Some dog owners give okra to their pets thinking it will cure many digestive problems. This makes sense since okra is one of the best natural sources of dietary fiber. Let’s add to that the fact that okra also boasts a high percentage of water.
However, we are wondering if dogs can eat okra without any negative side effects. Will they benefit from eating okra the same way humans do? What makes okra a safe treat for canines? Will your dog actually find okra interesting in spite of its slimy texture?
Can Dogs Eat Okra?
Before we go on, let us clarify that okra is non-toxic for them. This plant is a nutritious treat for canines when given in moderate amounts. But take note that canines and okras don’t naturally go together. Your dog may or may not enjoy it all because of its sliminess.
When you decide to give okras to your puppy for the first time, observe how he reacts to it. Canines are omnivorous by nature. Thus, you might need to convince them that fresh vegetables are as delicious as meat. If your dog enjoys it and does not show any changes, you are a lucky owner – Your little friend is on his way to healthy living!
What are the benefits of okra for dogs?
If your dog is always hungry to the extent that he would beg for food even if you just fed him, it would help to give him okra. Also known as lady’s fingers, okras have properties that curb hunger and do an impressive job as stomach filler so giving them to a hungry dog might be a good idea.
Because of the bulk laxative qualities of okra, it can help lubricate the intestines. Aside from keeping digestive issues at bay, there are other ways okra can benefit your dog:
1.It is rich in potassium. For every eight pods of okra, you can get as much as 284 mg of potassium. Just like us humans, they also need an adequate amount of potassium. When there is a lower than normal concentration of this mineral in their blood, they may suffer from Hypokalemia. The tissues in his heart, muscles, and nerves will not function properly when there is a low level of potassium in your dog’s bloodstream. This is the reason why some dogs need a potassium supplement. But in order to help prevent this from happening to your dog, make sure he has a balanced diet that contains potassium-rich foods, such as okra.
2.It is a great source of vitamin C. Okra is a good antioxidant because every cup contains around 38% vitamin C. By nature, canines have the capability to produce their own vitamin C. However, that does not mean you cannot give him foods containing this vitamin. Veggies with high vitamin C content can be a good substitute to fruits if your dog does not have the penchant for them.
3.It contains a decent amount of protein. Every cup of sliced okra provides 3% or 1.9 grams of protein. They need to consume protein on a daily basis because their bodies cannot store it up the way they do with other nutrients. In fact, they need more protein in their diet than carbohydrates. Make sure your pet gets the needed protein from a variety of food. Aside from high quality meats, you could also give protein in the form of veggies.
4.It contains vitamin A for eye health. Due to its zeaxanthin and lutein, okra has been used in traditional medicine to prevent eye problems in humans. Dogs also need vitamin A to maintain their optimal health. They need it to have a healthy-looking coat and muscles and should have enough of it for proper nerve functioning.
5.It helps prevent diabetes. Lady’s finger has been used to reduce blood sugar levels. Some humans do it by soaking pricked okras in a glass of water overnight as it is believed that it can be very beneficial when consumed on an empty stomach. Okra works by stabilizing the blood sugar level of humans. Sadly, dogs can also suffer from diabetes. The most common form among them is the Type 1 that develops when their pancreas is not capable to produce enough levels of insulin. If the dog’s diabetes goes untreated, it may lead to secondary health issues such as urinary tract problems and cataracts.
6.It protects your pet from free radicals. They need plenty of antioxidants because they are very prone to things that trigger a substantial free radical production. There are the vaccines, cleaning chemicals, and even pesticides or antibiotics in some of their food. By keeping free radicals at bay, you are saving your dog from a number of chronic illnesses including joint diseases, cancer, and liver problems.
7.It prevents the risks of heart disease. Our pets are not free from heart-related illnesses. Surprisingly, canines can also have heart diseases just like us. The worst part is that your dog may not show any symptoms at all. For some canines, it is often characterized by difficulty in breathing, trouble sleeping, and extreme fatigue. In order to prevent heart disease, dog owners should make sure their pet has a healthy diet. One of the wholesome foods you can offer to your pooch is okra.
8.It is a good source of vitamin K. Canines weighing 11-22 pounds should have 25 mg of vitamin K regularly. A cup or around 100 grams of okra contains 31.3 mcg of vitamin K. The main role of this vitamin is to produce prothrombin that is essential for bone metabolism and blood clotting. Some dogs undergo vitamin K therapies because of anticoagulant rodenticide toxicities.
9.It can prevent certain cancers. Canine cancer is more common in senior dogs, but that doesn’t mean the younger ones cannot have it. Just like us, they can get cancer regardless of their age. The only big difference is that a dog’s cancer can metastasize faster than a human one. Treating dog cancer can be very expensive, with a series of treatment ranging from $6,000 to $10,000. But preventing is always better than to cure. Before even seeing early warning signs of cancer, give your dog cancer-fighting foods such as okra.
What are ways to serve okra to dogs?
Okras are versatile so there are a lot of ways to cook them. You can fry them, roast them, turn them into patties, pickle them, bake them, or simply add them to your soup. But because your dog cannot tolerate all human foods, it is recommended to make the food as simple as possible.
The taste of okra may vary and will depend on how it was prepared. There are some who put it in cold water before cooking, believing that it will take away the slimy texture. Here are the safe ways you can offer okra to your dog:
- Raw – as long as the dog likes it, there is nothing bad in giving him freshly picked okra, known for its silky texture and mild flavor.
- Steamed – when boiled or steamed, okra tastes just like eggplant. Don’t put anything on it and serve it to your pet without any seasonings.
- Baked – you may drizzle it with olive oil to make your dish healthier. For your dog, just avoid seasonings like salt and pepper.
Avoid giving your dog fried okra. While frying will dramatically improve its texture, anything fried is not good for them. When you deep-fry a food, it already contains bad fat that may harm your puppy in the long run.
Some dogs may like the taste of pickled okra. However, pickled foods are generally not good for them. As we all know, pickling is usually done by adding lots of salt. The high concentration of salt in the water will soak in the okra.
When pickling okras, some use garlic and peppercorn while others boil vinegar, canning salt, sugar, and water. Apart from containing harmful ingredients for canines, pickled okra may lose some of its nutrients. The pickling process maintains its fiber and fat-soluble vitamins but it takes away some of the vegetable’s vitamin content.
Can dogs take okra pepsin?
Okra pepsin, an herbal supplement, is used to treat digestive problems in humans. Aside from cleansing the bowels, this supplement is believed to treat certain cancers. There are holistic veterinarians recommending it for dogs with chronic diarrhea. Some dog owners believe okra pepsin is an effective internal function supplement for their pets.
If your dog is suffering from digestive problems, it is best to consult your vet before giving the dog any type of supplement. Remember that dogs are different. One supplement that worked for other canines may not have the similar effect on your pooch.
Dogs can occasionally have okra. However, you have to limit his intake because too much of it can make him gassy. You can give it raw, steamed, or baked but avoid offering fried or pickled okra to your dog. Fried foods are not recommended for them because the oils used in frying are usually high in saturated fats. Pickles, on the other hand, normally contain lots of salt and vinegar that may harm your dog.