Can Dogs Eat Raw Celery?

Back in the early 2000’s my (then) wife went through a faze of eating celery.

She would eat a few sticks per day, in the same way that other people might snack on a protein bar or a rice cake…

I mean, at the time we were living in California….

The real attraction of raw celery was that it supposedly had “negative calories”.

Now, I can vouch for how few calories it has because I discuss it in more detail later.

In case you are wondering, “negative calories” means that a food takes more calories to process by the body than it contains.

Which makes a lot of sense, if only it were true!

But what about for our dogs? 

Does raw celery have a role to play in their nutrition or should it just be made into soup?

What nutrients does celery contain?

Like most vegetables the power and attraction of celery cannot be seen in how much fat and protein it contains.

Instead the nitty gritty is to be found in the vitamins and minerals.

And one of the most abundant vitamins that it contains is vitamin K, which as vitamins goes is  almost unheard of.

Vitamin K plays a very important role within a dog’s body because it is crucial in helping their blood to clot

A dog that has a deficiency in vitamin K will bleed excessively.

The interesting thing is that I can’t find out exactly how much vitamin K a dog needs.

Normally I look at this document which makes no mention of vitamin K in a dog’s diet. 

All I can tell you is that a 100 g serving of raw celery contains 24% of a human’s recommended daily intake. 

The other big vitamins within celery are vitamin A and vitamin B6.

Vitamin A is very important for maintaining good eyesight and vitamin B6 is important for maintaining healthy cells within a dog’s body.

And celery almost gives a dog exactly what it needs in terms of vitamin A. It contains almost the exact concentration of vitamin A.

Although celery contains lots of B6, it isn’t quite as much as a dog needs. In fact the concentration levels are about half. 

But that is OK.

Remember that if your dog is on a complete dry or wet food diet then they will be receiving everything vitamin and mineral wise that they need.

Any other vegetables that you are adding to their diets act like boosters!

I think that the main mineral within celery to write home about is potassium. 

Although 100g of celery contains a very good dose of potassium for people (about 6%), a dog needs much more potassium in their diet and so celery adds a minor potassium boost as far as dogs are concerned!

Is cooked celery better for my dog?

Whereas raw celery can be used as a treat- a healthy replacement for dog biscuits- but by cooking celery you are changing the way that you would use it with a dog.

Cooked would be better added to their main meal and it wouldn’t make any sense as a separate treat?

Could you imagine feeding your dog a side of lightly steamed celery which left them licking their lips.

As well as making celery softer, cooking it reduces its vitamin and mineral content as well.

The changes aren’t massive as long as you steamed the celery rather than roasted it!

This might make sense for an older dog who is in need of a boost of vitamin K or potassium.

Any real vitamin deficiencies should be treated by or with guidance from a vet. 

Why would you feed raw celery to a dog?

We have already described how the vitamins and minerals contained within celery can boost them in terms of their health, but a dog owner might be keen to add celery to their diet for other reasons.

In fact, I can think of five.

[1] Availability

The first one that sprang to my mind is that celery is an excellent choice for dogs, because it is so popular with people and most of us have in our fridges to hand.

[2] Low calorie

It also makes an excellent snack for dogs because it is so low in calories. 100 g of celery only has 14 calories, compared to a colossal 41 calories for the same amount of carrots. 

[3] Low sugar 

Now you might think that I’m flogging a dead horse with this one.

After all, celery is a vegetable and so of course it has a low sugar content.

But if I can once again put carrots humiliate carrots in this regard because carrots have three times the sugar content of celery!

[4] Cheap

Come on, don’t be afraid to admit it, price counts.

The fact that it is cheap and that it can be given to your dogs is important. 

[4] Crunch and chew

Does your dog like to chew?

One of my dogs has a very exaggerated chewing action for lots of things that go into her mouth, such as stray tissues that she swipes from the floor or sofa.

It’s the kind of chewing that seems to go on for longer than necessary?!

If your dog is a “chewer” then celery has that satisfying crunch and texture that might appeal to some dogs.

Texture wise there is more to it than a carrot but much less than raw asparagus.

And after highlighting its terrific chew qualities, now is the time to talk about how to prepare it ready for your dog.

How to prepare raw celery?

Whilst celery can be a great snack for your dog, I wouldn’t suggest that you just snap a stick from the stalk and toss it to your dog.

I would advise a bit more care than that. 

I mean firstly, you would be well advised to wash it- just to make sure that it is free from dirt and pesticides or chemicals.

Secondly, chop it up into bite size chunks.

As tempting as it is to share a photo of your dog with a stick of celery in their mouth with the caption “My dog’s new vegan bone!”, this might overwhelm your dog.

Given a whole stick, can you guarantee that they will rip it up and chew it properly before swallowing it?

Or will the whole stick end up as a fibrous mess at the back of their throat, only to come up 10 minutes later with a load of bile?!

At least chop it up for first timers to see how they get along!

And what parts of the celery stalk should a dog have? 

Should you strip it of the leaves? What about the root?

What about celery leaves?

Well, here’s the thing.

Celery leaves are a casualty of a strange habit of being discarded by almost everyone who eats it.

I can’t think that I have ever eaten celery leaves.

But I have just had a quick look at their nutrition (this is for just the leaves) and the goodness locked up in them seems to outstrip the sticks.

And that is for vitamins and minerals.

Celery leaves contain more vitamin B6 and B11 than the stalks and more vitamin C. 

Vitamin C is a bit of a funny one with dogs because it seems to be a vitamin that their body can create but some scientists think that boosting vitamin C levels with certain foods can’t hurt. 

The leaves also contain more calcium, phosphorus and potassium than the main stalks. 

Whereas when a dog bites into a celery stalk they will get a burst of refreshing juice, the leaves will be more bitter to taste and they will be harder to eat.

I can imagine them getting stuck to the roof of a dog’s mouth- and that is a photo opportunity, right there!

Maybe cut the leaves off and mix them in with their main meal- that way your dog gets all the goodness with none of the hassle!

Can my dog eat celery root (celeriac)?

There is absolutely no reason why your dog should not eat celery root as long as you don’t feed them a whole celeriac in one go.

The vitamins and minerals that celery is filled with are the same that are in its root

Weighing anywhere between one and two pounds (.5 -1 kg) a whole root will either bore your dog long before they finish it or turn their stomach upside down if they are far less discerning.

Also as the part of the plant that stays in the ground, just give it a thorough wash before cutting it into chunks to feed your dog. 

That way, you will get rid of all of the chemicals and other nasty infections that might be lurking in the ground .

Your dog might just turn their nose up at it.

When it is raw it does have a bit of a starchy texture and bitter taste.

But try it out as a treat first and if it gets rejected then add it to their main meal.

Create that “posh restaurant vibe” by peeling wide strips of it off and laying it on top of their food!! No, I’m only kidding on that one. 

Can dogs eat raw celery?

I think the simple answer is that dogs can eat raw celery. 

It can be used along with other crunchy vegetables such as carrots to provide a nutrient boost into their diets as well as a bit of variety.

It should be thoroughly washed and chopped into bite size chunks.

Don’t be obsessive as I sometimes get and dream of adding it to their diets everyday for weeks on end.

Expose your dog to lots of different vegetables. 

Only a very few are poisonous to your dogs and your dog might appreciate the variety.