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what vegetables are good for golden retrievers

Vegetables can be a great addition to your Golden Retriever’s diet. They are great to give as treats when training or add to their food for added variety. But often, I’d choose something different and wonder, “can my dog eat that?” So, what vegetables can Golden Retrievers eat?

Golden Retrievers can eat a wide range of vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, green beans, spinach, pumpkin, peas, parsnips, cooked potatoes, celery, and sweet potatoes. Some vegetables are toxic and must not be eaten, such as onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, chives, and wild mushrooms.

This article will detail the best 28 vegetables that are entirely safe to feed your dog. We’ll also explore the following:

  • Why Golden Retrievers can eat vegetables
  • How to feed veggies to your dog
  • Whether Golden Retrieves can be vegetarian
  • The vegetables your dog can’t eat

It’s true that some veggies make better choices than others! I’ll let you know the secret of my dog’s favorite six at the end of the post!

A Golden Retriever puppy eating pumpkin. What Vegetables Can Golden Retrievers Eat?

For the complete guide to what vegetables your Golden Retriever can and can’t eat, let’s get started!

What Vegetables Can Golden Retrievers Eat?

Golden Retrievers can eat many varieties of vegetables as long as you give them in moderation. You should cook most of them to help digestion, but you can also provide some raw like carrots and green beans. Here is a quick look…

VegetableCan Eat Can’t Eat


Golden Retrievers can eat artichokes. They can benefit from this antioxidant-rich vegetable because it protects against illness, such as cancer, and safeguards the immune system. Rich in nutrients, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, niacin, dietary fiber, and low amounts of fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

Some dogs like small pieces of artichokes, while others turn their noses up quickly, so you need to experiment with where your Retriever fits. Feed your dog in tiny amounts and slowly to avoid choking. You can give artichokes raw or cooked, and dogs can eat leaves, hearts, and stems.


Asparagus is a healthy choice for your Golden Retriever because it contains vitamins B1, B2, K, A, C, and E, folate, iron, copper, zinc, fiber, and manganese. It also contains potassium and antioxidants, which help eliminate toxins from the bloodstream and promote good heart health.

The stems are very hard and can be difficult to chew, so it is recommended your dog be fed cooked asparagus. Asparagus can lose a lot of nutrients, so try not to overcook it. Just boil or steam it without butter, salt, or seasonings.

Sometimes asparagus can make your dog’s urine smell unpleasant due to the acid’s conversion to sulfur-containing compounds. As a result, you may need to rethink giving asparagus, especially if your puppy is not yet fully toilet trained!


Beets are jammed with fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins. They are excellent for digestion and for maintaining a healthy coat and skin. Beets support your dog’s immune system and are a good option if your Golden Retriever is anemic.

Because they contain a lot of oxalic acid, you should only give your Golden Retriever a small amount, as too much can lead to calcium deficiency or kidney stones. Beetroot can be fed raw, but it is better to cook it first. You can then mash it and add it to your dog’s diet as a supplement.

Refrain from giving canned beets as they are full of salt – lethal for dogs in large amounts. My dog’s brand of food contains beets, so I’m happy she benefits from their many good qualities.

Bell Peppers

Golden Retrievers can safely eat bell peppers of all colors. They contain essential vitamins and minerals. However, the red variety is the most nutritious as it has the highest amount of antioxidants (such as beta-carotene) and vitamins.

Bell peppers are right for your Golden’s immune system and are rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E. They are low in calories, too, and are great for your dog’s skin, coat and eyes. They are suitable for hydration because they are 92% water.

It is best to remove the seeds and stems, as your Golden Retriever will find them difficult to digest. You can feed raw bell peppers. However, your dog will find the skin tough and leathery. Therefore, it is better to steam or puree them.


Broccoli is a vegetable that’s nice for your Golden Retriever to snack on but in small amounts! It is high in fiber, vitamins C and K, and low in fat. It’s also good for your dog’s immune system, protects against heart disease, and helps to support healthy bones and skin.

Broccoli florets contain a compound known as isothiocyanate, which can cause stomach irritation and potent gas in some dogs. So only give a tiny amount to your Retriever as it can be uncomfortable for both of you!

But broccoli also has anticancer properties that suppress tumor growth. This recent study in which dogs were given broccoli supplements concluded that broccoli might help prevent the formation of cancer.

You can feed broccoli raw or cooked. Be careful if you give the stems to your dog, and be sure to cut them into small pieces to avoid choking or a blockage. My dog’s cold-pressed dog food contains a small amount of healthy broccoli.

