Unlike humans, dogs do not depend on fruits and vegetables to fulfill their nutritional requirements. A fruit or veggie for dogs works more like an occasional snack, or if the pet is obese and needs help losing some weight. Some vegetables are great for dogs – a few others not so much.
Dogs can eat celery as the vegetable is part of the group of vegetables deemed safe for dogs to consume. Celery is low-fat, low in cholesterol, and is a great source of fiber too, which makes it obese dog-friendly. Besides packing in the nutrients, celery is great for your dog’s breath too.
Keep reading to learn how celery benefits dogs and how much and how often should you be feeding your dog the veggie for it to stay ingestion-friendly.
Celery: Nutrient Profile and Benefits for Dogs
Celery is not just safe dog food, but it is also often recommended by vets. Unlike certain other foods dogs typically consume, celery has an extremely low-calorie profile. Therefore, the number of beneficial minerals and vitamins found in it is not at the cost of increased or unnecessary calories.
Here are some of the nutrients found in the vegetable and their benefits for dogs:
- Celery contains vitamin K, which helps dogs build healthy, strong bones. If your dog has been facing age-related bone issues, vitamin K would help.
- Like all green, leafy vegetables, celery is also high in calcium. Not to mention, calcium is the building block of bones and other mineralized tissues in the body.
- Celery is packed with antioxidants, which help protect your dog from damage inflicted by free radicals. Also, the amount of potassium it packs in is on par with bananas, if not more.
- Celery is fat-free, which makes it ideal for obese canines. A medium-sized celery stalk (about 7 inches in length), for instance, has less than six calories.
- Celery crunching is beneficial for your dog’s gums and teeth. It could even help freshen the breath of your dog.
Also, celery’s water content is quite high. It is, in fact, 95 percent water, which makes it highly hydrating and a great summertime snack – particularly for pet dogs that don’t drink enough water during the day. If you are putting your dog through some hardcore training and you need healthy treats to reinforce positivity into the sessions, celery would fit the bill just right.
High Sodium and Low Carbs
For a vegetable, celery is high in salt. One celery stalk, for instance, contains approximately 35mg of sodium. A cup of celery packs in close to 90 milligrams of sodium.
If you would like to keep a watch on your dog’s salt intake, you may have to be wary of this. Talk to your vet if you are not sure. Having said that, celery is still not viewed as a “high-sodium” vegetable or food. And if your dog has no sodium issues, you need not worry about the sodium content at all.
Also, celery is low in carbohydrates. A cup of cut celery has only three grams of carbohydrates – more than half of the same comes from fiber. If you’re considering a low-carb diet for your dog, celery makes for a solid addition.
The Drawbacks of Feeding Dogs Celery
Celery by itself (if taken measuredly) is pretty safe and also beneficial for dogs. However, the circumstances in which they are grown and how they are being served could pose issues. For instance, when served as it is, celery could lead to choking issues in dogs – particularly if your pet is a puppy or has a relatively small mouth opening.
On the other hand, celery could accumulate toxins such as pesticides if it’s not grown organically or in the right conditions. The leaves tend to store those potential toxins in greater amounts. If you are buying celery from stores, you must be particular about the presence of chemicals in them. If you cannot grow your own celery, wash the vegetable well before serving it to your pet.
Another issue with celery could be digestion-related. Dogs cannot digest vegetables and fruits as effectively or capably as humans can. Their stomachs are just not designed for veggies or non-meat products. This, therefore, could lead to stomach issues in your dog. Besides an upset stomach, the high water content of celery could result in increased urination and even diarrhea in some cases.
How to Feed Your Dog Celery
Celery is often a part of homemade dog recipes and certain other dog foods. Celery leaves are usually the most flavor-rich aspect of the vegetable. They are particularly useful when put in a stockpot for simmering.
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Cooked or Raw Celery?
Dogs can eat cooked or raw celery. If you’d like to provide your dog the maximum nutrient punch, however, serve celery cooked. Dogs, unlike humans, cannot digest raw veggies as effectively. If you are not considering cooking the vegetable but still want no compromises on the nutrients front, you may throw raw celeries in a blender and crush it, or juice it and pour the liquid extract over your pet’s regular food.
Cut the Vegetable into Small Portions
Before feeding your dog celery, cut the vegetable into bite-size portions. Celeries are stringy and hard, and cutting the veggie into small pieces would help with ingestion and also digestion. This should also help you measure or keep a tab on the amount of celery your dog is consuming.
Monitor Your Dog’s Initial Tryst with Celery
Celery is relatively safe for dogs. But like how not all humans have glucose tolerance, not all dogs respond favorably to the vegetable too. Some may throw up, experience diarrhea, feel dizzy, etc. By introducing celery slow and small to your dog, you are in a good position to rule out these negative possibilities or ensure your dog has the stomach for the vegetable.
Introducing celery into your dog’s diet in small quantities helps ascertain how well the dog is able to assimilate and incorporate the food into its system. If your dog has certain predispositions to the vegetable, those should come up at this stage. Therefore, start with offering your canine a whole celery stalk and closely watch while it nibbles on.
If your dog is small, cut the celery stalk into half before serving. If your pet is trying to swallow large celery chunks, you will have to cut the veggie into smaller portions as advised above. Once the nibbling and swallowing part goes well, next watch out for any adverse reactions to the food.
The negative reactions typically are:
If your dog exhibits these warning signs, it’s highly advised you stop feeding it celery and try some other vegetable or fruit instead.
If your dog doesn’t react adversely right away or even after a few days of having consumed celery, it doesn’t necessarily mean your pet canine is fine eating the vegetable. You may have to give the canine some more time. If you’re not sure or would like to get a stamp of approval from a professional, talk to your vet.
How Much Celery Should You Feed Your Dog?
As mentioned above, celery and most other vegetables shouldn’t be tasked with meeting a dog’s everyday nutritional requirements. Your pet’s regular foods should instead do the job. Since dogs do not need celery’s extra nutrients to stay healthy, it must be given to your dog only as an occasional snack and not as some meal replacement.
A dog primarily needs protein for its bones and muscles, which is why meat is such an integral part of any dog’s diet. Celery, like every other vegetable, has no protein at all. If you were to feed your dog a lot more celery than what’s recommended, you could end up putting your dog in a nutritionally deficient state.
As 90 percent of a dog’s daily food should be the standard affair, and treats must be under 10 percent, it should not be difficult to ascertain the amount of celery to give to your dog. Challenges with regard to figuring out the proportions, however, arise if other vegetables and fruits are also being thrown in as treats.
You need not be very meticulous or measure food by the gram, anyway. Even if you do not have the required tools to ascertain dry celery weight, calculating the appropriate serving size should be fairly straightforward to determine. If your dog eats a plate full of food every day, you must certainly not be giving a plate full or even half a plate of celery to your dog on a daily basis.
Dogs usually like to have a share of pretty much everything their owners eat. As the caretaker and human friend of the canine, it can be pretty difficult to unsee your dog that’s looking innocently at you while you’re eating.
Fortunately, with celery, you need not ignore your dog’s visual cues and can certainly serve some of it to your dog. However, make sure you drop the stalks on your puppy’s plate only after having cut them up into smaller, more ingestion-friendly pieces.
Kindly note, not all dogs love celery. If your dog shows no interest in the vegetable, do not shove it down its throat. This is because your dog doesn’t “need” celery like it doesn’t need most other vegetables.
If your dog loves the crunchiness of apples and raw carrots, it would most likely fancy celery too. But then there are possibilities it may not appreciate celery’s taste as much.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.