Can dogs eat celery? The Labrador Site team takes a look at the pros and cons of celery for dogs.
Celery is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities if it is correctly prepared. If prepared incorrectly it is a choking hazard. Not all dogs will like celery. And celery is high in fibre, which is not good for dogs’ digestion. So it should only be an occasional treat, not part of your dog’s regular diet. Can dogs have celery? Let’s take a closer look at just how much celery dogs can have, and exactly how to serve it up to keep your pup safe.
Is Celery Safe for Dogs?
The answer is, yes, dogs can safely eat small amounts of celery. Veterinarians even mentioned it as a potential replacement treat for obese dogs in a paper published at the University of Georgia. It’s not toxic to dogs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your pooch should be munching on it all the time. You have to prepare the celery properly. You should cut it up into small, bite-sized pieces so they are not a choking hazard for your dog.
Dogs and celery aren’t a match made in heaven. But it’s something dogs can handle eating in small amounts. We’ll take a look at the effects celery can have on your dog’s overall health and digestive system. But first, let’s take a look at its origins and nutritional benefits.
Origins of Celery
The celery we eat today descended from a marshland plant common to a large portion of the world for millions of years. This descendent of celery can still be found growing wild as far north as Sweden and as far south as Egypt.
While it is not clear when people first started cultivating and eating this refreshing vegetable, there are references to celery dating back thousands of years. Celery appears to have been mentioned about 2800 years ago in Homer’s ancient Greek epic, The Odyssey. He referred to as “selinon.”
Nutritional Benefits Of Celery
This humble aromatic contains many important nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, and K. Celery also is full of antioxidants, is high in fiber, and is a good source of potassium. Celery has high water content, but it also has a relatively high salt content for a vegetable. One stalk of celery contains 35 milligrams of sodium, which is on the high side as far as vegetables go. However, celery is still considered a low sodium food overall.
Celery leaves, like the stalks, are considered a low carbohydrate and high-fiber food. In addition, they contain calcium, Vitamin E, and iodine. Now that we understand more about the history and the nutritional value of celery, we can ask: It’s a healthy, low-calorie snack for humans, but is this the case for dogs too? Can dogs eat celery?
Is Celery Good for Dogs?
First of all, to recognize whether food is good for dogs, we need to establish what dogs need. People often just use the same rules they apply to their diet, but this has some pretty major and dangerous pitfalls.
Humans are omnivores, and our ancestors have thrived on both vegetation and meat-based diets. Dogs, however, are carnivores. However, they are not obligate carnivores, which means they can handle some vegetation perfectly fine. It’s important to remember they have radically different digestive systems and nutritional requirements to you or me. What is beneficial to the human body can be unnecessary, harmful, or even toxic to a canine.
Nutrients in Celery
Celery does have some nutrients that are beneficial to both humans and dogs:
- Vitamin A helps keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy and aids in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
- Celery is especially rich in Vitamin K, which is essential for proper blood clotting.
- It also contains Vitamin C. However, dogs can naturally produce Vitamin C independently, so a healthy dog does not need it added to their diet. There is some evidence that a little dietary Vitamin C may be beneficial to sick or stressed dogs.
- Another main component of celery is fiber. Dogs can benefit from quality fiber found in fruits and vegetables. In the right dosage, it can aid in digestion and help with weight management.
What This Really Means
Even though these nutrients are essential to canine health, it doesn’t mean that allowing your furry friend to munch down a daily dose of celery is in their best interest. We tend to think that more vitamins equal a healthier dog, but unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Your pet’s dog food should be providing adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients they need.
There’s no benefit to loading extra vitamins into your dog. More importantly, additional amounts of some nutrients can do more harm than good. For example, large amounts of fiber can upset the dog’s stomachs. Dogs are built for primarily digesting meat. This crunchy little snack is best used as an occasional, healthy, low-calorie treat and not as a regular addition to their diet.
Are There Any Benefits for Dogs?
So, we know that, technically speaking, our pooches can have celery. But can dogs have celery and gain any health benefits from doing so? If it doesn’t have any notable health benefits for them, is celery good for dogs?