Watch This Fun Video on the Best Healthy Vegetables for Your Dog…

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are rich in nutrients such as dietary fiber and antioxidants that are ideal for dogs. They also contain Vitamin K, which helps blood properly clot, builds bones, and safeguards the heart. This vegetable is closely related to broccoli and can cause lots of flatulence, so don’t overdo it!

I hate Brussels sprouts, and I’ve never given them to my dog! If you choose to feed them to your Golden Retriever, they are better steamed or boiled (steam retains most of the nutrients). Please do not give them raw because your dog will find them difficult to digest.


Cabbage (including savoy, red and bok choy) is also safe for Golden Retrievers. It’s full of beneficial nutrients, especially vitamins C and K, and fiber. These vitamins help fight disease and infection, including cancer, as well as support your dog’s digestive and immune systems.

Cabbage will also generate the same excess gas as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Therefore, you need to feed very modestly and introduce it slowly! It is also advisable to cook the cabbage first, such as boiling or steaming, as it will be easier on your Golden Retriever’s tummy!


A Golden Retriever with a bunch of carrots in its mouth. Can Golden Retrievers Eat Carrots?

Both raw and cooked carrots are healthy choices for Golden Retrievers, and they make an excellent low-calorie snack. They are highly nutritious and are filled with phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory advantages. They contain vitamins A, K, and C, fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Carrots are also an excellent beta-carotene source, producing vitamin A – beneficial to healthy bones, eyes, skin, and the immune system. They are also good for the heart.

Frozen or raw carrots are perfect for giving to teething puppies. My dog loves to crunch on a raw piece of carrot, and it also helps to clean her teeth. I think carrots are one of the best vegetables to feed your dog.


Cauliflower is known for its nutritional properties and is safe for Golden Retrievers to eat. It is packed with vitamins K and C, calcium, potassium, folate, and soluble fiber. It’s good for your dog’s eyes, blood, muscles, immune system, and overall general health. It can also help reduce inflammation and fight cancer.

However, cauliflower contains a chemical that will give your dog terrible gas! If you want to try your Golden Retriever with it, test feed a spoonful and preferably cook it first. I prefer not to give my dog Brussels sprouts, cabbage, or cauliflower, as I’d rather not suffer the awful after effects! There are so many other good options!


Celery is rich in fiber, vitamins A, B, C, and K, phosphorus, folate, manganese, and potassium. These excellent nutrients are needed to promote a healthy heart. Celery also has cancer-fighting properties due to a compound known as apigenin, as discussed in this study. Other vegetable sources of apigenin include rutabaga and artichoke.

Celery is often recommended for weight loss because it is low in fat and cholesterol. It is suitable for your dog to crunch on and maybe even freshen up doggy breath! Be sure to cut it into small pieces and introduce it slowly.


Although corn is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants for your Golden Retriever, it’s a starchy vegetable, and too much starchy carbohydrate can lead to weight gain. But if you’re on a long hike with your dog and he needs a quick energy boost, corn is the perfect alternative treat to bring with you.

You shouldn’t let your Golden Retriever chew on the cob, as some dogs will try to eat it all and swallow the whole cob! This can lead to choking or severe digestive obstruction. Instead, remove the kernels and feed them separately.

Because corn is a high-carb veggie, only let your dog eat small amounts. Don’t serve canned corn, as it often contains high amounts of sodium or any popcorn that contains oil or salt.


Now, this is interesting – cucumbers are strictly a fruit! However, most people think of them as vegetables because of how you use them in the culinary world, so we’ll discuss them here.

Although cucumbers are, for the most part, water, they are high in nutrients such as vitamin K, which is good for bone health and blood clotting. They also contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory qualities to help reduce chronic conditions.

Cucumbers make a great crunchy snack for your Golden Retriever, and they are low in calories. Give them to your dog after removing the peel and chop them into bite-sized pieces. As they are a great source of hydration, they are super cool to feed in warm weather!


Eggplants (also known as aubergines in Europe) are an important source of fiber. It also contains vitamins B6, K, folate, potassium, niacin, and phytonutrients that help protect your Golden Retriever from chronic disease.

Some dogs may not like the taste of eggplant, so if this vegetable is a fan of yours, you may want to experiment with giving your dog a little flavor to see how he handles it.

It would be best if you cooked eggplant before giving it to your Golden as he may have difficulty digesting it raw. It can be grilled, baked, or boiled. Please do not feed your dog eggplant leaves as they contain solanine, which is poisonous to dogs when eaten in large quantities.

