Can Dogs Eat Rutabaga
Dogs Diet

Can Dogs Eat Rutabaga

Hira Saleem

January 19, 2024 . 12 min read
Quick Answer:

Yes, dogs can eat rutabaga. Rutabagas, when cooked and served plain, can be a safe treat for your furry friend. Rutabagas are a nutritious root vegetable that can be a healthy addition to your dog's diet. They're low in calories, high in fiber, and provide essential vitamins. Rutabagas are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which can be beneficial for your furry friend's health.

However, it’s crucial to avoid seasoning with any harmful additives like salt or spices and to ensure the rutabaga is cooked to a soft, easily digestible consistency for your dog’s enjoyment and well-being. Let’s talk more about what you should and shouldn’t do when giving your dog rutabagas.

Rutabagas Vs Turnips – What’s the Difference


Rutabagas, scientifically known as Brassica napus var. napo brassica, is essentially a hybrid between turnips and cabbage. The first change that stands out is their size. Rutabagas are notably more substantial than their turnip counterparts. When it comes to appearance, they typically have brownish-yellow or purple skin, while the inner flesh presents as a pale yellow or orange.

The most interesting thing about rutabagas is their taste, which is a mix of sweetness and mild, peppery notes. More importantly, they offer a remarkable nutritional punch packed with vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. They are healthy and low in calories, so you might want to add them to your dog’s food.


Turnips, scientifically referred to as Brassica rapa subsp. Rapa are generally smaller and rounder in shape compared to rutabagas. Their outer skin tends to be white or light purple, while the inner flesh is distinctly white.

One big difference between turnips and rutabagas is that turnips taste a little bitter while rutabagas taste sweet. While they do provide some essential vitamins, including vitamin C, and dietary fiber, turnips typically offer fewer calories and nutrients.

Cooked OR Raw Rutabagas – Which is better for dogs?

Cooked Rutabagas

Cooked rutabagas are typically the better option for dogs. When you cook rutabagas, you soften their fibrous texture, making them easier for your dog to digest. Cooking can break down the tough cell walls, which reduces the risk of digestive discomfort and gas. 

Moreover, cooking rutabagas can enhance their flavor, making them more appealing to your dog’s taste buds. Whether you boil, steam, or roast rutabagas, the cooking process makes them a better treat for your pet that they can eat and digest.

Raw Rutabagas 

Raw rutabagas, while not toxic, come with a few considerations. The fibrous nature of raw rutabagas can be challenging for a dog’s digestive system. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, eating raw rutabagas may lead to digestive issues like bloating, gas, or diarrhea. 

Also, your dog might not be as interested in the strong taste of raw rutabagas as they are in the softer taste they have when they are cooked. Raw rutabagas can be hard for your dog to handle, so it’s best to grate or finely chop them and mix them with other vegetables that are good for dogs or add a little to their normal food.

Which is Better For Dogs?

Dogs can eat both cooked and raw rutabagas without getting sick, but cooked rutabagas are usually thought to be better. This is because cooking softens the fibrous texture of rutabagas, making them easier for dogs to digest and reducing the risk of digestive discomfort. Cooking can also enhance the flavor of rutabagas, making them more appealing to dogs.

However, raw rutabagas are not necessarily bad for dogs. If your dog has a strong digestive system and can handle eating raw vegetables, then raw rutabagas can be a healthy and nutritious treat. It’s best to start by giving your dog small amounts of raw rutabagas to see how they accept them.

The Benefits of Rutabagas for Dogs

Nutrient Powerhouse

Rutabagas are a nutritional powerhouse for dogs. They contain a significant amount of vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in supporting your dog’s immune system.

Vitamin C also aids in collagen production, which is vital for healthy skin and joints. In addition, rutabagas contain potassium, an important chemical that helps muscles and nerves work properly and is good for your dog’s health as a whole.

Digestive Aid 

Rutabagas are good for your dog’s gut health because they have a lot of fiber. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, reducing the risk of constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort. It keeps your dog’s digestive system healthy, which is good for their general health.

