Yes, dogs can safely eat okra, but it should be limited in your dog’s diet. Okra, also known as “lady's fingers,” is packed with valuable nutrients and has been a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is low in calories too, yet, high in soluble and insoluble fiber that is good for your dog's heart.
Health Benefits of Okra for Dogs
Okra, historically known to first appear in Ethiopia, offers a wide range of health benefits. Just like how it provides numerous health benefits to humans, okra also has benefits for dogs.
Here are some of its health benefits:
- Okra's high dietary fiber content can help soften up your dog's stool, helps keep the intestinal tract healthy and prevent heart-related diseases.
- Improves eyesight – adding okra to your dog's diet improves eyesight as it contains Vitamin A that is vital to eye health and good vision especially in dim light.
- Boost immune system – okra is high in antioxidants. It contains vitamin A, C, and E which keeps your dog's immune system in tip-top shape.
- Ideal food for diabetic dogs - okra has anti-diabetic properties that help stabilize blood sugars. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences, it is believed that the insoluble fiber in okra helps to stabilize blood glucose by regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the intestinal tract.
According to USDA Database, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw Okra contains:
- 33 calories
- 7.45 g of carbohydrates
- 1.48 g of sugar
- 3.2 g of dietary fiber
- 0.19 g of fat
- 1.9 g of protein
- 36 mcg of vitamin A
- 60 mcg of folate
- 31.3 mcg of vitamin K
- 23 mg of vitamin C
- 0.27 mg of vitamin E
- 82 mg of calcium
- 0.62 mg of iron
- 299 mg of potassium
- 0.58 mg of zinc
Moderation Is The Key
Just like with any other food, you can safely feed okra to your dog in moderation.
Dogs are naturally omnivores who prefer meat (due to the carnivorous nature), and so, vegetables aren’t really their priority for survival. It is key, however, for better health. This is why some may want to occasionally mix the vegetable with its food (in small bits if your dog is quite picky).
If you are the type of person who prefers to feed dogs with DIY homemade dog food rather than buying, the deed may be easier. Simply chop the okras into small, bite-size bits and then blend it with the rest of the homemade food. This may be harder for those who feed their dogs with dry dog kibble or canned dog food, as dogs are notable for leaving out food that they simply don’t like.
A whole meal filled with okra isn’t really recommended though. Because it is a vegetable, dogs may suffer from gas and stomach problems. It is harder to digest in comparison to kibbles.
The perfect serving size for dogs with this vegetable is approximately one to two spoons.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Okra?
Yes, you can give raw okra to your dog as a treat. But some dogs don't like the gooey taste of okras and because of this dogs may completely ignore the vegetable.
To solve this, you may simply turn it into a mixable mush that can be completely mixed with other food. Aside from this, you can also dice the vegetable in order to make it smaller and therefore, easier to eat for your picky doggy.
Can Dogs Eat Pickled Okra?
Yes, dogs can have a few sliced pickled okra, but remember pickled foods are generally not good for dogs.
Pickled okra is more delicious than a plainly cooked okra, but that’s only the case for us humans.
Pickles usually contains lots of salt and spices that is bad for dogs. Also, one thing to note for picked okras is the presence of onions. Pickles often include onions in the process, and this is a big danger for dogs.
Eating onions can damage a dog’s red blood cells. This can be noticed when a dog's urine is darker than usual. Contact your vet if your dog accidentally gobbles up pickled okra with onions.
How About Fried Okra?
While fried okra isn't toxic, feeding fried okra to your dog is a bad idea, it can upset a dog's tummy and cause diarrhea and vomiting. If they eat enough fatty and fried foods, it can also result in pancreatitis and gastrointestinal issues.
It is better to serve steamed okra rather than fried. Steaming make it much easier to digest because dogs are inefficient at digesting vegetables.
The Bottom Line
In summary, dogs can eat fresh or steamed okras, as long as it is served in small quantities.
Dogs don't really like vegetables in general, and so, to serve okra, you can mix it along with their food in bite-sized, unnoticeable portions.
Vegetables don’t really do that much for dogs, as the latter tends to lean more to meat for nutrients. If you think that your dog doesn’t like it in the first try, you might want to completely ditch the food as a whole and look for healthier alternatives such as radishes or even bagels.
If you want other healthy options to feed your dog, you check on other foods such as fish, lean meat, or whole grains.
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