Can dogs eat bamboo shoots? Is it safe?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Has it ever happened to you?

You’re sitting on your couch, eating a Chinese take out, and your dog sneakily gets its paws on one of the bamboo shoots, and eats it?

Or maybe you feed one to them on purpose?

This situation might startle or force some dog owners to think whether those shoots would cause their dog any harm or not.

If you too are pondering over that question, we’ll answer this question as simply as possible in this article.

So, if you’re ready, let’s hop in!

What are bamboo shoots?

Bamboo shoots are basically the soft core of the sprouts of bamboo plants. These shoots are edible and are used mainly in the Chinese and Asian cuisine as a form of vegetable. They’re rich in fiber, contain multiple vitamins and minerals, and have anti-oxidant properties too.

These shoots are sold in a variety of forms, including fresh, canned, and dried. You will also find bamboo shoots in Chinese takeaways quite frequently, but dogs that live in Asian households come into contact with these bamboo shoots most often.

One thing you must know is that raw bamboo shoots contain cyanogenic glycosides. This means that consuming raw shoots can cause cyanide poisoning in both humans as well as dogs. To remove this toxin, bamboo shoots are usually cooked or boiled before they are sold off or canned.

Can dogs eat bamboo shoots?

Yes, according to the ASPCA dogs can consume bamboo or bamboo shoots as it is non-toxic to them. But whether you should feed your dog bamboo or bamboo shoots is another question.

If your dog eats some bamboo shoots, you shouldn’t be alarmed as it won’t cause any damage to their health. In fact, feeding them bamboo shoots the right way might actually have several benefits on their health.

You might also notice that your puppy likes gnawing on bamboo. This behavior is also completely safe, and something you shouldn’t be worried about. Bamboo actually serves as an excellent chewing toy as it’s both natural and stiff, which makes it last quite long.

Benefits of bamboo shoots (Video)

 

Benefits of bamboo shoots

Earlier, we discussed that bamboo shoots can actually be beneficial to your dog’s health. Bamboo shoots can serve as a great low-calorie snack and has many benefits if fed with proper instructions and precautions. Here’s a list of some of them:

  • Anti-inflammatory: It’s been found that bamboo shoots contain pain-killing and anti-inflammatory compounds. These can be used to treat external as well as internal wounds in both humans as well as dogs. Thus, feeding them bamboo shoots can relieve them from pain originating from arthritis or stomach ulcers or any other wound.
  • Improves cardiovascular health: Studies have shown that bamboo shoots contain compounds that help in dissolving the harmful cholesterol in dogs. This prevents and reduces arterial blockage and leads to improved blood circulation.
  • Stabilizes cholesterol: Bamboo shoots have also been shown to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstreams of dogs by balancing their glucose levels.
  • Rich in minerals: Bamboo shoots contain a variety of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, and others that promote healthy growth and bones. They also contain plenty of fiber that improves your dog’s overall digestive health.
  • Strengthen the immune system: Vitamins in bamboo shoots such as vitamin A and E have antioxidant properties. These strengthen your dog’s immune system and protects them from illnesses and diseases.
  • Low-calorie and sugar-free: Snacks for dogs are usually filled with sugar and sodium that might cause obesity and diabetes. Instead, you can use bamboo shoots which are a low-calorie and sugarless alternative, and also has other health benefits.

Feeding your dog bamboo shoots

While bamboo shoots might have their multiple health benefits, it’s important to feed it to them ‘the right way’ to prevent any damage to their health instead.

One of the first things you should take into account is that bamboo shoots should only be fed in moderation. Just like about any other food, feeding them shoots in excess can also cause digestive upsets in dogs. Therefore, it’s important to give it to them in very small amounts and only every once in a while.

The second thing that’s absolutely necessary is that your bamboo shoots should be cooked. Raw bamboo shoots contain cyanogenic glycosides, which must be removed through boiling or cooking. If your dog accidentally eats raw shoots, you should immediately get them to the vet.

After that, the third thing which you should make sure is that you’re feeding them freshly cooked bamboo shoots only and in small pieces. The reason why we don’t recommend giving them canned shoots is that they contain additives which can cause gastrointestinal upsets in dogs. Also, make sure that the shoots are cut up into very small pieces that are easy to chew and eat, and don’t pose a choking hazard to your dog.

Lastly, make sure that you slowly introduce these shoots into your dog’s diet. Because bamboo shoots are not part of a canines’ natural diet, feeding them too many at first can cause diarrhea or digestive disorders. Therefore, it’s recommended that you slowly introduce it over a period of 1 – 3 weeks to allow their digestive system to adjust.

Toxic bamboo shoots

Some of you might have heard that bamboo is toxic to dogs. And while that statement might not be entirely true, it’s not completely false either. There are over 100 species of bamboo, differing in size and nature. Most can grow up to several feet long, while others remain at a smaller size. Some prefer certain tropical climates, while others can sustain even below zero-degree temperatures.

So, while most species of bamboo are harmless as per ASPCA, there are certain species that are poisonous to dogs. Particularly, Heavenly Bamboo or Sacred Bamboo. This bamboo is actually more of a shrub and a flowering plant than bamboo. The shrub changes color according to seasons and during the spring season specifically, the shrub adopts a pinkish shade. During this phase, the shrub blooms small red cherries and white blossoms.

These small cherries might seem harmless, but actually contain cyanogenic glycosides, the same toxin in raw bamboo shoots. Your dog might be tempted to eat them and if they do, they’ll need medical attention at the earliest. These berries will cause symptoms, like increased blood pressure, vomiting, rapid pulse rate, and even respiratory failure and death if the poisoning is severe and your dog doesn’t receive medical treatment.

Chewing on bamboo shoots

Most puppies like to chew on bamboo shoots to allow their adult teeth to grow out. Gnawing on bamboo is completely safe and is a great chewing toy for puppies. However, you must teach them from an early age to identify what’s good to chew and what’s not. Train them to avoid chewing on random things or plants as there’s always a chance that they might encounter something poisonous.

Provide them with enough chewing toys that they don’t need to wander off to gnaw on other stuff. There are plenty of toys in the market made out of different materials that allow puppies to gnaw on safely.

Conclusion

From all that we saw above, we can conclude that bamboo shoots are indeed safe for dogs to consume. In fact, they’re a great snack substitute that can provide multiple health benefits to your pooch. The only important thing is that you feed it to them the right way and take all the necessary precautions.

Also, we highly recommend that you consult your vet before you feed bamboo shoots to your dog. This will give you the necessary satisfaction, and they might even provide you with helpful advice or better ideas for snacks.

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