Green Beans

Green beans are an excellent vegetable for Golden Retrievers because they are nutritious, and most dogs love them. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and are low in calories. They are the best vegetable for your dog’s overall physical health and are a delicious alternative to store-bought treats.

You can feed green beans either raw or cooked, and you can also give your pooch canned green beans as long as they don’t have salt or other nasty additives. My dog enjoys a handful of chopped green beans that I add to her bowl – they are gone in no time!


Kale is considered one of the cruciferous vegetables, along with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It’s a controversial vegetable when it comes to dogs, but the bottom line is that Golden Retrievers can eat kale – in moderation! Take a quick look at the pros and cons of giving your dog a small amount of kale…

Pros: Kale has many positive health benefits being a good source of vitamins K, C, and E, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and fiber. It’s packed with antioxidants that fight cancer and disease.

Cons: Too many cruciferous veggies can cause hypothyroidism in animals, although, let’s be practical here, your Retriever would have to consume huge daily amounts for this to happen.

However, this study in humans found that eating 150g/day (5 oz/day) of cooked Brussels sprouts for four weeks did not adversely affect thyroid function. So, can dogs eat kale and the other cruciferous veggies? I’ll let you decide!


Lettuce is 90% water, and all varieties are safe for your dog to eat as a crunchy snack. However, lettuce contains very little nutritional value due to its high water content, but it does contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A. Other nutrients include vitamin C, iron, calcium, and fiber.

Lettuce is a good choice for your dog to nibble on if he needs to lose a few pounds, although it’s better to chop it up rather than giving a whole leaf. I have only tried my dog with lettuce once; however, she didn’t appear to like it and quickly spat it out!

Mushrooms (store-bought)

Mushrooms purchased in stores are generally safe for dogs, but wild mushrooms can be toxic and extremely dangerous, and fatal depending on the amount and species ingested.

A taste of plain white button mushrooms purchased from the local grocery store will cause no harm unless they’re heavily seasoned with oil, garlic, or onions.

Mushrooms are low in calories and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Other benefits include preventing heart disease, strengthening the immune system, sustaining liver and kidney function, and fighting cancer. Like most vegetables for dogs, you should serve them cooked.

Related: 35 Human Foods Golden Retrievers Can Eat: And Those to Avoid!


Golden Retrievers can eat parsnips. They are very safe to feed your dog, and they contain a lot of vitamins C and B6, folic acid, and potassium. Parsnips are good for your dog’s metabolism and support a healthy nervous system. They also have antioxidants that help fight cancer.

Since parsnips are quite starchy (like other root vegetables), only feed sparingly. You can give them raw as long as you slice them up into small digestible pieces, or you can cook them, which is preferred. Sometimes I will mash some parsnip and add it to my dog’s bowl, and she really enjoys the sweet taste.


Peas are safe for Golden Retrievers and contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, and K. They also have fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and lutein (an antioxidant good for the skin, heart, and eyes).

Peas are starchy carbohydrates that are great for increasing energy levels. If you’re on a long walk or your dog is enduring high activity, they make a great snack. They are also more gentle on your dog’s digestive system than most other vegetables.

You can feed your dog fresh or frozen peas, but avoid the canned varieties, as they tend to contain a lot of sodium and additives. I like to add peas to my dog’s meal occasionally, and I think they are a fantastic option.

Potato (cooked)

Potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate and are okay to feed to your dog. However, you need to peel and cook them first.

Do not let your Golden Retriever eat raw potatoes (or if the potatoes are green) as they contain solanine, a toxic compound if consumed in high amounts. However, cooking potatoes reduces the amount of solanine, making them safe.

Potatoes contain vitamins C and B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and many other nutrients, which are very good for dogs. Since they are high in carbs, feed them sparingly, especially if your dog is already struggling to control his weight.

You can feed your Golden mashed, baked, or boiled potatoes but without salt or butter. French fries and potato chips are absolutely off the menu as they are not healthy, either for you, me, or your doggo! Sweet potatoes are a superior option as they are way more nutritious.


An adult Golden Retriever posing with three pumpkins. Can Golden Retrievers Eat Pumpkin?

Pumpkin (a type of squash) is excellent for your Golden Retriever because it is rich in fiber, vitamins A, E, C, potassium, iron, and antioxidants that help promote overall heart health.

It is one of the best vegetables recommended for digestion. The abundance of fiber absorbs water like a sponge and helps relieve diarrhea. Also, pumpkin helps if your dog is also constipated! This is because it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Don’t worry about pumpkin seeds, as they also contain a lot of healthy nutrients. They also act as a useful insect deworming agent, as they have cucurbitin, which is an amino acid that paralyzes and destroys worms and parasites from animals’ digestive systems, as shown in this study.

