Your pet dog is one of your beloved family members. You want the best health, best home, best food, and best fun for them. Knowing what your pup can and cannot eat is essential to having a healthy, happy canine. So the question today is, can dogs eat okra?
Dr. Jess will answer this question and more below:
It’s always best to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are completely healthy for humans is risky for dogs to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them!
What Do Dogs Eat?
Some dogs aren’t too picky about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you try to give them.
Some dogs are pickier than others. Pickier puppies can be hard to properly feed.
A common pet canine diet consists of a complete dry or wet feed and possibly supplements in some specific cases (not all pet dogs need supplements).
There is also foraging if the dogs are allowed to roam or are feral, and of course there are treats!
The diet of every dog breed can very and is important to know when offering food to your dog.
An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we???
So let’s talk specifically about okra and how it could affect your dog’s diet and overall health.
What the Heck Is Okra?
Okra is a green, pepper-shaped vegetable. It is a flowering perennial plant, meaning that it comes back year after year.
It has a mild taste and a tougher texture, with an outer peach-like fuzz.
Okra is cultivated in the U.S. for its fibrous fruits (or pods) containing round, white seeds on the inside.
Okra comes in all different sizes, colors, shapes, and tastes.
Types of Okra:
There are varieties or green okra and red okra, where the red okra, once cooked, turns green.
The red okra has the same taste as the green okra – the only big difference is their colors.
Okra is a nutrient-dense vegetable that contains protein, fiber, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Raw okra is 90% water, 2% protein, 7% carbohydrates and low in fat. According to the USDA, a 100 gram amount of raw okra is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K, with moderate contents of thiamin, folate and magnesium.
Okra is also a source of antioxidants.
Both the okra, its pods, and its seeds contain a variety of antioxidant compounds which studies have found may help lower the risk of certain cancers.
Keep in mind that depending on how the okra is prepared, will determine its final nutrient content.
Dogs can benefit from the high levels of nutrients in okra, but okra should not replace the nutrition that a complete dog feed provides for your dog.
Your dog should already be getting everything it needs from their ‘complete’ dog food.
Can Okra Be Harmful to Dogs?
Okra can have pesticides on it that can severely harm of even kill your dog. It is imperative that you thoroughly wash all produce before offering it to your pet.
Anything your dog puts in their mouth, okra included, can be seen as a choking hazard, so always feed your dog while watching them.
Besides the choking hazard, okra can be dangerous to your furry friend if it has parasites or certain harmful microorganisms, making the pet sick after ingestion (eating).
Eating too many veggies can also be a problem – Dogs may suffer stomach bloat, gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and other signs of gastrointestinal issues from ingesting too much vegetable matter at one time or consecutively over a long period of time.
The way that the okra is prepared is anohter factor that could cause your pup harm if not carefully monitored.
Pickled okra and fried okra are preparations that are not safe for dogs to consume and should always be avoided.
Fried foods are high in fats and can be very dangerous to the dog.
The pickling process usually involves a list of spices, garlic, or onion, which are dangerous for dogs to consume, so pickled okra should be avoided at all times too.
You also need to ensure that the okra isn’t heavily salted or buttered or covered with fatty flavor enhancers, all of which can do damage to your dog’s health.
Lastly, all living creatures, dogs and humans alike, can experience food allergies. There is a potential, just like any other food, for your dog to have an allergic reaction to okra.
This means even if your dog has been fine with some foods before, that won’t always be the case.
Common symptoms of food allergies in dogs include recurring skin problems and gastrointestinal issues that can result in decreased energy, lack of appetite, or diarrhea and/or vomiting.
So yes, consuming okra has its risks for your furry friend.
Do Dogs Like Okra?
Just like in people, some dogs like okra, other dogs do not.
There’s the flavor of the vegetable itself, but there’s also it’s different texture to go with it.
The only way to see if your dog likes okra is to try it out first hand. But is it safe for dogs to consume okra???
Can Dogs Eat Okra?
Yes, they sure can. At least the store-bought okra that has been properly washed from chemicals, dirt, and insects.
Okra is safe for dogs and contains vitamin B and C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and folic acid, which support the health of your dog’s immune system, metabolism, nerves, muscles, and bones.
Okra’s antioxidant levels may also help with preventing cancer and it is also good for dogs with diabetes as it has been shown in studies to help regulate blood sugar levels.
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences conducted on rats, showed results of insoluble fiber in okra helped to stabilize blood glucose by regulating the rate at which sugar was absorbed in the intestinal tract.
How to Serve Okra to Dogs:
So, we know that okra is okay for dogs in small quantities, but can dogs eat okra any old way?
Dogs can eat cooked okra, as long as it is not of the fried variety and as long as it hasn’t been cooked with any flavor-enhancing ingredients like garlic, onion, or hot spices. It needs to be plain okra.
If your canine doesn’t turn down the slimy texture of the center of the okra, they can safely snack on a few raw sliced cubes.
Okra seeds can have a slimy texture that some dogs will not have an affinity for, but okra seeds are fine for dogs to eat.
- Store-bought human-safe okra
- cutting board
- kitchen knife
- Wash the okra to rid it of any possible pesticides, dirt, or other chemicals.
- Place the okra on the cutting board and cut into coins.
- Give your dog one okra coin to start with to see if they accept the taste and texture. Monitor the dog for 24 hours for adverse signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack or energy, decreased appetite, skin irritation/increased licking (espcially paws), etc.
- If your dog liked the first piece of okra and did not show signs of a reaction, you may try giving them another piece after the initial 24 hours. Slowly add more pieces ("coins") of okra to your dog's treat routine, but always in moderation!
Discuss the implementation of feeding okra to your dog with your veterinarian before attempting to feed your dog a piece of okra.
How Much Okra Can My Dog Have?
You can treat your pet dog by giving them okra once or twice a week, but no two days in a row.
We don’t want to feed them this veggie too often because too many vegetables in their diet can lead to stomach upset, dehydration, and worse things down the road if left untreated.
Too much human food may also make your dog’s diet unbalanced and not their nutritional needs that they would normally be getting with their “complete feed”.
If they fill up on healthy snacks, they may be less inclined to eat their dog food that is balanced for your dog’s dietary needs.
So in summary to how much okra is okay to give to your dog at one time – okra should only be given to your doggie as a treat and not a source that’s regular in their diet.
What Types of Okra Can Dogs Consume?
Any store-bought okra that is safe for human consumption can be given to dogs in moderation with small amounts, as long as it is plain okra without the addition of spices or other ingredients such as butter, salt, garlic, or onion, to name a few.
Okra is a veggie that has many nutritional benefits for your dog.
It can be feed to dogs in moderation and only as a snack a couple of times a week safely.
Some dogs will not like the texture of the vegetable, and others will scarf it down!
Closely monitor your dog when feeding them treats and slowly introduce okra to your dogs treat routine and stop immediately and contact your vet if you notice your dog acting abnormally after ingestion.
Your vet wants your dog healthy too, trust me!