Can Dogs Eat Okra Safely? Or Is It Bad For Them To Share?
Is An Occasional Nibble Okay, Or Can You Really Let Them Dig In?
It’s Natural To Want To Spread The Joy When It Comes To Tasty Food, But Not All Human Treats Are Safe For Our Pets.
Can Dogs Eat Okra? Let’s Find Out!
You’re having a healthy dinner with your family, and your dog has put her head on your lap and is looking at your food longingly.
I mean, she herself had dinner a whole hour ago – no wonder she’s starved.
Should you feed her that okra you’ve cooked? I mean, look at that face!
Surely okra, a green vegetable with plenty of nutrition and cancer-fighting properties, would be fine for your pup.
To some extent, yes.
Fed as a treat, and not fried the way many of us humans like it, okra can be fine for dogs in moderate amounts.
But remember that dogs simply aren’t built to easily digest vegetables. To be safe, only small amounts should be given.
Can dogs have okra? In this article, we’ll talk about this powerhouse vegetable, and whether it’s good or bad for your loving pet.
What is okra?
One of the oldest cultivated crops, okra originated in Ethiopia.
Today it is widely distributed around the world, in Africa and Asia as well as southern Europe and the U.S. It.
Production of okra as a fresh fruit/vegetable is estimated at six million per year.
It is a multipurpose crop, as its various parts can be used for a variety of purposes other than food.
Okra seeds, roasted, can even be used in place of decaffeinated coffee!
We eat the tender green fruits of the okra plant, which are rich in high-quality oils and proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids like linoleum acid, and fiber. Okra also has a high antioxidant activity level.
The dietary fiber it provides comes in a soluble form of gums and pectins designed to lower serum cholesterol.
There’s a bit of insoluble fiber as well, which is good for the GI tract.
The protein in okra has an amino acid composition that’s similar to that of soybeans but with a higher efficiency ratio, making it a good protein supplement.
Okra also contains carbohydrates and vitamins, including high levels of vitamin C, folate, calcium, and potassium.
Okra is believed to have purgative properties; it includes mucilage that washes away toxic substances because it binds cholesterol to it.
Also, okra acts as a remedy for ulcers and inflammation.
It has been used to promote healthy skin and blood and to stabilize blood sugar. It has even been credited with helping people recovery from depression and weakness.
Researchers say that the best way to keep okra’s nutritional properties is to cook it as quickly as possible with steam or on low heat.
As you know, we humans often eat them in salads, soups, or stews. Having it fresh, boiled or fried.
But can dogs eat okra too?
Is okra good for dogs?
As we’ve seen above, okra is a nutritious food. Containing protein, fiber, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Of course, different preparations of this vegetable can determine its final nutrient content.
So can growth conditions, geographic locations, and environmental issues.
Dogs can benefit from the high levels of nutrients in okra. But remember, they should already be getting everything they need from their complete food.
Okra has in fact been researched as an alternative protein source for dog diets, along with other potential replacements, as meat products become more expensive.
So it can definitely be part of a balanced diet for dogs, and a good source of vitamins, protein, and healthy fats.
But okra is not a natural food for dogs.
Okra and dogs don’t really go together.
Dogs are descended from omnivores, with adaptability to a wide range of ingredients.
However, they and their digestive systems prefer protein from animal sources.
And most dogs haven’t had access to okra during their evolution.
This means they won’t get as much out of okra as you or I would.
Can dogs eat okra? Yes. Do they need to? No.
So does that mean okra is bad for dogs?
Is okra bad for dogs?
In general, it’s okay to add a little bit of okra to your dog’s diet.
As with all human foods added to a dog’s diet, though, please feed okra in moderation.
Too much human food may make your dog’s diet inadequate to his nutritional needs.
You need to make sure that the okra isn’t heavily salted or buttered or covered with fatty flavor enhancers.
Also, do not feed your dog fried foods.
As with humans, fried foods are bad for dogs and can lead to obesity and heart issues.
A bite or two of okra can certainly still be part of a dog’s balanced diet. But your dog’s guts may not like it quite as much as you do!
Dogs may suffer bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other signs of gastrointestinal distress from too much vegetable matter in their diets.
The idea of feeding dogs fruits and vegetables as part of their diets is a recent one, and they can get all the nutrients they need from carnivorous diets.
Is okra safe for dogs?
Okra is not toxic for dogs, but you should still not feed okra in anything but moderate amounts to your dog.
Humans do experience okra allergies, and dog allergies are very similar to human allergies.
So you should be cautious when introducing new foods like okra.
Remember that dogs can develop allergies later on in life.
This means even if your dog has been fine with some foods before, that won’t always be the case.
Symptoms of allergies in dogs include recurring skin problems and gastrointestinal issues that result in stomach pain or diarrhea.
But can dogs eat okra in any preparation?
Can dogs eat fried okra?
You should avoid feeding fried okra to your pup!
Frying adds fat and empty calories to any food. The more empty calories that dogs get, the less nutrition.
Fried foods are very high in fats – in some cases, 1/3 of a total food product by weight is made up of fat!
Saturated animal fats like the ones used in fried fats are associated with obesity and coronary heart disease in humans.
Frying is also known to create carcinogens that lead to colon cancer or other health issues.
Fried foods aren’t good for humans, and they aren’t good for dogs either.
Can dogs eat okra?
The short answer to ‘can dogs eat okra’ is yes, but with some caveats.
Okra is a highly nutritious vegetable that has health benefits for dogs and humans alike.
If you add a bit to your dog’s meal, it won’t hurt him, and may provide a decent alternate source of energy, good fat, and protein.
But not too much. Dogs really aren’t designed to digest a lot of vegetable matter.
And you need to make sure the okra is cooked relatively plainly – not fried.
Make sure there is no added butter, salt or fat either.
Plain okra won’t hurt him, probably, if given in moderation. But make sure you know what signs to look for just in case!
Buchanan, B. B. and Frick, O. L. (2002). The dog as a model for food allergy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 964.
Gemede, H. F. et al (2015). Nutritional quality and health benefits of okra (Abelmoschus Esculentus): A review. Pakistan Journal of Food Science, 25(1).
Kumar, D. S. et al (2013). A review on: Abelmoschus Esculentus (Okra). International Research Journal of Pharmaceutical and Applied Sciences, 3(4).
McCusker, S. et al (2014), Amino acid content of selected plant, algae and insect species: a search for alternative protein sources for use in pet foods. Journal of Nutritional Science, 3(39).
Mellema, M. (2003). Mechanism and reduction of fat uptake in fried foods. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 14(9).
United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, Basic Report: 11278, Okra, raw.