Jicama is possibly one of the most incredible plants that you and your dog are skipping out on.
This might be due to the fact that Jicama is not very popular in the United States or Europe, but that should not be an excuse.
You should always be researching new foods to add to your dog’s diet, especially if you notice changes in its behavior or overall health.
As we all know, it can be really hard to maintain a healthy diet for yourself, let alone for your furry friend, and with all the misinformation found online, one has to be careful.
But, fear not! We are here to explain everything you need to know about Jicama and how this plant can benefit you and your dog!
So, to briefly go over the answer to the question of can a dog eat Jicama, we are happy to say that they absolutely can!
But, as you will see by reading through this article, there are some things to be aware of before slipping a piece or two of this plant into your doggies dish.
What exactly is Jicama?
As this veggie is not particularly popular in western households and in Europe, chances are you have never even heard of it.
If that is the case, don’t sweat it. In this article, you will learn everything there is to know, including what parts of the plant are edible and how to prepare them.
Jicama (pronounced HEE-Kah-ma), also known as the tuberous legume, is an edible root vegetable that naturally grows in Mexico and Central America.
In these regions, it is commonly sold by vendors and eaten raw, with a little lemon or lime juice and chili powder seasoning.
Being a root vegetable, you would think that it is cultivated in or on the ground, right? Well, this is just one of the surprises this food has in store since it is actually cultivated in vines that can grow up to 20 feet long!
Its scientific name, Pachyrhizus Erosus, means “thick root” in the Greek language, and since it comes from Mexico, it is also known by different names, such as Mexican potato, Mexican Turnip, or Mexican yam.
However, not every part of this plant is edible. The only part that should go into human or dog food is the root, which tastes like an apple mixed with water chestnut.
But, enough with the appetizer. Let’s move on to the main course.
Is Jicama safe for dogs?
The seeds, stock, and leaves of the Jicama plant are toxic to dogs, so only the root of the plant (the potato or turnip as it is sometimes called) should be eaten.
But, unless you are growing Jicama in your backyard, and let’s face it – you probably aren’t, there is no need to worry!
Jicama that is found in the grocery store or in the local market contains only the root, without the toxic parts.
Not only is Jicama safe, but it has numerous health benefits. It is dense in nutrients, but low in calories and fat.
These properties make it an invaluable food for pups who are struggling with their weight, or those who are on pancreatic or diabetic diets.
Can a dog eat fresh Jicama?
As long as it is only the Jicama root, your dog can eat it. It is completely safe to give it to them uncooked, but it may be a bit of a different taste than they are used to.
Always give them just a small piece the first time you try to introduce this food into their life. If they do not like it, try to sprinkle some spices on it, but be sure to understand what herbs and spices are safe for your pup.
Can dogs eat Jicama leaves?
The leaves of this plant are toxic to dogs, and you should never allow your pooch to come in contact with them. Luckily, Jicama is available for purchase without the leaves the majority of the time.
If you really love the plant and want to grow it yourself, remember to keep it out of your dog’s reach as it may make your dog sick.
Can a dog eat Jicama sticks?
Jicama sticks are nothing new; they are just what people call the way the root is sliced. So, if you ever run into this term, don’t worry, it is one of the safe parts of the Jicama plant.
To clarify, Jicama sticks are perfectly safe for your dog. Just make sure to peel the skin first as it might contain rotenone, which is toxic to dogs.
Besides that, the skin of herbs can contain pesticides, and those are also very dangerous.
The list below represents the nutritional benefits of a single cup (130 g) of Jicama:
• Calories – 49
• Fat – 0.1 g
• Protein – 1 g
• Fiber – 0.1 g
• Carbohydrates – 12 g
• Folate – 4%
• Vitamin C – 44%
• Magnesium – 4%
• Iron – 4%
• Manganese – 4%
• Potassium – 6%
Apart from the values above, this amazing vegetable contains smaller amounts of vitamin E, vitamin B6, phosphorus, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, zinc, copper, and pantothenic acid.
With its low amount of calories, but high amounts of water and fiber, adding Jicama to dog food is a great way for your pup to lose weight.
How does Jicama benefit dogs?
After learning about all the terms and nutritional values, and hopefully getting rid of any possible confusion, it is time to dive into the awesome stuff this veggie brings to a dog’s life.
1. Decreasing the risk of cancer.
Antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene and selenium, are powerful tools that help a dog’s immune system. They help neutralize any free radicals found in a dog’s body that might cause cell damage or even cancer.
Also, this plant is an excellent source of dietary fiber, with one single cup containing over six grams of this nutrient. According to researchers, dietary fiber is known to protect against colon cancer.
Some studies have shown that people who consumed 27 grams of dietary fiber or more every day had a fifty percent smaller chance of getting colon cancer (in comparison to people who consumed 11 grams or less).
Even though these studies have been performed on humans, it is well known that dogs can get cancer also, especially older dogs. Fifty percent of dogs ten years or older experience cancer at some point in their lives (according to Pets.webmd.com).
