We all love to share the occasional tidbit with our dogs, and lots of human foods are safe for dogs in moderation, including several vegetables.
But what about more unusual foods? Some seemingly harmless foods, such as grapes, can be highly toxic to dogs, even if only one or two are eaten. So, what about artichokes? Are they safe for dogs to eat?
Read on to learn more about these unusual vegetables and whether your dog can share an occasional piece of artichoke with you.
What is an artichoke?
An artichoke is actually an immature flower bud of a thistle plant. The bud is harvested before it blooms and requires careful preparation and cooking before it is suitable for eating.
The “heart” of the bud is usually the most desirable part, along with the center of the stem. Globe artichokes are the most popular variety, closely followed by baby artichokes.
Artichoke or Jerusalem artichoke?
Although they might sound similar, an artichoke is very different from a Jerusalem artichoke. Jerusalem artichokes (sometimes known as sunchokes) are a species of sunflower and it is the tuber part of the plant that is edible, as opposed to the flower bud.
Are artichokes good for dogs?
Artichoke for dogs may not be a common choice for a treat but artichokes are packed full of nutrients that can provide the same health benefits to our dogs as they do to us.
They are loaded with vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B12, iron, potassium, and many more. These all have a huge variety of important health functions throughout the body.
Artichokes are also high in fiber, an essential nutrient that helps to promote regular digestion and form solid stools. Another benefit of artichokes is that they are very low in calories and fat, an especially important consideration for a dog that is already overweight. All of these factors make artichokes a very healthy choice of treat for your dog.
Are artichokes bad for dogs?
As a general rule, artichokes are not bad for dogs, but there are a few things to be aware of before sharing some with your pet. As with any new food that you give your dog, begin by offering a very small amount to check that they are not going to have any adverse reactions.
Although unlikely, your dog could be allergic to artichokes, so watch him carefully after he has eaten it. Signs of an allergic reaction could include excessive drooling, swelling of the eyes, ears, or nose, or skin hives.
Allergic reactions can be life-threatening so contact your veterinarian straight away if you spot any of these signs in your dog.
It is best to feed your dog plain, raw, or boiled artichoke that isn’t cooked with anything else. Avoid canned or jarred artichokes as these often contain harmful preservatives or seasonings such as salt, garlic, or onion powder.
How to feed artichokes to your dog
The best way to feed artichokes to your dog is to feed them raw as this maximizes their nutritional content. As with most vegetables, cooking artichokes destroys some of their valuable vitamins and minerals.
It is still safe to feed your dog cooked artichoke, though, as long as it is boiled in water and not cooked with any oil or other seasonings. Never feed your dog a whole artichoke as it could pose a choking hazard. Cut the artichoke into small pieces that are appropriately sized for the size of your dog before feeding it to them.
As with any treat, only feed artichokes in moderation as an occasional treat. Feeding too much artichoke at once could lead to digestive problems such as flatulence, diarrhea, and vomiting.
So, can dogs have artichokes?
In short, the answer is yes, artichokes are a perfectly safe and even healthy treat option to feed your dog. Only ever feed a small amount on an occasional basis and monitor your dog carefully for any unwanted side effects.
Bear in mind that dogs all have different taste preferences, just like humans, and this means that some dogs might turn their noses up when offered artichoke!
If your dog is partial to the odd piece of artichoke, though, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they are safe for him to eat.
Gemma is an experienced small animal vet who combines her love of writing alongside working in practice. Since her graduation from the University of Liverpool in 2014 she has worked in a wide variety of roles including first opinion practice, as a night vet and as a locum vet. She has also spent time working at a charity clinic in the Cook Islands which was a challenge but also immensely rewarding. She loves all aspects of veterinary work, but she especially enjoys medicine cases and diagnostic imaging. She is passionate about pain-management, particularly in her more senior patients. She currently works in a first opinion small animal practice in North Yorkshire where she deals with both routine and emergency cases.