Fall Garden Safety for Dogs

Rascally rabbits love to sneak into fall gardens and decimate your prized broccoli and lettuce plants. And if you don’t have your garden fenced off (or even if you do), cunning canines may join those rascally rabbits for a vegetable feast.

So if you find your dog in the vegetable patch, should you worry? Can dogs eat all types of fall garden vegetables or are there some that they shouldn’t be allowed to chomp on? Let’s dig in and find out.

What Vegetables Are Healthy For Dogs?

There are many fall-grown vegetables that are not only safe for dogs to snack on but provide beneficial nutrients for them as well. On the other paw, some vegetables are not as safe for dogs to eat. Let’s go through some of the common vegetables (and fruits) found in a fall garden and see what’s safe for dogs and what’s not.


Dogs can snack on raw (or cooked) broccoli in small amounts, but it’s best if the florets and stalks are cut up into bite-sized pieces. Broccoli is a great source of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K. On the downside, the broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause an upset gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the production of gas if dogs eat a lot of them. Eww!

Brussels Sprouts

Their pungent flavor means that they’re sometimes in the “yuk” category for humans, but Brussels sprouts are healthy for dogs — they’re just best eaten in small amounts. Cooking them first will also make them more digestible. Even small amounts can cause some stinky gas issues, and if dogs eat too many Brussels sprouts they can get an upset GI tract thanks to those isothiocyanates.


If your dog goes searching in the cabbage patch for baby dolls and only turns up cabbages, you’re probably going to find out about it pretty quick. Like the other cruciferous vegetables we’ve mentioned, large amounts of cabbage can cause your dog to produce a large amount of gas. This may be more of a problem for you than your dog, unless your dog is susceptible to bloat.


Carrots are a great low-calorie alternative to treats. They’re a good source of fiber, and their orange color comes from beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A and is a powerful antioxidant. If your dog pulls up carrots in the garden, it’s OK for them to eat all parts of the carrot, including the leafy green tops and the carrot skin.


Technically they’re a fruit not a vegetable, but grapes are usually ready to harvest in the fall. Your dog shouldn’t be the one “harvesting” them though, because they are toxic to dogs. Grapes contain tartaric acid which dogs are sensitive to. In some cases, consuming grapes can lead to severe kidney failure and even death in dogs. So consider fencing off your grape vines so your dog can’t access them.


Kale is fine for dogs to eat in small quantities and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. However, it does contain the isothiocyanates that we mentioned earlier.


Now let us talk about lettuce. It’s not the tastiest food, but if your dog does take a bite, that’s not a problem because it’s not toxic. It’s mostly water with a bit of fiber, so too much can cause an upset digestive tract.


Leeks are on the “do not eat” list for dogs. They’re part of the same genus as onions, chives and garlic (Allium genus), all of which are toxic to dogs. These vegetables contain a compound that can damage your dog’s red blood cells and lead to anemia when consumed in toxic doses. Vegetables from the Allium genus can also cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs.


Did you know pumpkins are actually a fruit? Yep, it’s true. Anyway, the flesh of pumpkin is great for dogs to eat as it’s high in fiber and packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This is another fruit/vegetable that’s easier for dogs to digest if it’s cooked first. Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to chew on the stems or eat the seeds (or the pumpkin “guts”).


Radishes are another vegetable that have a very particular flavor. If your dog does eat them, make sure it’s only a small amount and that they’re not green. Green radishes can cause an upset stomach. On a side note, horseradish is not a radish — it belongs to the same family as mustard and wasabi. Horseradish is not toxic to dogs, but it’s recommended that you don’t feed it to your dog because it can upset their digestive system.


Packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, spinach is healthy snack for dogs. Spinach can be difficult for dogs to digest if eaten raw, and it also contains isothiocyanates, so watch your dog for digestive tract issues if they eat a lot of it. Spinach also contains calcium oxalate which can cause the formation of kidney or bladder stones in some dogs if they eat large amounts.

The Superheroes of the Fall Garden

Some vegetables and fruit have such a high nutritional value that they’re often labeled “superfoods.” But that’s not their only claim to fame. Some superfoods are also functional ingredients that provide bonus benefits beyond basic nutrition (e.g., antioxidants, omega fatty acids and fiber) when they’re part of a complete and balanced pet food diet. Superfoods in a fall garden include carrots, kale, spinach and pumpkin.

Vegetables and Fruits Provide Nutrients in Pet Food

Vegetables and fruits are often used in dog food to help provide some of the over 40 essential nutrients dogs need to live happy and healthy lives. Carrots, kale, pumpkin and spinach are often used in pet foods (including Diamond Pet Foods), along with other fruits and vegetables like blueberries, coconut, cranberries, oranges, papaya, peas, potatoes, raspberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. The vegetables and fruits are prepared in the correct way and used in the correct amount to provide the nutrients your dog needs without any of the health issues that we mentioned above.


Many vegetables (and fruits) in a fall garden are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. If your dog has been in the garden and you’re not sure what they ate or how much of it, keep an eye on them for any signs of illness. If your dog is showing any symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, have them checked by your veterinarian.

And if you spray any sort of chemicals like pesticides or herbicides in your garden, it’s best to keep all pets away until your harvest has been thoroughly washed. Happy gardening!


RELATED POST: How Does Your Pet Choose Which Food They Like?


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