Dogs can eat celery leaves, but it’s important to ensure the leaves are thoroughly washed since they tend to have more pesticide exposure. To reduce the risk of pesticide exposure, consider buying organic celery.
If you’re looking for a good “human food” snack for your dog, celery is a wonderful option. Although the question you might really be wondering is, “Just because celery is safe to give to my dog, does it mean that I should?”
For example, if you accidentally dropped a couple pieces of your dinner on the ground and your dog gobbled it up, he’d be just fine. But that doesn’t mean you should start doing that every night (although the puppy eyes are hard to resist).
Celery is safe for your dog, and so are the leaves. Although not necessary for his diet, it can be very beneficial.
So what are the benefits of celery, and why should you (or should you not) give celery to your pup?
How is Celery (With Leaves) Beneficial For Dogs?
Rich in nutrients
If you’re like me, you might consider celery tasteless and useless unless it has a generous helping of cream cheese on it. But you might change your mind after learning how healthy it is.
Not only is celery low in fat, but it’s low in cholesterol and contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Zinc, Manganese, and Potassium. All of which are nutrients that support and maintain your dog’s overall health.
If you’d like a more specific breakdown of these vitamins, I’ve listed them below for you.
Helps with a dog’s coat and skin, vision, aids in the proper function of muscles and nerves, and strengthens the immune system.
Supports the body in fighting infection and proper blood clotting, relief for urinary tract infections, and energy booster.
Contributes to bone and teeth health (good for older dogs and more energetic ones), helps with proper blood clotting.
Hydration and muscle cramps, blood pressure, heart and kidney health, and supports brain function.
Assists with digestion and cognitive function, supports thyroid function, improves vision and cognitive function.
Blood sugar balance, increases energy, helps with bone health, digestion, and reduces inflammation.
Aids in digestion and weight management (helps dogs feel full), alleviates diarrhea and constipation, may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Celery Helps With Hydration
Did you know that celery is actually 95% water? Because of its high water content, you can bring celery with you on a hot day as a nice treat (for you and your pup) to stay well hydrated. In addition, celery is high in potassium, which contains electrolytes necessary for hydration.
Helps With Weight Loss
Perhaps when you think of celery, you think about one of the most common associations – weight loss.
Because its make-up is mostly water and nutrients, it fills you up without all the calories. The same is true for your dog. If your dog struggles with weight, then you could try substituting his regular treats with celery accompanied by exercise and a healthy diet.
The Leaves Can Give Fresh Breath
Do you feel like your dog’s breath is a problem no matter what you do? You’re not alone. If you’re looking for a more natural solution, then celery (with the leaves) might be your best bet.
The crunchiness and high-water content increase saliva production to remove bacteria and plaque on the teeth. The leaves can help provide a minty scent. Celery, on top of a regular dental cleaning routine, should clear up that bad breath nicely.
When you go to a grocery store, you see the fruits and vegetable section and the separation between organic and regular.
You might not think much of it as you navigate to your usual favorites, but it’s actually better to choose organic celery for your pup. Organic celery has fewer pesticides and bacteria.
Cooked vs. Raw
Your pup can eat celery raw or cooked. It’s just a little more difficult for dogs to digest the raw strings on the celery stalk. They may also not absorb as many nutrients from it than if it were cooked. Juiced or pureed celery is a great alternative if you still want to work it into your dog’s diet.
Introducing Celery to Your Dogs Diet
Like any “human food,” celery should not make up over 10% of your dog’s diet, and it should be introduced slowly.
Celery is actually used in some dog foods and homemade recipes, so you can always combine it with something else if your dog doesn’t take to it right away.
You can either search for different recipes online or pair it with something we know dogs always seem to love – peanut butter!
Cut Into Small Pieces
Chances are, your dog is very excited whenever you give him food that’s different from his everyday kibble. He probably eats just about everything you offer him, no matter what it tastes like.
By cutting the celery into bite-size pieces for him, you’ll minimize the risk of him choking (especially smaller dogs). Feed the pieces to him one at a time and wait for him to finish before giving him another one. You could try sprinkling a few pieces on his dog food as well.
Even if your dog doesn’t think he likes celery, if you’re excited, then your pup will be too. When using celery as a treat, make sure to also include ‘good boys or ‘good girls and lots of pets.
You can incorporate celery into fun activities like going on walks or playing with a toy your dog loves. He will then associate celery with those things whenever he eats it.
Are There Any Downsides to Giving Your Dog Celery With Leaves?
Though it’s generally well tolerated, you won’t know if your dog is sensitive to celery unless you test it. A few symptoms your dog might exhibit if you’re giving him too much or he’s sensitive to it:
- Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting
- Excessive urination (celery is a diuretic)
- Gas, diarrhea, or loose stools
- Abdominal bloating or cramping
A few things you can do are cut back on how much celery you’re giving him. Remember, it shouldn’t make up over 10% of his diet.
You should also contact your vet to see if your pup might have food allergies. Even though it might be a hassle and feel like an unnecessary vet bill when you could cut celery out of your dog’s diet entirely, it doesn’t hurt to find out if your dog has allergies to other foods in the future, so you will know what to avoid.
A single stalk of celery contains about 35mg of sodium, which is considered high for a vegetable. Be mindful of how much celery you’re feeding him since high sodium levels can increase blood pressure, water retention, and be harsh on your dog’s kidneys.
If your dog already has thyroid problems (or his breed is prone to them), you should probably pick a different option. Over a prolonged period of time, celery can interfere with “iodine uptake,” which can cause an enlarged thyroid or a goiter.
If you suspect your pup has symptoms consistent with a thyroid disorder, consult your vet.
Whole Celery is Great For Most Dogs
As you can tell, whole celery (leaves included) is a great addition to your dog’s diet. Although it’s not a requirement, your dog will receive many benefits from having a small amount of celery included in their daily routine. Just be sure to thoroughly wash the celery to get rid of any pesticides.
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