Celery makes a healthy, low-calorie snack for humans, but is this the case for dogs too? Can dogs eat celery? Is celery good for dogs?
Dogs can eat celery as a safe, occasional treat. It contains a number of essential nutrients, like vitamin A, which helps to keep a dog’s coat and skin healthy.
Celery also contains a lot of fiber, which can be hard on a canine digestive tract. This is one of the reasons that celery should be a special treat and not a part of your dog’s regular diet.
So the answer to “can dogs eat celery” isn’t so simple! Let’s take a more in-depth look at how celery affects dogs and the potential benefits and risks of feeding it to your four-legged friend.
Can Dogs Eat Celery?
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. It was referred to as “selinon.”
Nutritional Benefits Of Celery
This humble aromatic contains a number of 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.
Celery For Dogs?
Now that we understand more about the history and the nutritional value of celery, we can ask: It’s a healthy snack for humans, but can dogs eat celery?
The answer is, dogs can safely eat small amounts of chopped up celery. It was even mentioned as a potential replacement treat for obese dogs in a paper published by veterinarians 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. Let’s look at the effects celery can have on your dog’s overall health and digestive system.
Celery And Dogs
First of all, to recognize whether a food is good for dogs, we need to establish what dogs need. Often, people just use the same rules they apply to their own 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 and this is essential for proper blood clotting.
- It also contains Vitamin C. However, dogs can naturally produce Vitamin C on their own, 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 important 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 really 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.
When Is Celery Bad For Dogs?
We’ve looked at can dogs eat celery. But can celery for dogs be bad even when it is 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 have an impact on how safe it is for them.
There are two chief concerns when it comes to celery:
Salt Content In Celery
One concern regarding celery for dogs is its salt content. Although meager when compared to a lot of the junk food we humans eat, the amount of salt in celery is astonishing compared to other vegetables.
This 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
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-size pieces before feeding any to your pooch.
Celery And A Balanced Diet
Lastly, 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.
Is Celery Good 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?
Celery has been recommended by some vets as a treat for weight-management. It is healthier than processed treats filled with sugar and fat. And using healthier treats can help overweight dogs lose weight or keep a dog at a healthy weight, to begin with.
Remember that treats, nutritious veggie or otherwise, should only make up a maximum of 10% of a dog’s diet. Too many treats can lead to weight gain or to inadequate nutrition if your dog is filling up on treats rather than eating their well-balanced dog food at mealtime.
Can Dog’s 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 be of benefit to a vitamin deficient dog, however, this subject has not been looked into much.
Celery leaves also reportedly have a pepper-like spiciness to them, in much the same way as other leaves, like arugula. It’s possible 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 thus easier for small dogs to eat.
Both cooked and raw celery is safe for dogs to eat.
Can Puppies Eat Celery?
So we 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 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 take the place of toothpaste where dental hygiene is concerned and is not intended to be used regularly. It’s like the doggy equivalent of a breath mint.
Should I Give My Dog 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.
Dogs and celery aren’t a match made in heaven. But it’s something dogs can handle eating small amounts of.
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,
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 too much is given too quickly, the high fiber content of celery can cause diarrhea.
How to Prepare Celery for Dogs
Cut the celery up 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 should be served 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.
Alternatives to Celery for Dogs
Take a look at these other refreshing, crunchy, dog safe treats. Similar to celery, they are healthy when prepared the right way and given in moderation.
Can Dogs Eat Celery? Summary:
So, can dogs have celery? Yes, they can. Is celery good for dogs to eat every day? No, it’s not.
Dogs can safely eat small cut up pieces of celery every now and then.
It can be a healthy treat that helps keep your dog’s weight in check. It can also be an easy way to freshen your dog’s breath.
Like most things, it is best used in moderation and should not make a daily appearance in your dog’s diet unless instructed by your vet. Too much celery for dogs can be difficult for their digest tracts and excessive amounts of some nutrients can have adverse effects for your dog.
In conclusion, if your dog likes a crunchy, refreshing snack every now and then celery is a perfectly good option.
References and Further Reading
- American Kennel Club.
- Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. 2019. ”Weight Reduction In Dogs – General Information.”
- Cowley, A. W., and Guyton, A. C. “ Baroreceptor reflex effects on transient and steady-state hemodynamics of salt-loading hypertension in dogs.”
- Griswold, B. and Kerns, N. 2019. “Benefits of Vitamin C to Your Dog.” Whole Dog Journal.
- Hutchinson, D. et. al. 2012. “Seizures and severe nutrient deficiencies in a puppy fed a homemade diet .” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Linder, D. E. 2018. ”The A-B-C’s of Vitamin C.” Cummings Veterinary Medical Center.
- National Nutrient Database. 2018. “Basic Report: 11143, Celery, raw.” United States Department of Agriculture.
- National Nutrient Database. 2018. “Basic Report: 11144, Celery, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt.” United States Department of Agriculture.
- Nordqvist, J. 2017. ”Health benefits and risks of celery.” Medical News Today.
- Romos, D. R. et. al. “Effects of dietary carbohydrate fat and protein on growth body composition and blood metabolite levels in the dog.”
- Sturtevant, E. L. “History of celery.”
- Sunrise Veterinary Clinic. 2017. “Fruits & Vegetables Dogs Can and Can’t Eat.”
- White, S. D. “ Food allergy in dogs.”
We have extensively revised and updated this article for 2019.