Can dogs have artichokes? The answer is yes they can! Artichokes contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to a dog’s health and can even help with digestive problems.
Different food sources offer a great way to mix up your dog’s diet, keep them interested in new foods, and provide them with plenty of health benefits. Let’s look at artichokes and see what they are and how they may help our furry friends.
Table of Contents
What are artichokes?
The artichoke technically belongs to the thistle plant family and is part of the Cynara genus. There are two types of artichoke that are commonly eaten – the French artichoke and the Jerusalem artichoke.
The French artichoke is the most common type and is grown in America and throughout Europe. The artichoke is actually an immature flower that has yet to bloom, covered by a tough, thorny exterior.
The Jerusalem artichoke is a species of sunflower and looks completely different to a French artichoke. The edible part of the Jerusalem artichoke is the root, commonly known as the tuber. It can be compared to the texture of a potato.
Are artichokes good for dogs?
Yes, artichokes are good for dogs and they can eat both the French and Jerusalem artichoke, as long as they are prepared correctly.
Artichokes contain a number of health benefits and support a variety of functions within a dog’s body. As with any new food, always gradually introduce it slowly and in small quantities to avoid a gastrointestinal upset and possible allergic reaction.
Artichokes should be offered as part of a wider, more varied diet and not offered as a sole food source.
Benefits of artichokes include:
How to prepare artichokes for dogs
Artichokes can be served to dogs either raw or cooked. To receive the maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals, raw artichoke is best.
French artichokes can sometimes seem a little intimidating to prepare due to their appearance. They are the unbloomed flower of the thistle plant, so some areas may have sharp thistles. Ensure these are removed before offering it to your dog.
The center of the bloom is called the ‘choke’, which sits on top of a ‘heart’. Covering these sections are the tough outer leaves, also known as the ‘bracts’. These leaves can sometimes be dense and have sharp edges, so need to be removed in order to get to the edible center.
Once the choke and the heart have been removed, these can be finely chopped and offered to your dog. Only feed your dog the choke and the heart, avoiding all other parts of the plant.
Jerusalem artichokes are easier to prepare as they resemble a potato. Peel the skin and chop them into smaller chunks before offering to your dog.
Can dogs eat steamed artichokes?
Can dogs eat fried artichokes?
No, dogs should not eat fried artichokes. Even though fried artichokes will not necessarily cause a problem to your dog, you should avoid feeding them fried foods due to the high-fat content.
An increase of fat in a dog’s diet can cause diabetes, pancreatitis and obesity.
Can dogs eat artichoke hearts?
Yes, dogs can eat artichoke hearts if they have been prepared from the fresh plant.
Artichoke hearts are available to purchase from grocery stores that have been marinated in brine or oil. Whilst these are not necessarily unsafe for your dog to consume, they may contain high quantities of salt and preservatives.
Some marinades may also contain toxic ingredients such as garlic and onions, so it is best to avoid feeding your dog marinated artichoke hearts.
Are artichokes bad for dogs?
No, artichokes are not bad for dogs. They contain high levels of vitamins and minerals which are beneficial to a dog’s diet.
Artichokes can, however, be seen as a choking hazard if they are not cut up into bite-sized chunks. When including artichokes in your dog’s diet, ensure they are chopped into small pieces to avoid choking.
Artichokes are also beneficial for your dog’s digestive system due to their fiber content. Fiber helps your dog’s digestive system to function correctly. However, too much fiber can ironically cause diarrhea, so do not feed artichokes to your dog in large quantities.
Suggested reading: How many treats can my dog have a day?
Alternatives to artichokes
There are a variety of foods that can be offered to your dog to give them an extra boost of vitamins and minerals. Many of these foods may have a similar or higher concentration of vitamins, in comparison to artichokes, that a dog can benefit from.
Even though dogs are able to create their own Vitamin C, it doesn’t hurt to give them an extra boost.
If your dog is deficient in Vitamin C, they can show symptoms such as joint pain, bad breath and a delayed wound healing response. Vitamin C can be found in kale, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Protein is an essential nutrient in your dog’s diet, having a variety of roles within the body such as aiding in muscle development, skin condition, and energy production.
Great sources of protein include chicken, duck, turkey, liver and kidney. Dogs that have a lack of protein within their diet can show clinical signs such as weight loss (anorexia), anemia (low red blood cells), lethargy and poor skin and coat condition.
Holding a variety of functions in a dog’s body, Iron helps to create red blood cells, transport oxygen around the body, and supply your dog with energy.
A lack of iron in a dog’s diet can cause problems such as lethargy, lack of energy, and low red blood cells. Good sources of iron include sardines, liver, and eggs.
Vitamin E helps to support liver and heart function as well as contributing towards a well-functioning immune system.
Vitamin E can be found in a variety of foods such as spinach, salmon, eggs, and sunflower oil. A deficiency in Vitamin E can cause health issues such as poor brain function, an impaired immune system, and poor eyesight.
As Vitamin B6 cannot be created by a dog’s body, it must come from their diet. B6 has a variety of functions within a dog’s body including supporting the central nervous system, helping with arthritis, and supporting eye health.
If a dog does not receive adequate B6 from their diet, they can show symptoms such as irregular heart rhythms, a weakened immune system and lethargy. Natural food sources that contain high levels of Vitamin B6 include fish, organ meats, and pork.
Can dogs eat artichokes - final thoughts
Artichokes make a great addition to your dog’s diet. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that can help with heart and muscle function, along with giving your dog great skin and a lovely shiny coat.
Artichokes can also help with digestive functions and have cancer-preventing properties.
Ensure that you offer artichokes as part of a wider, more varied diet. Vitamins and minerals should be obtained from a variety of sources and should not solely rely on one food source.
Your dog’s main diet should contain everything that they need in order to function correctly, and foods such as artichokes should be added as additional supplements only.