Can Dogs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts
Dogs Diet

Can Dogs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts

Hira Saleem

November 2, 2023 . 10 min read
Quick Answer:

Yes, Dogs can eat alfalfa sprouts. These tender greens are nutrient-rich and offer potential health benefits. However, it's essential to be informed about how to incorporate them into your dog's meals safely. Alfalfa sprouts are garnering attention for their potential health benefits in the world of canine nutrition. But it's important to know how these tiny greens fit into your dog's diet and what benefits they might have.

The realm of alfalfa sprouts, exploring their nutritional value and how to incorporate them into your dog’s meals safely. Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or new to the journey, this article aims to provide valuable insights into enhancing your pet’s diet.

Are Alfalfa Sprouts Safe & What Are Their Benefits for Dogs?

Vitamin K Enrichment

Alfalfa sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting and maintaining robust bone health in our canine companions. 

Dogs, like humans, require adequate vitamin K intake for overall well-being. In precise terms, one serving (100 grams) of alfalfa sprouts includes around 30 micrograms of vitamin K, contributing significantly to a dog’s daily requirement (National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements).

Antioxidant Armor 

Alfalfa sprouts are a great source of vitamin C, which is known for being a strong antioxidant. This mighty vitamin can potentially assist in reducing oxidative stress and curbing inflammation within your dog’s system.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, 100 grams of alfalfa sprouts provide about 8 milligrams of vitamin C, a significant amount of antioxidants for your pet.

Building Strong Bones 

Calcium is a cornerstone for maintaining strong bones and teeth, a vital component in alfalfa sprouts. This mineral is particularly crucial for puppies during their growth phase and senior dogs to support skeletal health.

Alfalfa sprouts have about 32 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams, so they are a good food to add to your dog’s diet to help their bones (National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements).

When you think about your dog, it’s smart to get help from a reputable group like the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or your vet.

Cooked vs Raw Alfalfa Sprouts

The choice between cooked and raw alfalfa sprouts can significantly impact the nutritional benefits for your furry friend. This decision isn’t taken lightly, so let’s discuss the specifics with concrete numbers.

Raw Alfalfa Sprouts

Raw alfalfa sprouts are nutritional powerhouses, offering a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that can be highly beneficial for dogs. Here’s a closer look:

Nutrient Density

Raw alfalfa sprouts are exceptionally nutrient-dense. According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, each 100-gram has about 32 micrograms of vitamin K, 8 milligrams of vitamin C, and a large amount of vitamin A, all of which are important for keeping your dog’s eyes and skin healthy.

Mineral Abundance

Raw alfalfa sprouts are a great source of minerals. The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements says that each 100 grams has about 32 milligrams of calcium and 27 milligrams of magnesium, which are good for your bones and muscles.

Enzymes for Digestion

Raw sprouts are more than just vitamins and minerals. They’re also teeming with enzymes like amylase, which can aid digestion. Because these enzymes help break down food and improve nutrient absorption, raw alfalfa sprouts are a good choice for dogs who have problems with their digestion.

Cooked Alfalfa Sprouts

Cooking alfalfa sprouts can be a way to reduce the canavanine content, making them a safer choice in terms of amino acid intake. Here’s what to consider:

Reduced canavanine content

Canavanine is an amino acid found in alfalfa sprouts. It is associated with amino acid-related health concerns such as lathyrism, a paralytic disease affecting the nervous system and bones.

Cooking alfalfa sprouts can significantly reduce the canavanine content, making them a safer dog choice. The amount of canavanine in alfalfa sprouts dropped by up to 90% after being cooked for 10 minutes, according to a study in the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Enhanced digestibility

Cooking alfalfa sprouts can make them more accessible for dogs to digest, especially if they have sensitivities to raw food. Cooking can also break down cell walls, which can help the body absorb nutrients better.

Reduced risk of foodborne illness

Cooking alfalfa sprouts can destroy potential pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. This is especially important for dogs with weakened immune systems. A study published in the Journal of Food Protection found that cooking alfalfa sprouts for 10 minutes eliminated all detectable Salmonella and E. coli bacteria.

How much Alfalfa Sprouts should I give my dog?

Dog SizeAdult Dog (teaspoons)Senior Dog (teaspoons)Nutrient and Calorie Intake (per teaspoon)
Small (up to 20 lbs)1/4 – 1/21/4 – 1/210-20 calories, 0.5-1 gram of protein, 0.25-0.5 gram of fiber
Medium (21-50 lbs)1/2 – 11/2 – 120-40 calories, 1-2 grams of protein, 0.5-1 gram of fiber
Large (51-90 lbs)1 – 1 1/21 – 1 1/240-60 calories, 2-3 grams of protein, 1-1.5 grams of fiber
Giant (91+ lbs)1 1/2 – 21 1/2 – 260-80 calories, 3-4 grams of protein, 1.5-2 grams of fiber

Are There Any Drawbacks of Alfalfa Sprouts for Dogs?

While alfalfa sprouts undoubtedly offer numerous nutritional benefits for our canine companions, it’s crucial to acknowledge potential drawbacks and safety considerations backed by scientific references and insights from authoritative organizations.

This balanced perspective ensures a comprehensive understanding of alfalfa sprouts as part of your dog’s diet. Here are some noteworthy aspects to consider:

Bacterial Contamination

Alfalfa sprouts are packed with nutrients, but their cultivation conditions can make them susceptible to bacterial contamination, especially Salmonella and E. coli. These pathogens pose health risks to both dogs and humans.

