Green Light or Red Alert: Can Dogs Eat Lettuce? Let's Dive Into This Leafy Snack


Sep. 5 2023, Updated 4:43 p.m. ET

A Basset Hound dog looking at a bowl of lettuce.
Source: iStock

In a typical human diet, lettuce in salads and on sandwiches is a great way to get nutrients that our bodies need, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. However, lettuce may not have the same nutritious benefits for your favorite furry friend as it does for yourself.

Article continues below advertisement

There have long been discussions about dogs eating vegan diets and sustainable dog food brands, but what if you wanted to feed your pup some greens as a snack? Can dogs eat lettuce? Here’s what you need to know about feeding your dog lettuce or other vegetables.

A dog trying to get lettuce from its owner's hand.
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

Can dogs eat lettuce?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs can eat most types of lettuce, such as iceberg, romaine, butter, and arugula. Lettuce is nutritionally beneficial for your dog and can be a good choice as a low-calorie snack for a pup who needs to lose a few pounds.

Lettuce has a high water content (over 90 percent) that can help to keep your dog hydrated, plus it's a good source of beta-carotene and fiber. Lettuce is good for your dog to eat for many of the same reasons it's good for humans.

However, it’s important to remember that too much of anything can be bad. Because lettuce is high in fiber, dogs could get diarrhea if they eat too much. The AKC recommends that, if you feed lettuce to your dog, you cut it up into smaller pieces that are easier for your dog to digest.

Article continues below advertisement

When isn’t lettuce good for dogs?

While lettuce is okay for dogs to eat, that doesn’t mean that you should feed your dog salad made with lettuce. Salads include other ingredients that may be toxic for dogs, such as onions or garlic. Plain lettuce is a much better option.

A woman's hands washing lettuce under the faucet.
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

If you feed your dog lettuce, you should also make sure that the lettuce is cleaned thoroughly. Lettuce can potentially be contaminated by bacteria such as listeria, salmonella, or E. coli, which can make your dog and the humans in your home very sick.

You should also avoid feeding your dog spinach or kale, which contain oxalic acid. Oxalic acid blocks a dog’s body from absorbing calcium, which can lead to kidney damage, per the AKC. Kale also contains calcium oxalate, which can cause bladder or kidney stones in your dog.

Article continues below advertisement

How much lettuce should you give a dog?

Again, lettuce is a fibrous food, so you don’t want to give your dog too much, or it may cause them some stomach discomfort and diarrhea. According to petMD, you should only give your dog lettuce as a complement to a regular diet of protein and fats. Just a leaf or two here or there is fine.

A dog staring at a bowl of vegetables.
Source: iStock

If you want to make your dog its own “dog-friendly” salad, here are some other vegetables that petMD suggests you can add that are okay for dogs to eat:

More from Green Matters

Latest Pets News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.