Some vets have recommended celery as a treat for weight management. It’s healthier than processed treats filled with sugar and fat. And using more nutritious treats can help overweight dogs lose weight or keep a dog at a healthy weight to begin with. Remember that treats, nutritious veggies or otherwise, should only make up a maximum of 10% of a dog’s diet. Too many treats rather than eating their well-balanced dog food at mealtime can lead to weight gain or inadequate nutrition.
When is Celery Bad for Dogs?
We’ve looked at “Can dogs have celery?” But can celery for dogs be bad even when it’s full of vitamins and minerals? The answer is yes. You can have too much of a good thing! Also, how you serve the celery to your dog can impact how safe it is for them. There are two chief concerns when it comes to celery:
Salt Content In Celery
One concern regarding celery is its salt content. Although meagre compared to a lot of the junk food we humans eat, the amount of salt in celery is astonishing compared to other vegetables.
Celery’s salt content shouldn’t present a problem in the short term as dogs can quite effectively pass excess sodium in their urine. But long-term, high sodium can cause serious problems. We know that too much salt causes high blood pressure, but it can also put a huge amount of stress on the kidneys that process it. Keeping to small, infrequent treats will prevent the addition of excessive salt into your dog’s diet.
Celery Choking Hazard
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, another concern is choking, especially with small dogs. Celery is firm and fibrous and can pose a choking hazard for dogs when served in large chunks. The best practice is to chop up the celery into small, bite-sized pieces before feeding any to your pooch.
Can Puppies Eat Celery?
So we’ve answered the question “Can dogs have celery?” and know dogs can eat celery, but what about puppies? Puppies are one area where experimentation with food is often just not worth the risk. As a pup, your dog is much more sensitive to all foods. They just haven’t been eating and digesting solid food for nearly as long. Huge amounts of time and effort have been put into balancing puppy food properly to give your pooch the best start in life.
Always consult your vet before giving your puppy anything new, no matter how innocuous it might seem.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Celery Sticks?
You can feed your dog raw celery in small amounts. However, you shouldn’t feed them as “sticks” because they are a choking hazard to your dog. As we emphasized throughout this article, make sure the celery is cut into smaller pieces before feeding them to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Celery Leaves?
We know they can eat the stalks, but can dogs have celery leaves? Celery leaves reportedly contain a much higher concentration of nutrients than the more often consumed stalks. This might benefit a vitamin-deficient dog. However, there is no substantial research on this subject in regards to dogs.
Celery leaves also reportedly have a pepper-like spiciness to them, in much the same way as other leaves, like arugula. This spiciness might prove uncomfortable to dogs. So, based on the available evidence, you can perhaps leave celery leaves out of your dog’s diet until we know more.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Celery?
There’s really no benefit to cooking vegetables, like celery, for dogs’ consumption. The only real perk is that cooked celery may be softer and easier for small dogs to eat. Both cooked and raw celery is safe for dogs to eat.
Can Dogs Have Celery Juice?
For humans, there is a lot of debate as to whether celery juice is better than eating celery stalks. And the same debate could be had for dogs and celery. Juicing celery would remove fibre. However, you’re also using large amounts of celery to make a concentrated juice that may contain too much salt for your dog.
Moderation is again key. Having your dog have a few sips once in a while isn’t a problem, but water should be your dog’s go-to thirst quencher not celery juice.
Can Dogs Eat Celery With Peanut Butter?
There are two issues to consider before feeding your dog celery with peanut butter. Is your dog allergic to peanuts? Does your peanut butter use Xylitol (toxic to dogs) as an artificial sweetener or have other additives like sugar and salt? If neither applies to your dog, then yes, it’s okay to feed your dog celery with natural peanut butter. However, you should chop the celery up so it’s not a choking hazard and not feed it on a stick of celery.
Can Dogs Eat Celery With Cheese Whiz or Cream Cheese?
If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant and it’s given in small quantities, these items may not be harmful in small quantities. You should generally not feed your dog processed foods like cheese whiz or cream cheese because of additives they may have and their higher-fat contents compared to other cheeses. They may cause your dog to have an upset stomach. You can read our article on cheese for more information.
Can Dogs Eat Celery With Dips Like Hummus?
