Dog owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of foods both before and after they feed human foods to their dogs. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that particular foods are toxic which has received a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, and peanut butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about vegetables such as celery.
Learn more about what dogs can and can't eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can't Eat.
Can Dogs Eat Celery?
Dogs often love the crunchy texture of celery and can enjoy this as a healthy snack. Celery is low in calories and has approximately 94 to 95% water and known for its long green crunchy stalks. Celery is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin A, and other antioxidants. Many human nutritionists highly regard celery for its touted anti-inflammatory benefits.
Celery has been cultivated as a vegetable for centuries. In fact, there is documentation of celery garlands in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut who died 1323 B.C.). There are different types of celery including wild celery, celery root, and leaf celery. Depending on the type, the stalk, leaves, or base may be eaten or used in cooking.
Celery became popular in the United States in the mid-1850s. In North America, the most common celery is primarily the cultivar called Pascal celery. The stalk can be eaten raw or included in many stews, soups, salads and as a common ingredient in dressing (also known as stuffing). Celery seeds are used in herbal medicine and to make celery salt. Celery salt is used in seasonings such as Bloody Mary cocktails or in Old Bay Seasoning.
To answer the question, “Can dogs eat celery?” The answer is, “Yes.” Celery can make a very good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs.
Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.
The Dangers of Celery to Dogs
When researching the safety of celery for dogs, there are three considerations that impact the danger.
- Risk of choking from eating large prices of Celery or the very stemmy parts. This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.
- Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in dogs that aren't used to celery, including celery that is cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in some dogs.
- Toxicity can occur when celery is fed to dogs with peanut butter that contains the toxic ingredient xylitol. Learn more about Peanut Butter Toxicity in Dogs.
However, be aware that just because your dog can eat an occasional small piece of celery, doesn't suggest it is safe to give him your leftover salad or meal. For example, salads or chicken salad that includes celery may also include additional ingredients, such as onions, garlic or even raisins, which can be toxic. However, it is generally okay to give your dog a piece of celery.
Do Dogs Need Celery?
There is nothing in Celery that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about what dogs require in their diet with this article: Nutrition in Dogs.
The Safest Way to Give Celery to Dogs
The safest and healthiest way to give celery to your dog is to give small pieces of fresh cut or cooked celery. Make sure the celery is washed thoroughly to remove pesticides, fertilizers and potential contaminates such as E. coli or listeria. Cooked celery is a healthy option and best when unseasoned and steamed. Excess butter or seasoning can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs.
If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating celery, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Celery?
Although uncommon, dogs can be allergic to celery. In humans, celery allergies can cause severe allergic reactions that can be fatal. It appears that the allergen in celery is not destroyed by cooking. Other food allergies are more common in dogs such as to chicken and beef. Food allergies in dogs can cause skin infections and/or gastrointestinal problems.