Lush and verdant in appearance, yet peppery and tart in flavor, arugula is a go-to green for many Westerners who enjoy its leafy deliciousness on salads and pizzas. Also known as "rocket," arugula is often mistake for a type of lettuce. Nonetheless, arugula is an herb.
Can dogs eat arugula?
Yes, dogs can eat arugula. Full of B vitamins, calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin K, arugula is a leafy green that helps protect dogs from cancer and osteoporosis, but also helps them maintain strong bones and healthy eyesight.
Arugula is not toxic to dogs. While it may be uncommon for dogs to regularly eat arugula, there's nothing wrong with consuming a moderate amount of arugula, either as a treat or to supplement their already healthy diet.
Dogs are not obligate carnivores like cats, and they are well suited to eating a variety of foods to meet their daily macronutrient and micronutrient needs.
Benefits of arugula for dogs
Dogs certainly don't require arugula as part of their normal, healthy diet. But because it's low calorie and low fat, arugula is an excellent snack for dogs who are struggling with obesity or who are on pancreatic or diabetic diets.
Diabetes Arugula is replete with alpha-lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant that veterinary researchers believe lowers blood glucose levels and increases insulin sensitivity in dogs with diabetes. Arugula is among the several vegetables that are good for diabetic dogs.
Strong Bones Brimming with vitamin K, arugula helps dogs maintain healthy bones. Vitamin K deficiencies are associated with a greater risk of bone fractures, and dogs who have plenty of vitamin K—whether from meat or arugula—absorb calcium more efficiently and, thus, are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis in old age.
While not conclusive, early research shows that the phytochemicals found in arugula— thiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indoles—slow the progression of some cancers in dogs, particularly esophageal and colon cancers.
How to prepare arugula for dogs
A general rule of thumb: Never share human food with dogs. Not only does it normalize begging behavior, but sharing your food with a dog is detrimental to their long-term health. Dogs simply aren't meant to eat all of the salts, seasonings, fats and sugars that make up the poor diet of many Westerners. Over time, dogs who eat the poor diets of their owners, also develop human diseases like obesity, pancreatitis and diabetes.
Only serve dogs arugula that has been prepared specifically for them.
- Wash arugula to remove bacteria, debris and pesticides
- Cut arugula into bite-sized pieces to mitigate risk of choking or digestional blockage
- Serve dogs arugula that is plain: unseasoned and undressed
Although dogs can eat both raw and cooked arugula, cooking will lessen instances of gas or upset stomachs.
Concerns with feeding arugula to dogs
Arugula is a healthy treat for dogs and puppies, but moderation is key when supplementing your dog's everyday diet. Always introduce new foods to your dog slowly over a period of 1-2 weeks, and observe them for signs of allergies for 48 hours after consumption.
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Arugula is not as high in oxalic acid like its leafy cousins spinach and chard, but arugula does have a moderate amount. Oxalic acid binds with essential minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, which results with dogs not being able to properly absorb these nutrients from the other foods in their diets.
Leafy, cruciferous greens are goitrogenic foods that can cause a hormonal imbalance in dogs by inhibiting adequate synthesis of thyroid hormone. When a dog's thyroid isn't functioning properly, health issues like hyperthyroidism, hypthyroidism and goiters can occur. However, many veterinary nutritionists point out that a dog would need to regularly consume their weight in arugula over a period of time to develop metabolic disorders.
Dogs can eat arugula. While they may not enjoy they texture or flavor, arugula is not toxic to dogs or puppies. Only serve dogs plain, undressed arugula, and observe them after they eat arugula to ensure they do not display signs of allergies.