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24 Vegetables Your German Shepherd Can Eat

Last Updated: December 23, 2023

When considering what vegetables your German Shepherd can eat, you should know which options are safe and nutritious. Incorporating a variety of vegetables into your German Shepherd’s diet can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, contributing to their overall health and well-being.

German Shepherds can eat many vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, peas, pumpkin, green beans, parsnips, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. However, some veggies, particularly garlic, onions, leeks, and chives, are toxic and should be avoided.

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!

Potato, Sweet potato, Carrot, Eggplant placed on a flat surface

Safe Vegetables For German Shepherds

Most good quality commercial dog food is optimized for dogs’ needs, but adding vegetables is an excellent 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 treats cupboard is empty! Here’s a quick-look table of safe veggies for your dog.

VegetableGSD Can Eat GSD Can’t Eat
Artichoke
Asparagus
Beets
Bell Peppers
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Chives
Corn
Eggplant
Garlic
Green Beans
Lettuce
Leeks
Mushrooms (wild)
Onions
Parsnips
Peas
Potato (cooked)
Potato (raw)
Pumpkin
Rhubarb leaves
Rutabaga
Shallots
Spinach
Sweet Potato
Squash
Turnip
Zucchini

Do you prefer to watch a video? Check out our below video on the best healthy vegetables for your German Shepherd.

Artichoke

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 protects against illness and defends the immune system.

However, only feed your dog a tiny portion and provide it slowly to avoid choking and possible digestive blockages. You can give it raw.

Artichoke placed on a flat surface

Asparagus

German Shepherds can eat asparagus. It is a healthy option for your dog because of its vitamins K, A, B1, B2, C, and E, folate, iron, copper, fiber, manganese, and potassium. It also contains antioxidants that help flush out toxins from the bloodstream.

Sometimes asparagus can make urine smell unpleasant, so 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 pretty tough to chew for some dogs. I try not to overcook my asparagus as it can lose a lot of nutrients.

Asparagus placed together

Beets

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 pretty acidic, giving your dog a tiny amount is best.

You can feed it raw or cooked; my German Shepherd’s cold-pressed dog food contains a small amount. However, don’t give your dog canned beets as they have a lot of salt, which is toxic for dogs in large amounts.

Fresh Beets with leaves

Bell Peppers

All colors of bell peppers contain 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 are a good source of vitamin A, essential 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 to digest.

Do NOT give your dog red chili peppers; the spicy taste will make them sick, and they will not thank you!

3 colors of Bell peppers

Broccoli

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 suits 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 significant gas in some dogs, so you must 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.

A full Broccoli with leaves

Brussels Sprouts

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, so don’t overfeed them to your dog because of the amount of gas they can cause!

I hate Brussels sprouts, 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; they are too complex for your dog to digest.

A bunch of Brussels sprouts placed on a plain surface

Cabbage

German Shepherds can eat cabbage (including red, savoy, and bok choy). It is safe for dogs and contains nutrients, especially vitamins C and K, and fiber. These vitamins help fight disease and 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 ensure the cabbage is cooked as it will be easier to digest.

Cabbages with one of them cut into half

Carrot

Carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack. They are high in potassium, fiber, and beta-carotene, producing vitamin A, which is good for healthy bones, eyes, and the immune system. Frozen or raw carrots are ideal for 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. Carrots are one of the best vegetables you can give your dog.

Fresh Carrots ready to feed

Cauliflower

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 try it with your dog, it’s best to feed it in minimal amounts and preferably cook it, 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!

A fresh Cauliflower ready to cook

Celery

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 fight cancer. In addition, celery is good for your dog to crunch on and might even freshen up their doggy breath!

Celery placed inside a glass

Corn

German Shepherds can eat corn. It can provide your dog with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants. However, it is a starchy vegetable with 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 for nutrition, 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.

Corns placed on a flat surface

Eggplant

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 toxic solanine in high concentrations.

Cook the eggplant 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; feed it in small bite-sized pieces. Do NOT feed your dog the LEAVES as they contain more concentrated solanine.

Eggplants with slices and leaves

Green Beans

German Shepherds can eat green beans, and they are highly nutritious. Green beans are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are also low in calories. They are excellent vegetables to help your dog’s overall physical health if 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 feed 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!

Green beans waiting to be cooked

Lettuce

Lettuce is 90% water; 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 ensure lettuce is washed thoroughly before feeding it to your dog. It’s also better to chop it up than give it a whole leaf, which will be hard 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 nutritious choices include spinach, green beans, and asparagus.

Lettuce cut into two halves

Parsnips

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 starchy (along with other root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets) and high in sugar, ensure you only feed in moderation.

