We’ve all heard the myth that eating celery actually burns more calories than it contains. This may not be strictly true, but even so, celery is still pretty healthy. So is it a healthy treat for our dogs? The answer is yes, but with some precautions…
Benefits of Eating Celery
Celery contains fibre, both soluble and insoluble, which can help to prevent diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and many other diseases. Celery also contains phytonutrient antioxidants which are good for arthritis. Celery contains valuable vitamins including calcium, iron, manganese, folate, amino acids, potassium and vitamins C, B, A and K. Some studies suggest celery may help to prevent some cancers, and may even help prevent bad breath! Let’s look at some of these benefits in more detail…
- Healthy Bones
Celery contains a high quantity of Vitamin K – 33% Daily Value (DV). For comparison, the next common vegetable with the most Vitamin K is cucumbers with 19% DV. Vitamin K promotes healthy and strong bones in dogs so celery may be perfect for older dogs or energetic or working dogs. Alternative foods that contain Vitamin K include cucumbers, apples, pineapples, carrots, peaches, tomatoes, pears, and strawberries.
- Fresh Breath
Celery can act as a toothbrush for your dog! The green strands in celery can act like dental floss and clear any plaque or junk stuck between their teeth. Celery also massages your dog’s gums and teeth and helps your dog to produce extra saliva, which neutralizes the acid that causes tooth erosion. As well as keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, this has an add-on benefit of keeping their breath smelling fresh!
- Weight Loss
The myth that eating celery burns more calories than the celery contains is unfortunately just that – a myth! However, celery is very low calorie as it is made up of mostly water, so it can still be a great low-calorie treat – much better for your dog than many of the treats available from the pet shop! Cut into small cubes, celery can be a great training treat.
Celery is made up of a whopping 95% water, containing more water than almost any other vegetables. On a hot sunny day, a few sticks of celery can be a great way to ensure your dog stays suitably hydrated. An alternative vegetable to help keep your pet hydrated would be broccoli which is made up of 91% water.
- Pain Relief
Celery contains anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for older and more active or working dogs. Celery can also act as a pain reliever for dogs suffering from joint problems including arthritis.
Disadvantages of Eating Celery
Although celery has lots of benefits for dogs, as with lots of foods, it can have negative side effects and should be fed in moderation.
The hard, stringy texture of celery can be a choking danger for dogs so it is very important to cut it into appropriate sizes to avoid any possibility of a blockage. Even if your dog swallows it with no problem, celery can cause a blockage at the other end so it is very important to prepare it correctly. Some people cook the celery before giving it to their dog to make it a little easier to swallow and digest. If you do this, it should not be cooked with any herbs or spices as these may be toxic to dogs. As a mass-produced plant, much of the celery available in supermarkets may have been treated with a pesticide which may be harmful to your dog.
Celery can also make your dog urinate more than normal. The high water content in celery helps to keep your dog hydrated, but too much celery can lead to your dog having too much water, leading to excessive urination. This shouldn’t have any other health effects for your dog, but may be inconvenient for you! Excessive urination can also be caused by other health problems, so if your dog is urinating a lot because of too much celery, it could be inadvertently hiding a more serious problem.
Too much fibre combined with water can induce diarrhoea in dogs. Celery doesn’t have as high fibre content as some other vegetables but it is still relatively high so if you feed your dog celery it is worth checking your dog’s poo afterwards. Incidentally, it is a good idea to check your dog’s poo from time to time anyway as it can indicate a number of potential problems.
How to Feed Celery
Most people recommend feeding just the celery stalks without the leaves. There is some evidence that there may be some natural toxins in the leaves which may be harmful to dogs, so it is probably best to leave them out.
Celery should be washed to ensure that any pesticides are removed as much as possible and should be cut into suitable sizes for your dog to avoid any risk of choking or blockages. Although the strings in celery can act like a dental floss, they can also cause digestive upsets so it is sometimes suggested that the stringy bits are removed. It is probably best to try your dog with the stringy bits and see how they cope with it, as individuals are all different.
Celery can be fed raw or cooked. Cooked celery is softer and easier for your dog to digest, and usually more palatable. If feeding raw celery, it can be dipped in a little peanut butter to make it even tastier! However, be careful to use a peanut butter that doesn’t contain xylitol, which is very harmful to dogs.
As with any new foods, when feeding for the first time, you should supervise your dog while eating and monitor their behaviour and their poo for a few days afterwards.
Celery contains lots of beneficial nutrients for dogs and can be used as a great, low calorie, healthy treat or training treat. However, it is important that the celery is prepared properly and as with all new foods, you should monitor your dog closely the first time you feed it to ensure that it doesn’t cause any unpleasant side-effects.
- Can I Give My Dog Celery?, Can I Give My Dog – Answers for Dog Owners