Both raw and cooked pumpkin is okay for your Golden Retriever. However, cooking is better for easier consumption.

Rhubarb Stalks

So, does rhubarb really belong in the veggie section? Although you often see rhubarb in jams and fruit pies, it is theoretically a vegetable! Your Golden Retriever can eat it, but only the stalks! Rhubarb leaves are poisonous to dogs.

Although rhubarb stalks are safe for dogs to eat, they probably won’t like their flavor! As a child, I remember eating peeled pieces of rhubarb soaked in a pile of sugar to get rid of the sour taste!

If your Golden Retriever’s taste buds can endure a bit of rhubarb, it is good for vitamin K (which helps blood clot), vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants. You can feed it raw, or you can stew or bake it.

Rutabaga & Turnip

Both Rutabaga (also referred to as swede in some countries) and turnip are safe vegetables for your dog. They’re an excellent source of calcium, antioxidants, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. They are nutritious, low in calories, and are a good overall disease-fighting vegetable.

They can be eaten raw or cooked. However, your dog’s digestive system will prefer baked or mashed, and I’m sure you can’t remember the last time you ate a piece of a raw turnip, if ever! If feeding these veggies raw to your Golden Retriever, make sure you thoroughly wash them first to get rid of any leftover traces of bacteria or pesticides.


Spinach, the food of Popeye! This super nutritious food has lots of good qualities to benefit your dog. It’s is high in iron and provides fiber, vitamins A, B, C, and K, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. It is also known as a cancer fighter.

However, there is little controversy about whether you should feed your dog spinach a high dose of oxalic acid. Here’s what the American Kennel Club says:

“Spinach is very high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage.” However, “Many sources agree that a dog would have to eat very large quantities of spinach to cause damage.”

American Kennel Club

Healthy dogs can efficiently process small amounts of dissolvable oxalates. Therefore, it’s relatively safe if you wish to give your Golden Retriever a little spinach. I recommend steaming the spinach first as this is the healthiest way of cooking to preserves all the goodness.

Sweet Potato

Golden Retrievers can eat sweet potatoes. They are great for your dog’s digestive system because they are high in dietary fiber, which also helps reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. In addition to vitamins A, B6, and C, they are also rich in calcium, copper, thiamine, iron, folate, potassium, copper, and thiamine.

Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A for healthy skin and good eye health. They are great for the overall health of your Golden Retriever and support the immune system.

You should peel and cook them first before feeding them to your dog. They hold their nutritional value better when steamed or boiled rather than baking.

Because sweet potatoes are primarily starchy carbohydrates, if your dog is overweight, under-active, or diabetic, they are best avoided unless you give him very little. However, they are a healthier option than cooked white potatoes and are a popular vegetable in many dog foods, including my favorite dog brand.


All varieties of squash are safe for your dog. Like cucumber, squash is a fruit in principle, but as we use it as a vegetable, we’ll discuss it here. If your Golden Retriever enjoys the taste of pumpkin, then it goes without saying he’ll enjoy the naturally sweet taste of squash too!

Squash is very nutritious and has many health benefits for dogs. It contains beta-carotene, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, C, and K. It is good for the eyes, skin, bones, and immune system and helps fight certain diseases.

It’s relatively low in sugar and calories, and the meaty part is easy for Golden Retrievers to digest as long as it’s cooked. If your dog suffers from diarrhea, a small amount of cooked pumpkin mixed into his regular food can help.

Please do not feed the peel as your dog can’t digest it. Seeds are not poisonous, but they’re a little tough for your doggo, and beware of choking.


Zucchini (also known as courgette in Europe) is safe to feed to your Golden Retriever. This veggie is nutrient-rich and includes fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. It is low in fat and cholesterol and makes an ideal choice for overweight dogs.

Zucchini also belongs to the squash family, which I sure didn’t know! It is generally easier to digest than most squashes and is good for your Retriever’s eyes, bones, muscles, immune system, and general health.

A great idea for the summer is to give your dog a thin slice of frozen zucchini. However, it’s preferable to steam or boil it to make it easier to chew and digest. Too much can cause excess gas!

Can Golden Retrievers Eat Vegetables?

So now you have the list of all the vegetables your dog can surely eat; you might also be wondering, can Golden Retrievers actually eat vegetables? Are they not carnivores?

Golden Retrievers can eat vegetables and benefit from them in their diet. They provide an additional source of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Although dogs fall into the taxonomical order of Carnivora, they are deemed to be omnivores.

