As a German Shepherd owner, you want to ensure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients to stay fit and healthy. While it’s easy to reach for the same old dog food every day, combining safe vegetables into your dog’s diet can be the perfect way to provide them with various vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So, what vegetables can German Shepherds eat?
German Shepherds can safely eat many vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, peas, pumpkin, green beans, parsnips, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. However, some vegetables are toxic and dangerous, particularly garlic, onions, leeks, chives, and wild mushrooms.
I often feed my German Shepherd carrots or peas. However, not all veggies are safe for dogs to eat. In this article, I’ll tell you the best vegetables your German Shepherd can safely eat and the benefits they can provide your dog. Let’s get started!
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- What Vegetables Can German Shepherds Eat?
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Potato (Cooked)
- Rutabaga & Turnip
- Sweet Potato
- Can German Shepherds Eat Vegetables (Should They)?
- How to Feed a GSD Vegetables
- What Vegetables Are Toxic to German Shepherds?
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. Or you may wish to feed your GSD a homemade diet and include some healthy veggies.
I love to give my German Shepherd vegetables as it helps keep her motivated when training and certainly helps me if the dog treat cupboard is empty!
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Here are the best 24 vegetables that are perfectly safe to add to your German Shepherd’s diet.
German Shepherds can eat artichokes. It is packed with nutrients, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, and fiber. It is also low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Dogs can benefit from this antioxidant-rich vegetable as it defends against illness and protects the immune system. However, only feed your dog a tiny portion and feed slowly to avoid choking and possible digestive blockages. You can give it raw.
German Shepherds can eat asparagus. It 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 are 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 to chew for some dogs. I try not to overcook my asparagus as it can lose a lot of 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.
However, as they are quite acidic, it is best to give your dog a tiny amount.
You can feed it raw or cooked, and my German Shepherd’s brand of cold-pressed dog food contains a small amount. However, don’t give your dog canned beets as they contain a lot of salt, which is toxic for dogs in large amounts.
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 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 minimal quantities. It is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. It is good for your dog’s immune system, protects against heart disease, and helps maintain healthy bones 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 when feeding your dog the stalks as they could cause an obstruction, so make sure you cut them into small pieces. My German Shepherd’s food contains a small amount of broccoli.
Brussels sprouts are loaded with nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that are great for dogs. In addition, 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.
German Shepherds can eat cabbage (including red, savoy, and bok choy). It is safe for dogs and full of nutrients, especially vitamins C and K and 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 Brussels 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, producing vitamin A, good for healthy bones, eyes, and the immune system. Either frozen or raw carrots are ideal for giving 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.
German Shepherds can eat cauliflower, and it 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 also reduce inflammation and cancer.
Cauliflower does, however, contain a chemical that will give your dog the dreaded gas! Therefore, if you are going to try it with your dog, it’s best to feed in minimal 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!
German Shepherds can eat celery. 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. In addition, celery is good for your dog to crunch on and might even freshen up their doggy breath!
Check Out This Video on Health Veg For Dogs…
German Shepherds can eat corn. It can provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants for your dog. However, it is a starchy vegetable high in carbohydrates, so feed it sparingly. Don’t feed the cob to prevent choking or a digestive blockage.
Corn is not the best choice of vegetable as far as nutrition is concerned, as I describe better alternatives in this article. And I’m sure you will have noticed that it usually passes through the gut pretty much intact!
You should only feed your dog 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. Canned corn (usually high in sodium) and popcorn (containing butter or salt) should also not be given.
German Shepherds can eat eggplant (aubergine). It is a source of fiber, which is important for your dog’s digestion. It also contains B vitamins, vitamin K, and potassium and can protect your dog from chronic diseases.
If you decide to try your GSD with eggplant, it’s best to experiment with a small amount first to see how he handles it, as some dogs can be sensitive or allergic to it. It also 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.
German Shepherds can eat green beans, and they are highly nutritious. Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals, fiber and are low in calories too. They are an excellent vegetable to help your dog’s overall physical health as long as they are fed in moderation.
You can also 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 German Shepherds to eat. Due to its high water content, the nutritional value of lettuce is low, but it does contain beta-carotene and fiber. It could be a practical choice of snack or treat if your dog is overweight due to its very low-calorie content.