Cooked, mashed, plain chickpeas are okay to feed your dog. But, generally, no you shouldn’t feed dip to your pup because of the processed nature of these goods. They may also have additives like salts, and hummus has traditional ingredients like onions, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice that are harmful to your dog.
Health Benefits Of Celery For Dogs
Dogs can eat celery as a safe, occasional treat. It contains many essential nutrients, like vitamin A, which can help keep a dog’s coat and skin healthy. However, remember that your dog is already receiving a balanced diet from their dog food. Supplementing too often with other foods, even healthy ones, can result in imbalances in their internal chemistry.
Too much fiber can cause digestive issues. Too much Vitamin C can contribute to bladder and kidney stones. Keep everything in moderation. And note that, due to its water content, celery can cause dogs to urinate more. In some dogs, this may also cause diarrhea. This is another reason to ensure your dog doesn’t eat too much.
Why Give Dogs Celery?
The answer to the question, “Can dogs have celery?” is yes, they can. But maybe a better question is. “Why should we give it to them?” Loads of our sworn-by health foods have little or no benefit when given to dogs. They just don’t have the right gut to deal with large quantities of vegetation.
If your dog is overweight and your vet suggests using certain vegetables, like celery, as a low-calorie treat, then, by all means, go ahead. However, while a bit of celery won’t harm them, there is no need to introduce it into their diet if your dog is perfectly happy and healthy on their current diet,
Can Celery Treat Bad Breath In Dogs?
Celery is known to help freshen dogs’ breath. This is probably appreciated more by dog owners than the dogs themselves. Just remember that celery doesn’t replace toothpaste where dental hygiene is concerned. And you should not use it regularly in this way with your dog. It’s like the doggy equivalent of a breath mint.
How Can I Feed My Dog Celery?
Introduce celery slowly to check for their tolerance to this new food if you do decide to give them a little taste. Also, keep in mind that when you give too much too quickly, the high fiber content of celery can be hard on a canine digestive tract and cause diarrhea.
How to Prepare Celery for Dogs
Cut the celery into small pieces if you decide to feed your dog celery as a treat, regardless of whether it is cooked or raw celery. Celery could be a choking hazard, and you should serve it to your dog in bite-sized pieces. And be sure to wash the celery thoroughly first as you would for yourself. You don’t want your furry family member consuming any nasty pesticides or chemicals along with their nutritious treat. They are just as dangerous to your dog as they are to you.
Does Dog Food Contain Celery?
Store-bought dog food does not traditionally contain celery. However, many dog owners make vet-approved, homemade dog food containing non-traditional dog food like celery and other vegetables. If you’re including celery in your dog’s food, make sure that you prepare it in the safest way possible to avoid any choking hazards.
Can Dogs Eat Celery Summary
So, can dogs have celery? Yes, they can. Can dogs eat celery every day? Ideally not. Like most things, it is best in moderation and should not make a daily appearance in your dog’s diet unless instructed by your vet. Too much celery can be difficult for your dog’s digest tracts, and excessive amounts of some nutrients can adversely affect them.
In conclusion, if your dog likes a crunchy, refreshing snack once in a while, celery is a perfect option. Please let us know about any experiences you’ve had feeding your dog celery in the comments below!
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References and Further Reading
- ”Weight Reduction In Dogs – General Information,” Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (2019).
- ”Fruits and Vegetables Your Pet Can Safely Eat,” Avondale Animal Hospital.
- Cowley, A. W., and Guyton, A. C., “Baroreceptor reflex effects on transient and steady-state hemodynamics of salt-loading hypertension in dogs,” Circultion Research (1975).
- Hutchinson, D. et. al., “Seizures and severe nutrient deficiencies in a puppy fed a homemade diet,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2012).
- Linder, D. E., ”The A-B-C’s of Vitamin C.” Cummings Veterinary Medical Center (2018).
- ”Celery,” New World Encyclopedia.
- Nordqvist, J., ”Health benefits and risks of celery.” Medical News Today (2019).
- Sturtevant, E. L., “History of celery,” The American Naturalist (1886).
- White, S. D., “ Food allergy in dogs,” Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian (1998).
- ”Nutrition Information for Raw Vegetables,” US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- ”Celery, raw,” US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
We have extensively revised and updated this article for 2021.