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Can Dogs Eat Clover? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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By Kerry-Ann Kerr

Can Dogs Eat Clover

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Clovers are rich in antioxidants and have a tangy, spicy flavor that has been used in many cultures to treat inflammation of the joints and digestive problems like ulcers, and they have also been used as a cough remedy. Clover grows naturally in some gardens, and since dogs like to spend time in the grass and aren’t always too fussy about what they eat, you might worry they could accidentally ingest some when nibbling on grass.

You’ll be relieved that it’s perfectly safe for your dog to eat a little clover. However, if your dog were to ingest a large amount of clover, it could suffer from some health issues. So, let’s take a look at some of these risks.

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What Is Clover?

Clover is a herb that has many uses. It can be used in medicine and to flavor food. While it isn’t something you’d end up sharing with your dog on purpose, it could be something they find outdoors, whether in your garden or a field.

There are two types of edible clover: the European White Clover and Red Clover, which are both high in protein and calcium. When it’s found in the wild, you won’t know which type is growing, of course, so it is best not to allow your dog to eat too much of it. There are approximately 300 species of clover, so the odds of your dog stumbling upon an edible clover are against you.

red clover herb
Photo Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

Can Dogs Eat Clover?

A small quantity of clover isn’t toxic, and it’s recommended that your dog doesn’t eat large amounts because it can cause stomach upsets, skin irritation, and vomiting. Clover contains fungus, oxalate crystals, and the toxin slaframine, which can be poisonous and also lead to oxalate poisoning.1 It is, of course, unlikely that your dog will eat so much clover that this occurs, especially as clover has a peculiar taste. However, it’s always better to be aware of what could happen, just in case. Plus, clover comes in different forms.

Clover Grass and Flowers

Dogs can eat clover grass, but it’s wise to avoid it because it can cause health problems if eaten in large quantities. The flowers are also safe to eat because they don’t contain any toxic substances. They have a bland taste, so it’s unlikely that your dog will want to eat much.

Clover Honey

Clover honey is a safe treat for your dog as long as they don’t have any food allergies. It’s safe because the primary allergen comes from pollen, and dogs don’t have the same pollen sensitivities as humans.

Clover Sprouts

Clover sprouts aren’t suitable for dogs because they contain the toxin hemagglutinin, which causes intestinal distress.

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Why Would Your Dog Eat Clover?

It might not be that your dog is necessarily eating clover, it could be that they’re eating grass, and clover is just being eaten alongside it. Your dog might be eating grass for a few reasons, and it’s worth looking into. Except for the fact that they could accidentally ingest something they shouldn’t, like too much clover, it’s a sign that something else is going on.

It might mean their diet lacks vitamins, nutrients, or minerals. Grass is a good source of fiber,2 so they could be eating it to fill this need. Or it could be to help your dog with their digestion, as grass makes them sick.

West Highland White Terrier dog at home eating_alejandro rodriguez_shutterstock
Photo Credit: alejandro-rodriguez, Shutterstock

What Are the Benefits of Clover?

The two edible types of clover are high in fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and protein which are great for digestion, bones, and muscles. However, your dog should get that from their daily meals. Red clover also offers medicinal benefits, such as blood-purifying properties, as well as treating skin problems, and it’s also said to be an anti-cancer agent and useful for treating poor liver function.

What Happens if Your Dog Eats Too Much Clover?

Your dog might experience mild to serious health problems because of excessive clover consumption, but they also might not be affected at all.

However, it’s always better to know what to look out for just in case:

If you notice any of these signs, or you suspect your dog has eaten a lot of clover, contact your vet.

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Final Thoughts

It is safe for your dog to consume a small amount of clover. However, we advise you to keep an eye on your dog if you’ve noticed them eating it. In large amounts, clover can cause some health problems that vary from mild to quite severe. Clover isn’t something your dog will probably eat much of since it has a strange taste. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior or any symptoms you’ve witnessed, contact your vet immediately.

Featured Image Credit: gefrorene_wand, Pixabay

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