Low in Calories 

Rutabagas are a fantastic option for dogs watching their weight. These root vegetables are low in calories, making them an ideal treat for dogs that need to shed a few pounds. Their high fiber content makes your dog feel full, which can help them lose weight and make sure they get all the nutrients they need.

Antioxidant Boost 

Rutabagas contain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, that help combat harmful free radicals in your dog’s body. These chemicals can help improve general health and maybe even lower the risk of getting chronic diseases by lowering oxidative stress. Including rutabagas in your dog’s diet can support their long-term well-being.

Healthy Alternative Treat 

Giving your dog rutabagas as a treat is a good idea for his health. Unlike many store-bought dog treats that contain additives and preservatives, rutabagas offer a natural and nutritious alternative. This will make sure that your dog gets a snack that is both tasty and good for them.

Promotes Hydration 

Rutabagas have a high water content, which can contribute to your dog’s hydration. Staying well-hydrated is essential for various bodily functions, and it can help prevent issues like urinary tract infections. By giving your dog rutabagas, you can help them get the water they need to stay properly hydrated.

Weight Management

For dogs that need to lose weight, rutabagas can be a good addition to their food. With their low-calorie content and high fiber, rutabagas help your dog feel full and satisfied, reducing the temptation to overeat. Because of this, they are a great choice for dogs that need to watch their portions and lose weight.

Supports Healthy Teeth 

Chewing on rutabagas can contribute to your dog’s dental health. The fibrous texture acts as a natural toothbrush, helping to remove plaque and tartar from their teeth. This promotes healthier teeth and gums, reducing the risk of dental issues and ensuring your dog’s oral hygiene remains in top condition.

Can Dogs Eat Different Parts of rutabagas

Can Dogs Eat Rutabaga Skin

Dogs can eat rutabaga skin. When considering whether your dog can safely consume rutabaga skin, it’s important to differentiate between the skin and the flesh of this root vegetable. The flesh of rutabagas is a nutritional powerhouse, containing vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that can be beneficial for your dog.

However, the skin is a different story. While rutabaga skin is not poisonous to dogs, it is tougher and may be hard for your furry friend to swallow and chew, especially if you serve it raw. To ensure your dog’s safety and well-being, it’s best to peel the skin before serving rutabaga.

Cooking the rutabaga is recommended, as this softens the vegetable and makes it more appealing to your dog. Always introduce rutabaga in small portions, even if it’s just the flesh when your dog hasn’t had it before, and carefully monitor their response.

Also, serve rutabaga plain, without any extra seasonings or spices. Garlic and onions, which are widely used in human cooking, are poisonous to dogs and should be avoided. By taking these steps, you can give your dog a tasty and healthy treat without putting them in danger.

Can Dogs Eat Rutabaga Leaves

Yes, dogs can eat rutabaga leaves. When considering incorporating rutabaga leaves into your dog’s diet, it’s important to recognize both the nutritional benefits and potential concerns. Rutabaga leaves are very healthy and full of important vitamins. Vitamin K, which helps blood clot and keeps bones healthy, is especially high in them.

Additionally, they provide dietary fiber, supporting your dog’s digestive well-being. However, a notable consideration with rutabaga leaves is the presence of oxalates. In small amounts, these chemicals are usually not harmful, but they can help kidney and bladder stones form, which can be a problem for dogs that already have problems with their urinary system.

To mitigate this concern, thorough preparation is key. Ensure the leaves are well-washed to remove any potential pesticides or contaminants. If you cook the leaves, the oxalate level will go down, which will make them easier for your dog to digest.

Can Dogs Eat Rutabaga Seeds

No, dogs should not eat rutabaga seeds. In fact, rutabaga seeds should be strictly avoided in your dog’s diet due to their potential toxicity. Ingesting these seeds can lead to a range of adverse effects, including gastrointestinal upset and even poisoning. Rutabaga seeds are also dangerous for dogs because they are small and hard, which makes them even more dangerous.

