Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Nov 17, 2020

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For many of us, lettuce is a staple in our daily diets.  We use all varieties of lettuce for salads, to add to sandwiches and even tacos!

There are many kinds of lettuce that we enjoy including spinach, arugula, kale (hugely popular these days) and just plain old iceberg lettuce.

Is it OK for us to share lettuce with our dogs?

For the most part, yes.  Arugula, romaine and iceberg lettuce can add a little crunch to your dog’s diet while not adding that many nutrients.  But, your dog might enjoy some.

Of course, lettuce in all forms is so low calorie that at least it isn’t adding any extra calories that your pup might not need.  So it could be used as a training treat for a dog that is overweight.

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Is Lettuce Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Dogs eating lettuce
*Arugula, Romaine, and Iceberg lettuce are safe to add to your dog’s diet.

Yes.  Lettuce is definitely safe for dogs, but if you give your dog too much lettuce, it might cause diarrhea.   So, less is more!

Lettuce tends to be very fibrous, particularly romaine and arugula, that might cause gastric upset.

Make sure to chop it up in fine pieces to avoid choking, particularly in smaller dogs.

As with any new food, add just a little to your dog’s diet to make sure your pup doesn’t have a negative reaction.

If your dog does have a negative reaction or anything unusual, make sure to get your pup to vet as soon as possible.

Of course, by having a pet insurance policy, it would help take care of all the costs of this visit and any care your dog might need.

We recommend Healthy Paws as the #1 pet health insurance provider!

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

Benefits Of Lettuce For Dogs

While lettuce is mostly water so it’s not as nutritious as some food, it does have beta-carotene and some good fiber, vitamins A, B, and K.

Iceberg has the lowest amount of fiber while Spinach and Kale both have a high amount of fiber so you might want to avoid those.

Of course, you want to make sure the lettuce is washed and plain.  No dressing on it or even a taste of your salad.  The plainer, the better!

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Can Lettuce Be Harmful To Dogs?

While lettuce is generally safe, there are a few other things to bear in mind.

Lettuce can be high in oxalic acid which can block a dog’s ability to absorb calcium properly.  If too much oxalic acid is ingested, it could lead to kidney damage.

Can Dogs Eat Kale?

Kale, especially, has some natural compounds that could be unsafe for dogs including calcium oxalate which could lead to bladder stones or severe gastric pain.

Of course, if your dog nibbles at a piece of Kale occasionally not to worry, just don’t add Kale to your pup’s daily diet.

Again, make sure to chop up and lettuce you share as a dog that is a natural gulper might ingest the whole leaf!

Some dogs have food allergies or might have an adverse reaction to any new vegetable that you share.

If your dog has any of the following symptoms after eating lettuce, please take your pup to your vet immediately:

  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Gastric Upset
  • Hives

Different Ways to Add Lettuce Into Your Dog’s Diet

Before you add any food to your dog’s diet, make sure that your vet gives you the OK prior to introducing lettuce to your pup.

Because lettuce is fairly mild, particularly the iceberg variety, you should be OK, but romaine and other lettuce types might need your vets’ approval.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach or is on certain medications, for example, lettuce might not be the right fit for your pup.

If your vet does give you the thumbs up, you can try a couple of different ways to add lettuce.

First of all, make sure it is washed properly and not on the recall list as Romaine has been in the last year.

A few ideas you can try with lettuce:

  • Chop up the lettuce and mix it in your dog’s food for a little crunch.
  • Sprinkle a bit of Romaine on top your dog’s dry food for some extra fiber.
  • Cut it up in cubes and give it your dog as a treat.

Other Vegetables and Fruit Your Dog Might Enjoy

If your dog isn’t a fan of lettuce, there are some other fruit choices you can try:

Grapes (and raisins), as well as avocados, are NOT safe for dogs to eat and they should never sample either.

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Final Thoughts on Lettuce For Dogs

Lettuce has some nice vitamins and filled with water so it could be a treat for your dog in very small doses.

As mentioned above, just add it slowly to see if your dog likes it and can digest it properly or doesn’t have a bad reaction to it.

If this does occur and you need to take your dog in for a vet visit or especially emergency care, let’s hope you have pet insurance!

There are many excellent pet insurance providers, such as Healthy Paws and Petplan that would cover 90% of all the costs of this and any other vet bill you might encounter.

With one treatment or emergency visit costing up to $1,000, pet insurance can save you a lot of money and relief!

If your dog isn’t a big fan of lettuce and you want to know other safe food that your dog can sample, our ultimate safe food guide can provide you with other options.

Other articles you may find helpful: 

 

Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Fun Facts, Dog FAQ, And Unsolicited Dog Advice

5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds

CAT FAQ

Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds

 

Finding safe alternative foods for your dogs to eat can be tricky. We have a long list of articles about every food you could possibly consider feeding your dog. One thing we recommend is that you consider looking into pet insurance for your pet and you can start by checking out the best rates for dog and puppy insurance

 

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