Updated June 14, 2020.
Dandelions are the bane of many a lawn owner who prides themselves on a beautiful green lawn. These plants are considered a weed in many parts of North America. However, dandelions are available at most grocery stores in the produce section.
History Of The Dandelion And The Dog
Dogs have been around for a very long time. They have been a companion to humans for the better part of 30,000 years, likely much longer. Comparatively, dandelions were useful to people as far back as the Roman empire. It is quite possible, even likely that prehistoric peoples ate dandelions as a source of nutrients.
Speaking of nutrients, we’ll take a look at what’s in a dandelion down below in some charts I prepared for your viewing pleasure.
What Dandelions Do Best
Dandelions are not only great sources of nutrients and vitamins, but they are also known for many different purposes for people. However, for a dog, the dandelion can help with digestive issues and even help improve kidney function.
There has also been evidence found which points to dandelions being potentially useful for the treatment of diabetes. However, our recommendation is to focus on the nutrients it provides and not any possible medical usefulness.
The stem and stalk of the dandelion have proven to stimulate the immune system. It makes it a great addition to any diet. Just chop some up and add a touch of chicken broth to the chopped stalk or leaves. Put that in a bowl, and your dog will lick the bowl clean.
Dandelion has also proven to help stimulate appetite and liver function. So, it seems this little weed that grows everywhere; it seems, is not such a weed after all.
Now, dandelions are suitable for people too. With the high amount of vitamin C, amongst other things, they are not a bad thing to put in a salad. Moreover, they grow like weeds, so growing them in a garden is a piece of cake.
I grow Dandelions on purpose to use in salads. Also, the roots make an excellent tea, allegedly reported to fend off cancer.Farmer Jer
What Makes Up A Dandelion
We mentioned that dandelion is a source of vitamin C. Well, it is a source of a lot more than just that. Again, before running out and trying to stuff the dogs face with dandelions, take a second.
One should feed a tiny amount to test and make sure the dog won’t react poorly to it. Alternatively, consult a vet about it before starting supplementing the dog’s diet.
Okay, getting back to the dandelion and what makes it. We have done a bunch of research about what this ‘weed’ consists of, and that is what we want to convey today. The following charts base is a 100 gram serving of dandelion greens.
Did your parents or guardian ever tell you to eat your greens? It was so you get enough vitamins in your diet. Dogs, just like people, need a variety of vitamins in their diet to be healthy. And dandelions are a great source of many vitamins. Here’s a table showing the vitamins you’ll find in 100 grams of dandelions.
|Pantothenic acid||0.084 MG|
|Vitamin A||10161.00 IU|
|Vitamin A, RAE||508.00 UG|
|Carotene, alpha||363.00 UG|
|Carotene, beta||5854.00 UG|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta||121.00 UG|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||13610.00 UG|
|Vitamin B6||0.251 MG|
|Vitamin C||35.0 MG|
|Vitamin E||3.44 MG|
|Tocopherol, alpha||3.44 MG|
|Vitamin K||778.4 UG|
What can I say about minerals except that they are as important a part of your diet as are vitamins? Without minerals, our bones would crumble, and our organs fail. That’s right, and they are highly relevant. And not just for you, your dog’s health is equally dependent upon minerals. Here’s a breakdown of what you are going to find in dandelions.
|Calcium, Ca||187.00 MG|
|Copper, Cu||0.171 MG|
|Iron, Fe||3.10 MG|
|Magnesium, Mg||36.00 MG|
|Manganese, Mn||0.342 MG|
|Phosphorus, P||66.00 MG|
|Potassium, K||397.00 MG|
|Selenium, Se||0.5 UG|
|Sodium, Na||76.00 MG|
|Zinc, Zn||0.41 MG|
Proteins, Amino Acids, And Carbohydrates
I put these three items together on the same chart because I like to look at how much protein and how much carbs are in a food source. Add in fiber for good dietary practices and we’re off to the races.
Fats And Fatty Acids
Fats and Fatty Acids are found all over nature. They are the building blocks of fats within our bodies and comprise a portion of the food we eat. When our bodies break down fat, it turns into fatty acids, which the body can absorb. Not all are good for you, but both dogs and humans both need a certain level of fats and fatty acids in our diets to be eating healthy.
According to petMD, most dogs should have a diet that includes about 10-15% fat. This is only true for most healthy dogs of course. There are exceptions to the rule like when you have a dog with Cushing’s disease. Consult with your veterinarian about your pooch as they will know your dog’s personal history whereas I do not when writing this post. Not that I don’t like chewing the fat with you here, so to speak, but let’s get back on point.
|Saturated fatty acids||0.170 G|
|Hexadecanoic acid||0.145 G|
|Octadecanoic acid||0.007 G|
|Tetradecanoic acid||0.009 G|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||0.014 G|
|Octadecenoic acid||0.014 G|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.306 G|
|Octadecadienoic acid||0.261 G|
|Octadecatrienoic acid||0.044 G|
Other Things In Dandelion
I had to mention the last two things that we find in dandelions. Water, which is always a good thing, and ash. Ash is a mixture of elements, usually things like calcium and zinc and so on. Think of these as the sort of mix of leftovers after everything else useful has been removed. It’s just a bit of harmless ash. But, water is a good thing.
How To Use Dandelion Greens
The first thing I recommend is that you either buy the dandelion greens at a grocery or you grow them yourself. Why? Because you don’t want to feed your dog pesticides, fertilizers or other things.
The best thing to do is to get some seeds from a dandelion out in the country, far away from the road. Then bring them home and plant them in a pot of organic soil. They’ll grow like crazy, you know dandelions. They’ll grow in your lawn when you don’t want them too, so growing them in a pot is really an easy task. And that way, you’ll know they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or other things.
- Dandelion Lions – Raw Nutrition Facts
- Taraxacum – Dandelions (Wikipedia)
- Whats in a Balanced Dog Food? – Petmd.com
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© 2020, Jeremy Shantz. All rights reserved.