In addition, this amazing vegetable has a great prebiotic fiber known as inulin. Prebiotics are known to decrease the risk of cancer by improving the number of good bacteria.
Keeping all of this in mind, it is reasonable to assume that Jicama is a very powerful ally when it comes to shielding our dogs from cancer.
2. It offers a boost to heart health.
The incredible Jicama has lots of nutrients that help boost your dog’s heart health. The dietary fiber mentioned earlier has multiple positive sides to it.
These fibers are soluble and aid in decreasing the levels of cholesterol by not allowing bile to be reabsorbed in the gut. On top of that, it doesn’t allow the liver to produce more cholesterol.
The potassium found in this herb helps reduce blood pressure by relaxing the vessels. Studies have shown that potassium is able to protect against stroke and heart illness.
A healthy body needs healthy red blood cells, and they require iron and copper to function properly. Luckily, Jicama has plenty of both since a single cup contains 0.68 mg of copper and 0.78 mg of iron.
Photo from @kimfind233
3. Jicama is great for gut bacteria.
Gut bacteria in dogs aid in digesting their food. Which bacteria prosper depends on what kind of food your pup consumes.
For example, in a study where dogs were given a low-fat diet with a high amount of protein, the balance of microbiome in overweight dogs changed to a balance linked to a healthy weight.
Now, how does Jicama fit into all of this? Well, we have already established that it is full of a prebiotic fiber called inulin. This substance is used by your dog’s bacteria, which results in a lot of health advantages.
By consuming this herb, the number of healthy gut bacteria in your pooches belly will increase while the number of unhealthy ones will decrease.
This, in turn, might help with chronic illnesses like heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, or diabetes!
4. It helps fight obesity.
With a low calorie number and a very high nutrient number, this plant is a nutrient-dense type of food. It is also pretty high in fiber and water, which ensures that your dog feels filled up after consuming it.
Apart from all the benefits listed above, fiber is also helpful in keeping your dog’s blood sugar steady.
There aren’t any studies on dogs yet, but research on mice shows that ingesting Jicama might raise awareness of insulin and reduce the levels of blood sugar.
The prebiotic fiber, inulin, is also related to weight reduction and has an impact on hormones, which can affect fullness or hunger.
5. It helps with digestion.
By having a high amount of fiber in its structure, Jicama aids in easing constipation. Since a single cup of this vegetable contains 6.5 grams of fiber, it is more than enough for any dog’s daily needs.
The special fiber, inulin, improves bowel movements by over 30%, and with a high amount of water found in this plant, it can help with your dog’s daily fluid needs.
6. Benefits of minerals in Jicama.
Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are critical for good bone and cartilage health. The same minerals are responsible for hormonal health and ensure that your pup will develop as it should.
Potassium is crucial for proper heart, digestive system, and muscle functions, and luckily, Jicama has plenty of it!
Can Jicama harm my dog?
Jicama root will not harm your dog in any way; however, the stems, leaves, and skin of this plant are toxic to dogs.
Furthermore, some dogs can be allergic to this herb or herbs in general, so you have to be cautious when feeding it to your dog for the first time.
If you are unsure of your dog’s allergies, you can start by giving it only a small amount of Jicama and see how it reacts.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can be diarrhea, vomiting, skin problems, or a change in the dog’s behavior. If any of these occur, you should immediately contact your vet and stop giving Jicama to your dog.
An important thing to remember is that this veggie should be given as a treat or as a supplement, and not as a replacement for regular dog food.
Best ways to prepare Jicama for dogs
Dogs can have issues with digesting new foods, but it’s usually nothing serious. They can struggle with an upset stomach, or in extreme cases, diarrhea or vomiting.
When it comes to Jicama, it is best to slowly ease your dog into consuming it. You can start by sprinkling small amounts on its food over a few weeks to get it used to the taste.
Methods of preparing Jicama for your dog
When you are sure that your dog can easily digest Jicama and is ready for a larger amount, you can experiment with these three different options:
1. Raw Jicama
Serving Jicama in its raw form is perfectly safe as long as you remove the stems and leaves. After that, peel off the skin and cut the herb into bite-sized pieces. That is all you need to do to serve this delicious treat to your pooch!
2. Boiled Jicama
After completing the somewhat tedious task of removing the stems, leaves, and peeling, the veggie is ready to be boiled. Put it into boiling water and let it cook for five to six minutes with the lid on top. When it’s done, remove the lid and let it cool off. Once it has cooled to room temperature, it is ready for your pup to enjoy!
3. Roasted Jicama
Before cutting the veggie into cubes, remember to remove the stems, leaves, and peeling. After that, spread the cubes over the pan, sprinkle them with a few drops of olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees for one hour. When the dish is done, let it cool to room temperature and serve it to your pup.
From preventing cancer to fighting obesity, it seems like Jicama is an herb from heaven, and you should definitely consider including it in your pooch’s dish.
However, always keep in mind that only the root of the plant is edible. The rest – leaves, stems, and skin – are all toxic to your dog and should never be allowed in your dog’s belly.
If you follow these simple instructions, you will notice a change in your dog’s health in no time, and your pup will be forever thankful!