Jicama, the root vegetable, is quite popular as a snack with both humans and dogs. But is it actually a safe item for our little canines to consume?
That’s a good question if you are looking at the diet of your pup.
And the answer, for the most part, is yes. But, as always, there are a few ifs and buts.
Here’s what you need to know about jicama if you want to give your dog a little piece or a whole stick.
What Is Jicama?
It is pronounced hee-kah-ma and is a tuberous herb, an edible root vegetable that comes in the form of bulbs and resembles the roots of celery or turnips except it does not have anything green growing out of it.
It is native to South America, Central America and Mexico and is often sold on the streets in these regions. Jicama can be eaten raw or spiced with chili powder, lime juice or lemon.
It’s not so common in the US but it is still available and is known as the Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip.
When it comes to humans, jicama is considered to be a wonderful probiotic and the same stands true for dogs too.
The root is the only part of the plant that is safe to eat. It is kind of a mix between an apple and a water chestnut which makes it taste a bit starchy and sweet.
It is not a bad idea for dogs to eat jicama no matter the breed. But you must observe a few cautions.
We’ll talk about all that and more in this piece. Let’s get started.
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Advantages of Feeding Jicama to Dogs
It is filled with a lot of nutrients that make it food for health. Here’s the advantage of feeding this edible little thing to dogs.
Good for Digestive System
Since it is low in calories and has a lot of fiber in it, jicama is actually good for dogs. Jicama is said to be a good addition to their diet because of its overall positive impact on the dog’s health along with a specific benefit to its digestive system.
Jicama is also rich in vitamin C, which means it can give a much necessary boost to your dog’s immune system.
It also contains a lot of antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin E and selenium, which stops the development of damaged cells in the dog’s body.
Jicama is also a prebiotic and just one cup of it has about 6 grams of fiber which helps feed the good bacteria. That’s why jicama is known for its ability to improve the good bacteria count, which is good for the dog’s gut health.
And naturally, it has a mild and neutral flavor, which means not only is it good for the guy, but it can actually help with an upset stomach and related problems.
But remember not to give it to the dog with meat-based food.
Helps Bone Growth
Jicama is a bit crunchy and has a good deal of iron and calcium, which is good for the bones.
The crunchy part of the vegetable also keeps the dog’s teeth clean, which means you don’t have to worry about problems related to their gums.
And on top of all of that, jicama also has essential minerals like potassium and magnesium, which keeps the dog in optimal overall health.
Recommended for Weight Management
Jicama also doesn’t cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which means it’s a good option for dogs that are on a weight management program to contain obesity.
It also means that this snack can be good for their heart health. Apart from fiber, which slows down the digestion process, jicama also has a good deal of water which keeps the dog full.
Jicama is also said to have an impact on canine hormones which helps them pick up on hunger and fullness. So, dogs will also feel like they had a satisfying meal.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch?
Watch Out For Toxicity
Now, you must remember that the jicama plant has many parts, but not all of them should be eaten.
The root of the plant is the only part that is good for both humans and dogs. It is white in color, looks like a potato and grows underground.
The leaves and stems of the plant have a natural insecticide called rotenone, which is not good for humans or other animals, including dogs.
The skin also contains rotenone and some pesticides. So, it must be removed before the jicama is consumed.
When they are young, the seeds are not dangerous, but if they are grown, they can be very toxic to dogs along with being a choking hazard.
So, you must make sure that the jicama you have procured doesn’t have any seeds, leaves or stems.
You should wash the roots before it is given to the dog or consumed by you to make sure that the surface of the plant does not have any chemicals or pesticides that are sprayed on it during its production.
How to Eat Jicama
Jicama is usually consumed in the form of sticks. If you are giving it to your dog, you might want to make sure it is roasted or sauteed with spices that are safe for canine consumption.
And any time you give new food items to your dog, always give them a small portion and see if they take to it. If you didn’t know it already, this is the standard practice with any new food.
You must maintain the same pattern with jicama even though it is generally considered good for dogs.
You can prepare the root vegetable by peeling the bulb and cutting it into small sticks. You can give your dog a few sticks every day and see if they have any digestive issues.
You should also keep an eye out for allergic reactions like sneezing, coughing and itching. If you see any of them, you should contact your vet right away.
You don’t need to soften the sticks in any way because most adult dogs that have good teeth can handle a piece of it without any trouble.
But if you are feeding pups, you might want to shred it a bit so that they can chew and swallow it with ease.
Boiling and steaming the jicama are also good options if your dog is unable to chew the jicama sticks for some reason.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Calamari?
Fresh jicama is a good snack for dogs because it has a lot of nutritional value. You can also give them roasted or sauteed jicama sticks.
Roots are the only part of the tree that is good for dogs and humans. The other parts, like leaves and stems, are toxic and should not be consumed in any form.
If you are going to add spices to the jicama to feed your dog, make sure they are dog-friendly spices.
You should also remember to keep the salt to a minimum and never add any onions or garlic to the mix.
While it is good for their health, you should not give a lot of jicama to dogs because it could lead to an upset stomach or cause diarrhea.