Is celery safe for dogs to eat? The answer is yes. Not only can dogs eat celery, but they can occasionally enjoy this green veggie as part of a well-balanced diet. Celery is a healthy alternative to many dog treats that are higher in fat and calories.
Whether it’s raw celery or cooked celery, both get the green light when it comes to giving this human food to dogs. As it turns out, celery and celery leaves have a number of health benefits for dogs, from fighting obesity to combating bad breath.
What’s more, this stalky veggie has high water content (celery is 95% water) and antioxidants to fight free radicals. Celery is a crisp and refreshing treat for a hot day, and it’s also budget-friendly. What’s more, it’s a safer alternative to the typical rawhide treat, which can irritate a dog’s digestive tract — especially dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Let’s take a closer look at why it’s safe for dog owners to share human vegetables like celery with their dog, how to feed your dog celery safely, and what precautions to take.
Why Is Celery Good for Dogs?
From its nutritional value to its ability to mitigate stinky dog breath, there are many reasons why you might want to consider feeding your dog celery. Here are a few to chew on.
High in Nutrients
Among other vegetables that are safe for dogs to eat (e.g., green beans, sweet potato, and carrots), celery is rich in manganese, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
The high vitamin K content in celery is great for maintaining healthy strong bones and proper blood clotting, while vitamin A helps with vision and keeps their coats shiny and skin healthy. Vitamin A also helps maintain your dog’s proper nerve and muscle functions. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that combats potentially harmful free radicals in your dog’s body and can help reduce inflammation, which is great for older dogs with painful arthritis problems.
One cup of chopped, raw celery contains a good amount of potassium and a healthy dose of calcium. Both potassium and calcium play an important role in building strong muscles and bone health. Celery also supports the overall health of your dog’s digestive system. It’s an excellent source of fiber that helps keep dogs regular by preventing constipation.
Low in Calories, Fat, and Carbs
Aside from its nutritional value, celery is a low-calorie treat. One celery stalk is only seven calories. The Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University lists celery as well as carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers as great human food options for dogs. If your dog doesn’t appear to be a fan of celery, try giving them a carrot or cucumber and see how they like it.
Since this veggie is low-calorie, low-fat, and low in carbohydrates, celery is an ideal snack for obese or overweight dogs that are on a weight loss diet. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention recommends using it as a treat for overweight dogs. They also recommend other low-calorie vegetables such as baby carrots, broccoli, and asparagus.
Good for Oral Health
Celery is a healthy snack that’s also good for oral health — and not just for humans. Crunchy, high-fiber foods like celery freshen up your dog’s breath by producing more saliva. As with humans, when your dog produces more saliva, this helps flush out any leftover bacteria, decaying food, and plaque build-up in their mouths.
That said, don’t use celery as a replacement for your pup’s oral hygiene routine. Their teeth still need a proper brushing with doggie toothpaste and a toothbrush. Celery should be treated more like a breath mint than a true dental cleaning tool.
No matter your dog’s food regimen, remember that in order to keep it balanced, dog treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet. Their main source of essential nutrients should come from their regular dog food. Celery should only be given as an occasional treat, not as a meal replacement.
How to Feed Your Dog Celery and Ensure It’s Safe
Celery is safe for your dog cooked, raw, diced, or chopped as long as you thoroughly wash it beforehand.
To be especially safe, buy celery stalks at the grocery store that are labeled as organic. As a mass-produced plant, non-organic celery is most likely sprayed with a lot of potentially toxic chemicals like pesticides.
Even though conventionally-grown celery is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for consumption, letting your dog eat it may not be worth the risk unless it is washed thoroughly. A website by the Pesticide Action Network lists 64 pesticide residues on celery that were found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program.
As with any human food, always give your dog treats in moderation. Celery should be used as an occasional snack rather than an essential part of your dog’s diet. Since your dog is already receiving a balanced diet through their regular dog food or kibble, celery isn’t a replacement for their primary source of specific nutrients.
Although celery is a healthy treat, in large amounts it can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. When it comes to human food in particular, stick with small quantities. If your dog has digestive issues, talk to your vet about trying a digestive supplement that is designed especially for your pooch and his needs.
Celery Can Be a Choking Hazard
One of the reasons you should only give your dog small quantities of celery is because of its salt content. In the long term, too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and salt poisoning if ingested in large quantities.
If you have a small dog, be sure to cut the celery into tiny pieces because a full celery stick — stringy bits and all — is a choking hazard. Puppies and small dog breeds like Shih Tzus and chihuahuas have a harder time swallowing and passing large pieces of celery as well as the stringy parts.
You can make celery easier for smaller dogs to chew by cooking it. Just don’t add seasoning or give them any cooked celery that came out of your batch of stew or chicken soup.
You can keep the celery leaves on if you like as they are also safe for dogs to eat, although many pickier dogs might not find the leafy pieces as appetizing.
Can Dogs Eat Celery? Yes, But Don’t Forget to Follow the Proper Steps
When it comes to giving your dog celery or any veggie, remember to always wash these foods thoroughly to remove any pesticides, dirt, wax, or other additives. Dogs can safely eat celery every now and then, but as with all dog treats, it should only make up 10% of their daily diet. Their regular dog food formula should be the source of primary nutrition.
If you’re concerned that your dog’s meal plan isn’t meeting their nutritional needs, talk to your veterinarian. Even though it’s healthy, celery isn’t going to be your one-stop-shop for essential nutrients in a dog’s diet.
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