Beets are a bright red and earthy root veggie that is versatile and easy to find at the grocery store. They are known for being vibrant in color and for being healthy veggies filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Beets can also be pickled so they can last for months in your fridge or your pantry. Beet juice is another popular item that many people include beets in their diet.
But can dogs eat beets and beet juice safely? Are beets good for your dog and do they provide the same health benefits as they do for humans? In short, beets and beet juice are safe and non-toxic to dogs, and they can eat them in small quantities. However, there are some precautions you must consider when giving your dog beets. We will explore some of the benefits and drawbacks of feeding your dog beets below.
Signs of a Dog Liking Beet Juice
If you decide to include beet juice in your dog's diet for some of its health benefits, you will be able to tell very quickly if they enjoy the flavor of beet juice or if they do not have any interest in the flavor. Not all dogs are going to like the taste of beet juice, so your dog's reaction will go either way.
If you give your dog a lick of beet juice and they lick the juice up without any hesitation, it is safe to say your dog likes the taste of beet juice and will probably want to have more. Some other signs they like the beet juice are pawing at your leg, begging, drooling, licking their lips, jumping up at you and the beet juice, barking, whining, crying, or even howling. Furthermore, your dog may pace around the food, spin in circles with excitement, and stare at you intently like they are waiting for more of the beet juice.
If your dog is not a fan of the beet juice, they will try to lick the juice at first, but then they will show they don't approve of the flavor. Your dog may even attempt to lick the beet juice again but have the same reaction. Some dogs will try to play with the food or will paw at it, expose their teeth, snarl, bark, or simply just walk away from the beet juice.
History of Dogs and Beet Juice
Beets and beet juice come from the Mediterranean region. They have been grown, eaten, and used for medicine for thousands of years. Beets are also believed to have been used well before written and recorded history. Before the time of the Roman Empire, beets were mainly used for their medicinal properties to treat a variety of different illnesses and ailments.
Beets became popular in food dishes in France in the 1800s. Beets were, and still are, very popular in cold regions of the world since they can still be grown in cold and harsh environments. They are easily pickled and preserved so they can be kept for many months on pantry shelves.
Many ancient cultures believed that beets could preserve and extend life, so they were often eaten in the hopes they would make someone live a longer and healthier life. The Romans used beets as a laxative to treat constipation and to cure fevers and common colds.
It is unknown if beets were fed to dogs so long ago, but it is likely they were not. Dogs would have been feed meat and bone scraps or have hunted for food on their own. Dogs may have consumed the scraps of beets if they got into any discarded beets that were not used and eaten by humans.
Science Behind Dogs and Beet Juice
Beets do have many health benefits, but the risk of feeding your dog beets may outweigh the positives. Beets have to be cooked before you feed them to your dog, otherwise, the raw beets could cause an obstruction in their small intestine.
Beet juice also contains quite a bit of sugar and carbs as well. Too much sugar is bad for your dog and carbs can make them gain a lot of unnecessary weight. Beets also contain high levels of oxalates and this can cause kidney stones and bladder stones as well, which are very painful. Surprisingly, beets also contain quite a bit of acid and too much acid can cause gastrointentional upset, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Beets may have some health benefits for your dog as well, but they would have to drink too much beet juice to really reap the benefits of the juice of the vitamins and minerals. At this point, the negatives outweigh the positives and there are many other better veggies to give your dog.
Giving Your Dog Beet Juice
Ultimately, it is up to you whether feeding your dog beets is the right decision or not. If you do decide to incorporate beet juice in your dog's diet, there are some better ways than others to do that. You must find beet juice that doesn't contain any added harmful ingredients like sugars, fillers, and other chemicals like preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. These have no nutritional benefits and will only cause toxin buildup in your dog's bodily systems.
You should also consider only giving your dog organic beet juice. If the beet juice is not organic, that means it comes from GMO beets, which can have a negative effect on your dog's health as well. GMOs are generally laced with Roundup as well, which is a highly toxic and dangerous pesticide.
You will want to limit the amount of beet juice you feed your dog. Beets contain a lot of sugar, and sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health issues in your dog. The juice is only going to concentrate the amount of sugar you are feeding your dog. It is best to feed them a few small, cooked pieces of fresh beet and avoid beet juice altogether. If your dog is eating the whole beet form, they are at least getting some of the dietary fiber in the beet. Fiber can help keep them regular and improve their digestion.
In the end, it is probably better to stay away from beets, particularly beet juice, all together. Other veggies such as carrots, squash, broccoli, and sweet potatoes are much healthier options to feed your dog.
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 06/09/2018, edited: 04/06/2020