Unless it’s Burn’s Night and you're munching through some “neeps and tatties”, odds are you haven’t had a turnip on your plate in a while! These robust root vegetables are often confused with swedes, which is fair enough, since a swede is short for “Swedish turnip” and they’re close cousins in the food world.
Since dogs can eat swede and other root veggies like parsnips and carrots, you’d be forgiven for assuming that dogs can eat turnips too. So can dogs eat turnips and can these root vegetables make a healthy addition to our dog’s dinners?
Yep, dogs can eat turnips! These terrific root vegetables are non-toxic to pups and perfectly safe for your pooch to eat in moderation. You could use this natural and nutritious veggie to make a healthy snack for your pup, or it can be used as an ingredient in healthy dog food.
Just remember to chop up or grate any turnip that you’re going to feed Fido to prevent the risk of choking. You should also always feed turnips in moderation because eating too much natural fibre might give your dog a stomach upset and diarrhoea.
Not every dog can eat turnips though. If your pooch suffers from a health problem that affects their thyroid gland, such as hypothyroidism, they shouldn’t eat turnips because this vegetable can suppress the function of their thyroid. Some dogs can also be allergic to turnips, but it’s pretty rare.
Dogs can definitely eat cooked turnips whether they’re boiled, steamed, roasted, or mashed.
The only kind of cooked turnip I would advise not to feed your dog would be anything that’s been fried, or covered in sauces, seasonings, and spices.
This is because the oil and fat on fried turnips isn’t good for your dog, and it could lead to weight gain or problems like pancreatitis. Plus, many of the flavourings and spices we humans love are actually irritating or even harmful for our furry friends. As with anything, if you’re going to give it to your dog, keep it plain!
Dogs can eat turnips raw or cooked, they’re safe to eat either way! Raw turnips can be a little harder for Fido to digest, so make sure to chop it up finely or grate it and only feed them raw turnip in small amounts.
Eating too much raw turnip could give your dog mild gastrointestinal issues, like a stomach ache, flatulence, and diarrhoea. If your dog shows any signs of sickness, stop feeding them turnips and hopefully their symptoms should clear up within a few hours. You should always contact your vet if you’re concerned about your pet, or if their symptoms persist.
Yes, turnip roots are edible so there’s no need to cut it off. The entire turnip is itself a root vegetable, so there’s little difference if your pooch eats that spindly tail end or not.
Your dog can eat turnip roots without any bother, just make sure you cut them up first to prevent your pup from choking on their crunchy veggie snack.
Dogs can eat turnip greens, and we humans can too! Turnip greens are not only edible, they’re actually even more nutritious than the turnip itself.
Turnip greens are packed full of vitamin A, C, and K as well as a good dose of calcium and folate which is all great for Fido’s health. So if you’ve topped and tailed your turnip and don’t fancy munching the roots or leaves, feel free to toss them to the dog to hoover up!
Yes, turnips can be great for dogs as long as your pooch eats them in moderation alongside a healthy, balanced diet. They’re low in calories, fat, sugar, and salt, and it’s all-natural so there’s no need to worry about your dog eating any nasties. Just remember to wash your turnips first to get rid of any traces of dirt or pesticides that could be lurking on your veggies.
Turnips are particularly good for dogs that suffer from kidney issues, because this root veggie is a natural diuretic and stimulates kidney function.
This root vegetable also contains a lot of dietary fibre, which is brilliant for your dog’s belly. Dietary fibre helps to keep your pooch’s bowel movements regular, firm up their stool, and it can help to reduce inflammation in the colon. But as mentioned above, too much fibre can have the opposite effect and give your pooch gut ache and loose stool, so make sure you feed them turnips in moderation!
Turnips are very healthy and nutritious, packed full of vitamin C and B6 as well as minerals like calcium, folate, potassium, and magnesium.
Vitamin C is amazing at supporting your dog’s immune system, it improves their healing, helps to maintain healthy cells and bones, and allows their body to effectively absorb iron. Vitamin B6 meanwhile helps to prevent problems like anemia, kidney stones, and cavities whilst promoting normal growth.
As for the cocktail of minerals that are found in turnips, those goodies can help to support a number of organs and functions in your doggy’s body. They promote strong teeth and bones, support muscle and nerve function, maintain healthy cells, and enable the body to absorb other vitamins and minerals from their food and help to regulate the electrical current that keeps their heart beating. All very “important” stuff!
Turnips are another member of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with swedes, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. These veggies, especially the green leafy ones, have a paw-some anti-cancer effect and they’re especially good at preventing bladder cancer in both people and pooches.
As well as an anti-cancer effect, the active phytochemicals in turnips seem to possess antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, antidiabetic, and pain-relieving effects. These natural compounds can also help to prevent damage to the liver and kidneys.
Turnips also contain dietary nitrate which benefits humans by reducing blood pressure and it could help to improve the health of blood vessels.
Although more research into the benefits for canines is needed, there is potential that your dog could also benefit from these effects too!
The leaves have an even greater nutritional value than the turnip itself, so it’s worth whisking them in a salad whether it’s destined for your own lunch or the dog’s bowl.
Yes, dogs can eat turnips and these crunchy root vegetables can be a safe and healthy addition to your doggo’s diet whether you’re grating a bit onto their dinner, or mashing some to use as a Kong filler or spread on a licki mat.
There’s plenty of nutrition in turnips and nothing untoward to worry about like excess calories, additives, fat, spice, or salt. It’s just another whole, natural food you can offer your dog as something a bit different, or use as an ingredient in their dinner.
Loads of types of veggies can be a great addition to your dog's dinners, which is why we include fruit and veg like carrots, apples and cabbage in our Pure recipes, offering your dog complete and balanced nutrition that's super tasty too!
Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS
Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.