A green, pepper-shaped vegetable with a mild taste, but a tough texture, Okra is the seed pod of the Abelmoschus esculentus plant. Okra is filled with tiny white seeds and is sometimes called lady's fingers due to its long, slender, tubelike shape. Originating in Ethiopia, Okra is regularly used in Southern American, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines in gumbo and stews, Okra is a very popular ingredient in these dishes. Many dog owners wonder whether a dog's diet can include Okra, and if so, how regularly can dogs eat Okra?
In summary, yes, dogs can eat Okra, but only occasionally, and only raw or boiled. Okra is a good source of protein and other nutrients for dogs.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Okra For Dogs?
Okra has several health benefits when dogs eat it. It is high in protein, carbohydrates, and rich in high-quality oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and fiber. The high fiber content in Okra is useful to reduce your dog's cholesterol level. It can help soften up your dog's feces, helps keep his intestinal tract in good shape, and prevent heart-related diseases Okra also is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of cancer.
Okra is also packed with vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Among the benefits of these vitamins is that vitamin A helps improve dogs' eyesight, particularly in low light conditions. Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Okra also contains some minerals, including folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Dogs with diabetes can benefit from eating Okra. According to a 2011 study, the insoluble fiber in Okra helps to stabilize blood glucose by regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the intestinal tract.
Okra also is helpful to dogs with ulcers or inflammation.
Okra can also promote dogs' healthy skin and coat.
How Can I Prepare Okra For My Dog?
While dogs are omnivores (i.e., they can eat a wide range of foods), vegetables are not particularly high on dogs' natural interest level, as their digestive systems prefer protein from animal sources. However, many dogs enjoy vegetables to eat as part of a balanced diet, and Okra could be something your pet enjoys. So while your dog can eat Okra, providing he likes it, dogs should only eat Okra as a treat once or twice a week, and he should preferably not eat Okra two days in a row.
Some dogs will not like Okra the first time they are given it but do take to it after a few attempts.
If your dog likes raw Okra, you can prepare the raw Okra into small slices or cubes for him. Many dogs do not like raw Okra, as it has a rather glue-like texture and may prefer to eat Okra boiled. If you boil the Okra, make sure nothing is added to it, including butter, onion, garlic, or seasoning - onion and garlic are toxic for dogs. You could boil it and mash the Okra up and serve it with his normal food.
Can dogs eat okra seeds? Yes, these are fine to include in your dog's diet, although he might find them slimy.
Can dogs eat Okra, which has been fried? It is not good to give this to your dog. When dogs eat fried food, including fried Okra, this adds unnecessary calories and fat into your dog's diet, which means the fried Okra will have less nutritional value and lead to obesity and heart disease in dogs. Frying food can also create carcinogens that may lead to colon cancer or other health issues. Eating too many fried foods can lead to pancreatitis and digestive upsets for dogs. So avoid serving your pet fried Okra even if he likes it.
Can dogs eat Okra, which is pickled? This is also not a very good choice to serve dogs, even if they like it. Humans can tolerate pickled foods better than animals, and the salt and spices added in the pickling process for is not healthy for your dog. When dogs eat pickled Okra, it is important to remember it will often include garlic or onions, which are dangerous for dogs even if they like them. Onions can cause anemia in dogs.
Are There Any Health Risks From Giving Dogs Okra?
Most dogs who like Okra will not suffer any adverse effects unless the Okra is fried or pickled. However, some dogs could be allergic to Okra. When giving your dog okra for the first time, start with very small quantities and check for any reactions after your dog has eaten it. Common after-effects, if your dog is allergic, include stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, recurring skin issues, dehydration, lack of energy, and appetite loss. If you notice any of these, or if your dog seems off-color in any way after eating Okra, take him to the vet.
Whether you give your dog raw or boiled Okra, do wash the okra well first. Okra can contain pesticides, which can be very harmful to your dog.
If you feed Okra in raw cubes, make sure they are not too big; otherwise, the raw okra cubes could pose a choking hazard for your dog.
Eating too many vegetables could cause gastrointestinal upsets for your dog. So balance the amount and type of vegetables you give him carefully. Your dog should get most of his nutrients from regular dog food, with a small amount of vegetables as part of his diet.
What Other Vegetables Can I Give My Dog?
As with Okra, only feed your dog small quantities of vegetables. They should not be a substitute for his regular diet.
You might like to give your dog asparagus. It contains vitamins and minerals as well as fiber, and dogs often love the mild flavor. It is best to cook the asparagus before giving it to your dog, as raw asparagus will be hard for him to digest.
Broccoli is another option for dogs to eat. Broccoli stalks, in particular, are good for your dog's immunity, can help prevent cancer and help inflammation from arthritis. If your pet chews on broccoli stalks, this helps his teeth flight plaque. However, broccoli should only be given in small quantities as it can upset your furry friend's tummy and give him gas.
Dogs often like carrots, which contain fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Chewing them raw can help ease anxious pets and also cleans their teeth. Some dogs cannot digest raw carrots. You can check his stools to see if there are any small carrot pieces, so you may need to cook them instead. You could also puree them after cooking. Carrots will help your pet's eyesight, and the antioxidants carrots contain will boost his immune system.
Celery is another option for your dog. It is a good source of minerals, as well as vitamins A, B, and C. It can improve heart health and reduce the risk of cancer. It can also freshen your pet's breath. Give him only the stalks, not celery leaves. You could chop the stalk up into bite-sized pieces if you are concerned he might choke on a whole stalk.
Your dog could benefit from eating kale. Known as a human superfood, it has value for animals too. It can fight a range of doggy health issues, like heart disease, allergies, and arthritis. You can steam it or chop it for your pet, but only in small quantities, occasionally. Overeating of it can cause gas and bloat for your pet.
Pumpkin, preferably fresh, is high in beta-carotene and fiber, and this can help your furry friend maintain healthy bowels and regulate things if he is suffering from diarrhea or constipation. Canned pumpkin is an option, but not with added sugar. Pumpkin seeds can also be given to dogs, and one health benefit is that they are anti-inflammatory due to the omega fatty acids they contain.
Cooked and mashed or pureed sweet potato as a treat is filling and nutritious, providing plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals for your furry friend. A cooked whole sweet potato could be a choking hazard, so cut it up into bite-sized pieces.
You can also shred some zucchini for your pet and add it to his regular meal. This adds water and fiber to his food and is a filling addition to his meal.
While not strictly a vegetable, parsley can be given to dogs and acts as a breath freshener. Your pet will also benefit from the potassium it contains, which is good for his muscle and joint health. Parsley also contains beta-carotene, which helps maintain healthy eyes. You could sprinkle a small amount of chopped parsley onto his meal.