Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
If the question is 'can dogs eat lettuce?', then the answer is yes. They can eat pretty much anything from your socks to light bulbs and much worse. The question we're trying to answer at oneHOWTO is 'should a dog eat lettuce?' As your pooch might try and jump up at the table every time you're eating dinner, it seems they will eat anything you're willing to. Unfortunately, while dogs may want to eat a whole host of substances, not all the food we humans eat is good for them. We'll investigate if the generally nutritionally beneficial lettuce is as good for dogs as it is for us. We'll also see what other human food might benefit them and what to stay away from.
Can dog's eat lettuce?
Dog food is designed specifically to give a dog its balanced diet with all the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. They rarely contain any lettuce, but there is no reason a dog cannot have a few leaves from time to time. Unlike some foodstuffs (see below), lettuce does not contain any chemicals or substances which will do your dog any harm. In fact, leafy green vegetables are packed with nutritional goodness in the form of vitamins and minerals. They not only taste fresh, but can be beneficial for your dog's overall health.
Inflorescent vegetables are those which grown on a stem and they include lettuce, but are not limited to them. Cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts are also included and they contain a lot of dietary fiber, which is great for your dog's digestive system. They also contain vitamins K and A, as well as follate and iron. These can boost your dog's immune system and also positively affect other aspects such as their coat and endurance.
Dog treats are often given out by loving pet owners a little too readily. Some sources say that you should never give a dog more than 10% of its daily diet in treats, but even this can be too high. This is because treats are often very fatty and addictive, affecting the dog's appetite for their regular food. Giving your dog a leaf of lettuce instead of a fatty dog treat still rewards your pooch, but will not hinder their overall diet. Besides, it has been reported that dogs are more interested in your love and affection than in the treats themselves.
Are vegetables healthy for dogs?
In general, vegetables are healthy for dogs, just as they would be for humans. While canines and humans don't synthesize all minerals the same, many of the nutritional benefits of vegetables like lettuce which humans enjoy, are also great for dogs.
One limited study showed that some vegetables can even reduce the risk of developing carcinoma (a type of cancer). The study was done on Scottish terriers and it showed that green leafy vegetables like lettuce were particularly suitable for this purpose. Further research is needed in the area, but it is something to consider when feeding your dog. It is a good idea for treating your dog without further risking such ailments as obesity or diabetes.
Some vegetables can also be included in your dog's diet to aid its digestion. If your dog is compacted and bloated, some puréed pumpkin (canned pumpkin is fine) can help encourage a bowel movement.
However, this won't be the case for all vegetables. Onions, including scallions and other onion varieties, are bad for dogs. This is because they contain something called allyl propyl disulfide, a chemical which can be fatal when eaten by dogs. Other members of the garlic family also include garlic which contains thiosulfate. This is not as dangerous as onions, but it can still cause illness. Lettuce does not contain any of these or similar chemicals, making it fine for your dog to eat.
What foods should dogs not eat?
While lettuce is good for a dog's health, there are some fruit and vegetables which dogs should never eat. They include:
- Avocados: avocados contain something called persin, a toxin which is fine to be consumed by humans, but can prove fatal if ingested by dogs and other domestic pets. It is even found in the skin, one reason you need to be careful in prohibiting your dog's access to the trash or compost sites.
- Grapes: grapes and their derivatives, raisins and sultanas, are dangerous for dog's to consume. uUnfortunately, little is known of the science behind why this occurs. Much of it depends on the individual dog, with at least one study reporting that some dogs were able to consume over 2 pounds of raisins and survive, whereas others could die on as little as a handful. The main problem is that it leads to renal failure (kidney).
- Alcohol: some movies have shown a dog owner pouring beer into a dog's bowl for comic effect, but the results of alcohol poisoning in dogs are not funny. Ethanol can cause the dog's respiratory system to shut down and can really damage the liver. It is not only present in food, but also household items like cleaners and antifreeze.
- Hops: unless you are making your own beer, you are unlikely to have these lying around your house. If you do, however, dogs can become very sick from eating them, before or after they have been used in brewing.
- Yeast: another brewing related product hazardous to dogs is yeast. It can make them very sick as well as fermenting in their gut to produce toxic alcohol.
- Macadamia nuts: not usually fatal, but can make your dog very sick.
- Xylitol: this is a tricky one as it xyliotl is something which can be found in products which are otherwise harmless to dogs. It is a sweetener which is used in everything from sugar free candy to toothpaste. It works by overproducing insulin in the dog, which can lead to life threatening illness such as hypoglycemia and liver failure. Ensure you check the ingredients for all food before you feed it to your dog.
Lettuce can help your dog as part of a balanced diet, but it is not enough to feed your dog it only. Lettuce us also a great replacement for fattening treats which can drastically affect your dog's health. If you want to know some more vegetarian recipes your dog can eat, we have you covered over at AnimalWised.
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