We think we can all agree that taking good care of a good takes a lot of time and commitment – nearly just as much as if you were raising a child. And much like in the case of kids, proper, healthy nutrition makes a huge part of this effort.
Unfortunately, nutrition is one of the areas where dog owners make the most mistakes. Not because they are sloppy but mostly because they are operating under false assumptions.
You see most of us have a pretty good idea about what makes a healthy, nutritious meal and whatnot. So, we try to translate our healthy diet habits into the world of dogs. But, it just so happens that their digestive systems are completely different from ours and what makes us healthy can make our puppies sick.
In one of our previous articles, we tried to examine how dogs react to rosemary. Today we are staying in the same field so we are going to try to answer the question can dogs eat parsley?
Let’s Talk About Parsley
Of course, to answer this question we will first need to thoroughly examine the food in question.
So, what do we know about parsley anyway?
For a start, parsley is a popular flowering plant that comes to us from the shores of the Mediterranean. Over the course of history, the plant gained great popularity as a cure that efficiently deals with conditions like allergies, high blood pressure, and inflammatory diseases.
Over time, people discovered that aside from these medical properties parsley also works like charm spicing up the food, so these days we see the plant in a countless number of popular recipes all around the globe.
But, we are not here to talk about how parsley tastes great. We are all aware of that. We are here to see if you can feed this popular spice herb to your puppy.
With that in mind let us quickly break down parsley’s nutritional value. One half of a cup of freshly chopped parsley (that would be 30 grams of the herb) contains:
Parsley Health Benefits
It doesn’t take more than a passing look at these awesome numbers to see that parsley is a true healthy powerbomb. All of the important nutrients listed above provide more than a couple of interesting benefits.
Parsley Is Incredibly Rich In Antioxidants
If you are unfamiliar with the term, antioxidants are compounds that do an excellent job in preventing the damage caused by molecules called free radicals. The antioxidants we can find in parsley are:
- Vitamin C
The medical conditions we are talking about are as follows:
- Colon cancer
- Heart diseases
- Type-2 diabetes
You might be thinking now “all that is great but what it has to do with my dog?” Well, all the conditions we have described above are just as present in the animal world as they are in the world of humans.
For instance, we don’t know if you are aware of the fact that according to recent research 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year. This is a problem you should seriously take into consideration if you own a pet.
Parsley Supports Bone Health
As we can see from the numbers above, bone fractures are very present amongst dogs of all ages and sizes. The fact that parsley is so stacked with beneficial Vitamin K means that parsley can be incredibly beneficial in promoting bone health and helping injured dogs in recovery.
Parsley Is Rich In Nutrients That Improve Sight
This issue is very present amongst older pets or the ones suffering from diabetes. Namely, as much as 10% of dogs become diabetic during their life and 75% of them will go blind as a consequence of the condition. Taking care of your pets’ sight should be your absolute priority.
Keeping that in mind, we are glad to report that rich supplies of three carotenoids we can find in parsley (lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin) do a great job at improving eyesight as much as the overall health condition allows.
So, to sum it all up, parsley is an incredibly healthy and beneficial herb that should, by all means, find a way in every healthy diet program – animals included. But, let us go back to the main question of this article – can dogs eat parsley, and if so how it should be prepared.
Can Dogs Digest Parsley Without Any Harm?
Some of the main concerns we have when we are wondering if we can feed some food to a dog are A – dogs are primarily carnivores and B – does the food contain dangerous toxins that can be digested by humans but not dogs.
Well, we first have to mention that since it’s mostly used to add flavor to other food, parsley is used only in moderation so its effects, good or bad, are not as present as if you served it as the main dish. In that regard, parsley is no different from basil we have covered in one of our previous articles.
You see, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) claims that parsley contains some toxins that can potentially be harmful to dogs (Furanocoumarins). This applies to all varieties of parsley covering the three most popular – Italian parsley, Hamburg parsley, and Turnip-rooted parsley.
But, the amount of parsley we use to prepare food is so small that, except in some cases we will mention further below, parsley can’t case your dogs any real harm.
The same goes for the fact that parsley is, in its essence a plant, and not suitable for carnivores like your favorite furred friends. Since you use it only as a spice plant you are good to go.
So, can dogs eat parsley? The short answer is yes. As a matter of fact, adding this popular plant to your dog’s diet can drastically improve the animal’s health and help your puppies deal with some very nasty medical conditions we have mentioned in the previous section.
Does that mean you can use parsley without any limitations or considerations? Of course not.
What You Should Know Before Feeding Your Dog With Parsley
First and foremost, much like other non-spicy plants (in one of the previous articles we have already considered the troubled relationship between dogs and spicy food) parsley should be used only in moderation if you want to keep the pup healthy. So, no matter how the parsley salad may sound appealing to you, the dogs are not really into this.
Use Parsley Moderately
The math is really simply – dog’s digestive systems are far more sensitive than ours, and if you stack their meals with parsley, at some point they will not be able to deal with all the toxins this popular plant packs within its beautiful green leaves.
Stick With The Curly Parsley
This is, at the same time, the main reason why you should stay away from exotic parsley varieties and stick with the traditional curly parsley we can find on the tables all around the world. Humanity settled for this specific type because it’s tasty, healthy, nutritious, and non-toxic. Don’t use your favorite pet to experiment with new, exotic tastes.
Use Only Fresh Chopped Parsley
To put it simply, although it tastes well dried parsley is far more concentrated and thus far more toxic. This, unfortunately, becomes the threshold where it becomes unsuitable for dogs. Don’t worry, though, they are not in for a taste anyway.
What about boiled or processed parsley? Well, in this case, the toxin levels are firmly under control but you also lose a lot of the health benefits so why would you use it in the first place. As we just mentioned, the dogs are not that thrilled about the taste of parsley.
The fresh, chopped parsley, however, strikes the perfect balance between the two. Also, when fresh, parsley can help dogs improve their breath. So, this is definitely the way to go.
Keep Parsley Away From Pregnant Dogs
When used in larger amounts, parsley can cause slight muscle contractions. This is not that big of a problem in itself, but if your dog is pregnant even the slightest of these contractions can produce very unfortunate consequences. Even though such results are caused by excessive amounts of parsley it is best to keep it away from pregnant dogs altogether.
And we are finally at the very end which means it is time to sum this bad boy up. Parsley is one of those plants that, like mint, are not very closely associated with the dog breed. But all these spice herbs are healthy so we have every right to wonder can they be served to our favorite furry friends. In most cases, the answer is yes but only in moderation. Parsley is not that different. The plant simply offers far too appealing health benefits to keep it away from your dog’s diet. But, parsley also packs some nasty toxins which limit the use only to small amounts. No need to worry, though – something is better than nothing.