To Eat Or Not To Eat: Artichokes

For the last couple of days I was having a bit of writer’s block and was unable to come up with a good topic to share with you, then last night my daughter ordered a spinach and artichoke pizza and while eating suddenly asked me “can dogs eat artichokes?” I honestly wasn’t sure, so I decided to research the topic; Just like that my writers block had a solution.

Can you give your dog artichokes?

The answer is yes! Your furry friend can eat artichokes, but like with anything we give our pups it should be in moderation. Artichokes are not toxic to our canine companions, the hearts. leaves and even the stems are safe.

The bigger question is “are there benefits to feeding your dog artichokes?” Artichokes are actually extremely high in antioxidants which can have powerful protective effects for our pups since they are thought to destroy dangerous particles called free radicals.

Free radicals are dangerous because they can cause cell damage which may lead to genetic mutations. Mutations as such can increase your dog’s risk for problems associated with aging like arthritis, skin conditions, cognitive decline, and even hair loss; free radicals can also lead to even worse conditions such as cancer. Eating more antioxidant-rich foods can lower the number of free radicals in your dog’s body and decrease their risk of developing these types of illnesses.

There have been several studies that demonstrate the powerful anti-aging effects of antioxidant-rich foods like artichokes. One study performed on dogs found that the subjects who consumed antioxidant-enriched foods learned complex tasks more quickly than subjects who did not, suggesting that antioxidants protect cognitive functioning. Another study discovered that senior dogs who consumed high-antioxidant foods were less likely to suffer from the behavioral changes that are associated with cognitive decline commonly seen in the aging process.

Since artichokes are so antioxidant-rich, they are known to be great sources of folate, dietary fiber, niacin, potassium, vitamins c and k, all of which may reduce inflammation, boost immunity, protect your pup from diseases like cancer, heart conditions, slow the effects of aging and increase your dog’s lifespan.

The artichoke’s high fiber content in conjunction with its low calorie and fat content has lots of health benefits for your pup. Dietary fiber adds bulk to food without adding calories, meaning your dog is able to fill up a lot faster and stay full a lot longer while consuming fewer calories. High-fiber foods can be a great way to keep your pups belly full while trying to reduce their overall caloric intake, especially if your dog is overweight.

Fiber is also great for digestive health and can prevent constipation, keeping your dog regular. Dietary fiber is also thought to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of several digestive cancers. This again can be important for overweight dogs, who are usually at an increased risk of cancer as well as cardiovascular problems.

Though artichokes are not harmful to your dog, it’s still important to practice moderation. As I always tell you with all new foods you would like to add to your dogs diet, consult your Veterinarian and watch to make sure your dog does not get an upset stomach from eating artichokes. A very important thing to remember as well is to be conscious of how you prepare the artichokes for your pup.

So the short answer to my daughter’s question is yes, artichokes are recognized as a safe food to feed your dog in moderation. Yet another safe vegetable you can add to your pups diet that is high in antioxidants and fiber, yet low in fat and calories. Artichokes can certainly make a great addition to your dog’s diet!

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