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The Canine Nutritionist

Pleasant surprise

If like me you spend your life thinking about what dogs can and can’t, should or shouldn’t eat, life occasionally throws up the most pleasant surprise. Nasturtiums for dogs definitely falls into that category!

Famed for their intensely bright yellow, orange and red flowers and their ability to grow just about anywhere, nasturtiums brighten up our summer salads every year. My wife is one of those gifted souls willing and able to grow just about anything. The two of us are pretty big on fresh fruit and veg, and she grows much of the fresh produce we eat all year round.

Always keen to learn more about the potential of our natural flora and fauna, we added nasturtiums to our own diet some years ago. We inherited a garden covered in them and wondered if we couldn’t put them to some use rather than simply confine them to the compost bin. We did some research, found that they were both edible and tasty with a mild peppery flavour, and so nasturtiums were gratefully added to our diet. Now, no salad garnish is complete without a handful of brightly coloured and flavoursome nasturtiums.

Rich in vitamin C and overflowing with antibiotic and antifungal properties, both the leaves and the petals of the nasturtium plant are edible. Make no mistake, nasturtiums are not just a pretty face as it were!

Natural chicken dewormer

Now one of the things about nasturtiums that some gardeners find problematical is that they’re more than a little rapacious for space. They keep growing and growing and given half a chance will completely take over a flower bed, border or planter. They make an excellent ground cover plant if ever you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to keep weeds at bay, but their habit of growing and growing demonstrates that sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing.

So I did some research and found that in addition to their other properties, nasturtiums are said to act as a natural dewormer. I also found that they were safe for chickens and so they then became a summer staple for our Silkies, ever eager for a welcome change to their already pretty widely varied diet.

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Dogs and nasturtiums

Of course the inevitable then happened. The dog nutritionist in me took over. Well, I thought, if nasturtiums are good for humans and chickens, I wonder what they’re like for dogs? Are nasturtiums safe for dogs? Are nasturtiums good for dogs? Can dogs eat nasturtiums?

Well guess what? It turns out that what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. Or, in this case, what’s good for humans and chickens is also good for dogs. Nasturtiums for dogs might sound strange to most people but guess what? Dogs can eat, enjoy and benefit from nasturtiums just as you and I can.

So for some years now, in addition to gracing our own summer salads, nasturtiums have been part of our dogs’ culinary repertoire from early July onwards. Last year I even dehydrated and bagged some for the long winter months ahead. Those went into my dogs’ winter stews for several months until we finally ran out around late February this year.

This year I will definitely be bagging more so that hopefully this wonderfully colourful, adaptable and beneficial plant might be gracing my dogs’ food bowls right through to next summer!

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


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