Yes! However, not all parts of Jicama are safe for dogs. Like apples, dogs should eat the fleshy edible part only. The skin, stem, leaves, and seeds shouldn't be eaten. The plant contains a toxin rotenone concentrated in the leaves, stem, and seed pods. Jicama is a rich source of inulin (prebiotic fiber) that aids digestion. The bulb is also rich in vitamins and minerals that are important for healthy dogs.
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Jicama is a vine popular for its edible tuberous roots. The vine belongs to the bean family and is native to Mexico hence the names: Mexican turnip, Mexican potato or Mexican yam.
1. Inulin benefits: Jicama is rich in prebiotic fiber (inulin). The fiber contains friendly bacteria critical for good digestive system health. The gut of humans, as well as dogs, needs bacteria to function optimally. Inulin increases the amount of friendly bacteria in your dog's gut to prevent infection, get rid of bad bacteria, and stimulate your dog's immune system. Inulin also boosts bowel movements. The benefits of inulin discussed above highlight why it is common in dog food.
2. Antioxidant benefits: Jicama also contains essential antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, and E. Your dog needs Vitamin A for growth, good immunity, and cell functions. Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant. Vitamin E offers immune system benefits, among other benefits like improved skin and coat health. The vitamin also helps to reduce cardiovascular disease risks in dogs.
3. Mineral benefits: Jicama is a rich source of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous, which are critical for good bone and cartilage health. These minerals are also critical for hormonal health.
4. Potassium benefits: Jicama is also packed with potassium, which is crucial for proper heart, digestive system, and muscle functions.
5. Low calorie benefits: Since Jicama is low in calories; it can help dogs with weight-related issues. Low-calorie diets are also recommended for dogs with diabetes and pancreatic issues.
While Jicama is packed with nutrients that are benefited to dogs, you should avoid feeding your dog Jicama stocks, seeds, and leaves as these parts are toxic to dogs. Here's a summary of jicama risks to dogs.
1. Toxic poisoning risks: Jicama skin, stock, leaves, and seeds are poisonous. Your dog should eat the bulbous root only. Anything above the root of the jicama plant is poisonous (contains rotenone), a chemical with acaricidal, fish-killing, and insecticidal properties. In fact, rotenone has been classified as a Class II pesticide by the WHO. When consumed by dogs, rotenone can cause side effects such as vomiting and growth retardation.
2. Allergy risks: While most dogs will tolerate jicama, a few are allergic. Common symptoms of food-related allergies in dogs include diarrhea, skin problems, and vomiting. If your canine friend exhibits one or more of these symptoms or related ones, stop feeding them Jicama. It's actually advisable to monitor your dog closely the first time you give him/her jicama just to ensure they don't develop any allergies. It's also advisable to include jicama moderately in the diet.
The risks of side effects increase with increased consumption. Jicama shouldn't replace dog food. What's more, you should cook jicama. Raw jicama is hard to chew. It' also has a milder flavor, which may be more appealing to dogs. Remember, dogs don't need spicy flavor from herbs and spices. In fact, spices and herbs are in the list of foods that are toxic to dogs.
A dog’s digestive system has been designed for a carnivorous diet. However, this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean dogs shouldn’t benefit from the nutrients in plants. Since dogs have a hard time digesting plants, it matters how you prepare jicama. To avoid side effects like stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., you need to prepare plant foods properly before feeding your dog.
Step 1: Get Rid Of Jicama Stems, Leaves, Seeds, And Skin
Besides these parts of the jicama vine being poisonous, your dog is bound to have a hard time chewing and digesting, leaves, stems, skin, and seeds of the vine. Removing these parts avoids poisoning and digestive system problems. Your dog can also choke on leaves and stems or large pieces of jicama yet choking is a serious symptom that could go unnoticed.
Step 2: Cook
As mentioned above, cooking jicama is better than serving it raw. Cooked jicama is soft, making it easy for dogs to chew, swallow, and digest.
Step 3: Serve With Dog Food
Jicama should be served with dog food or dog snacks as opposed to replacing food. Jicama may be rich in nutrients and minerals. However, your dog needs more than what is available in jicama. The tuberous root should, therefore, complement as opposed to replacing dog food.
Serve occasionally in small quantities: As discussed above, jicama should be an occasional treat and not a main dish. Don’t give your dog jicama daily.
Monitor your dog for allergy: Given the allergy risks, it’s also advisable to monitor your dog initially before making jicama a regular snack or part of their diet. If your dog doesn't exhibit allergic side effects discussed above immediately or in a few days, you can include jicama in their diet.
Dog's can eat Jicama however, there are safe and risky ways of feeding your dog jicama. The health benefits of the tuberous root may tempt dog owners to overfeed their dogs. However, you stand to do more harm than good by overfeeding. Jicama should be an occasional treat. It should complement dog food instead of replacing it.
Jicama health risks should also be acknowledged. You should remove the leaves, stem, seeds, and skin before feeding your dog. Jicama is packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for your dog, but the vine can be equally dangerous to dogs if you don't remove the toxic skin, stock, and leaves. It’s also advisable to cook jicama for reasons discussed above and serve occasionally in small quantities. If you observe these measures, the answer to "can dogs eat jicama safely" is a resounding YES!
The information on this page is not a substitute for veterinary help. Please contact a vet for help with any concerns that you have.