Updated - Feb 28th, 2022
Celery is a favorite crunchy snack present in most of our party veggie trays, soups, stews, and salads. It’s a nutrient-dense vegetable that’s low in calories and high in anti-inflammatory properties, offering many health benefits for us dog parents.
Celery is also inexpensive and readily available in most grocery stores.
But what about our dogs? Is this a veggie we can share with our furry friends? The answer is yes! This crunchy veggie is just as healthy for our dogs and offers some surprising health benefits and a few precautions.
Let’s look closer at celery.
The health benefits and a few drawbacks of celery
A stalk of celery contains 95% water, no fats, and no cholesterol. It contains powerful vitamins like A, C, and K. It also provides the micronutrients potassium, magnesium, calcium, and folate. But the most prevalent nutrients are Vitamins A and C, water, and fiber. Let’s look at each to see how they benefit your pooch.
- Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin supports your dog’s immune response, bone growth, reproductive system, and healthy vision.
- Potassium: This is an essential mineral for good kidney function. It also supports efficient heart function, muscle function, and a healthy digestive system.
- Vitamin K: This vitamin aids in blood clotting and coagulation.
- Calcium, Zinc, and Iron: These are present in trace amounts in celery. They’re beneficial in bone growth and integrity and support immune system function.
- Folate (Vitamin B9 or folic acid): This is important for DNA synthesis and red blood cell production.
- Magnesium: This is a micro-mineral that supports the metabolizing of proteins and fatty acids. It also plays an important role in energy production, ligament, and bone maintenance.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants like Vitamin C combat the ability of free radicals to damage molecules and cells in your dog’s body brought on by stress, illness, age, environmental toxins, and disease. Vitamin C also boosts your dog’s immune system and reduces the risk of some cancers, and the onset of cognitive aging.
- Fiber: Essential for keeping the digestive system functioning smoothly.
Fiber lengthens that feeling of fullness after a meal. This can benefit an overweight dog.
Studies have proven that a diet rich in fiber may lower heart disease and can prevent certain types of cancer in dogs.
Celery also offers some unexpected benefits that may help your dog.
- Overweight dogs: There are only seven calories in a stalk of celery making it a wonderful treat for dogs on a weight-loss journey, or to maintain a good weight if your dog gets too many snacks. It can also be a replacement for a small amount of kibble in their regular meal. It’s a much better alternative than the commercial treats that can have added sugars, fats, and calories.
- Celery may combat bad breath: If your dog’s breath is cringeworthy, a snack of celery may freshen it up. This benefit comes from the crunchy texture and high water content that stimulates the production of saliva to help bathe the bacteria and plaque away.
Celery can’t take the place of good dental hygiene and shouldn’t replace brushing your dog’s teeth. However, it may help between brushing when your dog tries to get close to you but their breath needs refreshing.
There are some drawbacks, too.
- Sodium: A celery stalk contains 35 mg of sodium. This is high for a vegetable and could put stress on your dog’s kidneys if fed too much.
- Stringy fiber content: The strings of the celery stalk provide fiber, but are hard for our dogs to digest and may cause some havoc in your dog’s digestive tract. For puppies and small dogs, they can cause a choking hazard if not cut into small pieces.
The celery strings can also get stuck between your dog’s teeth, causing discomfort. Checking your dog’s teeth after a snack of celery and removing the strings can relieve the discomfort.
- More frequent urination: Low levels of a diuretic (phthalides) present in celery may make your dog pee more often. This is another reason to use moderation when offering your dog celery.
Celery can also cause an upset stomach or diarrhea if your dog eats a large amount. This is especially true for puppies.
- Pesticides: The USDA found 64 different pesticides on the leaves and stalks of celery during a study done several years ago. For this reason, buying organic is the way to go for your dog, or thoroughly washing the celery prior to feeding.
The celery leaves have the most pesticides, but also the most vitamins and minerals. They are okay to feed your dog if organically grown or cleaned properly and chopped into bite-sized pieces.
The safest ways to offer celery to your dog
Celery is a healthy snack that’s safe for your dog if eaten raw, cooked, pureed, or chopped. Make sure to either purchase organic celery or thoroughly wash the celery prior to offering it to your pup.
Cutting the celery stalks and even the leaves into bite-sized pieces reduces the choking hazard.
Tiny pieces work best for small dogs who can easily choke on the strings or chunks if they’re too large for their small mouths and throats.
Puppies have developing immune systems. Once your pup is fully weaned and well established on a nutritionally balanced diet of puppy food, talk to your vet about amounts you can offer without risking a tummy upset or choking hazard.
Whenever you offer your dog a snack, remember the 10% rule: nutritionally balanced dog food makes up 90% of your dog’s daily diet or calorie intake. Treats should only comprise the remaining 10% of your dog’s diet. Therefore, it’s better to offer your pup healthy fruits and vegetables rather than the more calorie-dense commercial dog treats to avoid obesity.
Snack Time! Celery treat ideas
Raw, chopped celery is a healthy on-the-go snack, especially if it’s a warm day and your dog needs some extra hydration.
One way for DIYers to offer celery is chopped up with a small dollop of peanut butter (just make sure it doesn’t contain Xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs). The peanut butter adds some extra protein and healthy fats.
Add it in with other safe fruit pieces like apples, oranges, blueberries, bananas, or even green beans or broccoli. You can mix them together with a bit of plain Greek yogurt for a hydrating snack, or try freezing the mixture for pupsicles!
Celery Peanut Butter Pupsicles are a tasty DIY dog treat using celery.
As you can see, celery is an excellent occasional treat idea for your fur baby. With its hydrating properties and additional vitamins and minerals, this low-calorie veggie is one of the best shareable treats we dog parents can enjoy with our pups.
As long as you make sure it’s organic or cleaned thoroughly, and chopped up, your pooch will love this crunchy nutritious treat and you won’t have to worry about too many calories going into your canine companion’s diet.