No, dogs must not eat taro. Native to south-east Asia, taro is a currently trendy root vegetable also known as “potato of the tropics” and the “unfortunate looking cousin of the potato.”
While the heart-shaped and rather sizeable leaves of the plant are not dangerous, the root (which is the edible part) is toxic even for humans unless properly prepared. For dogs, it needs to be kept off the menu in general.
Why is Taro Bad for Dogs?
When cooked adequately, taro contains several health-boosting nutrients. However, when it comes to dogs, the potential risks outweigh the benefits. Here are the reasons taro is bad for dogs.
Calcium Oxalate Content
Taro contains calcium oxalates. These sharp and small needles are linked with various health issues, including irritation of the mouth and lower parts of the digestive system and formation of urinary crystals, and kidney damage.
Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Taro
The clinical manifestation following taro consumption depends on several factors. Some factors are related to the taro (cooked or raw and consumed amount), while others are related to the dog (age, body weight, and overall health).
Generally speaking, these are some of the potential signs and symptoms:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Oral irritation and pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Crying and whining
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in urination
- Increased water intake.
If your dog is showing any of these signs and symptoms, you need to call your trusted veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline.
What to Do if my Dog Ate Taro?
If your dog ate taro, you need to take a moment to evaluate the situation and then seek help. By evaluating the situation, we mean, try to check whether the dog really ate taro and, if possible, how much it ate.
Then, call the vet and explain what happened. You need to stay calm and give as much information as possible. Based on what you say, the vet can recommend staying at home and carefully monitoring your dog or going to the clinic for an in-person examination.
All in all, the final verdict is that taro is toxic to dogs. The truth is taro is toxic even for people if prepared inadequately. However, dogs tend to be more sensitive to the taro components.
Therefore, you need to keep taro roots and preferably taro plants as far as possible from your dog. In case of accidental ingestion, it is imperative to seek immediate veterinary help.
- Calcium oxalate plant toxicosis in dogs & cats, VETgirl Veterinary CE Podcast, 2021