Are you familiar with taro? Many people aren’t though you may see it in your supermarket. It’s a starchy root vegetable native to southeast Asia. It’s also known as eddo and dasheen. If you buy taro, you may wonder if dogs can eat taro. Find out more about this root vegetable in our guide below.
If you’re not familiar with taro root, it has a brown outer skin and white flesh. The white flesh has purple specks. When it’s cooked, it has a flavor that is mildly sweet with a texture similar to a potato or sweet potato.
Taro root is a good source of fiber and other nutrients.
The underground portion of the taro plant is a food staple in African, Oceanic, and South Asian cultures. It is thought to be one of the earliest cultivated plants. As an ornamental, taro is one of the plants that is often known as “elephant ears.”
People generally eat the edible corms (the underground portion) and the leaves. The corms can be roasted, baked, or boiled. Taro has natural sugars that give it a sweet, nutty flavor. The starch is easy to digest. The grains are small and fine so it is often used for baby food. The leaves and stems can be eaten after being boiled twice to remove their acrid flavor. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C. They also contain more protein than the taro corms.
The taro plant is toxic in the raw form because of the presence of calcium oxalate and needle-shaped raphides in its plant cells. The toxins are reduced and the taro is made safe by cooking or steeping it in cold water overnight.
Some taro is peeled and boiled then sold frozen or canned.
As you would expect from a plant that has been cultivated for such a long time, taro is nutritionally important. Cooked taro is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. It’s a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), vitamin B6, and manganese. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
Taro is made up of 98 percent carbohydrates, 1 percent fats, and 1 percent protein. One cup of cooked taro contains 187 calories. It has 45.7 grams of carbohydrates with 6.7 grams of carbohydrates. It has 6.7 grams of fiber. It has 0.1 grams of total fat and 0.7 grams of protein.
Taro provides some of the vitamins and minerals that the North American diet can be lacking. Also, even though it’s a starchy vegetable, it has two kinds of carbs that are good for managing blood sugar levels. It contains fiber and resistant starch. Taro root contains more than twice as much fiber as potatoes.
Fiber is a carb that humans don’t digest. Since it isn’t absorbed, it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. Plus, fiber helps slow down the absorption of other kinds of carbohydrates. That means that it can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels after eating.
Resistant starch is another kind of starch that humans can’t digest so it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels either. About 12 percent of the starch in taro root is resistant starch. This makes it a good source of this kind of starch.
Fiber and resistant starch may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber and resistant starch may also help with weight loss. These fibers may also benefit your gut health, providing food for microbes and encouraging the growth of good bacteria.
Taro root is also a source of plant-based compounds known as polyphenols which may help reduce the risk of cancer. One of these polyphenols is quercetin which has been able to kill cancer cells in some studies. Quercetin is also a powerful antioxidant.
Can dogs have taro?
We searched high and low for information about giving taro to dogs. The online consensus is that taro is toxic to dogs because of the presence of calcium oxalates, even if it is cooked. Even taro ice cream and taro chips are supposedly toxic to dogs.
We have some doubts about this information and we did not find a veterinary reference for it. The Merck Veterinary Manual has no entry for “taro” in its section on toxicology. We did find cala lillies discussed in relation to calcium oxide crystals. They appear to be from the same plant family as taro.
The taro warning appears to come from the ASPCA poison line. That source has ruled things toxic before that are not harmful to dogs. However, without any evidence to the contrary, we have to say that dogs should not have taro.
Symptoms of taro toxicity in dogs are:
Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
If your dog eats a food containing taro and/or you notice these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.
We looked up “Can dogs eat eddoes,” (another name for taro) and found that many people thought they were great for dogs, as long as they are cooked and you only give dogs the root and not the leaves or stems.
We suggest that you ask your veterinarian about giving your dog taro (or eddoes).
How much taro can you give your dog?
It’s recommended that you do not give your dog taro, especially raw taro. According to many sources, taro is harmful to dogs.
If you want to give your dog taro (or eddoes), please talk to your veterinarian. Any taro or eddoes you give your dog must be thoroughly cooked. Only use the root or corm and do not give your dog the leaves or stems.
How often can you give your dog taro?
Again, many online sources claim that taro is harmful to dogs. However, other sources claim that eddoes (another name for taro root) is good for dogs.
Please talk to your veterinarian about taro or eddoes.
Taro root is a nutritious root vegetable that must be cooked before it can be eaten because it contains calcium oxalates. Many vegetables are high in calcium oxalates such as spinach, almonds, potatoes, beets, navy beans, rhubarb, and raspberries. Cooking taro root reduces the oxaltes and makes them safe for humans to eat. Many online sources claim that taro is harmful for dogs to eat because of the calcium oxalates but other sources state that taro by other names is good for dogs. Whatever the case, you should not give your dog taro leaves or stems. Please check with your veterinarian about giving your dog cooked taro. We didn’t find any veterinary source that states cooked taro root is toxic to dogs but it’s best to be certain.