But why?

Dogs have adapted to eating plant-based foods over thousands of years of domestication and can digest more than 98% of the carbohydrates they consume, as shown in this study. So they are not just carnivores!

Other main physiological factors that support the idea that your Golden Retriever can eat vegetables include dogs having broad flat molars capable of grinding up fibrous plants and having smaller intestines than those of other known omnivores.

Vegetables can be a big health boost for your Golden Retriever.

Veggies are low in calories and fat, so they’re perfect if your dog is overweight and needs to lose a few pounds. They also contain no cholesterol and have less sugar than fruits.

Remember to feed in moderation. As a general rule, a few small pieces a day will be just fine for your Golden. All treats should not add up to more than 10% of your dog’s total calories for the day.

Related: Best Diet for Golden Retrievers: Nutrition, Types, and More!

Can Golden Retrievers be Vegetarian?

Vegetarianism in dogs is a controversial topic. There are strong views for either side and a wide range of opinions in between. But what are the facts? Can Golden Retrievers be vegetarian?

Golden Retrievers can be vegetarian as they are omnivores and capable of digesting a meat-free diet. Most dogs can eat a vegetarian diet and thrive. However, careful planning with an expert canine nutritionist is essential to ensure your dog receives the proper nutrition to keep healthy.

How to Feed Vegetables to Dogs

Here are some guidelines on how to give your dog vegetables:

  • Introduce vegetables slowly to avoid an upset stomach.
  • Wash the vegetables first to eliminate any dirt, bacteria, or residual pesticides.
  • Cook veggies to aid digestion. I like to use a steamer.
  • Don’t add salt or seasoning, as too much is bad for your dog.
  • Give in small bite-sized pieces to prevent choking or stomach issues.
  • You can feed frozen vegetables for convenience.
  • Be vigilant of canned vegetables as many are high in sodium and other additives.

Related: What Fruits Can Golden Retrievers Eat? 29 Dog Friendly Fruits

What Vegetables Can’t Dogs Eat?

If you plan to share vegetables with your dog, make sure you don’t give him anything you find on this list! These are vegetables that Golden Retrievers cannot eat because of their toxicity:

Onions, Shallots, Leeks, Chives & Garlic

Golden retrievers should never eat shallots, onions, leeks, chives, and garlic as they are poisonous to most animals. They are allium family members, and the intake of toxic portions of these vegetables can damage red blood cells, making them more likely to burst and cause anemia.

Garlic is five times more poisonous than leeks and onions. If your Golden swallows a toxic dose, he may show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, weakness, difficulty breathing, and collapse can occur.

Raw (or green) Potato

Raw (or green) potatoes contain solanine that can affect the nervous system of your Golden Retriever. This poison can also induce blurred vision, disrupt digestion, and slow heart rate. Peeled cooked potatoes are okay as the amount of solanine is substantially reduced during cooking. Green tomatoes are also in this category.

Rhubarb Leaves

Although rhubarb plant stems are safe for your Golden Retriever, the leaves contain soluble oxalic acid, which is poisonous if ingested in sufficient quantities. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, salivating, diarrhea, weakness, shaking, and, in severe cases, kidney failure can occur.

If you grow rhubarb at home, keep it enclosed and ensure your Golden is always accompanied in the garden area.


There are thousands of species of wild mushrooms, and many are deadly to dogs. If your Golden is wandering in the woods, don’t let him eat any! Mushroom poisoning in dogs can have serious consequences, including liver and kidney failure, confusion, convulsions, and in severe cases, death.

Mushrooms purchased in grocery stores are mostly safe as long as they are plain, without butter, garlic, or seasoning.

Related: What Foods are Toxic to Golden Retrievers? 27 Bad Foods!

Let’s Wrap This Up!

We all love treating our dogs and trying something new, and veggies are a great option. At the start of this article, I promised to tell you about my dog’s favorites, so here goes; she loves carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, corn, and parsnips.

Here’s a reminder of some of the key takeaways from the article:

  • Dogs can digest vegetables – they are omnivores.
  • Many veggies are safe, but some are better than others.
  • Experiment by feeding sparingly and little by little.
  • Most vegetables are better served cooked to support digestion.
  • Know the vegetables that are toxic to dogs.
  • Always check with a veterinary professional if you have any concerns regarding your dog’s dietary health.

Related Posts You May Like:

  • Best Diet for Golden Retrievers: Nutrition, Types, and More!
  • Why Won’t My Golden Retriever Eat? 9 Reasons & What To Do!
  • How to Train 8 Week Old Golden Retriever: Survival Guide!

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