Many dog owners are always on the lookout for new healthy foods to include in their dog’s diets. One such food that has recently gained attention is lotus root.
Lotus root is widely used in Asian cuisine and has nutritional properties. But how safe is lotus roots for your dog?
In this article, we’ll delve into the nutritional aspects of lotus root, weigh its potential advantages and drawbacks for dogs and offer tips on proper preparation.
What Is Lotus Root?
The lotus root is part of the aquatic lotus plant. You would have seen this plant growing in ponds and muddy wetlands.
The root is a misnomer which is actually the stem of the plant that is edible.
The lotus root has a unique appearance. When cut open, it has a cylindrical shape with a series of holes running through its length.
It does resemble the rims of a car wheel if you ask me.
Used mainly in Asian cuisine in soups and stir-fried dishes, it has a clean yet starchy taste to it.
My favorite way of cooking lotus root is to deep fry and make lotus root chips.
Nutritional Value Of Lotus Root
100g of lotus root contains the following:
Calories: 66 kcal
Lotus root is nutrient dense and is high in fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium and phosphorus.
Can Dogs Eat Lotus Root?
Yes, your dog can eat lotus root without any issues at all. It is a plant that isn’t toxic to dogs.
I do see certain health benefits that your dog can get from eating lotus root in small amounts.
Your dog is still a carnivore at heart which means that the majority of its calories and nutrients should come from animal protein and not plant matter.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Lotus Root?
Here are some potential health benefits for your dog.
High In Nutrients
There are a number of nutrients that are found in lotus which are good for your dog.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to support your dog’s immune system and is essential for healthy skin and bones.
It can also help to reduce inflammation and support cognitive function in older dogs.
Iron is an essential mineral for your dog which helps in red blood cell production, energy metabolism, immune system support and brain function.
Potassium is crucial for maintaining proper nerve and muscle function. It is also required for a healthy digestive system and heart.
Phosphorous in dogs helps to promote healthy bones and teeth. It also helps in the repair of body tissue and kidney function.
High In Fibre Content
Even though dogs are meat eaters, some fiber in your dog’s diet can do wonders.
Fiber is good got dogs that are having diarrhea or constipation.
Adding some lotus root to your dog’s meal can provide the fiber needed to firm up its stool.
Even if your dog has a healthy digestive system, some fiber every now and then can help maintain smooth bowel movements.
I give both my dog and cat fiber every now and then in the form of fresh pumpkin, psyllium husk or lotus root.
It’s good for them.
If your dog suffers from acute or chronic pancreatitis, giving some pumpkin can help with your dog’s digestive system.
Potential Antioxidant Properties
The lotus plant is said to be high in flavonoids, especially in the lotus seeds.
Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that have strong antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants are important as it helps to reduce the number of free radicals in our bodies that can cause cancer and other chronic diseases.
A study has shown that these flavonoids possess significant antioxidant activity which means that they can help neutralize free radicals1.
However, there need to be more studies done on the effect on animals before we can confirm this benefit for dogs.
I have heard of some dog owners feeding their dogs bitter melon for its antioxidant properties.
However, you need to be careful when doing it so as the benefits are not studied on canines.
How Do You Cook Lotus Root For Dogs?
Although some vegetables can be eaten raw, lotus root isn’t one for them.
Raw lotus roots can contain the parasite Fasciolopsis buski which is commonly found in aquatic plants.
This parasite can cause issues such as diarrhea, fever, stomach upset, etc.
To ensure your dog can safely enjoy lotus root, follow these preparation steps:
- Clean the lotus root thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris
- Peel the outer skin to eliminate any potential irritants
- Cut the lotus root into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking hazards
Cook the lotus root by boiling or steaming it until tender. Raw lotus root can be difficult for dogs to digest.
You can even grill or air fry lotus root if your dog likes it crispy.
If you have a small dog or puppy, make sure to cut up the lotus root into smaller pieces to prevent choking.
What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Lotus Root?
There aren’t any adverse side effects from eating lotus root unless you overdo it.
Lotus root is high in fiber content and carbohydrates which your dog cannot properly digest.
Too much of it can cause your dog to feel discomfort and bloating in its digestive system.
What Other Alternatives Are There?
There are other suitable alternatives for your dog if it doesn’t like lotus root.
- Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamin A and fiber
- Pumpkin: High in fiber and healthy enzymes
- Green Beans: Low in calories and high in fiber
- Carrots: High in vitamin A and antioxidants
Remember to add them sparingly into your dog’s diet.
1. Flavonoids of Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) Seed Embryos and Their Antioxidant Potential
Zhu M, Liu T, Zhang C, Guo M.