Is Lettuce Good for Shih Tzus or Any Dog?

photo of fresh green lettuce on wooden table
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If you have a Shih Tzu you may be wondering, is lettuce good for Shih Tzus? It would seem to make sense that lettuce and green leafy veggies would be good for your dog since they are good for you, but that’s not always the case. A dog’s digestive system is different than yours, so before you share your salad, read on to find out if that is actually a good idea.

Is Lettuce Good for Shih Tzus

For the most part, dogs can eat lettuce but it doesn’t really provide them with many health benefits.

However, the fiber content can help if your dog is constipated.

A bit here and there won’t hurt them.

But don’t think that lettuce is something you should give your pouch all the time.

Just like all human food, it should be shared in moderation.

Overall, it can be a good low-calorie snack especially if your dog is dealing with a weight issue.

Close up of fresh lettuce in a bowl
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What Happens When Dogs Eat Lettuce

Plain lettuce including iceberg lettuce, arugula, and romaine are all fine to give to your dog.

There is nothing in any of them that will out and out hurt your Shih Tzu.

Keep in mind, they also have no real nutritional content for your dog either, but they are a good source of fiber.

Lettuce is mostly water – up to 90 percent water, so it can be a low-calorie treat.

Even so, you don’t want to give your dog too much lettuce.

Can Lettuce Upset Dog’s Stomach

It most likely won’t hurt your dog’s stomach, but because of the water content, if you give your dog too much lettuce it can lead to diarrhea or a loose stool.

And that’s the last thing you and your pet want.

Keep in mind that large pieces of lettuce can be difficult for your dog to digest and lead to non-serious health issues.

So be sure to cut any lettuce you give them into bite-sized pieces.

Be Sure The Lettuce is Well Cleaned

Chances are you have heard on TV about lettuce being recalled and people getting sick from eating lettuce.

That’s because of outbreaks of listeria or E. coli.

These can cause serious cases of stomach flu and in rare and severe cases even death.

Your dog can end up sick as well.

So, pay attention to where your lettuce is coming from (grown), and be sure to wash it well.

That will help keep you and your dog from getting sick.

Also, the lettuce may have been sprayed with fertilizers and pesticides, and herbicides which can all hurt your dog and you.

Can Dogs Choke on Lettuce

Yes, they can.

That’s especially true of a small breed such as a Shih Tzu.

That’s why it is so important to cut up the lettuce before you give some to your dog and not just handing them a full leaf of lettuce.

For example, both of my Shih Tzus love lettuce.

Whenever I am making a salad they come running.

I typically use romaine lettuce for my salads, so when I cut it up, I give both of my dogs two small pieces, one after the other.

It is plenty for the little guys.

Don’t think that your dogs need a lot of lettuce or leafy greens to be healthy as that is not the case.

High-quality dog food is always the best choice for them and they should get at least 90 percent of their calories from their dog food and then 10 percent from high-quality treats.+

photo of red tomatoes with water drops over lettuce bed
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Can Dogs Eat Lettuce and Tomatoes

While tomatoes are okay for an occasional treat and won’t hurt your dog, unripe tomatoes are a different story.

According to the American Kennel Club:

Ripe tomatoes are considered nontoxic to dogs and can be fed in moderation as an occasional snack. Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants, on the other hand, should be avoided.

So, if you are growing tomatoes in your backyard be sure to keep your dog away from them.

Figs lettuce salad, simple and delicious fresh summer salad
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Can Dogs Eat Salad Dressing

For most of us, a salad without dressing is bland and unpleasant.

Sometimes we pour on a little too much dressing to make all that lettuce taste a bit more exciting.

But when it comes to your dog, the salad dressing should be a hard pass.

Salad dressings often come with ingredients that are bad for your dogs such as garlic and onions.

Just skip the dressing and let your pouch enjoy the lettuce in its natural state.

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Can Dogs Have Spinach

Keep in mind that not all leafy vegetables are good for your Shih Tzu.

Spinach does come with some great vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B but there are some downsides as well.

It also has a lot of oxalic acids which makes it difficult for the body to absorb calcium and that can lead to kidney damage.

Kale is another leafy green vegetable that you should avoid giving your dog.

It contains isothiocyanates that can lead to an upset stomach and severe gastric irritation.

In addition, Kale contains calcium oxalate which can cause bladder stones and kidney stones.

In other words, you want to keep kale and spinach away from your dog and instead give them pieces of lettuce from the types of lettuce mentioned above such as the iceberg variety and romaine. 

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To Sum it All Up:

A piece of lettuce can be a great treat for your dog from time to time or on a hot summer day. Just be sure not to give them lettuce leaves and instead offer only bite-sized pieces. Lettuce can also make good training treats. Be sure to keep in mind that too much lettuce can lead to digestive tract issues and gastrointestinal issues. 



Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzus diet. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.

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