The next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is Dandelions. Yes, those weeds with the yellow flowers that turn into puffballs that children make wishes on are actually very beneficial to your (and your pet’s) health.
What is a dandelion?
The dandelion belongs to the genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are often considered pesky weeds when they pop up in your lawn, but they have amazing nutritional value; dandelions are another human superfood. All parts of the plant can be eaten, but the roots and leaves are the most common edible part. The leaves also can be used to make tea.
Why are dandelions in pet food?
Dandelions have a long history of use by humans for their medicinal properties and were regularly used to treat jaundice, gout and other liver and kidney ailments. Modern research has shown that dandelions can normalize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, stimulate the appetite, and improve liver and gallbladder function. Dandelion’s detoxifying qualities can be very beneficial if your pet has digestive issues.
Many of those health benefits can be transferred to our pets.
Dandelions are also rich in:
Are there any risks to feeding your pet dandelions?
If you are feeding your pet dandelions from your yard, or from the local park, be aware they may have been sprayed with pesticides and wash them thoroughly before feeding them to your pet.
Dogs can tolerate veggies in their diet more readily than cats, so if you see your cat chewing on dandelions in your garden, be sure and keep it to a few bites or they may end up with a stomach ache.
Interesting facts about dandelions:
Four dandelion flowers are the emblem of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The citizens celebrate spring with an annual Dandelion Festival.
Dandelions are used in making root beer.
The name Dandelion comes from the French word that means “lion’s tooth”, a reference to the appearance of the plant leaves.
A sampling of pet foods that contain dandelions: