Can dogs eat okra? Yes, okra is a healthy, low-calorie veggie snack for dogs. Okra is high in fiber, which helps in weight management and regulating blood sugar. Okra also contains calcium and magnesium that promote healthy bone health in dogs.
Read on to know how okra can affect your dog’s health and learn if it can be a regular part of his diet.
What Health Benefits Does Okra Have for Dogs?
Is okra good for dogs? Yes, okra is good for dogs, just as it is for humans. Okra is a low-calorie food containing ample amounts of antioxidants, protein, amino acids, dietary fiber, and other essential nutrients.
Now, let us talk about the health benefits of okra to dogs:
Aids in Weight Loss
The dietary fiber in okra and its minimal calories make it suitable for dogs that need to lose weight. This veggie helps them quickly feel full and minimizes the food they consume.
Dietary fiber also assists the digestive system, ensuring that it runs smoothly. Thus, pooches have regular bowel movements and pass off stools regularly. This further helps them to lose pounds.
Helps Fight Off Illnesses and Diseases
Okra contains vitamins A, C, and E, all powerful antioxidants. They boost the immunity of dogs by preventing too many free radicals from entering the body. This lowers oxidative stress and cellular damage, which is linked to the development of various health issues such as cancer.
Supports Bone Health
Okra is rich in bone-enhancing minerals, specifically calcium, manganese, and magnesium.
Calcium is essential in building strong bones. Magnesium plays a big role in the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the bones. Manganese helps ensure normal bone growth.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
A study on animals showed the ability of the insoluble fiber found in okra to control the absorption rate of sugar in the digestive tract. This opens the possibility that the veggie can help diabetic dogs manage their blood sugar levels.
What Problems Can Happen If Dogs Eat Okra?
As with most human foods, some health issues may crop up if okra is fed to dogs. Fortunately, most of them are not severe and can be easily resolved.
Below are the most common issues that can happen if your dog eats okra:
Upset Stomach Because of Overfeeding
It is important to limit the portions of okra when feeding your pooch. Do not go beyond a few slices. Since it is high in dietary fiber, consuming this veggie in large amounts can cause problems in his digestive tract. He might experience:
These symptoms may last a few hours, so your dog needs extra care. Let his stomach settle down by holding off his meals for at least 12–24 hours, but do not restrict him from drinking small amounts of water.
If his digestive distress has been alleviated, switch him temporarily to a bland diet for a few days. However, if his vomiting and diarrhea continue for 24 hours, bring him to the vet because he is at risk of severe dehydration.
Allergic Reaction Might Ensue
For this reason, introduce okra to your furry pal in small quantities. If he shows signs of allergic reaction such as skin infection, hives, itchiness, and swelling, stop feeding him the veggie.
Take your dog to the vet immediately to get his condition assessed. If the diagnosis results confirm that okra is the culprit of the symptoms, it should be excluded from your dog’s diet.
Contributes to the Formation of Kidney Stones
Okra carries moderate amounts of oxalates, which are one of the main causes of kidney stone formation in humans and even dogs. This is another reason pet owners must limit how much okra dogs should eat.
The presence of oxalates in okra can exacerbate the condition of pooches with kidney issues. Thus, this veggie is not the healthiest snack for them.
Has a Low Risk of Causing Toxicity
Are okra plants poisonous to dogs? No, okra plants are not toxic to dogs unless consumed in large portions.
Okra plants contain solanine, which is a toxic chemical commonly produced by nightshade plants. However, they only contain a minimal amount of this harmful compound.
Hence, okra plants are not a big threat to dogs, unlike green tomatoes, which are naturally high in solanine. But dog owners are advised always to practice caution.
Keep your furry friend away from okra plants. If you grow them in your back garden, keep them enclosed in a sturdy fence.
Also, keep in mind to avoid feeding your dog excessive amounts of okra, as the veggie also contains small amounts of solanine.
What Types of Okra Are Safe for Dogs?
All types of okra, including Clemson spineless, jambalaya, and Star of David are safe for your dog to eat. However, be careful on preparing it for him as some cooking methods can turn okra into an unhealthy snack.
Can Dogs Eat Okra Leaves?
Yes, okra leaves are safe for dogs to eat. Other parts of the plant are edible too, including the flowers and pods. Before feeding any of these to your dog, make sure to wash them properly to get rid of dirt and chemical residues.
Can Dogs Eat Okra Seeds?
Yes, you can feed okra seeds to your furry pal. They can be easily digested and are less likely to cause choking since they are soft.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Okra?
Yes, eating raw okra is safe for dogs. However, some pooches might be put off by the vegetable’s slimy texture. Cutting it into small cubes or mushing and mixing it into their dog food will entice picky canines to eat this veggie.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Okra?
Yes, cooked okra is safe for dogs to eat as long as it is served plain. Do not add additional ingredients since these could upset your dog’s digestive system.
It is important to note that high heat will dissolve most of the okra’s nutrients. The best way to keep its vitamins and minerals intact is by steaming the veggie or cooking it on low heat.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Okra?
No, do not feed your dog fried okra. Fried foods are high in fat, making them unhealthy for canines. They can cause various health issues, from mild digestive upset to severe pancreatitis.
Can Dogs Eat Pickled Okra?
No, pickled okra is not an ideal snack for dogs. Most pickled okras contain onions, which are toxic to canines. Although some pickled okra brands do not use onions, they are still unhealthy for dogs because of their high sugar and salt content.
Foods high in salt and sugar can negatively affect the function of your dog’s kidneys, heart, and digestive system if ingested in large amounts.
What Vegetables Can You Not Give Your Dog?
Although many vegetables are dog-friendly, there are a few that must not be included in their meals. Here are some vegetables that are harmful to your canine companion:
Chives, Leeks, and Shallots
Chives, leeks, and shallots have the same adverse effects as onions. They can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in mild cases. In worst cases, ingesting these vegetables may result in life-threatening anemia.
We have mentioned that unripe tomatoes contain solanine. That is not the only toxic compound they possess. They also contain tomatine, which can damage your dog’s stomach, kidney, and nervous system if eaten in large amounts.
Rhubarb produces high amounts of oxalic acid. This poisonous compound can lead dogs to have kidney failure and coma.