Sharing a treat with your pup is always fun, but you need to ask yourself the important questions about the human food you’re giving him before you do so.
Can dogs eat lettuce, is lettuce safe for dogs to eat?
Salads are a very popular human meal, and as with any food we eat around our dogs, it’s important to know whether or not dropping a piece, regardless of what it is, has the potential to harm them.
We all know lettuce is healthy, tastes okay, and goes in salads and sandwiches. However, just because it’s healthy for us, is lettuce healthy for dogs, too?
Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
Yes, dogs can eat lettuce!
Romaine, iceberg, and arugula lettuce do not have anything that can harm a dog, considering they’re 90% water. Lettuce, especially iceberg, contains a beta-carotene, which is an orange-red pigment that is further converted into Vitamin A – a good source of fiber.
In fact, if you have an overweight pup, lettuce can be the perfect treat to help him lose weight.
A lot of dogs like crunchy vegetables, so the crisper the lettuce, the happier your dog will be.
However, spinach and kale are not something you should be giving to your dog.
The Risks of Giving Your Dog Lettuce
Before we get into the riskiness of giving your dog spinach and kale, make sure you give your dog lettuce in small amounts. Though it’s 90% water, it does contain a lot of fiber, which can make it difficult for a dog to digest.
Even if your dog doesn’t inhale everything you put in front of him immediately, you should still always chop it up into sections and never strip a full piece off the head and feed it to him like that. Your dog can choke, in addition.
Spinach has a very high count of oxalic acid, even though it’s got vast amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Oxalic acid is a problem for dogs because it blocks their body’s natural ability to absorb calcium. This can lead to kidney damage. Because of this, it’s important to be fed in small amounts and not all the time.
Kale contains a number of natural compounds, all of which can potentially harm a dog, such as calcium oxolate and isothiocyanates.
Calcium oxolate can, and does, lead to bladder and kidney stones, while isothiocyanates are responsible for causing mild to severe gastric irritation.
Like you would before you eat it, make sure the lettuce you give to your dog is washed. It’s also a good idea to know where the lettuce has come from to ensure you avoid listeria or E. coli contamination.
NEVER give your dog scraps of lettuce from your leftover salad. Chances are you’ve put dressing or other ingredients in it, which could cause great harm. Chuck what’s left of your salad and give him some fresh pieces – never anything from your salad.
Like any other food you give your dog, it should be introduced slowly and gradually to ensure your pup doesn’t end up with an upset stomach.
The Health Benefits of Lettuce
Surprisingly, even though lettuce has low amounts of everything except water, it actually has some qualities that your pup can benefit from.
Lettuce can aid in your dog’s digestion and ease constipation issues.
It also contains draining properties that help lower blood pressure in a natural way.
The fiber in lettuce can help your dog get some of the good bacteria in his bowel, which is important for a dog to have a healthy immune system.