Dog’s are keen eaters and you will often find that they try to eat anything that they can get their paws on, plants included.
If you notice your dog attempting to chew on a dandelion when taking them out on a walk, you may have concerns as to whether they are safe or toxic for them to consume.
Dandelions are safe for dogs to eat and do have a few nutritional benefits. For this reason, you needn’t have any major concerns about your dog eating them.
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What is a dandelion?
It is important to have an awareness of what your dog is eating. Dandelions are fairly large, yellow flowering plants. They tend to appear during the early spring season and typically grow amongst the grass.
Due to their reputation as an invasive species, many would consider this plant a weed. In some cultures, dandelions are believed to have healing qualities and are often used as a remedy.
What are the health benefits of dandelions?
There are several health benefits associated with the consumption of dandelions. It is a source of fiber but also contains vitamins A, C, K, D, and B along with protein, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese.
Moreover, it has antioxidant properties and lecithin which supports the immune system, skin, liver, and gallbladder.
Dandelions can also help with digestion and will be beneficial for dogs that suffer from issues with indigestion or gas. You will likely find that feeding them some dandelion before a meal aids your dog’s digestive system.
As previously mentioned, dandelions can also work as an anti-inflammatory, hence why they were once used as herbal medicine. It is believed that all parts of this plant contain these anti-inflammatory properties and can even have some effect in relieving pain.
Dandelion roots in particular act as a diuretic. If your dog is suffering from any condition that leads to a retention of fluid the dandelion will help by cleansing the system and it will also maintain the functionality of the liver and kidneys.
Because dandelion contains a lot of potassium, it will replenish the potassium that is lost as a result of regular urination.
Some dogs have diabetes because their bodies struggle to produce the amount of insulin required. The bioactive components can help to control diabetes and it is classed as a hypoglycemic herb, it will work to reduce sugar levels.
Are all parts of a dandelion safe for dogs?
It is safe for dogs to eat any part of a dandelion regardless of whether this is the stem or the leaves. However, you should not give them too much because this can result in more of an adverse reaction rather than have any benefits.
Can dandelions be poisonous to dogs?
Although they aren’t a toxic plant when eaten alone, they can become harmful if they have been treated with a weed killer or a chemical herbicide. For this reason, it is important to be cautious when allowing your dog to eat fresh dandelions.
As many people class dandelions as a weed it is more than likely that they will have sprayed a weed-killing product onto them at some point.
Although the risk is pretty low if only a small amount is consumed, ideally, you should keep an area in your garden which you know hasn’t been treated with any of these products to be on the safe side.
If your dog is fed an excessive amount of dandelions, it may experience heartburn along with an increased heart rate.
Moreover, too many dandelions can cause diarrhea or discomfort in the abdomen. Ideally, you should try not to feed your dog too many dandelion stems because they can act very much like a laxative which may affect the regularity of your dog’s bowel movements.
How should my dog eat dandelions?
Now you may be wondering how you can add dandelions to your dog’s diet. Of course, there may be times where your dog eats them when they are walking along the grass. You could also add them to your dog’s dinner.
Take a few fresh dandelion leaves and break them up into smaller, more digestible pieces. Either add them directly into their dinner or mix with water and blend beforehand.
Another option is to use dried dandelions. Collect some fresh leaves from your garden and allow them to dry out on a sheet of newspaper.
Once they are dry, you can then chop them up and add them to their meal. To work out how much you should add, it is recommended that you add a teaspoon per 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
Creating a dandelion tea is another option. Simply take some leaves from your garden, wait for them to dry before combining with water. You can then give it to your dog multiple times throughout the day, ensuring that you don’t give them too much.
Finally, you may choose to invest in a dandelion supplement that is dog-friendly. They are available in a liquid variety and will typically be labeled as a dandelion root supplement.
In most cases, you will be able to add a few drops to your dog’s food for them to consume this way. If you are hesitant about giving this type of supplement to your dog you may wish to consult a vet beforehand.
Are all plants safe for dogs?
Not all plants are safe for dogs to eat. For example, azaleas, bluebells, and asparagus ferns are all considered poisonous. Some plants have spines and thorns which can cause your dog to become ill if they are ingested.
To answer the question, yes dandelions are safe for dogs to eat, however, they should be consumed in moderation and you must avoid giving them dandelions in heavy amounts.
Classed as a diuretic, if your dog is fed too much, you will likely notice that they start to urinate quite excessively. Also, make sure that you don’t feed your dog any dandelions that have been treated with a weed killer or herbicide.