If you've ever wondered if it's safe to feed your dog celery, you're not alone. Vegetables can be a healthy treat for dogs, but not all vegetables are safe for dogs to eat. That’s why it's always important to do a little research before feeding any “people” food to your dog. Many dog owners give their dogs carrot sticks as a safe, crunchy, low-calorie snack, but what about celery? Is celery safe to feed to dogs?
Although a dog’s diet should be pretty heavy in meat, dogs are technically omnivores, which means they can eat and digest nutrients from both animals and plants. This should come as no surprise given the fact that most commercial dog foods contain not only meat, but also plant ingredients, including grains like rice and corn, starches like potatoes and green peas, and many kinds of fruits and vegetables. Many dogs enjoy eating fruits and vegetables as a special treat.
Celery is among the many vegetables that are safe to feed dogs in moderation. Not all dogs like eating celery, but if your dog enjoys the crunchy texture of raw carrots or apples, he might enjoy munching on some celery too. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of celery and how to safely include celery in your dog’s diet.
The Benefits of Celery for Dogs
Celery contains vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and potassium. Celery is fat free, high in fiber and very low in calories, which makes it an excellent treat for overweight dogs. A medium-sized stalk of celery (about 7 to 8 inches long) has fewer than 6 calories. Crunching on celery is good for your dog’s teeth and gums, may even help freshen your dog’s breath.
Potential Health Concerns
Celery is a diuretic—something that causes the body to expel water from the body. If your dog eats too much celery it could cause him to urinate more than usual. If dogs eat too much celery (or too much of any vegetable) it can also cause gastrointestinal upset, including gas, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Finally, since dogs don’t digest raw vegetables well, problems could occur if the dog swallows large chunks of celery whole.
What Kind of Celery Can Dogs Eat?
Dogs can eat raw or cooked celery. Whether you choose to feed your dog raw celery or cooked celery depends on what you’re hoping to get out of feeding this vegetable to your dog. Because dogs can’t digest raw vegetables as well as people can, your dog won’t be able to absorb many nutrients from whole, raw celery. If you wish your dog to absorb the vitamins and minerals, you can feed cooked celery or you can crush raw celery in a blender or even juice celery in a juicer and pour the liquid over your dog’s regular food. If you are looking to use celery as a low-calorie, crunchy snack that might help freshen your dog’s breath, then feed him whole, raw celery. Raw celery can be a good snack for dogs that are dieting as it contains far fewer calories than more chews and other treats.
Safe Ways to Feed Celery to Your Dog
As with all treats you feed your dog, moderation is key when feeding your dog celery. Any celery should be given as a treat or topper to your dog’s regular food, and are and should not be a substitute for his complete-and-balanced diet. As with all treats, celery should make up less than 10% of your dog’s entire diet (the remaining 90% should be his regular, complete-and-balanced diet).
Try offering your dog a whole stalk of celery and observe him while he eats it (for smaller dogs, start out by offering a half a stalk of celery or less). If your dog tries swallowing chunks of celery that are too large, cut up the celery stalk into smaller pieces before giving it to him. If your dog seems to get an upset stomach when eating celery (for instance, gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting), avoid feeding him celery and instead substitute with a different crunchy food like cut up apples or that’s easier on his stomach.