Feed Control Officials requires adult dog food to contain a minimum of 18% crude protein on a dry matter basis (meaning what's left after all of the moisture is extracted from dog food).

So please, add extra veggies into your dogs diet for optimal health, but understand that they can’t live solely on vegetables!

Before we wrap up, it’s important to note that there are veggies that ARE NOT safe for dogs to consume. To help keep your dog safe, I’ve compiled a list of things below of some of the veggies that you should NOT feed your dog.

Vegetables That Are NOT Safe for Dogs

Below is a list of some vegetables that should stay out of your pup’s food bowl.

(Always check before feeding your dog any new foods because the list of dangerous food goes beyond just veggies. For example sultanas, grapes and raisins are all very bad for dogs!)

Do you know of additional dangerous veggies? Leave your suggestions of what dogs shouldn’t be eating in the comments below and we can add them to our list below!

Vegetables you should NOT feed your dog…

  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Unripe green potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Tomato leaves
  • Corn cobs
  • Beet root
  • Soy beans
  • Shallots

If your dog is a little piggy that manages to get into your household groceries, they could be at serious risk for consuming something dangerous!

Dog’s love food, so this can be a really bad habit to break. But, with a solid training program in place, you can ensure your dog remains safe…even when you accidentally leave your freshly bought produce on the counter and leave the house!

If you’re having trouble with your dog, I recommend checking out my most popular training program, The Dog Calming Code.

Check out The Dog Calming Code here!

This program contains all the information you need to get your pup to listen to you when it matters most, so they can live a happy, healthy life!

Best wishes,

Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

24 Responses

  1. Hello. Just curious, our putty is 2 years old, came from shelter at 1 yr old. Some bones we give him make him scary aggressive, others don’t. Any advice?

    1. Hi Bonnie…some bones have a much higher value than others. For example meaty, juicy marrow bones may be far more appealing to a dog than a basic rib bone, and therefore the desire to protect those bones is far greater. If your dog is triggered by certain bones then there are two easy options to avoid issues…..feed her those bones in an area where she will be undisturbed and only remove them when she is done….or you may decide to no longer feed her the types of bones that cause her to become aggressive. All the Best, Doggy Dan

  2. Hi Dan. Just bought these 1.00 trial and finished learning five golden. First let me say I LOVE this plan. You are taking all the risk instead of me, which says to me your are confident in your product! I will be staying on n for awhile. 2nd, 2 young dogs very overactive. One is 50 lbs the other is 125. The UPS guy showed up twice in 30 min, and I had to escort my dogs to time out both times but the big one chilled out 80% just by putting the smallest one in isolation, the very second time!

    1. Hi Randi, thanks for your feedback! I really do believe in my product and I felt the best way to honour that was to offer a low cost trial period…that way dog owners can see exactly what they’re getting, and try a few things right away as well. Progress can be quick when dogs are given the right information. All the Best, Doggy Dan

  3. Dear Doggy Dan,
    My French Bulldog (3 years-old) is obsessed with sticks and balls. Is it ok to allow him to take a ball or stick on a walk? He loves to carry them around while we walk.

    1. Hi Jill, provided that taking a stick or ball on your walk is not creating any issues for your dog then it’s perfectly fine to take these items on your walk. You may need to be careful if your dog becomes a little protective of that item when other dogs are nearby….for example if your dog is becoming increasingly aggressive then leaving those items at home will be a better idea. Best, Doggy Dan

  4. Dan, My roommate and I adopted a Puppy Mill Dog Jan. 4th. She appears to be terrified of me. She loves my roommate, will cuddle with her but barks at me every time I move out of the chair, when I come down the stairs in the morning. I tried everything the vet suggested and nothing helps. I’m at a lost. In every other way she is a wonderful 5 yr. old Puggle. Good on the leash and doesn’t bark at anything or anyone. Could I just remind her of someone that was abusive to her. I am being very patient. Thanks Dan!

    1. Hi Catherine…dogs who come from these types of establishments often require patience, time and space. Their past experiences may lead them to not trust people of a certain sex or stature and trying to force a bond can often result in them retreating even more. My advice is to really just give her some time to get used to you and realise that you mean her no harm….I liken it to playing ‘hard to get’. Try not to take it personally, she just needs time. Best, Doggy Dan

  5. Garlic has always been safe for my pets…I fed my past dog (who lived to be 16 1/2 years old) homemade food which nearly always had garlic in it. I know it’s controversial, especially since it’s related to onions, but just wanted to mention that. Obviously, I never gave her a whole bulb to chew, or anywhere near that much.

    Another fruit that is not safe for dogs is Avocados. They are highly toxic and very dangerous.

    1. Hi Dorothy…garlic does create a lot of debate when it comes to whether it’s ok to feed to our dogs. Many canine complementary health professionals do say that feeding dogs garlic is ok BUT under very tight controls and guidelines. Without professional advice it’s best not to risk feeding dogs raw garlic, the devil is in the dosage and strength. This is why I have placed garlic on the ‘no go’ food list as there is real risk involved. Best, Doggy Dan

  6. I fed my Great Pyrenees green beans and she would gobble up two cups or more every day. I noticed the fur on her belly turning color and had to cut back on the beans because the carotene was turning my white dog pink! No harm done but really worried me until I made the connection. By the way, the calm dog training and Golden Rules did wonders for her. She waited for her green beans at a nice sit, never jumped on the counter, and watched me eat a bean or two first. 🙂

    1. Hi Karin…thanks for the warning about feeding too many green beans to dogs, I must admit I had never heard of that happening before! I guess every dog has their own tolerance level for certain foods and the devil in this case is in the dosage. Best, Doggy Dan

  7. I was told dogs should not have any form of white potato. I regularly add silver beet to my girls dinner.

    1. It’s always a good idea to do a quick search on the internet, or run it past a Vet, before feeding dogs a vegetable. There are many foods that we w=eat that are incredibly harmful for dogs! Best, Doggy Dan

  8. Thanks for the veggies for dogs info. We had a dog that liked to pull carrots out of the ground and eat them!
    A question…why not corn cobs? Our dogs have always loved them.

    1. Raw, whole carrots are incidentally a really great way for dogs to clean their teeth! The danger with feeding corn cobs is that if ingested they pose a real danger of blocking a dog’s bowel or intestines and that can be life threatening without medical intervention. If you do want to feed your dogs corn then make sure you cut the kernels from the cob. Best, Doggy Dan


    1. Thanks for the warning Karen! I’m sure many people would assume that Avocado’s are fine for dogs to eat. My condolences on the loss of your dog. Take care, Doggy Dan

  10. I just read that garlic was not safe for dogs, I have been giving mine , garlic tablet’s, which I purchase from SpringTime. Now I’m worried.

    1. Hi Dee…garlic does create a lot of debate when it comes to whether it’s ok to feed to our dogs. Many canine complementary health professionals do say that feeding dogs garlic is ok BUT under very tight controls and guidelines. Without professional advice it’s best not to risk feeding dogs raw garlic, the devil is in the dosage and strength. This is why I have placed garlic on the ‘no go’ food list as there is real risk involved. Best, Doggy Dan

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