Chestnuts are famously hailed as a holiday symbol of Christmas. As the lyric goes, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jack frost nipping at your nose.”
But not all chestnuts are suitable for roasting in an open fire — some of them are floating, and perhaps, they submerge and co-exist with tropical weather and ponds.
Yes, it’s the water chestnuts — an edible plant that may look like tiny cattails with light brown skin on the outside and white flesh inside.
The taste is sweet at first but finishes off with a slightly bitter taste.
Can this food be fed to our dogs? Can dogs experience the floating flavors of a water chestnut? Let’s try to answer that question first.
You’re not alone, but we are intrigued as well.
That’s why we designed this article for you to appreciate the nature of water chestnuts, whether or not this food can be a safe treat for your dogs.
Don’t worry; we also prepare particular ways to make this food safe for feeding.
What are Water Chestnuts?
Water Chestnuts are aquatic tubers that grow in the water of marshes, ponds, and rivers. It’s not the typical chestnut that you roast during the holidays.
It’s a vegetable that is part of the sedge family, and it looks like a nut, but it is edible.
This type of vegetable is commonly seen and sold in Asian markets. They can be raw, canned, or dehydrated, and they usually come in dried form.
Most restaurants and fine dinings include water chestnuts, infamous dishes, such as the Chinese Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and Moo Goo Gai Pan.
More often, water chestnuts are used for medical purposes. For example, it is believed to have elements that can lower blood pressure and prevent cancer.
This vegetable has a rich taste, which explains why it’s used in most Asian dishes. You’ll know if this tuber is appropriately cooked because they become crispy on the outside but soft when you bite into them.
However, water chestnuts are very crunchy even when raw.
Food family of Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts take part in the family food of sedges — a group of plants that have triangular stems and leaves.
Most sedge plants grow in a marshy area in large parts of Asia. Other vegetables in this family include cattails, tall grasses found near marshes and ponds, and bulrushes, which have different types such as cotton bulrush and canary grass.
This family food group is an ingredient used in famous dishes, such as the Italian dish of malloreddus and the African cuisine of okra since it adds a nice and crisp texture to the food.
In particular, sedge plants provide nutrients, especially calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
They’re also a good source of thiamin (vitamin B-one), riboflavin (vitamin B-two), and niacin (vitamin B-three).
From this perspective, can we conclude that chestnuts are suitable for your dog’s diet?
Can dogs eat Water Chestnuts?
Water chestnuts are suitable for your dogs. And we agree that dogs can eat water chestnuts. But, in general, vegetables are healthy snacks for dogs because they provide fiber and other nutrients to boost their health.
Water Chestnuts are safe for dogs because it is low in calories and can provide many nutrients that they need, such as vitamins A and C.
It also contains calcium which helps their bones grow strong without making them too heavy.
However, overeating this vegetable will harm your dog or cause allergies. In addition, this food may cause bloating due to its high fiber content.
Plus, it has a lot of potassium that can lead to kidney problems for your dog if he overeats this food.
In this sense, we considered preparing the best ways to feed your dogs with water chestnuts:
Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Water Chestnuts
Include water chestnuts in desserts
One of the best ways to feed your dogs with water chestnuts is by adding them to desserts. You can prepare a homemade dog treat that includes this vegetable by mixing cooked rice, eggs, and milk.
Pour the mixture on a buttered baking pan, then bake until golden brown. Let it cool down before serving them to your dogs.
Mix with soups and salad
Another way to feed your dog with water chestnuts is by mixing them like soups or salads.
You can make a tasty soup using chicken broth, diced carrots, and celery leaves, garlic powder, onion salt, thyme, and parsley flakes, then adding some cooked rice along with the chopped-up water chestnuts.
The soup can be served with some cooked chicken meat.
Use this as a training treat.
You may also feed your dog with water chestnuts by serving them as a training treat.
You can prepare this vegetable in different ways, such as boiling or frying them then putting some of these cooked treats inside the Kong toy.
Your dogs will enjoy playing and, at the same time, getting rewarded for doing their tricks!
Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts float not only in water, but this aquatic vegetable tides with health factors your dog can benefit from.
Hence, here are reasons why dogs can eat water chestnuts:
Abundant in potassium
Dogs can eat water chestnuts because they contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that your dog needs to survive and thrive because this nutrient helps in the heart, body muscles, kidneys, and nerves.
Healthy source of fiber
Water chestnuts are also abundant in dietary fibers, which makes them healthy for dogs.
Fiber works by helping your dog’s digestive system break down food into energy that the body can use later on.
Plus, fiber can also help your dog deal with constipation.
Antioxidant benefits to fight cancer cells
Water chestnuts are also rich in antioxidants which is beneficial for dogs because they can help fight off free radicals that damage cells and cause cancerous tumors.
Adequate calcium nutrition
Water chestnuts are also known to provide adequate calcium for your pet because this mineral is essential for building strong bones and teeth, especially during the puppyhood stages of development.
Necessary to maintain healthy liver function
Water chestnut is also necessary for your pet’s liver because this organ needs dietary fiber to process the nutrients taken by the body, especially proteins and carbohydrates.
Thus, dogs can eat water chestnuts as long as they’re within moderation!
