We all like to treat our pets to the occasional food scraps, especially when it’s something that’s tasty to us, like homegrown vegetables right out of the garden. After all, if it’s good for us, it’s good for them, right? Well, not always. You might be surprised to learn that some vegetables aren’t good for our pups at all. So, which vegetables are considered safe for them to eat, and which ones are not?
Vegetables poodles can eat include broccoli, cucumber, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans. Poodles should not eat Corn-on-the-Cob, avocadoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Eating the wrong vegetables can cause serious digestive issues and, in severe cases, even death.
Sometimes it’s hard to deny your poodle a treat when he’s looking up at you with those puppy-dog eyes. Yet, you must exercise caution to keep them healthy. To do this, you just need to know which treats are and are not safe. This guide will help you learn just that, as well as give you a few tips on preparing those nutritious treats, and inform you of signs of poor digestive health to keep a lookout for.
What Vegetables Are Good for Poodles to Eat?
While dogs don’t need to consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy, the occasional treat can boost their nutrition take and help keep them in top shape.
Still, when you feed your poodle these foods, don’t overdo it. They may be unable to digest the plant material entirely since veggies aren’t meant to be a major part of their diet. If you feed the treats below in moderation, and your poodle will love you for it!
Broccoli, a plant-based snack that is low in both fat and calories, is packed with nutrition. The following elements make broccoli an ideal veggie for your poodle’s consumption:
- Vitamin A. Just like in humans, this is an essential vitamin for healthy eyesight.
- Vitamin C. This is a highly beneficial antioxidant. It helps to rid the body of free radicals and reduce inflammation. Dogs do have the ability to synthesize Vitamin C in their own liver. Yet sometimes supplementation in the form of veggie snacks can boost the natural health benefits.
- Vitamin K helps to improve the blood’s ability to clot, which is essential to stop the bleeding of wounds and prevent hemorrhaging.
- Fiber. One of the main nutrients that your poodle naturally gains from vegetable consumption is the fiber. Fiber supports a healthy, regular digestive system. It also works to boost energy levels and provides the ability to absorb nutrients in the gut.
- Selenium. Broccoli also contains selenium, which has been shown to help protect against certain types of cancers.
Potential Risks of Broccoli
Keep in mind, though, that broccoli florets contain a potentially toxic substance known as “isothiocyanates.” These compounds can cause mild to severe gastric irritation in some dogs. If you are unsure if your poodle can safely digest this, consult with your doctor, and try feeding them only the stems and leaves of the broccoli.
Cucumbers are a low-calorie snack with very few risks. These pickles-in-the-making only contain about eight calories per one-half cup of slices and are mostly water, which is especially great for those pups who may need to shed a few pounds.
- Similar to broccoli, cucumbers are a good source of Vitamins A, C, and K. These vitamins are important to your pup’s health for several reasons, many of which are listed above.
- In addition to helping improve your dog’s blood clotting, Vitamin K can also help with the health of your dog’s bones. When consumed alongside Vitamin D, the two have been shown to help improve bone density and perfect the calcium balance in the skeleton.
Cucumbers also contain the following nutrients:
These minerals, along with the high water content of cucumber, will help to keep your poodle retain water and stay hydrated throughout the day. These veggies can be a great snack after a hard day of play, helping to cool off your pup and provide electrolytes.
Cucumbers Are Good for Your Poodle’s Teeth
As an added bonus, cucumbers also contain “phytochemicals,” which are substances that help to fight odor-producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth—helping to freshen up their breath. This isn’t a substitution for brushing your poodle’s teeth, but it sure can help to prevent the really stinky doggy breath our pups tend to develop between brushing.
Potential Risks of Cucumber
As with any vegetable, there are a handful of risks with feeding your poodle too many cucumbers. One of those is diarrhea. Since this vegetable is mostly water, it can water down your dog’s stool a little too much. Also, though your pup can safely digest the peel, it is still recommended to remove the peel prior to feeding.
(Quite often, wax is applied to the cucumbers to preserve them and make them more appealing in the grocery store. This wax may be hard on your pup’s stomach. Further, you should also avoid giving your dog pickles, as they are often seasoned with things that can cause your pup digestive discomfort.)
