Is Lettuce Good for Dogs?

Dog food must contain some veggies alongside their main food-component, meat. This Buzzle article states whether dogs can eat lettuce and if it is good for them from a nutrition and health perspective.
Quick Tip
Strictly avoid feeding dressed lettuce salads to your pets as the preservatives―containing dressing―can be harmful.
The staple food for most dogs is meat. Meat is rich in nutrients. However, some dogs like snacking on other food stuff besides their normal meat-diet. If a dog likes consuming veggies, it is always advisable to give smaller quantities of spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, spinach beet, kale, asparagus, collard, and lettuce to the dog. These vegetables are fibrous and act as good roughage in the dog diet; thus, aiding the defecation process.

Lettuce is a crunchy leafy vegetable containing leaves and stem which are consumable. It consists of about 90% water. It contains minerals, vitamins, as well as fiber. Although lettuce can be eaten or fed to dogs, it can be considered good but not the best for their health. Lettuce has significantly low nutritional value. It can be effective in dogs suffering from constipation. It helps them pass motion smoothly.

The major advantage of lettuce is that, it is low on calories. But it is also low in nutrients compared to vegetables such as spinach or carrots. Among the various types―ice berg, leaf, romaine, and butterhead―dogs can eat ice berg lettuce. However, it is poor in nutrients, and hence, eating this crispy and crunchy veggie will not provide any nutritional benefits to the dog. It can be used as a filler in dog diet. Dogs can also be fed romaine lettuce; one of the most nutritional varieties of this plant. It is sometimes fed to dogs with diabetes. Red or green leaf lettuce are more nutritional compared to the light-colored varieties.

Spinach is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, contains an handsome amount of iron, vitamin A, B, C, K, and beta-carotene. Thus, eating spinach can help the dogs gain bone strength, improved strong eyesight, as well as overcome health problems such as anemia.

Tomato plant (including the fruit) contains tomatine and atropine, which are organic compounds. Consumption of any part of the plant except for the ripened tomatoes can cause various disorders in dogs. As the tomatoes ripen, the amount of these harmful compounds reduces.

Suggestions
  1. If the lettuce is fed raw to the dogs, make sure it is washed thoroughly to get rid of any germs or bacteria.
  2. If this vegetable is to be cooked before feeding, make sure it is steamed as steaming retains most of its nutrients. Avoid boiling the veggies, as they tend to lose nutrients on boiling.
  3. Eating lettuce should be entirely the dog's choice. Do not force feed the dog if it dislikes eating it.
  4. Lettuce should be cut into smaller pieces before feeding as larger pieces can be difficult to digest.
  5. Pour little olive oil or flaxseed oil over the cooked vegetables for imparting taste to them.
Although this vegetable is fibrous and safe for dogs to eat. Feeding lettuce in larger quantities can cause bowel irritation, diarrhea, and other problems of the digestive tract. Not all vegetables that we eat are safe for consumption by dogs. Certain dogs cannot digest lettuce or certain other vegetables, thus it is necessary to find out if your dog is allergic to vegetables before feeding it.