Possible Concerns When Eating Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts can pose a threat and peril to your dog’s health. Either your dog overeats this food, or your dog’s system deteriorates, you have to beware of the following possible concerns:
Since water chestnuts contain a lot of potassium, it can cause kidney problems for your dog if he consumes too much.
Water chestnuts’ high fiber and phosphorus content may lead to stones formation in the kidneys that causes pain or irritation on his bladder.
Increased high blood pressure
Dogs can also suffer from increased high blood pressure if they eat too many water chestnuts.
This is because this dog food contains a lot of sodium and iodine, which are not suitable for dogs’ heart health.
Some breeds may develop allergies or sensitivities.
There’s also the possibility that some dogs will develop allergy and sensitivity reactions when they eat water chestnuts.
This is because this food contains tyramine, an organic compound found in high levels of water chestnut’s raw and cooked forms, which can trigger allergies or sensitivities like itching and digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhea.
Signs your dog is sick from eating Water Chestnuts
Does your dog act unusual after eating water chestnuts? Maybe, your dog is suffering from sickness.
If you’re unsure about it, here are some red flags to look after:
Skin allergies or sensitivities
Does your dog have skin allergies or sensitivity reactions after eating water chestnuts? Then, this is a sign that you should stop feeding him with these vegetables.
There might be an underlying condition causing his unusual scratching and itching behavior.
Increased urination frequency
If your dogs frequently visit the restroom even without any physical exertion, then this is a sign that he’s sick.
This may indicate the presence of high levels of water chestnut in your dog’s system, which can cause dehydration or urinary tract infection because it contains tyramine, an organic compound found in high concentrations of this vegetable that causes these symptoms.
Vomiting and nausea
Do your dogs frequently vomit after eating water chestnuts? Then, this is a sign that he might be suffering from sickness.
Maybe your dog’s system is not used to the high concentrations of tyramine and sodium found in water chestnuts, which can lead him to experience vomiting or nausea.
What to do if your dog is sick from eating Water Chestnuts?
When an emergency calls you to respond, being calm should be your first resort. With a composed mind, you’ll understand the situation and handle the problem with ease.
If your dog is sick from eating water chestnuts, you should:
- Stay calm and assess the damage done by these vegetables on his system. Then, bring your vet to your dog’s side to make sure he’s in the best of health.
- Tell your vet about what happened to him, along with a complete history of his past medical conditions. Also, you have to provide what your dog intakes, such as the type of food he’s eating, his treats, and supplements.
- Give your dog an electrolyte solution to prevent dehydration or urinary tract infection because it contains tyramine which can cause these symptoms. You should also give your dog a pain reliever if necessary.
- Never give human medications to dogs, though! Do not forget to look for any complications that can arise from this sickness.
Remember, you should never ignore your dog’s health, even if he’s generally acting after eating water chestnuts.
It is still best to bring him to the vet if his system comes across a problem from these vegetables that can trigger severe illness or infection on its bladder and urinary tract.
Avoid similar foods from this family.
It is best to avoid foods in the same family as water chestnuts.
Green beans also contain tyramine which can cause similar symptoms like vomiting and nausea or increased urination frequency if your dogs eat this food.
Other types of legumes that are high in tyramine content include lima beans.
To prevent similar symptoms, these vegetables should also be avoided if dogs are sick from eating water chestnuts or green beans.
Avoid giving your dog mushrooms because they are related to water chestnuts.
These vegetables, green beans, and lima beans contain high tyramine content that can trigger similar symptoms like vomiting or increased urination frequency.
How to Make Water Chestnuts Safe To Eat
To give flesh on the understandings and concepts we have discussed earlier, we designed ways to make water chestnuts safe to eat.
In this way, you may prevent any sickness your dog may encounter soon:
Peel water chestnuts
You have to peel off the skin of water chestnuts. This way, it will be easier for your dog’s body to digest these vegetables without any complications arising.
Cut them into smaller pieces before feeding them to your dogs.
Chop these further down to about one-fourth of their original size. This way, you’ll be able to completely digest water chestnuts without any problem that can arise from these vegetables.
Make a salad
Instead of feeding it to your dogs raw, you can make a salad out of water chestnuts.
Just cut them into smaller pieces before cooking them with olive oil and salt or any other seasonings that are safe for dogs’ consumption.
You should never overfeed your dogs to avoid any complications.
Like other legumes and vegetables, water chestnuts contain high amounts of fiber, which can trigger similar symptoms in the future when consumed continuously.
Overeating these foods may cause bloating or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), a life-threatening condition for your pets.
Water Chestnuts are not the typical chestnut that you roast during the holidays. Instead, they are aquatic tuber’s vegetables that grow in the water of marshes, ponds, and rivers.
They are part of the sedge family, and it looks like a nut, but it is edible.
Affirming our question, water chestnuts are suitable for your dogs. They are low in calories and can provide many nutrients that they need, such as vitamins A and C.
It also contains calcium which helps their bones grow strong without making them too heavy.
However, overeating this vegetable will harm your dog, causing allergies, kidney problems, and increased high blood pressure.
This food may trigger and cause skin allergies, increased urination frequency, vomiting, and nausea.
Ultimately, prevention is better than cure. For example, you may avoid any sickness your dog may suffer from eating water chestnuts by peeling the vegetable’s skin, making a salad, and feeding moderately.