Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
July 27, 2022 | 3 min read
Updated July 27, 2022
By Sarah Milton
Published: July 27, 2022
Updated: May 12, 2023
Summary: In this blog, we learn whether dogs can eat lettuce and whether there are any benefits to your dog eating lettuce too…
Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
Yes, dogs can eat lettuce - but in moderation! This includes the romaine and iceberg lettuce varieties.
This leafy green vegetable is safe for your dog to eat, and carries nutrients like Vitamin C, A, and K, folate, potassium, chlorophyll, and calcium. It’s also high in fiber and is very low in calories.
However, lettuce is primarily water - in fact, it’s made up of 90% water! So, although it contains all of these nutrients, the nutritional load is a touch low. But, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be given to your dog. Water’s still important and beneficial, particularly on a hot summer day, and the fiber content of lettuce is still high which most dogs need support with!
However, because of its high fiber content, too much of this vegetable may cause stomach upset in a dog if lots of lettuce is consumed at once.
You may also assume that because lettuce is OK for a dog to eat, that similar vegetables like kale and spinach will be too. Kale actually contains potentially harmful compounds like isothiocyanates that can irritate a canine’s gastrointestinal tract and calcium oxalate which can cause bladder and kidney stones. Spinach is high in oxalic acid which can prevent the body from absorbing calcium and thus lead to issues with a dog’s kidneys, so do be cautious with these seemingly similar veggies.
Cabbage on the other hand is safe for a dog to eat in moderation, as long as it’s cooked, plain and unseasoned.
How To Feed Your Dog Lettuce
You should always wash lettuce before feeding it to a dog, to make sure any pesticide residue or bacteria has been rinsed away. Lettuce should also be cut up and shredded before being fed to a dog. Large pieces of lettuce can pose a choking hazard, particularly for dogs who gulp their food down or small breeds.
You can offer small pieces of lettuce as a treat to your dog, or add it to their meal.
Don’t feed lettuce to your dog that’s been a part of a salad, because the other ingredients present in the salad may not be safe for your dog to eat. If the lettuce leaf has been dressed with any oils or salad dressings, your dog shouldn’t eat this lettuce for the same reason. Many salad dressings contain xylitol (a sweetener) and/or onion or garlic powders which are all toxic to dogs. The lettuce should be washed and plain. It may also be served to a dog steamed.
Related PetLab Co. Read: Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Always take it slowly when introducing any new food to your dog to avoid upsetting their stomach - particularly with puppies. Feed a very small amount of plain, washed, and undressed lettuce per day before considering continuing to feed low quantities of the leafy vegetable to your dog. As with humans, all dogs will react differently to different foods so always be mindful of this when trying them on new foods, snacks, and treats regardless of whether they’re deemed safe.
There are some foods you should absolutely avoid feeding your dog. Find an extensive list below of food known to be toxic to dogs that you should make sure your dog never consumes:
Author Guthrie, Lynn “Can Dogs Eat Lettuce? Yes - And It’s Good For Them!” Prrs&Wags by Pumpkin, Jun 21. 2021 https://www.pumpkin.care/blog/can-dogs-eat-lettuce/#:~:text=So%20next%20time%20you're,with%20your%20furry%20friend's%20tummy.
Author Lotz, Kristina “Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?” American Kennel Club, May 14. 2018 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-lettuce/
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!