For a lot of Americans, salads are a popular meal option. But can dogs eat lettuce? In general, yes. Lettuce of the romaine, arugula, and iceberg varieties do not contain ingredients that can really harm your dog. After all, lettuce is 90 percent water and is also a low-calorie snack that could be a good training treat for an overweight dog. Plus, there’s just something about that crunch that dogs love!
Is Lettuce Safe for Dogs?
While you can feed your pup greens, there are possible risks. Giving them too much could cause diarrhea, so moderation is important.
It should be noted that spinach, while containing large amounts of Vitamins A, B, C, and K, is also very high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. Kale also contains several potentially harmful natural compounds, including calcium oxalate—which could lead to kidney and bladder stones—and isothiocyanates, that can cause mild to potentially severe gastric irritation.
Because it is very fibrous, lettuce can also be hard to digest in big pieces. Chopping it up is better than handing your dog a whole leaf, especially for smaller dogs or those that are prone to gulping down their food.
Make sure you wash your lettuce thoroughly and that you know where it originates. Due to recalls of lettuce contaminated by E. coli or listeria, you should be extra cautious about the lettuce you buy, so that no one in your household (including your pet) gets sick.
Is Lettuce Good for Dogs?
Given that it’s 90 percent water, lettuce’s nutritional content is somewhat low, especially the iceberg variety. But it does contain beta-carotene (a red-orange pigment that’s converted into Vitamin A) and is a great source of fiber. Exact nutritional value varies among the different types of lettuce.
However, be aware that just because your dog can eat lettuce doesn’t mean you should give him your leftover salad! Salad could include other ingredients, such as onions, that are toxic to pups. But, generally speaking, it’s okay to sneak your dog a piece of lettuce from time to time.