Can Dogs Have Rhubarb?

Various recipes use rhubarb to spice up the flavor and aroma of food. It is commonly used in pies and rhubarb jam.

Most people with gardens or who grow vegetables in their backyard have rhubarb. If you are one of them and own a dog, you might be worried about what will happen if they accidentally munch on the plant. Is it safe for your furry friend?

Dogs And Rhubarb

A perennial plant, rhubarb is easy to spot in the garden. It is also a common ingredient in jams, crumbles, and pies. It makes our meals more delicious and adds value to their nutritional content, but the same cannot be said for dogs. Rhubarb is not safe for consumption as it can put your pup’s life in danger if they eat it.

The entire plant is poisonous to dogs, with some parts more so. This is because it contains soluble calcium oxalate crystals that contain crystalline acid, which is toxic to dogs.

The rhubarb plant is also known to cause kidney stones and irritation in the mouth when a dog chews on it. Moreover, it has high levels of oxalic acid, which puts your furry friend in further danger.

The plant doesn’t have an alluring taste, so your dog might not like it anyway. However, if your canine is too curious and eats it, you must take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Are There Health Benefits Of Rhubarb?

Yes. The rhubarb plant contains multiple benefits. It has plenty of Vitamin C and dietary fibers that benefit your dog’s digestive system. Rhubarb greens also contain healthy amounts of magnesium and vitamin B6 that improve your dog’s immune system.

However, these benefits would only help your dog if it ate negligible amounts of rhubarb. A dog taking a chunk of rhubarb leaves or stalk has already eaten too much and ingested high amounts of the crystals. Thus, the risks far outweigh the benefits of the plant. It is, therefore, better to ensure your furry friend doesn’t eat it.

Can Dogs Eat Rhubarb Leaves?

Rhubarb leaves contain the most calcium oxalate crystals, making them the most poisonous part of the plant. Your pup will experience multiple symptoms after eating rhubarb leaves, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in urine
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dilated eyes
  • Struggle in breathing
  • Obstruction of the airway
  • Hoarse barking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heart problems such as cardiac arrhythmia
  • Kidney failure
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Vocalization
  • Swollen lips or tongue
  • Numbness of the exposed area
  • Coma

You may also see your dog pawing or rubbing at the area of their body that came into contact with the leaves. This is because even the juices from the leaves contain significant amounts of oxalate crystals.

Rush your furry friend to the veterinarian when you see any of the above symptoms. Delaying the veterinarian visit will only make things worse for your pup and endanger their life.

If you have a rhubarb plant within your compound, you need to fence around it. This is one way to protect your dog and ensure they don’t accidentally touch or ingest the plant.

Can Dogs Eat Rhubarb Stalks?

Although they do not pose as much danger to dogs as rhubarb leaves, you should still prevent your pup from eating a rhubarb’s stalk. Its calcium oxalate crystals content is significant. The crystals bind to calcium in your dog’s body, causing their calcium levels to drop significantly.

The calcium deficiency can cause acute renal failure in dogs, especially if they eat the whole stalk. It can also cause antifreeze poisoning, parathyroid gland failure, inflammation of the pancreas, and other disorders caused by low calcium levels.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Rhubarb?

If you make a dish containing rhubarb and your dog takes a bite, there’s no need to worry. Cooked rhubarb stems, commonly used in several dishes, are not poisonous. Your dog might experience an upset stomach, but it will be okay.

Nevertheless, the cooked stem contains a lot of fiber, so ingesting it in large quantities can be dangerous for your dog. Too much fiber irritates the stomach lining and can trigger diarrhea and other stomach ailments.

The danger in cooked rhubarb mainly depends on the recipe you follow and the additional ingredients.

Common Rhubarb Recipes

Below are some of the common cooked rhubarb recipes and how safe the recipes are for your canine:

Stewed Rhubarb

This delicious treat is prepared with high amounts of sugar, and the rhubarb is cooked until it releases its natural sugars. You should not let your dog taste stewed rhubarb as sweet as it is for us.

The amount of sugar used is unhealthy for dogs. It leaves them at high risk of weight gain and obesity and is also linked to other health issues, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Rhubarb Jam

Much like the stewed variety, rhubarb jam uses too much sugar than is safe for your dog. The dangers of high levels of sugar consumption in dogs also come to play here.

Rhubarb Pie

As saddening as it might be for you and your furry friend to miss out on this delectable treat, dogs cannot eat rhubarb pie. It contains high levels of sugar and carbs. The carbs pose the same danger to your dog as sugar, especially in high amounts.

You can let your pup have a tiny bite of the pie, as this will most likely not affect them. Doing this, however, is dangerous as it can make them want more, leaving you to deal with a fussy dog. It also fosters a bad habit of them trying to steal a few bites when you are not looking, so it is better not to have them taste it at all.

Rhubarb Crumble

Many rhubarb crumble recipes use healthy ingredients like oat or almond flour, but the food is still not safe for your dogs. This is due to its high sugar levels that pose a health risk to your furry friend.

Rhubarb Yogurt

Although a healthier alternative to the other rhubarb products on this list, you still have to be cautious when giving your dog rhubarb yogurt. That is because it contains dairy, and most dogs are lactose intolerant; they will experience stomach upset after eating the yogurt.

It is important to determine whether your dog can digest dairy before giving them the yogurt. Begin by giving them a tablespoon of the yogurt and observe their reaction. If they show symptoms like diarrhea, gas, and flatulence, they are most likely lactose intolerant, and you should not give them rhubarb yogurt.

Bottom Line

Although rhubarb is delicious for us, it is best to keep it away from your dog. The plant contains dangerous crystals that will endanger your pup’s life.

Though cooked rhubarb products are less toxic, they use too much sugar and other potentially harmful ingredients that put your dog at risk. Your dog shouldn’t taste rhubarb or rhubarb products, whether raw or cooked.

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