Parsnip arranged in a bunch

Peas

Peas are safe for German Shepherds and contain several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, K, and 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, and they are also gentle on your dog’s digestive system.

They are high in fiber, so they can help your dog 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.

Green Peas with some opened

Potato (Cooked)

Potatoes are starchy vegetables and are okay to feed your dog; however, they must 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, B6, iron, magnesium, and potassium, which are 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.

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 unhealthy for you, me, and your dog! Sweet potatoes are a healthier choice as they are much more nutritious.

Boiled Potatoes placed in a bowl

Pumpkin

German Shepherds can eat pumpkins. Pumpkin is full of fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants to help promote overall cardiovascular health. It can help to regulate your dog’s bowels, whether to help with diarrhea or constipation!

Therefore, it is one of the best vegetables recommended for digestion and overall health properties.

Both raw and cooked pumpkin is fine for your German Shepherd; however, it is better cooked as your dog can 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.

A whole Pumpkin freshly harvested

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 highly 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, cut it into small pieces and thoroughly wash it first to eliminate any traces of bacteria or pesticides.

2 Turnips with fresh leaves tied together

Spinach

German Shepherds can eat spinach, which has nutritional properties that 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

While your dog would probably have to eat a massive 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.

A bunch of Spinach waiting to be cooked

Sweet Potato

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 excellent for your dog’s overall health.

Sweet potato is also rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which provides various benefits. This veggie helps lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers and is good for your GSD immune system.

However, as sweet potatoes are mainly starchy carbohydrates, if your dog is diabetic, overweight, or inactive, they are probably best avoided unless you give him a minimal amount.

Sweet potatoes must be cooked (and the skin removed) before feeding 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.

Sweet potatoes placed as a bunch

Squash

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 and contains vitamins A, C, and K, 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, 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.

Squashes with one of them sliced into two halves

Zucchini

Zucchini (courgette) is safe for your GSD and contains 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 your dog’s bones, muscles, eyes, and immune system. In the summer, a small portion of frozen zucchini is excellent 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.

Fresh Zucchinis placed on a flat surface

Healthy Eating for Dogs: Can They Have Vegetables?

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 can process 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

Most vegetables can be fed to dogs as treats or rewarded for good behavior or while 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; a few small pieces a day will be fine.

Pro Tip! Treats 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 feed your dog other “people foods” occasionally.

German Shepherd puppies with pumpkin

Related: Is a Vegan Diet Good For German Shepherds?

How to Feed 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 because 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.

While fresh vegetables are the best option, frozen vegetables offer convenience and have the same healthy nutrients as fresh ones.

GSD eating zucchini on a grassland

You can also freeze vegetables by following the below steps:

  1. Wash them in cold water first.
  2. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Blanch them in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. This helps to remove any bacteria and helps to retain vitamins and minerals.
  4. Remove from the boiling water and place in cold water until chilled.
  5. 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 introduce them slowly to avoid any potential tummy troubles, gas, or loose stools!

If you want more information on the best fruits for German Shepherds, check out my complete guide.

Toxic Veggies

The below vegetables are toxic to dogs and must not be fed to your German Shepherd:

Garlic

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 must eat a lot to get sick.

Your dog may display symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems.

Garlic bunch tied together

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, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems.

Onions stacked together

Rhubarb (Leaves)

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 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.

Fresh Rhubarb leaves in a garden

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.

Raw potatoes piled together

Mushrooms (Wild)

German Shepherds can not eat mushrooms (wild) as they can be toxic. There are thousands of wild mushroom species, and while only a few are poisonous, this could be very serious if your dog eats one. 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 you’ll agree it’s far better not to take the risk!

Wild mushrooms grown in a farm

FAQs

What are the benefits of feeding dogs vegetables?

Feeding German Shepherds vegetables can benefit their overall health and well-being. Vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals that are important for a dog’s health, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. These vitamins help to support the immune system, promote healthy skin and coat, and even help to improve vision.

How often can German Shepherds eat vegetables?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the age and size of your German Shepherd and the type of vegetables you are feeding them. Generally speaking, German Shepherds can eat vegetables daily, but ensuring that the vegetables you provide are appropriate for their age and size is essential.

What are the best vegetables for dogs?

The best vegetables for German Shepherds are those high in fiber and low in fat. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, green beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, and squash are all excellent sources of fiber and low in fat.

How do I know if my German Shepherd is allergic to certain vegetables?

If your German Shepherd shows signs of irritation after eating a vegetable, such as scratching, vomiting, or diarrhea, it may be a food allergy. Pay attention to any new behaviors after introducing different veggies.

You can also do an elimination diet with your vet to identify triggers. It’s best to introduce one new food at a time to pinpoint the causes of allergic reactions.

Final Thoughts

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.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.
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