As a pet specialist, I sometimes come across curious pet owners who ask many questions regarding the welfare of their pets. One of the most recent concerns with most pet owners is whether their dogs will be affected by dandelion consumption. While dandelion has tons of benefits to your dog, it might be harmful when fed in excess; thus, stay tuned to know more.
Can dogs eat dandelions? Yes. Dogs can eat dandelions. However, the effect will depend on the dandelion amount that you have fed to your dog. Dandelion is only beneficial when taken in a considerable amount. Too much of it will be toxic!
When given the right amount, dandelion will assist any dog that suffers from low bile juice production, resulting in stomach disorders. Generally, weed is an excellent whole food source of vitamins and minerals. Your dog’s body will find these nutrients very easy to digest.
Most of the dandelion nutrients are found in the leaves. These leaves are rich in vitamins like vitamin A, B, C, D, and K. Besides, they contain vital minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Protein, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Antioxidants.
This article will discuss more about the pros and cons when feeding dandelion to dogs. After reading it, you will undoubtedly have valuable information on how to use dandelions on dogs. Stay tuned!
What Is A Dandelion?
A dandelion is a type of yellow wildflower that is most common in the early spring. The plant’s flowers mature to form spherical seed heads that are dispersed by wind easily. For this reason, some people refer to dandelions as blowballs.
As I come across multiple pet owners in my day-to-day activities, most of them have this million-dollar question: can dogs eat dandelions? Well, dandelions have lots of digestive, antibacterial, and liver tonic benefits to your dog when given in the right amount.
Is Dandelion Harmful to Dogs?
Dandelion has many nutritional benefits when fed to dogs. However, too much of anything is poisonous, so they say. Thus, when feeding dandelion to your dog, consider giving it at moderate rates. If consumed in excess, a dog can develop effects such as:
- Increase in potassium
- Excessive urinating
- Faster heart rate
- Stomach discomfort
Besides moderating the consumption, you should also understand that different parts of dandelion have different nutrients concentrations and effects.[Source]
These parts are outlined below.
What Dandelion Parts Can Dogs Eat?
Generally, all of the dandelion parts are valuable when used responsibly. However, these parts contain different levels of nutrients that are ideal for specific purposes. The various parts of dandelions and their uses are explained below.
This part is mainly avoided when processing dandelion for a dog meal. It has a nasty flavour that might not be appealing to most dogs. Besides, the white sticky latex produced by a dandelion produces a laxative effect.
flowers of a dandelion plant contain many antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Thus, they are ideal for treating chronic diseases, especially those caused by inflammation and free radicals.
the use of dandelion roots dates back to Native Americans and Traditional Chinese, who used them for liver and stomach conditions. Thus, you can feed these roots to your dog to increase its bile juice production.
this part of the dandelion has the most significant nutrients concentration compared to the other parts. They will certainly help your dog with digestion and boosting antioxidants.
[Related Article: Do Dogs Eat Cockroaches? What To Do When Your Dog Eats One?]
What is the Best Time to Harvest Dandelions?
Generally, dandelions are in plenty during the spring season. However, do not confuse the plant with other sunflower family members. Unlike most sunflowers, dandelion has rosettes that grow off the taproot straight to the ground.
Even though the plant is not toxic, sometimes the pesticides are. Thus, consider harvesting only the dandelion you know of, lest you may lose your dog.
Dandelion leaves should be picked during the early spring before the flowers begin to bloom. Picking them when the flowers have already bloomed causes them to have a bitter taste, which is not appealing to most dogs.
After collecting these leaves, dry them under the sun and preserve them in bags after drying. Repeat the same procedure with the flowers.
When it comes to harvesting the roots, consider picking them during late fall. After digging them out, chop them and dry them under the sun before crushing them.
How is Dandelion Used?
After harvesting your desired parts of the dandelion plant, you can use them while still afresh or consider drying them up. Also, you can brew the parts as either tonic or tea.
For a fresh dandelion consumption, add a few flowers and torn leaves to the dog’s dinner. At least two dandelion leaves are ideal for the pups, while the big dogs can consume up to five leaves. If your pet is challenged to eat the fresh leaves, consider blending them and mix with the dog meal.
Feed your dog in the ratio of one teaspoon per 20lbs body weight for the dried and crushed dandelion leaves and roots. Bitter tonic improves the dog’s digestion, and it is fed before the main meal.
Consider blending the leaves with some water or broth let the dog drink. If this is challenging for you or your dog, add a teaspoon of dried dandelion to your dog’s main meal. Dandelion is highly diuretic, thus give your pet a lot of daytime for peeing.
Benefits of Dandelions to Dogs
Dandelion is excellent for improving your dog’s liver, heart, digestive system, and kidney. The oxidant properties present in the plant improves the immune system, with lecithin improving the liver, gallbladder, and skin. Below are the exceptional benefits of dandelion to your dog.
Dandelion leaves can be fed to dogs that suffer from low bile juice or chronic indigestions to release more digestive juices that ease digestion. This, in turn, improves the appetite of your dog.
In the ancient world, dandelion had many herbal benefits, such as reducing inflammation and relieving pain. The polyphenols, flavonoids, and alkaloids available in this wildflower have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The plant is suitable mainly for anti-inflammation if harvested when the flowers are still bright yellow.
Free radicals usually cause several chronic conditions such as dementia, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and arthritis. The antioxidants available in the dandelion fight these free radicals to prevent your dog from the mentioned diseases.
The parts of a dandelion that contain the highest level of antioxidants are leaves and flowers. The two has a unique antioxidant known as beta-carotene. Thus, you will significantly boost the immune system of your dog by feeding it with dandelions. The available antioxidants will also slow its ageing.
The liver is an essential part of an animal’s body as it filters out toxins. Dandelion roots can be used to improve the production of bile in your dog while increasing the bile’s circulation in the liver. For this reason, toxins will be excreted via the kidneys.
In addition, the roots are excellent for treating inflammation in the gallbladder or gallstones. Consider feeding dandelion to your dog if you notice the following signs:
- Chronic constipation
- Skin disease
When your dog’s pancreas is producing insufficient insulin, it is likely to develop a condition known as diabetes mellitus. Insulin is responsible for enhancing the efficiency of the body using fats, proteins, and sugars.
Feeding dandelions to your dog will help in alleviating this condition. Most importantly, you can use different dandelion forms like powder, dried leaves, juice, or tincture. In addition, the plant is excellent for fighting particular infections, mainly when processed into a wash.
Is dandelion ideal for dogs’ consumption?
Dandelions got tons of vitamins, minerals, and fibre; thus, they certainly provide a few health benefits to dogs. However, there is minimal scientific proof to support this. For this reason, consult your vet before feeding dandelions to your dogs.
My dog does not find dandelion appealing. Why?
Dogs might not be interested in eating dandelions for various reasons. Maybe you were late in digesting your dandelion; thus, its leaves became bitter.
Also, your dog might find it hard to eat fresh dandelion leaves and flowers. For this case, consider feeding your dog with powdered dandelion.
[Related Article: Why Is My Dog Eating Everything All Of A Sudden]
Typically, dandelions are not harmful to dogs. However, this only applies when the plant is fed to the pet at controlled rates. Too much of its consumption can make your dog develop adverse health conditions. Similarly, dandelion treated with a deadly herbicide can still be a poison to the dog. For this reason, always ensure you feed your dog with your dandelions.