Can Dogs Eat Lettuce? 🥗

When it comes to your dog’s diet, some would say that the less table food you ultimately feed them, the better. [1]

However, you may be tempted to assume that a small quantity of human food [2] here and there would be fine, especially if it’s veggies (which are healthy, right!?); or if the food is low on sugars and added fats and oils.

But you could be wrong – so tread carefully. Which brings us to the focal point. . .

Can dogs eat lettuce?

jack russell eating lettuce

As far as lettuce is concerned, the answer is yes; dogs can eat lettuce! [3]

Though it may not be of much use to them nutritionally – at least not as much as you think. So, let’s dive in and understand how lettuce can be of benefit if added to your dog’s diet.

Lettuce is safe, but giving your dog greens always has possible risks.

Too much of it can cause diarrhea, so moderation is key. The fact that the leaves have a lovely crunch while being eaten may be one of the most attractive things to a dog, and hence he/she may tend to overeat.

Best to try and always be present while they eat and only offer small amounts.

What type of lettuce should you feed your dog?

types of lettuce

With lettuce, the darker, the better, and if you do decide to introduce lettuce to your dog’s diet, remember it is only a snack and mostly for dogs with weight issues. Ensure to chop it finely, and introduce slowly, keeping a close eye on how he/she reacts to it.

If there are any allergic reactions, stop immediately.

After chopping, you can add it to the dog’s regular food, or serve it separately. You can also choose to cook it together with dog food, but please note that it should not be offered as a complete salad, which includes other vegetables such as onions which are toxic to dogs.

You must also NEVER give your dog leftover salad, just because it contains lettuce. Remember, the other vegetables present in the salad may be harmful to your dog.

Does lettuce offer any benefits to canines?

benefits of lettuce to dogs

Lettuce contains essential vitamins such as

  • Vitamin A,
  • Vitamin C, and
  • Vitamin K.

It also contains minerals such as:

  • potassium
  • iron
  • calcium
  • potassium, and
  • phosphorus. [4]

Though all excellent for humans, for dogs the health benefits of lettuce are negligible.

Why? This is because, compared to lettuce, there are other better sources of the above nutrients.

The benefit of introducing lettuce to a dog’s diet would be to provide a healthy snack alternative especially for a dog that is overweight. They are also a good source of fiber which is good at feeding the good bacteria in the dog’s bowel. This is important for a healthy immune system. They are also low in fats which is always a good thing.

Another benefit of lettuce is that it has a high water content [5], which can help keep your dog hydrated, and promote a healthy digestive system, and as a result, it can help with constipation. Lettuce has what we call “draining properties” due to the water content, and this helps in lowering blood pressure naturally.

Are there any drawbacks to feeding dogs lettuce?

Although healthy, lettuce can be hard to digest for some dogs and may lead to digestion problems. They also cause diarrhea and gas, and offer very marginal nutritional benefits.

Thing to keep in mind

Though veggies appear harmless, some can actually be toxic for your dog. Avoid

  • onions
  • garlic
  • scallions, and
  • shallots.

DO NOT feed any of these to your dog. Garlic is one of the most toxic vegetables to a dog, [6] and you must always be careful with it if you have a dog in the house.

What about cabbage, kales and other green vegetables?

Cabbage and other inflorescent vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli are safe for your dog and are filled with healthy nutrients and fiber which includes Vitamin K and C.

Spinach, kale, and other types of collard greens are very safe for your dog.

As mentioned earlier, the main concern when it comes to lettuce is the quantity you feed your dog. Do not assume that this is the only healthy snack your dog will consume and end up giving him more than you should because it will not be beneficial to him.

Too much lettuce will cause your pup to have loose stool, so, give it in small portions.

If you’re on a tight budget this month, check out these cheap, yet healthy dog foods

RECIPE: Puppy Dog Salad

While you might want to feed your dog freshly chopped up lettuce which you add to his food, you may also like to have a look at this tasty treat recipe which contains lettuce and other healthy ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 Leaves of lettuce
  • 4 pears cut in half
  • 2 plums or prunes
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • 8 orange segments

Instructions

  1. Place one leaf of lettuce on each of the salad plates. Then, place one pear half looking down on each leaf of lettuce. Cut the prunes lengthwise using scissors in half and remove the pips. Place 1 prune half on each end of the pear to create the dog ears.
  2. Using scissors, cut the cherries in half, then place on each end of the pear to create the nose. Scoop out some of the pear halves to make the eyes. Add the orange segments for completion of the ears.

Looking for a treat for your pup? Have a look at the best dog treats.

Final say on feeding dogs lettuce

As stated above, when it comes to lettuce, any variety can be used.

There is no bad lettuce, all are good, nutritious and useful, although, it is important to reiterate that the darker, the better.

Ensure to wash the lettuce thoroughly before feeding to your dog, and do not give him with any added salad dressing or other vegetables that may be harmful to your dog.

Let your dog enjoy some lettuce before or after meals, and keep a close eye while she is feeding so you can detect any allergies immediately.

Other frequently asked questions:

dognutrition.com-websites-medical-disclaimer

Resources:

  1. Kovalkovičová, Natália et al. “Some food toxic for pets.Interdisciplinary toxicology vol. 2,3 (2009): 169-76.
  2. Cortinovis, Cristina and Francesca Caloni. “Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats.Frontiers in veterinary science vol. 3 26. 22 Mar. 2016, doi:10.3389/fvets.2016.00026
  3. Lidder, Satnam and Andrew J Webb. “Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway.” British journal of clinical pharmacology vol. 75,3 (2013): 677-96.
  4. Lettuce nutrition facts – Nutrition and You
  5. Percentage of Water in Fruits & Vegetables – LiveStrong.com
  6. Garlic – PetPoisonHotline

About the Author

Dog Nutrition

Dog Nutrition

The Dog Nutrition team is here to help you navigate the stormy ocean waters that are the dog products industry. With over 10+ years experience in dealing with dog products and caring dog owners, we look beneath the surface to uncover hidden features, deals, and some of the most popular, best selling and highest reviewed dog products you can purchase.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Bianca on May 10, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    It’s nice. I’ve never heard about dogs eating leafy vegetables so this is brand new information for me.

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