Turnips are not very popular today in the United States but they have been grown for several thousand years. They are much more popular in Britain and the Nordic countries. Turnip greens are often eaten in the Southern United States. Can dogs eat turnips? Actually, yes, dogs can eat turnips, in small amounts. Find out more below.
Turnips are usually white-skinned though the part that appears above the ground may be purple or red from the sun. The inside of the turnip is also a creamy white color. The turnip root itself is globular in shape and can be up to 8 inches in diameter. Turnips can weigh as much as two pounds! They are usually harvested when they are smaller.
There are also small varieties of turnips that can be eaten raw. They have a milder flavor. Small, tender turnips are grown for human use while larger turnip varieties are used to feed livestock.
Turnips belong to the same family as cauliflower, broccoli, and and brussels sprouts. When eaten raw, they taste a little similar to cabbage. When cooked, they can be sweet, nutty and earthy. They can have a similar texture to parsnips. They are a special favorite in cold weather.
Turnips, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||92 kJ (22 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.0 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||3%
Nutritionally, turnips are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C. and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium, and copper. However, a large portion of the calories in turnips comes from sugars.
Turnips are made up of 88 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent fats, and 8 percent protein.
A serving size of one cup of cubed turnips has just 36.4 calories. It has 8.4 grams of carbohydrates, 2.3 grams of dietary fiber, and 4.9 grams of sugars.
That one-cup serving of turnips has 0.1 grams of fat, 0.0 grams of saturated fat, 0.0 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 0.1 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Turnips also have more than four times as much omega-3 fatty acid as omega-6 fatty acid. This is a good ratio and uncommon in vegetables.
Turnips have 1.2 grams of protein. They are an especially good source of vitamin C.
As a high fiber food, turnips are believed to help with digestive problems. Most of the fiber in turnips is soluble fiber.
Turnips also contain dietary nitrates which help lower blood pressure. The potassium in turnips may also help keep blood pressure low by releasing sodium from the body.
Cruciferous vegetables such as turnips, cabbage, and cauliflower, are associated with a lower risk of cancer. They contain compounds such as sulforaphane which seem to interfere with the growth of cancer cells.
If you are curious about turnip greens, they are also nutritious but they have a different nutrient composition from the turnip.
Can Dogs Have Turnips?
Yes, dogs can eat turnips. It’s best if they only eat them in moderation because of the fiber content of turnips. Otherwise, turnips are quite nutritious. They are also low in calories.
If your dog has low thyroid or autoimmune thyroiditis, it’s best to avoid turnips. Since they are related to broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, they are considered a goitrogen, meaning they can affect your dog’s thyroid gland. Talk to your veterinarian if your dog has a thyroid problem and you are uncertain which foods are safe to share.
Otherwise, most dogs should be able to eat a moderate amount of turnips. Dogs can have them either raw or cooked. If you give them to your dog raw, you should cut them into small pieces first.
Be sure to wash the turnip well. As a root vegetable, dirt can cling to the turnip and even get under the skin. The top part of the turnip should be washed for pesticides.
There are many ways to cook turnips. They are easy to boil and mash, for example.
How Many Turnips Can You Give Your Dog?
Calories are not a problem with turnips. One cup of raw, cubed turnips has just 36 calories. However, you do need to consider the amount of fiber in turnips. That’s why it’s best to only give your dog a moderate amount.
Too much fiber in the diet can produce bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.
If you have a small dog, you could give him ½ cup of raw or cooked turnips. A medium dog could eat ¾ cups of turnips. And a large dog could eat between 1-1 ½ cups of turnips.
It’s usually a good idea to begin by giving your dog just a small amount of any new food to make sure it agrees with him. If you notice any digestive problems after your dog eats turnips, stop giving them for a while. If you give them again, start with a smaller amount.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Turnips?
If your dog likes turnips and doesn’t have any digestive problems from eating them, you could give him some several times per week. There is nothing harmful about them and they do contain some beneficial nutrients.
As long as your dog doesn’t have low thyroid and you keep in mind the fiber content of turnips, they can be very healthy for most dogs.
Turnips are more popular in Britain and the Nordic countries than they are in the United States but they are a healthy vegetable that you can share with your dog. They are also easy to prepare. Turnips are high in fiber so only give them to your dog in moderation. If your dog has any thyroid problems, it’s a good idea to avoid giving him turnips. Talk to your veterinarian if you are unsure about giving your dog turnips.