Sweet potatoes can cause digestive upset if they are eaten raw, but once they are cooked, they are an excellent choice for your poodle.
This vegetable is high in Vitamins A, B6, and C, all vitamins that help to boost the health and immunity of your pup. Vitamin B6 is especially vital, as it is necessary for glucose generation, proper immune response, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, and much more.
Sweet potatoes also are a good source of the following nutrients:
These are especially important for puppies, as they are often born with low amounts of certain minerals (especially iron). Without supplementation of said minerals, adults and puppies can start to display health issues.
For adult poodles, the primary issue is anemia; however, puppies can develop worse conditions. Often anemic puppies will have an increased susceptibility to disease, stunted growth, and in some cases, they
Potential Risks of Sweet Potato
Too much of a good thing can often be just as bad as none at all, however. An excessive amount of Vitamin A, for example, can often cause bone problems and muscle weakness. Plus, sweet potatoes have a relatively high glycemic index and have quite a high concentration of calories. These traits are especially risky for overweight or diabetic poodles.
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Carrots are a healthy, low-calorie snack that can be significantly beneficial for your poodle. This vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K. In addition to the benefits of these vitamins discussed above, they are also vital to your dog’s immune response.
Carrots are also a great source of:
It’s important for your pup to have a good amount of phosphorus in their diet. Know that it should be balanced with calcium; however, as the two minerals work together to improve bone structure and boost cell energy. As your poodle ages, their need for phosphorous gradually declines, so puppies require higher levels than older dogs.
Not only are carrots a great source of vitamins and minerals, but they are also great for teething puppies.
Veterinarians often recommend cold or frozen carrots to soothe a puppies teething discomfort.
These cheap, edible chew toys can help to improve your dog’s dental health and slow down the progression of dental disease (all while saving your shoes from those baby teeth!).
Overall, carrots make great treats for your poodle. They have fewer calories than typical training treats, and most dogs very much enjoy them. Although your pup may like the crunch, it is better to chop up or puree these treats, as large pieces may get stuck in your dog’s throat and cause choking. (So, keep an eye on your teething pup as they’re chewing up that frozen carrot!)
Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals for both us and our pooches. They are excellent sources of the following dietary elements:
- Folic acid
- Vitamins A, B6, C, and K
These are all vital nutrients for any pup, but certain issues, such as a folic acid deficiency, will make the integration of green beans into your poodle’s diet much more important. This deficiency may require certain medications to keep your poodle healthy.
However, supplementation with green beans will certainly support this as well. Folic acid is a necessity for proper blood cell generation and certain metabolic functions.
Green beans are another vegetable that is often recommended by veterinarians as a healthy treat. Many owners have also used them to help their dogs lose weight using a special diet that, while charming, can lead to some serious issues.
The “green bean diet” is as follows:
- Substitute 10% of your dog’s regular food with green beans.
- Gradually increase the proportion of green beans in your poodle’s meals until it either reaches 50%, or the dog’s target weight is achieved.
- Once your pup has reached the weight goal, decrease the proportions once again.
Though this can work, there are some critical factors to keep in mind: While green beans do provide protein, vegetable protein is much harder for dogs to digest than other sources of protein. Since they are primarily carnivorous, they need a much higher amount of animal protein than we humans do.
Potential Risks of Green Beans
Reducing the amount of animal-derived foods in your poodle’s diet can lead to severe nutrient deficiencies and digestive issues that may become long-term problems. If you want to try this tricky diet, make sure to consult your veterinarian.
What Vegetables Are Bad for Poodles?
We started with beneficial vegetables; now, it’s time to introduce some dangerous ones. Not all of these are toxic. Some are not recommended because they are a source of other hazards. For instance, the fat content of some of these veggies (avocadoes especially) is what poses a significant threat to your dog’s health.
While excessive fat does not affect them in the same way it does us, dogs that consume high amounts of fatty foods are at risk of developing pancreatitis (though some dogs develop this while consuming a lower than average amount of fats). Additional risks of the veggies to avoid are described below.
Although a little bit of corn can be good for your dog, due to the beneficial vitamins and minerals present in the vegetable, too much can cause digestive troubles.
