Well you may never have even heard of jicama, but it’s a vegetable that’s finding its way increasingly into homes across the world. Since it’s becoming more popular, it’s not a stretch to imagine our dogs coming into contact with it. So is this a problem? Can dogs eat jicama? Is jicama potentially dangerous to dogs?
In this post, I’ll explain what jicama is, where it comes from and what benefits it offers. I’ll of course also explain if dogs can eat it… and I’ll do this right now.
For the most part dogs can eat jicama… but only the flesh of the root part of the jicama plant. In fact, in small doses a little jicama may provide a nutritious treat for your dog.
However, only the flesh of the root is good for dogs… all other parts of the jicama are poisonous and shouldn’t be eaten by humans or dogs (or any animal for that matter).
That said, it’s unlikely you’ll ever come into contact with the poisonous parts of the jicama in your local supermarket!
Table of Contents
- What is Jicama?
- Can Dogs Eat Jicama?
- Is Jicama Good for Dogs?
- Is Jicama Bad for Dogs?
- How Do You Prepare Jicama for Dogs?
- Summary: Can Dogs Eat Jicama?
- Related Posts
What is Jicama?
Jicama (pronounced as HEE-cah-mah) is a plant originally from Mexico and Central America, that was taken to the Philippines via the Spanish empire and consequently found its way into Asia.
It’s a climbing plant with a round edible root that looks a little bit like a large potato or turnip. The jicama root has a brown skin that reveals a starch white interior when peeled.
With a subtly sweet and nutty flavour like a mild apple, it has a crunchy potato-like texture when eaten raw, but of course it can be cooked too.
If you haven’t heard of jicama before, perhaps it’s because you may actually know it by one of its many other names:
- Chinese potato
- Mexican potato
- Mexican yam
- Saa got
- Sweet turnip
Can Dogs Eat Jicama?
As stated above, dogs can certainly eat the white fleshy part of the root of the plant… the part that’s sold in stores and supermarkets.
Indeed, in small doses, jicama offers the same nutritional advantages to dogs that it offers to us humans.
However, if you know someone who grows jicama, keep your dog away from the plant itself as ALL parts of it other than the root are poisonous.
Is Jicama Good for Dogs?
As with many things that dogs can eat that we consider nutritious for us, dogs can eat jicama (at least the peeled white root part).
Jicama is high in fibre, vitamins A, B6, C and E, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium and selenium.
The following table shows some of the the nutritional benefits in 100g of raw jicama:
|Total lipid (fat)||0.09g|
Jicama low in calories so it can be a highly nutritious snack / treat for dogs as long as it’s not offered up too frequently. Indeed, jicama may be a far better food to allow your dog to eat than some other commercially prepared dog snacks.
The fibre in jicama helps to maintain healthy bowel function and decreases the likelihood of heart disease and colon cancer.
Furthermore, jicama contains a prebiotic fibre called inulin. Prebiotics are are extremely beneficial for the health of the digestive system as they create an environment where the healthy bacteria in the gut can flourish.
Vitamin A is important for maintaining skin health, keeping the coat in condition and supporting muscle function and the nervous system.
Vitamin C, an antioxidant, helps to reduce inflammation, which may help to avoid conditions like arthritis. The vitamin C in jicama also keeps the immune system functioning correctly.
Vitamin B6, another antioxidant, also boosts the nervous system, aids in the production of red blood cells and helps to metabolise protein. While vitamin E protects a dog’s immune system, muscles, heart, liver and skin.
You can see from the nutritional information in the table above that jicama is 90% water. This means it can help to deliver fluids to avoid the telltale signs of dehydration in dogs. As a result, jicama might be a great way to help your dog remain hydrated on hot days.
Finally, because it’s a crunchy vegetable, it’s good for your dog’s teeth. Vegetables like jicama and carrots help to keep a dog’s teeth clean and reduce the likelihood of gum disease.
Is Jicama Bad for Dogs?
Although dogs can eat the white flesh of the jicama root, you do have to be very careful not to allow your dog to eat any other part of the plant.
The leaves, vine stem and seeds and even skin of the root are all poisonous to dogs. The poisonous substance these parts of the plant contain is called rotenone, which is used commercially as an insecticide and a piscicide.
If eaten in sufficient quantities, rotenone is capable of killing dogs and humans. So if you grow (or are thinking of growing) jicama in your garden at home, you must ensure your dog won’t be able to get at it when your back is turned.
Furthermore, if you intend to give your dog jicama as a snack, you should peel and wash it throughly before doing so. This will ensure that you won’t feed it the skin and that any pesticides and chemicals used in cultivating it are washed away.
While fibre is important for a healthy digestive system, too much fibre in a dog’s diet can cause constipation. Additionally, while the prebiotic inulin helps to foment healthy gut bacteria, too much can cause bloating, gas, vomiting and diarrhoea.
A dog may well be intolerant to jicama or even allergic. Hence, if you’re allowing your dog to eat jicama for the first time, it’s important to let it try a very small quantity to see how it reacts.
Finally, it’s vitally important not to overfeed your dog any food that you give it as a supplement to a healthy and balanced dog food. Many veterinary professionals advise that treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorific needs.
How Do You Prepare Jicama for Dogs?
As with any vegetable, you should always wash the jicama thoroughly to remove any chemicals or pesticides used in growing it.
Next, peel and remove the skin of the jicama root as this is mildly toxic and may make your dog poorly.
Dogs cat eat jicama raw and a good way to present it is cut into small “sticks”. Additionally you could roast, steam or boil it as long as you don’t add other ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Indeed, cooking jicama might be better for puppies and older dogs with dental issues as it will soften it and make it easier to eat.
As with any treat, moderation is key. Always ensure that you never overfeed jicama to your dog: an occasional treat is fine but allowing your dog to eat as much jicama as it likes on a regular basis should be avoided.
If you’re at all concerned about introducing jicama into your dog’s diet, speak with a veterinary professional for advice specific to your dog.
Summary: Can Dogs Eat Jicama?
In summary, yes dog’s can eat jicama… but only the washed and peeled root part of the plant. The vine stems, leaves, seeds and skin are toxic and should never be fed to dogs.
As an occasional snack, jicama does offer a healthy alternative to many commercially prepared dog treats, but treats should never become the main source of calories in a dog’s diet.
Does your dog eat jicama? How do you prepare it? Has your dog ever had a problem eating it? Please tell me about it or ask a question in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
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