Which contains more nutrients – cooked or raw carrots?

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Carrots can be a great addition to your dog’s diet. They’re full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. There is a little debate as to whether or not dogs can digest them; dogs are classified as omnivore carnivores; that means they eat mostly meat, but will consume some vegetables—although they may not be able to digest them well, because of a shortened intestine and lack of enzymes.

Carrots are:

• Healthy, low-calorie treats
• Good dental aids: The chewing action “scrubs” teeth. Some people even freeze them to five to their teething puppies; the cold, crunchy texture will both ease her urge to chew and soothe irritated gums.
• Stress reducers: The chewing action helps to satisfy the dog’s natural instinct and also alleviates boredom and anxiety.
• Good for the eyes: Carrots also lutein, one of the hydroxy carotenoids that make up the macular pigment of retinas. They increase the density of this pigment and decrease the risk for developing macular degeneration, so they just may help slow the progression of your dog’s cataracts and may shield the eyes from further damage.

COOKED OR RAW?

Advocates of raw food insist all vegetables should be eaten in that form and, while it’s true that cooking can destroy a certain amount of nutrients, carrots are actually one of the foods that may be better cooked—as long as it’s done properly.

According to the Institute of Food Research, the body can only absorb four percent of the beta-carotene in carrots, but when you cook them, absorption increases up to five times. When cooking carrots to maximize health benefits, cook them whole, and then cut or mash them. According to recent research, cooking carrots before chopping preserves more of their nutrients.

Since dogs are omnivore carnivores, they don’t have the digestive enzymes to properly break them down. Dr. Ian Billinghurst, producer of the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bone and Raw Food) Diet for dogs recommends either cooking or pureeing carrots.

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