The danger in this snack is rooted primarily in the cob. As you know, poodles can often be over-enthusiastic eaters and don’t always chew their food up properly. This often leads to large chunks of corn cobs becoming lodged in their throats, or even becoming a major obstruction in their digestive tracts.
In fact, the corn cob is one of the most common foreign bodies that veterinarians remove from dogs’ stomachs.
This is because the cob is indigestible for dogs, as their digestive systems are simply unable to break the material down. If your dog swallows a big enough corn cob, it could cause a major intestinal blockage that would require surgery, or may even lead to death.
Signs of Corn Cob Issues
Of course, not everyone (cough, cough – looking at you, poodles!) knows how dangerous corn cobs can be. Too often, our mischievous pups go looking through the trash or scavenging from unsupervised dinner plates and may get a hold of something they shouldn’t. If your Poodle has eaten a cob, they may show some of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty passing stool
- Noticeably reduced appetite
- Tenderness or pain in the abdomen
If you are observing these signs, call your veterinarian immediately. When detected early enough, the vet can induce vomiting or pump your poodle’s stomach to remove the cob without a surgical procedure.
Avocados are one of the most popular “healthy foods” on the market but be aware that this does not apply to your poodle as it does to you! Avocados contain “persin,” which is a toxin that can lead to severe health issues, possibly becoming fatal to unsuspecting pups.
Humans are the only animal that is truly resistant to persin (though large amounts can still cause us trouble), although dogs have developed more resistance than other animals. This still doesn’t mean it’s safe to give your dog avocado by any means.
With most other fruits and veggies, you can avoid dangerous substances by simply breaking off the “safe” portion of the food. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible with avocadoes. Why?
Persin isn’t just in the flesh of the veggie, but in the following parts as well:
- Even the bark and leaves of the tree on which the avocado grew!
So, if you have an avocado tree in your yard, keep your poodle from gnawing on it to avoid accidental poisoning. The precise amount of persin needed for a fatal dose is unclear, but even small amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems.
Even apart from the dangers of persin, avocado is still not a good idea for your poodle. Avocado is extremely calorie-dense and high in fat, which can lead to weight gain and issues with your pup’s kidneys and pancreas. The pit can also prove to be a choking hazard, so make sure your poodle doesn’t go fishing through the trash for your discarded avocado peels and pits.
Nightshades are notoriously toxic plants, and tomatoes are a prominent member of that family. While they may be safe for humans, they are not necessarily safe for our four-legged friends. Tomatoes, like other members of that family, contain a toxin called “tomatine.” Tomatine is highly dangerous to dogs in large quantities.
Luckily the largest quantities come from the green fruit (when the tomato is not ripe), the stem, and leaves of the plant. Symptoms of tomatine poisoning include:
- Disruption of gastrointestinal processes
- Problems with the heart
- Difficulty keeping balance, or a general loss of coordination
- Uncontrollable muscle movements in the form of tremors and seizures
It is rare that a dog will consume enough of the plant to cause a serious issue, which is why the most common symptom that is seen is usually gastrointestinal issues.
Even if your dog has consumed a large enough amount to show some of the more severe symptoms, tomatine poisoning is rarely fatal – as long as it is caught in time. So, if you suspect your dog of eating the green parts of a tomato, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Despite this, there are some benefits to giving your dog ripe tomatoes. In small quantities, tomatoes are great sources of nutrients such as:
- Vitamins C and K
- Trace amounts of other nutrients
While the ripe fruit is generally considered safe, you still don’t want to feed your pup too much because it is acidic and cause an upset stomach.
While store-bought mushrooms can often be good for your dog (when cooked first), some wild mushrooms can prove to be a serious problem to your poodle’s digestive system. Even trained mushroom experts make mistakes when identifying wild mushrooms since these fungi are tricky in the best of circumstances.
While there a lot of edible mushroom species out there, most of them have toxic look-a-likes. Most dog owners have convinced themselves that their pooch will be able to smell the toxins, and therefore avoid the dangerous fungus. This, unfortunately, is not the case.
This may be why veterinarians and mushroom experts believe that mushroom poisoning is one of the most under-reported causes of fatal poisoning in pets.
Why would your poodle be likely to eat a wild mushroom? Dogs experience the world with a strong sense of smell and taste. Mushrooms, particularly the more toxic ones, can often have a fishy smell or interesting flavor, luring your curious pup to take a bite.
