I like to feed my German Shepherd vegetables such as raw carrots to crunch on for a healthy treat, and I often add peas or green beans to her bowl to mix things up for her. But what other vegetables can German Shepherds eat?
German Shepherds can eat a wide variety of vegetables. Some of the best vegetables they can eat are carrots, peas, pumpkin, green beans, parsnips, cooked potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Some vegetables are poisonous and must not be eaten, such as garlic, onions, leeks, chives, and wild mushrooms.
This article will look at all the vegetables your German Shepherd can eat, why he should eat them, and advice on how to feed them to your dog. We’ll also cover the vegetables your dog can’t eat.
For the complete guide to what vegetables German Shepherds can and can’t eat, let’s dive in!
- What Vegetables Can German Shepherds Eat?
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Potato (Cooked)
- Rutabaga & Turnip
- Sweet Potato
- Should Dogs Eat Vegetables?
- How to Feed a Dog Vegetables
- What Vegetables are Toxic to Dogs?
- Final Thoughts
What Vegetables Can German Shepherds Eat?
Most good quality commercial dog food is optimized for dogs’ needs but adding vegetables is a great supplement to a healthy diet. I love to give my German Shepherd vegetables as it helps to keep her motivated when training and certainly helps me if the dog treat cupboard is empty!
Here are the best 24 vegetables that are perfectly safe to add to your German Shepherd’s diet.
Artichoke is packed with nutrients, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, and fiber. It is low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Your dog can benefit from this antioxidant-rich vegetable as it defends against illness and protects the immune system. However, only feed your dog a very small portion and feed slowly to avoid choking and possible digestive blockages. It can be given raw.
Asparagus makes a healthy option for your dog because of its vitamin K, A, B1, B2, C and E, along with the folate, iron, copper, fiber, manganese, and potassium that’s found in them. It also contains antioxidants that help flush out toxins from the bloodstream.
Sometimes asparagus can make urine smell unpleasant so you will need to consider this if your German Shepherd is not yet fully house trained! Also, it is advised to feed cooked asparagus as the stalks can be quite tough and difficult to chew for some dogs. I try not to overcook my asparagus as it can lose a lot of the nutrients.
Beets (beetroot) are full of iron, fiber, and vitamins. They are good for digestion and your dog’s immune system and are an excellent choice if your German Shepherd is anemic. As they are quite acidic, it is best to only give your dog a very small amount.
You must not give your dog canned beets as they contain a lot of salt which is toxic for dogs in large amounts. It can be eaten raw or cooked and my German Shepherd’s brand of cold-pressed dog food contains a small amount.
All color of bell peppers contains essential vitamins and minerals for your dog although the red variety is best as it contains the highest amount of vitamins and antioxidants. They are great for a German Shepherd’s immune system and they are a good source of vitamin A which is important for your dog’s skin, coat, and eyes. They are also very low in calories and can be given in moderation as a healthy treat.
You must remove the seeds and stems to avoid indigestion. You can feed bell peppers raw however your dog will find the skin tough and hard to chew, so it would be better to steam or mash the pepper to make it easier for your dog to digest. Do NOT give your dog red chili peppers as the spicy taste will make your dog sick and they will not thank you!
Broccoli is a vegetable that is also okay to eat in very small quantities. It is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. It is good for your dog’s immune system, can protect against heart disease and helps maintain healthy bone and skin.
However, broccoli florets contain a chemical that can cause major gas in some dogs so you need to experiment first as it could be unpleasant for everyone in the house! You will also need to take care if you are feeding your dog the stalks as they could cause an obstruction, so make sure you cut them into small pieces. My German Shepherds well-balanced cold-pressed food contains a small amount of broccoli.
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Brussels sprouts are loaded with nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that are great for dogs. They contain vitamin K, which helps the blood clot properly, builds bones, and protects the heart. This vegetable is closely related to broccoli and so don’t overfeed them to your dog due to the amount of gas they can cause!
I personally hate Brussels sprouts and so my German Shepherd has never tried them! If you decide to feed them to your dog, it’s best to steam or boil them (steaming preserves the largest amount of nutrients). Don’t give them raw as they are too hard for your dog to digest.
Cabbage (including red, savoy, and bok choy) is also safe for dogs and is full of nutrients, especially vitamins C and K, and also fiber. These vitamins help fight disease as well as support your dog’s digestion and immune system. Cabbage is also known to cause the same excess gas as Brussel sprouts and broccoli, so if I were you I’d feed very sparingly! It’s best to make sure the cabbage is cooked as it will be easier to digest.
Carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack. They are high in potassium, fiber, and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A that is good for healthy bones, eyes, and the immune system. Either frozen or raw carrots are ideal to give to your puppy if they are teething. My German Shepherd loves to crunch on a raw piece of carrot as a treat and it also helps to clean her teeth. I think carrots are one of the best vegetables you can give your dog.
Cauliflower is known for its nutritional qualities. It’s full of vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber and is good for your dog’s vision, blood, muscles, and immune system. It may reduce inflammation and cancer.
Cauliflower does, however, contain a chemical that will give your dog the dreaded gas! If you are going to try it with your dog, it’s best to feed in very small amounts and preferably cooked which will help with digestion. I don’t give my German Shepherd Brussels sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower as I’d rather not experience the after-effects!
Celery contains vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, and manganese and it is an excellent source of fiber. These excellent nutrients are needed to promote a healthy heart and even fight cancer. Celery is good for your dog to crunch on and might even freshen up his or her doggy breath!
Although corn can provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants for your dog, it is a starchy vegetable and not something that they need. It is high in carbohydrates so it is best to only feed small amounts to avoid weight gain or possible dental issues. On the other hand, if your dog is with you on a long walk and needs a quick energy boost, corn is an ideal alternative treat to take with you.
Corn is not the best choice of a vegetable as far as nutrition is concerned as there are better alternatives that I describe in this article. I’m sure you will have noticed that it usually passes through the gut pretty much intact!
You must not give your dog the cob to prevent choking or a digestive blockage. Canned corn (usually high in sodium) and popcorn (containing butter or salt) should not be given to your dog!
Eggplant (aubergine) is a source of fiber, which is important for the digestion of dogs. It contains B vitamins, vitamin K, and potassium. It can protect your dog from chronic diseases. It is okay to try your dog with eggplant, however, it is best to experiment with a small amount first to see how your dog handles it as some dogs can be sensitive or allergic to it as it contains a small amount of solanine which is toxic in high concentrations.
Cook the eggplant first before giving it to your dog, as the raw flavor is not very nice and difficult to digest. It can be grilled, roasted or baked and always feed in small bite-sized pieces. Do NOT feed your dog the LEAVES as they contain more concentrated amounts of solanine.
Green beans are great vegetables for German Shepherds as they are highly nutritious. They are full of important vitamins and minerals, fiber and are low in calories too. They are an excellent vegetable to help with your dog’s overall physical health as long as they are fed in moderation.
You can give canned green beans to your dog as long as they don’t contain salt or any other additives. If you are feeding them raw remember to cut them up first to prevent choking and help with digestion. Most dogs seem to like green beans. I wish I could say the same when I tried to feed them to my kids at mealtimes!
Lettuce is 90% water and all varieties are okay for dogs. Due to its high water content, the nutritional value of lettuce is quite low but it does contain beta-carotene and fiber. It could be a useful choice of snack or treat if your dog is overweight due to its very low-calorie content.
You must make sure it’s washed thoroughly before feeding to your dog. It’s also better to chop it up rather than giving a whole leaf which will be hard for your dog to digest. I have only tried my dog once with iceberg lettuce, however, she didn’t appear to like it and just spat it out! Other healthy and more nutritious choices include spinach, green beans, and asparagus.
Parsnips are a safe vegetable to give to your dog and they contain plenty of vitamins C and B6, folic acid and potassium. They are good for your dog’s metabolism, support a healthy nervous system, and are also good for the kidneys. Parsnips also have antioxidants that help fight cancer.
They can be fed raw as long as they are chopped up into small digestible pieces or they can be cooked which is even better for your dog. Sometimes I will mash a small amount of parsnip and add it to my German Shepherd’s bowl as she likes the sweet taste. As parsnips are quite starchy (along with other root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets) and high in sugar, make sure you only feed in moderation.
Peas are safe for German Shepherds and they contain several vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, K, and many of the B vitamins. Peas also contain fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium and are good for the eyes, skin, and heart. They are great for boosting energy levels as they are starchy carbohydrates. They are also gentle on your dog’s digestive system.
As they are high in fiber they can help your dog to maintain a healthy weight. You can feed your dog fresh or frozen peas but avoid the canned variety as they may contain a lot of sodium and additives. I sometimes add a small amount to my German Shepherd’s bowl at mealtimes and I think they make an excellent choice.
Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and are okay to feed to your dog however they need to be cooked and the skin removed.
Do not give your dog raw potato (or if the potato is green on the outside) as they contain a compound called solanine which is toxic to them. However, cooking a potato reduces the levels of solanine thus making them less dangerous.
Potatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium and potassium which are all great nutrients for your dog. As they are high in carbohydrates (which provides energy), you should only feed a very small amount especially if your dog already has issues with obesity or diabetes. If this is the case it would be best to avoid them altogether.
Potatoes should be baked, boiled or mashed, with nothing added like salt or butter. French fries or potato chips are a definite no as these are not healthy, either for you and me or your dog! Sweet potatoes are a healthier choice as they are much more nutritious.
Pumpkin is great for your German Shepherd as it is full of fiber, vitamin A and antioxidants to help to promote overall cardiovascular health. It can help to regulate your dog’s bowels, whether to help with diarrhea or constipation! It is, therefore, one of the best vegetables recommended for digestion and having overall health properties.
Both raw and cooked pumpkin is just fine for your German Shepherd, however, it is better cooked as your dog will be able to digest it easier. The seeds are also safe to give and they contain nutrients such as antioxidants, which play a role in the overall health of your dog.
Rutabaga & Turnip
Both Rutabaga (swede) and turnip are safe for your dog. Rutabaga is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. They are a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and folate and are also low in calories. They are extremely nutritious and are well known for their antioxidant qualities and are a good overall disease-fighting vegetable.
They can be safely eaten in moderation either raw or cooked however your dog’s digestive system will prefer them baked or mashed. After all, I bet you can’t remember the last time you ate a piece of raw rutabaga or turnip! If you are going to feed it raw to your German Shepherd make sure you cut it into small pieces and thoroughly wash it first to get rid of any traces of bacteria or pesticides.
Spinach is high in iron and provides fiber, vitamins, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. It is known as a cancer fighter and has nutritional properties that can benefit your German Shepherd. It is, however, quite a controversial topic as to whether you should feed your dog spinach or not:
“Spinach is very high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage.”American Kennel Club
Whilst your dog would probably have to eat a very large amount of spinach for this to happen, I prefer not to feed my German Shepherd spinach as there are many other healthy vegetables listed here that your dog can try.
Sweet potatoes are very good for the digestive system of your dog as they contain an excellent source of fiber which helps to lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They are full of vitamins E, A, B6, and C, as well as calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, thiamine and iron. They are good for the overall health and immune system of your German Shepherd and are rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene which provides a range of benefits.
As sweet potatoes are mainly starchy carbohydrates, if your dog is diabetic, overweight, or less active, then they are probably best avoided unless you give them a very small amount.
Sweet potatoes need to be cooked (and the skin removed) before feeding to your dog. You can bake, mash or puree them. They are a popular source of carbohydrate in commercial dog foods and my German Shepherd’s brand contains a small amount. They are also a healthier choice than cooked white potatoes.
Squash (butternut) is safe for your dog. It is technically a fruit but it is used as a vegetable so we will discuss it here. It belongs to the same family as pumpkin and so if your dog enjoys the taste of pumpkin then they will like the naturally sweet taste of squash too! It is highly nutritious, containing vitamins A, C, and K as well as being loaded with fiber, magnesium, and potassium.
Squash is good for overall general health, including eyes, skin, bones and immune function and can fight certain diseases. It is relatively low in sugar and calories and the fleshy part is easy for German Shepherds to digest as long as it is cooked.
DO NOT FEED SQUASH SEEDS as they are toxic. Also, avoid giving the skin as it is too hard for your dog to digest. It is better cooked, either boiled or roasted and fed in bite-sized treats or you can add a small amount to your dog’s meal.
Zucchini (courgette) is safe to give to your dog and is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, especially vitamin C and potassium. It is low in fat and cholesterol and therefore a good choice for overweight dogs instead of a high-calorie treat.
It is good for the health of your dog’s bones, muscles, eyes, and immune system. A small portion of raw or frozen zucchini in the summer is great for your German Shepherd. It is best to chop the zucchini up into small pieces or steam it to make it easier to chew.
Should Dogs Eat Vegetables?
To answer this question, we need to look at the history of the domesticated dog. Dogs have adapted to an omnivorous diet during their domestication.
So, yes, dogs should eat vegetables, but only specific ones in limited amounts, as detailed in this article.
Check out this short 2-minute video where Dr. Clayton Greenway, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine from “Health Care For Pets,” recommends vegetables as an ideal food to feed your dog:
An occasional vegetable can provide an additional source of nutrients for your German Shepherd including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vegetables can be a big health boost for your dog and can help reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases.
“Under normal circumstances, dogs can meet their nutritional needs by eating a combination of plant and animal foods.”VCA Hospitals
Most vegetables can be fed to dogs as treats or as a reward for good behavior, or whilst training. They can also be given as a supplement in their diet.
