Can Dogs Taste Beets?

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Introduction

Knowing which veggies are safe - and healthy - for your pup and which may be dangerous is an important aspect of dog ownership. While it can be tempting to toss your dog food scraps when in the kitchen, do your research before you give Fido any kind of human "treat". Beets, for one, are a wonderful root vegetable that humans and dogs alike can enjoy. 

Although there are certainly many benefits to giving your dog a tiny beet snack from time to time (more on that later), there are a few potential hazards to keep in mind. Steer clear of feeding your dog chunks of raw beets, as they could lead to an obstruction in the small intestine. They can also be a potential choking hazard, which is why it is best to chop and cook them before feeding them to your canine friend. 

Signs Your Dog Can Taste Beets

Just because beets may be safe for your dog doesn't necessarily mean they will like them. As with any new food, give them a small amount to start and see how they react. The best way to prepare beets for your dog is to wash and scrub them (just like a potato) to remove any dirt. Once they are clean, peel and slice them. 

They can now either be baked, roasted, or dehydrated. While you can serve them raw, this is generally not recommended. Either puree or chop the beets up nice and fine in order to make it easier for your dog to break down the cellulose. 

Something to keep in mind is that beets are quite high in oxalic acid, which can lead to kidney stones and a calcium deficiency if your pooch eats too much. Feed your dog beets sparingly in order to avoid this, and always consult your vet if your dog suffers from, or are at risk for, kidney stones, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, or has a sensitive tummy. 

Furthermore, some dogs may be allergic to beets, which can cause inflammation. This is why it is so important to start with smaller portions and take note of how your dog reacts. If everything goes smoothly and they seem to like them, feel free to incorporate them into their diet from time to time. 

Body Language

These are signs your dog can taste beets:
  • Alert
  • Head tilting
  • Sniffing
  • Nose licking

Other Signs

Here are other signs your dog likes beets:
  • Begging
  • Eating them up quickly
  • Coming back for more

History Behind Dogs Eating Beets

Beets don't always come to mind when you think about which fruits and veggies you can feed your dog. However, they are one of the tastiest - and most nutritious - options for your canine friend. Over time, Fido's taste buds have evolved based on their current diet. In the wild, your dog's ancestors likely relied on wild game and greens found in their environment. Today, dogs have a much more balanced diet that relies heavily on both meats and veggies.

Science Behind Feeding Your Dog Beets

Beets are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and C, and they are also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, sodium, and iron. But that's not all! They are an incredible source of choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber, and natural digestible sugars (carbohydrates). Great news, right?

If you do decide to feed your dog beets, make sure to never give them the canned version. They are loaded with tons of sodium, which can wreak havoc on your dog's system. There have even been some instances of dogs dying from sodium toxicity, which is undoubtedly the last thing you want! 

There are tons of different varieties of beets out there, all of which are delicious and super healthy. Some of the most popular include: 

  • Red Beets
  • Golden Beets
  • Striped Beets 
  • Cylindra Beets
  • Mangel-wurzel Beets (also called Mangold Beets; they are a cross between a carrot and beet)
  • Sugar Beets 
  • Baby Beets 

While red, golden, and striped are probably the most well-known, the other types could be a fun experiment - for you and Fido alike. It is also important to note that our dog's digestive systems don't function the same way we do, which means they don't necessarily get all the same benefits from beets that we do. 

It may seem like you are doing your dog a favor by feeding them something as nutritious as beets, but the reality is that it's not as easy for them to get all the health benefits as it is for us. This is not to discourage you from adding some cooked beets to their meal from time to time, but is just something to keep in mind. 

Training Your Dog to Taste Beets

Similar to humans, the foods dogs like are often subjective. You may have one dog that can't get enough of the taste of beets, and another that scoffs at the idea. The best way to determine what they like is by giving them a little nibble and observing their reaction. Beets won't hurt your dogs, but they also won't do a whole lot of good, so don't fret if Fido isn't a fan. 

If you are curious and want to try giving your canine friend beets, the first step is to follow the above instructions and scrub then cook them. If you have a picky eater on your hands, you may need to mix a few small bits in with their food. Other dogs may eat beets on their own, it will just depend on your pup's preferences. Pay attention to how they react and don't force it! 

How to React if Your Dog Likes Beets:

  • Consider adding them to your dog's diet from time to time.
  • Observe their reaction after eating the beets.

Safety Tips for Giving Your Dog Beets:

  • Scrub and clean them first, making sure you've got rid of any dirt.
  • Cook them (never feed them raw).
  • Chop them up small so there is no risk of choking and to make them easier to digest.