You must make sure lettuce is washed thoroughly before feeding it to your GSD. It’s also better to chop it up rather than giving a whole leaf which will be hard for him to digest. I have only tried my dog once with iceberg lettuce, as 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 GSD, 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.
You can feed them 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 your dog; however, they need to be cooked and the skin removed.
Do not give your GSD 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 minimal 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.
German Shepherds can eat pumpkins. Pumpkin 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 your dog’s overall health.
Rutabaga & Turnip
German Shepherds can eat rutabaga and turnip. Both rutabaga (swede) and turnip contain calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and folate and are also low in calories. They are extremely nutritious, well known for their antioxidant qualities, and are good overall disease-fighting vegetables.
Your GSD can safely eat rutabaga and turnip 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 feed it raw to your German Shepherd, make sure you cut it into small pieces and thoroughly wash it first to eliminate any traces of bacteria or pesticides.
German Shepherds can eat spinach, and it has nutritional properties that can benefit your GSD. It is high in iron and provides fiber, vitamins, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Spinach is also known as a cancer fighter.
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 huge 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.
German Shepherds can eat sweet potatoes. They are perfect for their digestive system as they contain an excellent source of fiber. They are also full of vitamins E, A, B6, and C, as well as calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, thiamine, and iron and are good for the overall health of your dog.
Sweet potato is also rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which provides a range of benefits. This veggie helps lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers and is good for your GSDs immune system.
However, 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 him a minimal 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 carbohydrate source 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 we will discuss it here as it is used as a vegetable. 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, and is 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.
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. Even though small quantities of squash seeds aren’t toxic, they could be a choking risk or cause a blockage in the digestive tract.
Zucchini (courgette) is safe to give to your GSD 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 feeding a high-calorie treat.
It is good for the health of your dog’s bones, muscles, eyes, and immune system. A small portion of frozen zucchini in the summer is great for your German Shepherd. However, if serving unfrozen, it’s best to chop the zucchini up into small pieces or steam it to make it easier to chew.
Can German Shepherds Eat Vegetables (Should They)?
We only need to look at the history of the domesticated dog when deciding if German Shepherds can eat vegetables.
German Shepherds can eat vegetables as dogs have adapted to a starch-rich diet over hundreds of years of domestication and their digestive system is capable of processing vegetables. Vegetables can provide an additional nutrient source for your dog, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
This means that dogs’ tooth structure and intestinal system adjusted to an omnivorous diet during the domestication process to satisfy their nutritional needs:
“Under normal circumstances, dogs can meet their nutritional needs by eating a combination of plant and animal foods.”VCA Hospitals
Learn More About Feeding Your Dog Veggies From This Veterinarian…
Most vegetables can be fed to dogs as treats or rewarded 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 needs to lose weight. They are also cholesterol-free and contain less sugar than fruits. All treats should be fed in moderation, and usually, a few small pieces a day will be fine.
Tip! Treats that you give your dog should not add up to more than 10% of their total calories for the day. 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.
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.
Related: Can German Shepherds Be Vegan?
How to Feed a GSD 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.
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 German Shepherd is new to vegetables, it’s best to slowly introduce them 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 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 German Shepherds?
The below vegetables are toxic to dogs and must not be fed to your German Shepherd:
German Shepherds can not eat garlic as it is toxic and damages the red blood cells, leading to anemia. While garlic can be okay in tiny amounts, large amounts can be poisonous, even though your pet would need to eat quite a lot to get very sick.
Your dog may display symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems.
Onions, Shallots, Leeks, and Chives
German Shepherds can not 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, resulting in anemia. These foods can also cause nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems.
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
German Shepherds can not eat raw (or green) potatoes as they contain solanine (like tomatoes) that can affect your dog’s nervous system, cause blurred vision, disrupt digestion, and slow the heart rate. Cooked potato with the skin removed is okay to eat as the cooking reduces the amount of solanine.
German Shepherds can not eat mushrooms (wild) as they can be toxic. There are thousands of wild mushroom species, and whilst only a few of them are poisonous, if your dog eats one, this could be very serious. Toxic mushroom ingestion can cause severe stomach upset, seizures, liver failure, and death.
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 now know what vegetables you can safely feed your German Shepherd 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 any possible food allergies or intolerances.
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 dog.