Are turnips a safe vegetable for dogs to eat? There are plenty of vegetables that are safe for dogs to eat. Adding certain vegetables to your pooch’s meals can have health benefits. It is also an affordable way of adding extra substance to Rover’s chow. Read on to learn more about turnips and whether you can feed them to your dog.
What Is Turnip?
Turnip is a root vegetable with leafy greens. They are a yellowish-white colour, sometimes with a purple top. The purple colour comes from exposure to the sun.
Turnips are similar to parsnips and rutabaga. Their texture and use in the kitchen are similar, too. Common preparations for turnips are in soups, mashed or roasted.
When you are buying turnips, look for the smaller bulbs. A smaller size means that they were harvested earlier which is preferable. Turnips that are bigger and were harvested later are less sweet and the texture becomes tougher to chew.
Are Turnips Healthy for Dogs?
Turnips can have certain health benefits for dogs when served in moderation. As with any vegetable, turnips don’t contain enough dietary nutrients to serve as a staple food for dogs.
Some of the health benefits associated with turnips are well-functioning kidneys, dietary fibre and being a source of minerals and vitamins. Another advantage of turnips is that they are low in calories because turnips have a high water content. This makes them a good option for dogs that are overweight or obese.
Turnips are said to help in maintaining healthy kidneys because they are a diuretic. A diuretic increases urine production. More urine means that the body is also flushing out more unnecessary by-products and filtrating the kidneys. If you have a dog with kidney disease then you can try adding a few bits of raw or cooked turnip to her meals. Don’t feed your dog too much turnip, though, even if your pet has kidney disease. Vegetables should not compose more than 10% of your dog’s meals.
Other nutritious qualities of turnips are vitamins and minerals. The vitamin C found in turnips is anti-inflammatory which helps prevent infections and rashes. It also contributes to heart health and supports a strong immune system. Adding turnips to your pooch’s meals can help with calming down inflamed skin.
Turnips also contain vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 which is also called folic acid. Vitamin B6 is associated with neurological health. It is said to balance the mood of dogs by encouraging the production of serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and norepinephrine are hormones that control stress levels. This could help ease dogs in busy environments.
Vitamin B9 or folic acid is especially beneficial for pregnant dogs. Aside from pregnancy, folic acid can also contribute to the general health of dogs, both male and female. Folic acid is said to help maintain intestinal health. This is why pups that suffer from intestinal diseases may be prescribed medicine containing folic acid by the vet.
An essential mineral found in turnips is magnesium. Magnesium is needed for healthy joints, bones and muscles. Especially old boys that are likely to suffer from arthritis will benefit from magnesium-rich food sources. The larger dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers are commonly affected by deteriorating joint health and weaker bones. Making sure that their diets have enough magnesium will slow down the process.
If your dog is overweight or obese then replacing certain high calorie foods with turnips is a good idea. Turnips consists mostly of water, are rich in dietary fibre and low in sugar. This means that turnips are low in calories, have a low glycemic index and promote regular bowel movements. Foods rich in dietary fibre take longer to digest which gives your dog the feeling of being full longer. This is useful when your dog needs to be put on a diet. If starchy foods like rice or potatoes are a regular part of your dog’s diet then you can try slowly replacing these foods with turnips.
How to Feed Turnips to Dogs
Dogs can eat both raw and cooked turnips. Raw turnips are crunchy. This is because turnips are a cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous vegetables have strong fibres which are still rough, and harder to chew for dogs, when left uncooked. You can make raw turnips easier to eat for your dog by cutting up the vegetable into small bite size blocks.
You can also choose to cook the turnips before feeding them to your dog. Cooking turnips will soften the fibres which will make it easier for your dog to digest. The digestive system of dogs is not well adapted to foods with a lot of fibre. So, if you are trying to introduce turnips to Bello’s diet then cooking the vegetable first will help to prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Turnips can be boiled, made into a paste like mashed potatoes or roasted in the oven. Remember to use a cooking method that does not require a lot of cooking oil. Also, don’t add spices, especially salt. Salty foods can cause a range of health issues in dogs such as dehydration, vomiting and even seizures. There are also several spices that are toxic to dogs so it is best to avoid them.
Vegetables are only meant to be a small portion of your dog’s regular meals. A common rule of thumb is around 10% of the meal. Turnips can be added to a protein-rich doggie meal for a balanced diet.
Even though vegetables should only be a small proportion of dog meals, you still need to introduce them gradually. Add a few blocks of turnips to your dog’s bowl during meal times. Then increase the amount over several days. If turnips are a replacement then slowly decrease that food at the same pace that the turnips are being added. This is the safest way to introduce any new food to your dog.