For instance, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports numerous outbreaks of foodborne illnesses linked to alfalfa sprouts. Pet owners should exercise caution to ensure the nodes are safe for their dogs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Allergies and Sensitivities

Like humans, dogs can have allergies and sensitivities to specific foods, and alfalfa sprouts are no exception. While they’re generally considered safe for most dogs, some may be sensitive to these sprouts, leading to digestive issues or allergic reactions.

If you notice any signs of allergies, such as itching, hives, swelling, or gastrointestinal distress, it’s essential to discontinue feeding alfalfa sprouts and consult with your veterinarian. The prevalence of dog food allergies varies, with estimates suggesting that up to 10% of dog allergies are related to food (World Small Animal Veterinary Association).

Excessive Consumption

As a dog owner, I know I must be mindful of what I feed my furry friend. Alfalfa sprouts can be a healthy dog treat, but it’s essential to give them in moderation. I learned this the hard way when I first started sharing my dog’s alfalfa sprouts. I was so excited about the nutritional benefits that I overfed him.

He ended up vomiting and having diarrhea. I felt terrible! After that experience, I researched how much alfalfa sprouts to give dogs. It’s essential to start with a small amount and increase gradually, monitoring your dog’s response. 

I now give my dog a small handful of alfalfa sprouts every few days. He loves them, and they haven’t caused him any digestive problems since I started giving them in moderation.

If you’re thinking about giving your dog alfalfa sprouts, begin with a small amount and increase gradually. Monitor your dog’s response for any signs of digestive upset.

Can Dogs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts with Kidney Disease?

For dogs with kidney disease, dietary considerations are paramount. According to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), alfalfa sprouts can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they offer a wealth of nutrients and can be an excellent addition to the diet. 

However, alfalfa sprouts also contain a naturally occurring substance called canavanine. Canavanine, as found in alfalfa sprouts, can affect kidney function adversely. Because of this, people who have dogs with kidney disease should be careful and limit how much alfalfa sprouts they give them.

Can Dogs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts with Diarrhea?

Dogs experiencing diarrhea require a delicate approach to their diet. Alfalfa sprouts can provide some benefits in such cases. They are a source of dietary fiber, which may aid in regulating bowel movements. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggests that the fiber content in alfalfa sprouts could benefit dogs with diarrhea, as it can help firm up loose stools. However, it’s crucial to offer alfalfa sprouts in moderation, as excessive fiber intake can exacerbate diarrhea in some cases.

Other Health Conditions

Besides kidney disease and diarrhea, alfalfa sprouts may be bad for dogs with other health problems as well. For example, the consumption of alfalfa sprouts can impact blood clotting due to their vitamin K content, making them less suitable for dogs with clotting disorders. 

Additionally, their canavanine content may have implications for dogs with autoimmune disorders. Also, alfalfa sprouts should be given slowly to dogs that have had allergies in the past.

How to Safely Prepare Alfalfa Sprouts for Dogs

Ensuring the safe preparation of alfalfa sprouts for dogs is essential to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination. Scientific references and insights from authoritative organizations offer valuable guidance in this process:

Purchase Quality Sprouts: Choose fresh and high-quality alfalfa sprouts from reputable sources. Look for sprouts with vibrant green leaves and no signs of wilting or spoilage.

Wash Thoroughly: Rinse alfalfa sprouts under cold running water, gently rubbing them to remove any loose dirt or contaminants. A quick wash can help reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

Sanitize: Soak the sprouts in a mild vinegar and water solution for a few minutes. This can help further reduce potential bacteria. Rinse them again under cold water to remove any residual vinegar.

Store Properly: Store alfalfa sprouts in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Use an airtight container and ensure they are not damp, as moisture can promote bacterial growth.

Serve in Moderation: While alfalfa sprouts can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, offer them in moderation, especially if your dog is new to this food.

Alternative Healthy & Safe Sprouts for Dogs

  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Radish Sprouts
  • Lentil Sprouts
  • Mung Bean Sprouts
  • Clover Sprouts
  • Sunflower Sprouts
  • Pea Shoots
  • Clover Sprouts

Key Takeaways

Alfalfa sprouts can be a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet, providing vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

For dogs with kidney disease, exercise caution due to canavanine, a substance that may impact kidney function.

Alfalfa sprouts can help manage diarrhea in some dogs by offering dietary fiber that can firm up loose stools.

Consider your dog’s specific health conditions, such as clotting disorders, autoimmune disorders, and allergies, when introducing alfalfa sprouts.

Always consult with your veterinarian to ensure that alfalfa sprouts align with your dog’s individual health needs and monitor their response for optimal well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Alfalfa Cause Diarrhea in Dogs?

Yes, alfalfa can lead to diarrhea in dogs, mainly if consumed excessively. The high fiber content in alfalfa can act as a mild laxative, resulting in loose stools. Therefore, it’s crucial to offer alfalfa in moderation to prevent digestive issues.

Can Dogs Eat Alfalfa Sprout Seeds?

Yes, dogs can safely consume alfalfa sprout seeds in small quantities. These seeds offer a concentrated source of nutrients and can be a valuable addition to your dog’s diet. However, ensure moderation and proper preparation to avoid potential digestive issues associated with overconsumption.

Hira Saleem

Hira Saleem


Hira is a dedicated freelance writer specializing in health and nutrition, holding a degree in Food Science and Technology. Her expertise in the field stems from a profound commitment to promoting well-being. Inspired by her love for animals, Hira has cultivated a deep understanding of the importance of nutrition in fostering a healthy lifestyle.

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