The focus when offering rutabaga to your dog should be solely on the flesh. Rutabaga flesh is both safe and nutritious, containing vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Remove the skin, cut the meat into pieces your dog can handle, and cook it until it’s soft before giving it to them. This ensures that your dog receives the benefits of this root vegetable without any associated risks.

When handling rutabagas, it’s vital to be vigilant in preventing your dog from accessing the seeds. Getting rid of the seeds the right way is the best way to make sure they don’t get eaten by chance and cause pain or harm.

Can Diabetic Dogs Eat Rutabagas

Yes, diabetic dogs can safely consume rutabagas. These root vegetables have a low glycemic index, meaning they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Their high fiber content helps keep blood sugar in check and can help you keep your dog’s weight in check, which is very important for controlling diabetes. 

However, portion control is essential, and it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian for guidance on the appropriate serving size. When giving rutabagas to your diabetic dog, you must keep a close eye on his blood sugar levels to make sure they stay stable and for his general health.

How to Prepare Rutabagas for Your Dog

To make sure that your dog can easily enjoy the health benefits of rutabagas, they need to be properly prepared. Begin by selecting fresh, firm rutabagas without blemishes or signs of wilting. To help dogs with sensitive tummies digest the rutabagas better, wash them well and then peel them.

Chop the rutabagas into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking hazards, and cook them until they are soft, using methods like boiling or steaming without adding seasonings or salt. Make sure the cooked rutabagas cool to room temperature before serving, preventing burns and enhancing palatability.

Lastly, talk to your vet about the right portion size for your dog’s food. By following these steps, you can make sure that your dog can safely enjoy the health benefits of rutabagas, which are a good addition to their diet.

Dog SizeDosage in gramsMineralsNutrients
Small dogs (under 20 lbs)30 gramsPotassium (2.1)Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Fiber, Potassium, Calcium, Folate
Medium dogs (20-50 lbs)60 gramsPotassium (4.2)Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Fiber, Potassium, Calcium, Folate
Large dogs (50 lbs and over)120 gramsPotassium (8.4)Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Fiber, Potassium, Calcium, Folate

Possible Challenges and Concerns With Feeding Rutabaga to Dogs

Digestive Upset 

Rutabagas are high in fiber, which can be beneficial for dogs when consumed in moderation. However, introducing them suddenly or in excessive amounts may lead to digestive upset.

Dogs may experience gas, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. To keep this from happening, slowly add rutabagas to your dog’s food and watch how they react to make sure their digestive system can handle the fiber.


As with any food, some dogs may have allergies to rutabagas. Watch for signs of allergies, such as itching, rashes, or digestive issues, after introducing rutabagas into their diet. If you notice any adverse reactions, it’s best to discontinue feeding rutabagas and consult your veterinarian for alternative options.


Rutabagas contain oxalates, which, when consumed in excess, can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in some dogs. This makes moderation crucial. To avoid this problem, you must carefully watch your dog’s general diet, including oxalate-rich foods, and make sure it gets a balanced amount of nutrients.

Medical Conditions

Dogs with specific medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney issues, may have unique dietary requirements. Before giving rutabagas to your dog, you should talk to your vet to make sure they are safe and to get specific advice based on their health.

Similar Safe Vegetables to Rutabaga for Dogs

  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Spinach

Final Thoughts

  • Moderation: Feeding rutabaga in moderation is key. This ensures that your dog receives the benefits without overloading them with fiber, which could lead to digestive issues.
  • Proper Preparation: Peeling, chopping, and cooking rutabaga to a soft consistency are crucial steps. These actions aid in digestion and reduce the risk of choking hazards.
  • Allergies and Health Conditions: Monitor your dog for any signs of allergies or adverse reactions when introducing rutabaga. Additionally, consult your veterinarian, especially if your dog has specific dietary requirements or underlying health conditions.
  • Variety: Rutabaga can be part of a diverse diet that includes other safe vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans. This variety helps ensure your dog receives a broad spectrum of nutrients.
  • Consult Your Vet: Always consult your veterinarian to determine the most suitable dietary choices for your dog’s unique needs and to address any concerns.
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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