From fresh beets (✅) to canned beets (⚠️) to beet juice (🚫), we break down what you need to know about feeding beets to your dog.
In moderation, cooked or raw fresh beets have a beneficial range of nutrients for dogs that support healthy skin and coat and aid healthy digestion. Canned beets are also an option, but they must be free of salt or any other additives. Beet juice, however, is made from many beets pressed together resulting in higher levels of sugar and fiber and is best avoided by dogs.
Beets are so much more than their beautiful, rich coloring; they’re an incredibly versatile root vegetable packed with fiber, potassium, folate, Vitamin C, calcium, and zinc. This robust nutritional profile leads many dog parents to the same question: can I feed this healthful veg to my pup? The answer, like so many things, is yes, but in moderation and with one big caveat.
A brief beet warning
Given their high levels of naturally occurring sugars, beets should be given to dogs in moderation. Beets are also high in oxalic acid, which has been tied to the development of kidney stones, urinary crystals, and bladder stones. If your dog is prone to any of these conditions, it's best to check with your vet prior to adding any beets to their diet.
The benefits of beets for dogs
Based on their nutritional profile, beets could be seen as great enablers: the levels of Vitamin C and zinc present in beets supports a dog’s ability to absorb the calcium essential for maintaining strong bones and joints. The potassium in beets is helpful for maintaining healthy muscle function and beets have also been found to contain impactful amounts of anti-inflammatory betalain pigments. Sundays includes beets in our Beef and Chicken recipe formulations for exactly these reasons.
The best beet preparations for dogs (and two to avoid)
Much like humans, dogs will get the most benefits from fresh beets. Beets should always be well scrubbed prior to being served to your dog. Raw or cooked (boiled or roasted) beets offer the same nutritional benefits, so it becomes a question of what texture your dog prefers and (for pups who might be down a few teeth) what they can physically eat. We’ve seen clever approaches of pureeing, grating, or dicing beets into a dog’s food, but resist the temptation to season beets prior to serving as plain beets are the safest for your pup.
Canned beets (which are typically boiled prior to canning) might be a more convenient option, but you should be mindful to only serve your dog canned beets that contain no salt or other additives.
Pickled beets and beet juice, however, should both be avoided. Pickled beets typically contain additives that may upset a dog’s GI tract. Beet juice is made by pressing many beets together to extract the moisture inside, which often results in levels of sugar and fiber that exceed what is recommended for a dog.