Dogs explore the world with their noses and mouths, which is often why they can't help but gorge themselves when encountering a savory, pungent artichoke on your kitchen counter. What do you do when a dog or puppy sneaks bites of your perfectly-cooked artichoke? Panic? Call the veterinarian? Can dogs even eat artichokes?
Can dogs eat artichokes?
Yes! Dogs can eat artichokes. This ancient vegetable whose roots extend all the way back to 77 AD is not commonly associated with dogs, but the artichoke, it turns out, is a phenomenally nutrient-dense food that is both low in calories and fats! Artichokes are good for dogs who are struggling with weight issues, dogs who are diabetic, or those who are on a pancreatic diet.
What are the benefits of artichokes for dogs?
Artichokes are brimming with nutrients that are healthy for dogs, and help their bodies perform thousands of biological processes every second, like maintaining strong muscles and bones. Nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, magnesium and potassium are all vitally important for dogs every single day.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can improve the immune function of dogs by enhancing white blood cell function and activity. Some veterinarians will include vitamin C during treatments for illness such bladder and urinary tract infections.
Vitamin K is actually a group of fat-soluble vitamins that helps dogs heal from wounds and injuries. Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood clotting and creating proteins that allow for efficient and timely recovery.
Folate is a B vitamin that is crucial for the generation of red blood cells. A dog's blood transports oxygen from his or her lungs to the cells in the body. Blood also delivers nutrients to those same cells. Without folate, your dog would would suffer all sorts of health problems.
Magnesium is a mineral that is needed for hundreds of biochemical reactions in your dog's body. From maintaining healthy nerve and muscle function to supporting an efficient immune system, magnesium necessary fuel for active dogs.
Potassium is indispensable mineral for dogs. It helps them regulate blood sugar levels and stabilize neural function. A potassium deficiency in dogs is associated with a risk of arthritis, digestive disorders, high blood pressure and heart disease.
How to prepare artichokes for dogs to eat
Dogs can eat raw artichoke and cooked artichoke. Steaming or boiling artichoke will typically mitigate any digestive issues like excessive gas, but raw artichoke provides your dog with maximum nutrients (and maximum farts too).
Only feed your dog unseasoned artichoke. Artichoke that is prepared from humans always has too much salt and spice for dogs. Dogs are much smaller than people; so they can't eat as much flavoring as we can. In fact, some aromatic flavoring like onion and garlic is actually harmful to dogs. So skip sneaking your best friend little tastes of your food. Instead, prepare artichoke especially for them.
Unlike some fruits and vegetables whose stems and leaves contain trace amounts of cyanide and other toxic substances, dogs can eat the entire artichoke. Just makes sure that it's been throughly washed and cut into small, bite-sized piecers to avoid blocking your dog's digestional tract.
Are there any concerns with feeding dogs artichokes?
The primary cause for concern with dogs eating artichokes is the risk of digestional blockage, also known as gastrointestinal blockage or a bowel obstruction. Blockage is a common plight dogs face, mostly because they chew or eat almost anything that crosses their paths.
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Disgestional blockage is when the digestional tract, or gut, is either completely or partially obstructed by something that will not digest; in this case, an artichoke heart or frond.
Symptoms that your dog is suffering from gastrointestinal blockage after eating an artichoke are:
- Loss of Appetite
While your dog may not enjoy the taste, artichokes are perfectly healthy for dogs to eat. If your dog sneaks artichoke from the kitchen counter, there's nothing to worry about unless they've also eaten onion and garlic (even powdered seasonings count).
Always observe dogs for 48 hours after they've eaten a new food, regardless of whether it's healthy or not. Who knows? Maybe your dog has an allergy that you didn't know about. Otherwise, artichokes are an excellent food to supplement your dog's diet with.