When it comes to feeding your dog, you already know that the less table food you feed him, the better. Most owners probably assume, though, that some people food here and there can’t hurt, especially if that food is relatively healthy, or at the very least not full of added fats and calories.
Take lettuce, for example. Depending on the type, lettuce is low in both calories and fat, and most types contain vitamins A and C, as well as some calcium and iron. So, can dogs eat lettuce? We asked Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer with the American Kennel Club, and Judy Morgan, DVM, what they had to say about feeding your dog lettuce.
Can Dogs Have Lettuce?
In short, yes, it’s fine for your dog to eat lettuce, says Klein. However, he will receive very little health-wise from from it.
“The health benefits are negligible,” Klein says. “While lettuce will provide your dog with some vitamins and fiber, there are better options if you want to introduce something healthy into your dog’s diet. Other healthy choices include spinach, green beans and asparagus.”
On the other hand, feeding your dog lettuce could help with certain issues, says Morgan. “Lettuce has draining properties … which can help lower blood pressure naturally,” she says. “It can also help with constipation, as well.”
The fiber content in lettuce also helps feed the good bacteria in the bowel, Morgan adds, which are important for a healthy immune system.
What Type of Lettuce Can Dogs Eat?
If you really want to feed your dog lettuce, stick with darker varieties, says Klein, like romaine. Also remember that, “if you do decide to start feeding your dog lettuce or other vegetables, they should be finely chopped,” he adds. “And as with any new food, they should be introduced slowly to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.”
After you’ve chopped the lettuce, try adding it directly to your dog’s regular dog food, says Morgan, or even serve it up as a treat by itself. “My dogs will eat a bowl of salad with no problem,” she said. “They love it. If you want, you can also cook it with a little coconut or olive oil to make it tastier and desirable.”
Concerns with Feeding Your Dog Lettuce
If fed in large quantities, lettuce could cause some loose stool, says Morgan. Other than that, your dog should not experience any negative side effects of eating lettuce. That being said, if you have fed your dog lettuce, or if you believe your dog has eaten lettuce and is having any type of severe reaction (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea), contact your veterinarian immediately.