Can dogs eat cassava? While that might seem like an easy question, the answer isn’t always straightforward. Dogs can eat cassava in some situations, but they should never eat it without being monitored by an owner who knows what they are doing and has researched the subject. Here are 10 things you need to know about whether dogs can eat cassava before feeding your pup any of it.
1) Yes, if it’s cooked
While it’s technically possible for dogs to eat cassava, it is inadvisable. The keyword there is raw. While cassava contains very little nutritional value, dogs and humans alike can be poisoned by it if not adequately prepared. It contains hydrocyanic acid—the compound responsible for cyanide poisoning—but will not produce that effect unless consumed raw and uncooked. However, if cooked properly can be a tasty addition to a meal. At the same time, many parts of Africa consume the root as part of their staple diet (and have done so safely); those living in North America should probably steer clear.
2) No, if they have digestive issues
You first need to understand how dogs digest food to answer your question. When a dog’s body digests cassava, it produces cyanide as a byproduct and doesn’t get rid of it properly. Too much cyanide in their system can kill them or make them extremely sick. If your dog is old or has some gastrointestinal issue that makes digestion difficult, there’s an even greater risk if they eat cassava. So what do you do? Feed him one piece and observe his reaction over some time. If he overeats and starts to have issues, you can act fast before he gets into serious trouble!
3) No, there are some other foods you can give them instead
While cassava is toxic to dogs, there are plenty of foods they can eat safely. Cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams are some tasty alternatives that should provide your dog with a good source of carbs and nutrients. While these starchy options aren’t as good for your pup as their bitter counterparts, they’re still a much safer bet than cassava! Just be sure you consider any allergies or dietary restrictions—some dogs have sensitivities or problems digesting certain types of food. Also, in most cases, it’s recommended that you mash them up or puree them for a more effortless eating experience. And always watch your dog closely when feeding him new foods so you can make sure he’s doing OK.
4) Don’t feed your dog more than 5% of their diet as cassava
If your dog can eat cassava, it’s essential vital keep an eye on how much they consume. The same applies if you’re feeding a homemade diet and choosing to add cassava as a carbohydrate source. Dogs with pancreatitis or diabetes can develop symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea after consuming too much cassava. However, for all other dogs, increasing your dog’s intake of cassava is safe when monitored. This applies only when fed no more than 5% of their total food intake in one day (on average). However, if you provide your dog commercial food, they should be fine up to 10% of their diet consisting of carbohydrates (excluding fiber). [source]
5) You should always consult with your vet first
Many dog owners make mistakes about their pets’ food and treats, but one difficult mistake is feeding your dog cassava. This is due to a compound called linamarin that occurs naturally in cassava. When dogs eat it, they develop potentially fatal conditions called linamarase poisoning or goose liver disease. The good news is that most vets are aware of these issues, so they will likely steer you away from giving cassava-based treats or snacks to your pet, even if they don’t mention it specifically. Unfortunately, many dogs eat them anyways due to some tasty flavorings.
6) Check for moldy roots before giving them to your dog
Not all cassavas are safe for dogs. This is because a small percentage of cassavas naturally contain dangerous amounts of linamarin, which is toxic to canines. Checking for mold on roots before feeding them to your dog can help you avoid accidental poisoning. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian and ask if they know whether a specific type of cassava is safe for dogs or not.
7) Take the leaves off when serving the roots to your dog
When consumed, the cassava root is incredibly poisonous, while cassava leaves are safe. However, if you’re going to feed your dog cassava leaves (from either a tree or store-bought), remove the leaf’s stems and midribs as they contain toxins. Some dog owners also cut off their dogs’ expo dogs to these toxins by boiling them in a pot with two water changes. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling cassavas for safety reasons and because they can irritate skin easily.
8) Avoid large root pieces as those may be harder on your dog’s mouth
Cassava is a root that’s native to Africa and resembles a yam. It can be purchased at any grocery store. The cassava is sold either raw or boiled. To become digestible, you will need to cook it for 20 minutes. That’s also an excellent way to know whether your dog can eat cassava, as large chunks may be challenging to chew and digest. It would help if you took more minor pieces of boiled cassava as treats instead of giving your dog larger pieces. At all times, though, avoid feeding your dog broken pieces as those might be too hard on their digestive system.
9) Serve it up! Make sure it’s always hot enough for them
(at least 70 degrees C or 158 degrees F). This can help prevent bloating and diarrhea.
If you’re serving cassava for your dog, make sure it’s hot when you give it to them. When dogs eat food that isn’t hot enough, they might get bloating and diarrhea. Make sure your pup is served a bowl of warm water after eating as well—this can help relieve bloat as well! Some dogs have sensitive stomachs.: As with any new food, some dogs may have sensitive stomachs when they try cassava for the first time. If you notice bloating or diarrhea after giving it to your dog, hold off feeding them more until they get over their tummy troubles. You might need to introduce cassava slowly into their diet.
10) Provide enough water, so they don’t get dehydrated.
Since cassava leaves are poisonous, dogs mustn’t eat them or any other part of a cassava plant. Overeating can result in severe vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect your dog has ingested cassava, act fast and get your pet to a vet immediately so he can get fluids and medication to manage his symptoms. Ensuring your dog gets enough water is one way to reduce potential exposure since water helps dilute toxins and flush them out of your pet’s system before they have time to cause harm. Dehydration sets in quickly without sufficient water intake and could worsen existing conditions by making them harder for your dog’s body to process.