As vegetables are low in calories and fat, they make a good choice if your dog is fighting obesity and needs to lose weight. They are also cholesterol-free and contain less sugar than fruits. You should only feed them in moderation, and usually, a few small pieces a day will be fine.
Treats that you give your dog should not add up to more than 10% of their total calories for the day.
The same rule applies if you like to occasionally feed your dog other “people foods” such as these 34 human foods German Shepherds can safely eat.
The amount of daily calories that your dog needs depends on his size, age, and level of activity. The rest of your German Shepherd’s diet should come from healthy and well-balanced dog food.
How to Feed a Dog Vegetables
German Shepherds can eat most vegetables. Ideally, they should be cooked first as dogs may find most of them hard to digest. I like to steam mine as I think veggies taste better cooked this way. I bought this one on Amazon because I can also use it as a rice cooker and a slow cooker.
Do not add salt or seasoning to the cooking process as too much of this is bad for your dog. Some vegetables like carrots, celery, lettuce, and green beans can be given RAW.
It’s a good idea to wash vegetables for your dog as you would for yourself. This helps rinse away any dirt, bacteria, and any remaining pesticides. Many dogs will try to swallow raw bites of a vegetable whole, which can cause choking or digestive issues, so make sure you feed them in small pieces.
Whilst fresh vegetables are the best option, frozen vegetables offer convenience and have the same healthy nutrients as fresh.
You can also freeze vegetables by following the below steps:
- Wash them in cold water first.
- Cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Blanch them by placing them in a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes. This helps to remove any bacteria and helps to retain vitamins and minerals.
- Remove from the boiling water and place in cold water until chilled.
- Place in freezer bags and freeze.
Be wary of canned vegetables as many brands are high in salt which can cause your dog to become dehydrated or in extreme cases, cause salt poisoning. Canned vegetables may also contain unnecessary additives.
If your dog is new to vegetables then it’s best to introduce them slowly to avoid any potential tummy troubles, gas, or loose stools!
I feed my German Shepherd a healthy and nutritious Cold-Pressed dog food that contains quite a few vegetables (and some fruits) namely sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, and beets. You can read my full review of this special type of food here.
If you are looking for more information on the fruits German Shepherds can and can’t eat, check out my complete guide.
What Vegetables are Toxic to Dogs?
The below vegetables are toxic to dogs and must not be fed to your German Shepherd:
While garlic can be okay for German Shepherds in tiny amounts, large amounts can be risky, even though your pet would need to eat quite a lot to get very sick. Garlic is related to onions and leeks which are also toxic for dogs because they damage their red blood cells which can lead to anemia. Your dog may display symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems.
Onions, Shallots, Leeks, and Chives
German Shepherds should never eat onions, shallots, leeks, and chives as they are poisonous to most pets. Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to burst and I’m sure you’ll agree that doesn’t sound pleasant! These foods can also cause nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems, just like garlic.
Although rhubarb has a sweetness similar to that of a fruit, it is technically a vegetable.
Although the stalks of the rhubarb plant are safe for your German Shepherd in small quantities (and can be good if your dog has constipation), the leaves, however, contain oxalic acid which is toxic to dogs. This can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and tremors. You must be careful if you grow rhubarb at home and ensure your dog is never unsupervised.
Raw (or green) Potato
Raw (or green) potato contains solanine (like tomatoes) that can affect your German Shepherds nervous system, cause blurred vision, disrupt digestion, and slow the heart rate. Cooked potato with the skin removed is fine as the cooking reduces the amount of solanine.
Dogs should not eat mushrooms as they can be toxic. There are thousands of mushroom species and whilst only a few of them are known to be toxic, if your dog eats a poisonous one then this could be very serious or even prove fatal. A small amount of washed white mushrooms from the store could be okay, but I think you’ll agree it’s far better not to take the risk!
“Identifying toxic species of mushrooms can be a challenge, even for experienced foragers. If your pet grabs one during a woodland jaunt, don’t waste time attempting to identify the species; immediately contact your veterinarian or poison control center.”Trupanion
You and I now know what vegetables we can safely feed our German Shepherds and which ones to avoid! We all love to reward our dogs with treats and experiment with new ones and vegetables make a great option.
You should always check with a veterinary professional if you have any concerns regarding your dog’s dietary health or possible food allergies or intolerances.
I hope you found what you were looking for and found this article interesting. If you would like to learn a ton more helpful stuff similar to this topic, be sure to check out my giant guide all about the best diet for German Shepherds.
This detailed post leaves no stone unturned and covers everything from nutrition to dog food types and includes what to feed and what not to feed your German Shepherd.
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