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Illustration of a lettuce head

Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat lettuce?

Yes, but in moderation.

Lettuce is a staple in just about every kitchen. This low-calorie, water-packed leafy green is a predominant part of healthy living. Your dog may love the satisfying crunch of a bite of lettuce, but should you be sharing a full salad with your pup?

Lettuce is a safe treat or snack for your pup and is especially great for managing a dog on a diet. This crunchy green will keep your dog satisfied without adding much to their calorie count (and will hopefully save you from hungry puppy eyes). The rule of thumb for any snack is that it should consist of less than 10% of your dog’s diet. And remember, even though lettuce is generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.

Is lettuce good for dogs? 

Dogs don’t really need lettuce or any other vegetables to have a complete, balanced diet as long as they’re getting required nutrients from their regular dog food. 

“If you have a good dog food from a reputable brand that has nutritionists to ensure a good, balanced diet, they don’t need anything else,” Dr. Amber Koch, DVM, veterinarian at MedVet Norwalk, says. 

As a snack or treat, lettuce provides nutrients including fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and beta-carotene. It’s also a healthy, low-calorie treat option for overweight pups.

What type of lettuce can dogs eat? 

Dr. Koch says there aren’t any specific types of lettuce that are harmful to dogs. Romaine lettuce and iceberg lettuce, which will be the most common in most households, are safe for pups to consume. 

However, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t sharing a salad or salad mix with your dog, as these can contain potentially toxic ingredients such as onions, garlic or other ingredients potentially hiding in your dressing.  

Related: Can dogs eat grapes?

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What happens if a dog eats lettuce?

Introducing your dog to any new food has the potential to cause stomach upset. It’s best to let them try new snacks slowly, and consult a vet when trying new snacks or treats. 

You’ll also want to chop up lettuce so it’s easier for your dog to digest and ensure it’s been washed thoroughly. If not washed properly, lettuce introduces the risk of exposing your dog to escherichia coli (E. coli) or listeria. 

Dr. Koch warns that you may see nausea, vomiting or diarrhea if lettuce doesn’t sit well with your dog. These symptoms should resolve within 12–24 hours. If there are any issues after 24 hours, you’ll want to call your veterinarian.

Happy snacking 

We’re confident that lettuce isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

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