Can dogs eat the root vegetable known as Jicama?
Jicama has recently become a popular health food item for people, but is it safe to feed to your dog?
That is a very good question! Never feed your dog human food without doing your research to make sure that it is safe. Some human foods (such as onions, grapes and chocolate) can be dangerous for dogs to consume.
Parts of the Jicama vegetable are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. However, parts of the plant are toxic and can be dangerous if ingested.
Therefore, you need to be careful if you are feeding this food to your dog.
It is vital that you know what you are doing so that you do not make a mistake and feed your dog a part of the plant that could make him sick.
Always check with your vet before introducing any new type of food item into your pet’s existing diet.
What is Jicama?
Some of you may be wondering, what is Jicama anyway?
This veggie is still pretty rare in the United States, although it is starting to become more well known.
Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) is a plant that comes from Mexico.
The roots of the Jicama plant are edible, although the other parts of the plant—including the skin and the seeds—are toxic to both people and animals.
The Jicama root is also sometimes called the Mexican potato, the Mexican yam bean, or the Mexican turnip.
The flesh of the root is white, and it has a starchy flavor. Some people compare the texture to that of a potato.
Jicama has recently become a popular health food item for humans because it is high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. It is also low in fat and sugar.
Since it is so low in sugar, it is a good carbohydrate option for people with diabetes or people who are trying to reduce sugar in their diets.
This unusual root vegetable can be hard to acquire. Your best bet is to look for it in a health food store, an Asian market, or a Mexican grocery store.
How do most people eat Jicama?
Some people use it to make recipes such a Jicama fries or Jicama hash. It is also commonly added to salads.
Can Dogs Eat Jicama?
It is always a wise idea to consult with your vet before feeding your dog any new dietary item.
Just because something is safe for most dogs, does not mean that it will agree with every dog.
The root of the Jicama vegetable is generally considered to be safe for dogs to consume in small quantities.
However, the leaves, vines, flowers, skin, stems and beans are highly toxic to both people and animals.
Be very careful if you are serving this food to your pet to make sure that you only allow them to eat the peeled flesh of the root.
If you are worried about making a mistake, it might be best to skip this food item all together.
How Can you Prepare Jicama for your Dog?
Your dog can eat a small amount of the Jicama root either cooked or raw.
If you choose to cook it, you can do so by boiling it in water for a few minutes or baking it in the oven for 1-2 hours.
If you bake the Jicama for 1-2 hours, it should become crispy. Dogs seem to enjoy this texture.
You can offer a small amount of the cooked or raw root to your dog as a treat. You can also mix it into his food bowl or put it inside of an interactive toy (like a Kong or a food puzzle). You can also offer it as a training reward.
Are there Nutritional Benefits to Feeding Your Dog Jicama?
Jicama is not a typical part of a normal dog’s diet.
It is certainly not necessary to add this food to your dog’s diet.
If you do choose to feed your dog a small quantity as a treat, there can be some nutritional benefits.
For example, Jicama is high in fiber, vitamin C, iron and potassium.
Jicama is also a low-calorie snack. So, if you feed your dog a small amount as a treat, it will be less fattening than the same amount of other types of people food that we sometimes feed our dogs (such as hot dogs, cheese or peanut butter).
If your dog is overweight, you can substitute small pieces of Jicama (and other safe fruits/veggies) in place of more fattening items.
For example, instead of filling your dog’s Kong with peanut butter, you could fill it with small pieces of Jicama, carrots, cooked sweet potatoes and apples.
Are There Risks to Feeding Your Dog Jicama?
As mentioned earlier, only the peeled root is edible. All other parts of the plant are toxic.
The toxic parts of the plant contain a poison called Rotenone.
Rotenone is a poison that is sometimes used in insecticides.
It can even be lethal to humans in a large enough dose, but it is especially dangerous for smaller animals.
However, if you stick exclusively to the flesh of the root, the risks to your dog are minimal.
As with all foods, it is best to give this snack to your pet in moderation.
Too much Jicama could upset your dog’s stomach. Especially if your dog is not used to this food.
Always introduce a new food slowly.
If you are going to give your dog Jicama as a treat, start with a very small amount to make sure that it does not cause your dog to experience any GI upset such as diarrhea.
If your dog has any negative effects, such as vomiting or loose stool, discontinue feeding this vegetable immediately.
Talk to Your Vet
As always, if you have any questions about your dog’s diet or health, talk with a licensed veterinary professional.