Different toxic mushrooms often cause unique symptoms. There are a few signs that you should look out for in general, however:
- Drooling, foaming at the mouth, or other forms of excessive saliva production
- Muscle weakness
- Inability to maintain balance (i.e., stumbling as they walk)
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
If you suspect your pup has snacked on a wild mushroom, call your vet immediately. Acting too slow to treat this emergency can result in your poodle falling into a coma or even death. If possible, make sure you bring a sample of the offending fungus to help identify the correct course of action.
Onion and Garlic
Onions and garlic are both members of the Allium family. These are some of the most common culprits behind toxicity in dogs. This toxicity is caused by a compound called “N-propyl disulfide,” which attacks hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells (RBCs).
Not only does this hinder the distribution of oxygen throughout the body, but it also tricks the cells into thinking the RBCs are foreign bodies.
The afflicted blood cells are then destroyed in a process called “hemolysis.” This leads to severe cases of anemia in dogs. When N-propyl disulfide is present in large quantities, its effects can be fatal.
Every part of each member of the Allium family is poisonous to dogs, even when dried into a powder. Garlic and onion powder are very common ingredients in our food – heck, they’re even found in baby food.
Still, it doesn’t take more than a medium-sized onion (roughly 100 grams) per 20 kilograms of your poodle’s weight to cause some serious, even fatal, issues. (Note: The powder is even more potent than the fresh vegetable or herb.)
If you suspect your dog has eaten onion or garlic, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Partially or severely reduced appetite
- Paleness in the gums
- Passing out
- Urine that appears red
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unusually heavy panting
Other conditions can cause serious cases of hemolytic anemia (the result of your poodle’s RBCs being attacked much faster than they can be replaced). So, if you notice any of the above symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The veterinarian will diagnose your dog based on a combination of symptoms and blood work and determine a course of action from there.
How Do I Prepare Vegetables for My Poodle?
How you prepare the vegetables can be just as important as the vegetables themselves.
Abide by the tips below when you’re ready to prepare your poodle’s plant-based snacks
- Forego the seasonings. Excessive salt, pepper, and other seasonings can be harmful to your dog, even if we think vegetables would taste too bland without them, leaving them off can prevent gastric distress.
- Always chop or puree your vegetables. We all know our pups get excited around food. Sometimes they get so excited they forget to chew! Chopping or pureeing vegetables will help prevent choking issues when this happens. Pureeing also improves digestibility by breaking down the cellular walls of the vegetables.
- Note: Some vegetables, like cucumber and spinach, are good to feed your dog raw. Other vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes, should be blanched or steamed prior to pureeing.
- Blanching preserves the nutrient content. The process of submerging the vegetables in boiling water, then quickly moving them to an ice bath, is known as “blanching.” This process cleans the outside of the vegetables while allowing them to retain a great number of their nutritional benefits.
- Steaming cooks the vegetables without having to submerge them. This is a great option for humans and dogs. Steaming fresh vegetables helps to cook them all the way through without using oil or butter, which can be bad for your pup. This also allows the vegetables to retain a great number of nutrients as well as their vibrant colors.
- Freezing can be a time saver. Cooking vegetables in large batches and freezing them can help with time management. Pureeing them can make this even easier. Simply pour the puree into an ice tray to freeze, and pop out the cubes and thaw them out, or feed them to your dog as a chilly treat on a hot summer day.
Even though the occasional vegetable can be a good addition to your poodle’s diet, too many vegetables can cause long term problems for your pup. It’s safest to keep the veggie content between 10-25%. (As with any diet, moderation is key!) The best veggies you can treat your poodle to include broccoli, cucumber, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans.
On the other hand, you should avoid corn-on-the-cob, avocado, tomato, mushrooms, onions, and garlic entirely. If you notice any problems such as those described here, your dog may have been affected by toxins in these vegetables. Your poodle may also have an allergy or have developed a digestive disorder. Take them to the vet as soon as possible.
No matter how careful we are, sometimes our pets find ways to get a hold of things they shouldn’t. You should keep the numbers of your local vet, closest emergency vet, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888)426-4435, where you can easily find them in case your dog eats something toxic.