Can dogs eat celery? Yes, this healthy veggie is a good low-calorie snack for your furry friend. But just because dogs can eat celery doesn't mean they will. If your dog is a picky eater, they may turn their nose up at this low-on-flavor, big-on-crunch vegetable — possibly to their detriment.
Like carrots and green beans, celery is a low-risk veggie to share with your pet. It makes a great dietary snack for overweight dogs, offers numerous health benefits, and has a crunchy texture many pups love. While your doggy doesn't need celery to have a healthy diet, it certainly doesn't hurt.
If you want to share this snack with your pup, keep reading. We’ll cover why it’s good for dogs and how you can safely feed celery to your furry friend — even if they're a picky eater.
Why Can Dogs Eat Celery and Not Other Veggies?
While there are many fruits and veggies that dogs can eat safely, some vegetables cause a toxic reaction in dogs that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, and even death. Vegetables in the allium family, like garlic and onions, are especially dangerous for dogs.
Other vegetables can be non-toxic to dogs but may still upset their systems. For example, dogs shouldn't eat chili peppers because the capsicum oil — the chemical that makes chili peppers spicy — can upset your dog's digestive system or lead to coughing, sneezing, or wheezing.
Celery doesn't contain any compounds that are likely to upset your dog. Celery leaves, stalks, seeds, and roots are all safe for your furry friend. And while a dog can develop an allergy to any food, celery allergies are extremely rare.
Still, any new human food — even the safe ones — can cause an upset stomach if they're introduced into your dog's diet suddenly and in large amounts. Always start with small quantities, and consider supporting your dog's digestive tract with probiotics and pumpkin for dogs when feeding a new food.
Is Celery Good for Dogs?
Celery isn't just safe for dogs — it's healthy. This nutritious treat is low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, and high in vitamins and antioxidants. Here's a look at the many benefits of celery.
If your dog has recently gained weight or is struggling with obesity, raw celery can be part of their weight-loss plan. A celery stick only contains about 10 calories.
If your dog likes the taste and crunch of celery, try swapping out higher calorie snacks for this crunchy, low-calorie treat. Replace fattening chews (like bully sticks) with a celery stick. Or use sliced celery in place of smaller treats.
One serving of celery contains zero grams of fat. That's right — zip, nada — there's no fat in this treat at all.
Admittedly, high-fat foods are more dangerous for us dog owners than they are for our furry friends. Dogs aren't typically at risk for the same heart conditions that humans can get from a high-fat diet.
But, according to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, there are still some dogs who should avoid high-fat foods. This includes dogs with pancreatitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, or high cholesterol, plus dogs who are overweight or low energy.
If your pooch falls into one of these categories, you can feed them celery as a healthy treat instead of higher fat dog treats.
Just like it does for us, fiber helps keep a dog’s digestive tract regular. It serves as a prebiotic that supports the good bacteria in your dog's gut, so it can ward off bad bacteria and prevent infections or upset stomach. It can also make your dog's probiotics more effective.
However, if your dog isn't used to eating a high-fiber diet, introducing too much fiber too quickly can lead to gastrointestinal upset, constipation, or diarrhea. This is a common reason why dogs get an upset stomach after eating fresh fruits and vegetables. So, introduce high-fiber foods into your dog's diet slowly and in small quantities.
Celery contains many vitamins a dog can benefit from. Here's a look at each of the vitamins and minerals in this nutritional powerhouse, plus an overview of how they support your dog's body.
- Antioxidants: support dogs’ immune systems and can have an anti-inflammatory affect. These phytonutrients help fight off free radicals and prevent the oxidative stress that can lead to cancer. They're considered non-essential nutrients, which means you might not find them in a standard dog food.
- Vitamin A: promotes healthy vision, bone growth, and immune response, according to veterinary research.
- Vitamin C: helps keep the immune system healthy and prevent inflammation, similar to the other antioxidants in celery. This is considered a non-essential nutrient because dogs’ bodies can produce their own vitamin C, so you won't see it on your dog food label. But, many dogs can still benefit from an extra dose.
- Vitamin K: supports the body's blood clotting process, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. This important process helps your dog heal from injuries.
- Folate: helps your dog's body make red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the body's other vital organs.
- Potassium: is a mineral that helps your dog's muscles contract and allows their nervous system to send electrical signals throughout the body.
- Magnesium: supports your dog's muscle and nerve function, helps regulate their blood sugar and blood pressure, and allows their body to make protein, bones, and DNA.
- Calcium: promotes healthy bones and teeth, supports your dog's nervous system, and allows their muscles to contract.
All these nutrients make celery a healthy choice. Consider adding a few bites of celery to your dog's daily diet.
In addition to all its nutrient content, celery has a high water content — it's made of about 50% water. Many of the minerals in celery, including potassium and magnesium, are electrolytes, which also help to rapidly rehydrate the body.
Next time you and your dogs go out for a hike, a beach day, or another adventure, consider packing celery in addition to water to keep your pet happy and hydrated.
The combination of the high fiber and high water content in celery may even help freshen your dog's breath. As your dog chews on a high-fiber celery stick, they produce saliva, which, combined with the water content, helps rinse away the bacteria that cause bad breath.
How to Feed Your Dog Celery
Now that you understand the benefits of feeding celery to your dog, you need to know the safest ways to do so. There are two safe options: Feed your dog whole celery sticks or slice the celery into small pieces. Essentially, the goal is to feed your dog pieces that are either too big or too small to be a choking hazard.
Whole celery is a good replacement for dog chews, but you should supervise your dog when they eat whole celery sticks to make sure they don't choke.
Little bites of celery can take the place of training treats or small dog treats. If you have a small dog, slice the celery into even smaller pieces to prevent a choking hazard.
Start by giving your pet plain celery to see if they'll eat it. If your dog turns their nose up, you can spread a little peanut butter on the inside to encourage them to eat it.
Make sure you choose a dog-safe peanut butter that is either raw or sweetened with plain sugar. Check the label to make sure it doesn't contain xylitol, a sugar alcohol that is extremely toxic to dogs.
While you're putting peanut butter on celery, you might be tempted to recreate a childhood classic, Ants on a Log. But, raisins are also toxic to dogs. So, stick with only feeding celery and peanut butter without xylitol.
Keep in mind that peanut butter is high in fat and sometimes contains sugar, so moderation is key. Use the smallest amount you need to tempt your dog into eating the celery. Slowly ease off the peanut butter as your dog gets more used to the flavor of this veggie.
So, Can Dogs Eat Celery?
Yes, let your dog try this healthy snack. If they like it, they can take advantage of its many health benefits — from its low calorie count to its high-water content.
If, however, you try feeding this veggie and your dog isn't interested, take heart. A bit of dog-safe peanut butter might tempt them.
Plus, there are plenty of other raw vegetables and fresh fruits your dog can enjoy. Apples can provide a similar crunch with a sweeter taste that dogs love. Blueberries are an antioxidant power house, and avocados provide healthy fats for dogs who don't need to be on a low-fat diet. Just take care to learn about how to feed each food safely.To learn more about your dog's health and nutrition, check out the Native Pet blog.