Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
Golden Retriever has a check up at the vet (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on June 24, 2019

Lettuce is a guilt free snack for many millions of people around the world – but is it safe for your dog?

It might be a question that you haven’t previously considered given humans have a perception that all vegetables are generally good for us in moderation.

However, dogs can have a delicate digestive system and a little alteration to their diet or a new food substance can offer trigger some gastro trouble.

Of course, pet parents will know that some foods such as chocolate, grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs. Other like shrimp are fine in small amounts.

But vegetables can be an overwhelming subject to navigate if you’re not a dog nutritionist.

Before we get into the bones of this article, we must emphasise this isn’t expert content. We recommend talking to your local vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or giving your cat/dog a new type of food to try.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at lettuce, whether it’s good for dogs and what benefits it has if any for our pooches.

We’ll break the article into the following sections to make the information provided clear and concise:

• Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
• Is Lettuce Safe for Dogs?
• Is Lettuce Good for Dogs?
• Can Dogs Eat Romaine Lettuce?
• Can Dogs Eat Iceburg Lettuce?
• Giving Dogs Lettuce In A Salad
• Is Steamed Lettuce Good For Dogs?
• Can my dog eat a lettuce head?
• Anything else to consider?
• In conclusion

Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?

You may have never thought of the possibility that lettuce isn’t good or safe for your dog.

After all, we’re encouraged to eat leafy greens on a daily basis to ensure we get our recommended amount of vitamins and minerals.

Perhaps you have fed your dog lettuce before without doing research, or on the other hand, maybe it’s never crossed your mind that it could be a viable snack for your dog.

The American Kennel Club says dogs can eat lettuce. But as always, you should exercise portion control as too much of anything can lead to gastro problems.

Is Lettuce Safe for Dogs?

For anyone in doubt, lettuce is a safe option for dog parents but too much lettuce can lead to diahrrea or stomach problems so don’t go overboard.

A dog may find it difficult to digest a full-sized lettuce leaf so it’s a good idea to chop it up into small pieces to make it easier to swallow.

If you’ve got a small dog, you’ll want to avoid giving them lettuce leaves because it could create a potential blockage or obstructions if it isn’t chewed properly.

For dogs that tend to woof down their food, it’s a good idea to hand feed small pieces of lettuce to avoid any unwanted issues.

Is Lettuce Good for Dogs?

Depending on where you read, lettuce is thought to be made up of 90 to 96 per cent water.

While there aren’t too many minerals and vitamins that your dog can get from lettuce, Rover.com write that lettuce does contain Vitamin A and Vitamin K.

It has a beta-carotene which can be converted into Vitamin A. This can help with weight loss if your dog needs to shed a few pounds, can fight diseases, as well as maintain your pup’s eye and skin health.

It is also contains fiber, which is important to prevent against constipation and diarrhea. Too much of lettuce can result in the latter, though.

Can Dogs Eat Romaine Lettuce?

Your dog can eat romaine lettuce as it doesn’t contain anything that is harmful to dogs.

However, you shouldn’t overfeed your dog with lettuce because it can lead to loose stools.

Can Dogs Eat Iceberg Lettuce?

Again, it’s safe to feed your dog iceberg lettuce. Like lettuce as a whole, iceberg lettuce is low in nutritional value.

Giving Dogs Lettuce In A Salad

You should be careful if you’re planning to give your dog some lettuce as part of a salad.

If you’re giving your pup some of your leftover lunch bought from the supermarket, there could be some hazardous ingredients.

For example, garlic and onions are poisonous to dogs, so you’ll need to ensure those two ingredients aren’t in the salad.

The dressing can be high in salt and sugars, which would be detrimental to your dog’s health.

Excessive salt can cause a spike in your dog’s blood pressure, while too much sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity further down the road.

Of course, if you’re making your dog a home-cooked salad, you can make sure you only include vegetables that are healthy for your precious pooch.

Is Steamed Lettuce Good For Dogs?

While it’s a good idea to chop of a lettuce into small pieces to make it easily digestible, you can also steam lettuce.

By doing so, you’re softening the texture of the lettuce and making it easier to swallow and digest for your dog.

You won’t have to worry about losing what little nutritional value lettuce has using this method because the vitamins and minerals are preserved.

It should help your dog to absorb the nutrients from lettuce when it has been steamed.

Can my dog eat a lettuce head?

Common sense applies here – you shouldn’t feed your dog a lettuce head.

We wouldn’t eat an entire head as humans so it’s not a good idea for your pooch either.

While too much lettuce can result in diarrhea or other digestive problems, there’s also the matter of the size of the head.

Just like apple cores, lettuce heads could lead to choking or cause an obstruction in your dog’s stomach should it get that far.

Anything else to consider?

A pug at the vet (Photo: Adobe Stock)
A pug at the vet (Photo: Adobe Stock)

You should wash the lettuce thoroughly before chopping it or steaming it and serving to your dog.

Whether you’ve picked the lettuce from the garden or purchased it from a shop, you want to make sure it doesn’t contain any germs.

Don’t be surprised if your dog refuses to eat lettuce. Some may have a sniff, a quick chew and spit it out.

It’s not just children who don’t like to eat their greens!

You should remember that not all human food is safe for dogs, such as chocolate, grapes and raisins.

Always consult with your local veterinarian before making a change to your dog’s diet to prevent complications.

In conclusion

The AKC say lettuce is safe to feed to your dog in moderate amounts. Various type of lettuce such as romaine and iceburg are perfectly fine.

It doesn’t contain a lot of nutrients but does have beta-carotene and is an excellent source of fiber for your dog.

If you decide to give your dog some lettuce as a snack or meal topper, you can steam the leaves to make them easier to swallow and digest.