Wheatgrass is the young grass of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It contains high concentrations of chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some pet owners grow and juice wheatgrass at home and add it to their dog’s diet as a nutritional supplement. But how much is safe for dogs to consume?
Feeding wheatgrass to dogs has become a popular health trend due to its dense nutritional profile. Wheatgrass contains high levels of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins C, E and B complex, and minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium. It also contains chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some proponents claim wheatgrass helps to boost the immune system, prevent cancer, improve digestion and mineral absorption, alkalize the body and cleanse the liver and blood. However, there is limited scientific research on the specific health benefits of wheatgrass for dogs.
While wheatgrass does appear very healthy, moderation is still advised when feeding it to dogs. Like most good things, too much wheatgrass can potentially cause problems. Knowing the right dosages and precautions can help ensure your dog safely reaps the greatest benefits from this nutritious superfood.
Nutritional Contents of Wheatgrass
The nutrients and compounds found in fresh wheatgrass include:
- Chlorophyll – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer effects
- Amino acids – helps build proteins and neurotransmission
- Enzymes – aids digestion
- Vitamin A – vision, immune health, reproduction
- Vitamin C – antioxidant, immune support, wound healing
- Vitamin E – antioxidant, circulation, skin and coat health
- Vitamin K – blood clotting
- Magnesium – bone health, enzyme cofactor
- Iron – oxygen transport, energy
- Potassium – fluid balance, nerve transmission
- Fiber – digestion, gut health
This impressive nutritional profile is why wheatgrass is considered a superfood worthy of adding to your dog’s diet in moderation. When juiced or powdered, wheatgrass condenses all these nutrients into a small volume that is easy for dogs to consume.
Benefits of Wheatgrass for Dogs
Here are some of the main benefits wheatgrass may provide for dogs:
- Chlorophyll content – With its high chlorophyll levels, wheatgrass is able to enhance oxygen transport in the body and help remove toxins.
- Digestion – Enzymes and fiber in wheatgrass aid digestion and regularity.
- Nutrient absorption – Vitamins and minerals in wheatgrass may help dogs better absorb nutrients from other foods.
- Detoxification – Antioxidants like chlorophyll and vitamin C support the liver’s natural detoxification processes.
- Anti-inflammatory – Chlorophyll and vitamin E lower inflammation involved in many canine health conditions.
- Immunity – Nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C and amino acids strengthen the immune response.
- Cancer prevention – Antioxidants in wheatgrass neutralize free radicals and may prevent cancerous mutations.
- Dental health – Chewing on wheatgrass can help clean teeth and gums.
However, most of these benefits are anecdotal and have not been thoroughly studied in dogs specifically. More research is still needed to confirm the advantages of feeding wheatgrass to canines.
Potential Side Effects
When fed in moderation, wheatgrass is likely safe for most dogs. However, some potential side effects can occur if dogs consume too much.
- Allergies – Dogs allergic to wheat or grass could experience an allergic reaction to wheatgrass.
- Blockages – Compacted grass blades may pose a choking risk or cause GI blockages.
- Nutrient excesses – Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E can cause toxicity in excessive doses.
- Gastrointestinal upset – Diarrhea or vomiting from too much fiber, minerals, or sudden diet change.
- Hypoglycemia – Excess chlorophyll may lower blood sugar too much in diabetic dogs.
- Thyroid problems – Goitrogenic compounds may impact thyroid function if overconsumed.
To be safe, wheatgrass should be introduced slowly and fed in limited quantities. Consult your veterinarian if any concerning symptoms arise.
Recommended Wheatgrass Dosages
There are no official guidelines for the right amount of wheatgrass to feed dogs. General feeding recommendations are:
- Start with very small amounts and gradually increase to monitor for any adverse effects.
- Only feed wheatgrass occasionally (1-2 times per week) rather than daily.
- Follow label instructions when using commercial wheatgrass powders or juices.
- Use approximately 1 oz of fresh wheatgrass for small dogs or 1-2 oz for large dogs.
When juicing or pureeing at home, the following wheatgrass dose guidelines are often recommended:
|Dog Size||Wheatgrass Juice Amount|
|Small dogs (||1-2 tbsp|
|Medium dogs (21-50 lbs)||2-4 tbsp|
|Large dogs (> 50 lbs)||4-6 tbsp|
If introducing wheatgrass juice, start with just 1 tsp and gradually work up to the suggested doses if no issues. Spread out the daily amount into multiple smaller servings.
When feeding fresh wheatgrass, offer a handful of blades at a time. Closely supervise chewing to prevent choking. Most owners recommend limiting total consumption to 1-2 oz per day.
How to Prepare and Serve Wheatgrass
There are several ways to serve wheatgrass to dogs:
- Powder – Add wheatgrass powder to food. Use approximately 1/4 tsp per 20 lbs body weight.
- Juice – Mix liquid wheatgrass juice into meals or water. Use suggested dosage for dog’s size.
- Fresh grass – Offer a small handful of fresh wheatgrass blades to chew.
- Frozen cubes – Freeze wheatgrass juice in ice cube trays for teething pups.
- Dehydrated chips – Dehydrate fresh wheatgrass leaves into crunchy chips.
It’s best to mix wheatgrass into your dog’s regular meals. The fiber can help slow absorption of sugars and nutrients. Avoid offering on an empty stomach or right before/after meals.
Start with very small amounts. Observe your dog’s appetite, energy levels, waste consistency and any other reactions over the next 24 hours. Gradually increase wheatgrass every few days if no issues arise.
Only purchase wheatgrass powders and juices made specifically for pets. Read labels carefully and do not exceed recommended dosages.
What Dogs Should Not Eat Wheatgrass
These dogs should avoid or limit wheatgrass consumption:
- Puppies – Immature digestive systems may have trouble processing wheatgrass. Wait until at least 6 months old.
- Senior dogs – More prone to GI issues. Start with very small amounts.
- Diabetic dogs – Monitor blood sugar closely. Chlorophyll may lower it too much.
- Dogs with thyroid disorder – Goitrogens in wheatgrass may suppress thyroid function.
- Dogs with kidney problems – Wheatgrass is high in minerals that dogs with kidney disease cannot excrete well.
- Pregnant/nursing dogs – Safest to avoid until more research on wheatgrass safely during reproduction.
- Dogs with wheat/grass allergies – Contains proteins dogs may be allergic to.
When in doubt, consult your veterinarian before offering wheatgrass, especially if your dog has any health conditions or takes medications.
Can Wheatgrass Upset a Dog’s Stomach?
Like any new food, wheatgrass does have the potential to cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs if introduced improperly. Some possible symptoms include:
- Excessive gas
- Loss of appetite
- General stomach pains
To minimize stomach upset, transition wheatgrass into the diet slowly, go with conservative dosages based on your dog’s size and carefully watch for any reactions. This allows their gastrointestinal system time to adjust.
Wheatgrass side effects usually subside within 24 hours if wheatgrass is discontinued. If symptoms persist or seem severe, call your veterinarian promptly.
When introduced properly, wheatgrass can be a nutritious supplement for dogs. Its dense nutrient profile provides vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, enzymes and compounds that offer many health benefits.
For safety, wheatgrass should be fed in moderation. Excessive amounts increase the risks of allergies, gastrointestinal problems or mineral toxicities. Follow suggested dosing guidelines for your dog’s size and monitor closely for any adverse reactions.
Talk with your veterinarian before adding wheatgrass, especially if your dog has any health conditions or takes medications. With proper precautions, wheatgrass can be a great way to give your dog an extra boost of nutrients and antioxidants.