Beets have long been touted as a healing food for humans, but lately we’re seeing them added to dog food ingredients and pet owners are asking what health benefits beets add to their dog’s diet.
There are good reasons for adding beets to a dog’s food. They are very good for them and add a unique combination of healthy nutrients that they may not be getting in their diet. Before you rush out and stock your pantry with canned beets, we need to add that canned beets are usually full of preservatives and salt that can cause kidney problems in dogs, so don’t feed your dog canned beets.
Purchase fresh red beets or the dehydrated beets that are on the market made especially for dogs, such as Olewo Red Beets.
Health Benefits of Fresh Red Beets
Red beets are packed with nutrition for both you and your dog and are an excellent source of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C – which helps boost immune function
- Vitamin B folate – which helps prevent birth defects
- Manganese – good for bones, kidneys, liver and pancreas
- Fiber – aids digestion
- Iron – aids formation of healthy blood cells
- Potassium – which is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function
- Magnesium – aids in bone health and nerve function
Adding nutritious beets to your dog’s diet are believed to benefit dogs as much as they do humans.
The benefits of eating red beets include:
- Reduction in skin allergies
- Less itching
- Natural anti inflammatory
- Fight cancer
- Cardiovascular support
5 Reasons to treat your dog to red beets
- Beets are believed to lower blood pressure – The natural nitrates in beets covert to nitric oxide which relaxes and dilates blood vessels improving blood flow and blood pressure.
- Fight Inflammation - Beets contain betaine, which “helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.” (World's Healthiest Foods)
- Anti-Cancer Properties–It is believed that the Phytonutrients in beets may help prevent cancer.
- Detoxification Support – The betalain pigment in beets cause toxins to break down so they can be eliminated from the body and help purify the blood and liver.
- Beets boost stamina – Thought to be the result of beets reducing the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
When preparing red beets for your dog, don’t forget the healthy benefits of the beet greens or leafy tops. Beet greens are one of the healthiest parts of the plant and are packed with nutrition, such as protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, and manganese, beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Beet greens contain more iron than spinach and improve immune function and help protect bone health.
How to cook beets for your dog
If you take a look at your dog food label, you might be surprised to see that your dog is already getting beets in his diet (beet pulp or beet byproduct is not the same).
If not, here is how you cook them:
- Fill the bottom of a steamer with 2 inches of water.
- While the water is coming to a boil, wash beets, leaving 2 inches of tap root and 1 inch of the stem on the beets. Cut beets into quarters. Do not peel.
- Steam covered for 15 minutes. Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork on the tip of a knife into the beet. Although some of their colorful phytonutrients are lost to the steaming water, there is plenty of color and nutrients left in the beets.
Your dog does not need a large quantity of beets but fresh cooked beets along with beet greens a few times a week makes a healthy snack.
If your dog is not keen on eating beets, cut up approximately 1/8th of a cup of cooked beets, 1/8th cup chopped lightly steamed beet greens, with a chopped hard boiled egg.
Depending upon the size of your dog, you can split the treat in half and serve at two meals.
If you choose to feed dehydrated red beets, feeding guidelines will be on the label but the typical daily amount is:
12-22 lbs ½ - 1 tsp 22-44 lbs 1 tsp – 1 tbls 44-88 1 tbls – 2 tbls 88+ 2 tbls