Can Dogs Eat Water Chestnuts?

Water chestnuts are not nuts, as the name suggests, but it is a vegetable that grows underwater in marshes. It is used extensively in Asian cooking and is healthy for humans; they have essential nutrients such as copper, vitamin B6, manganese, and much more. The white, small, and crunchy bits are usually available in the grocery store, and while they can be given to dogs, it is important to consider the following before offering.

Nutritional Value of Water Chestnuts

A hundred grams of water chestnuts contains 0.1 gram of fat, 14 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber,  5 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 1.2 milligrams of vitamin E, 4 milligrams of vitamin C, 11 milligrams of calcium, and 0.06 milligrams of iron.

Health Benefits of Water Chestnuts

Although water chestnuts do not have extraordinary nutritional information, they offer several health benefits.

The paste of water chestnuts expels the impurities and gives relief from indigestion. It provides a significant amount of vitamin B6, riboflavin, copper and manganese. They are rich in carbohydrates, giving them a starchy texture. There is also a good quantity of fiber that helps to keep the digestive tract active. Fresh water chestnuts contain good fat, though it is not the same for the canned variety. 

Various studies found that flavonoid antioxidants such as catechins and epicatechins are present in water chestnuts, while the inside of water chestnuts contains puchin, an antibiotic compound.

Selection of Water Chestnuts

Canned water chestnuts are commonly available and it is important to rinse them before use, but for canines, freshwater chestnuts are more beneficial. Always select water chestnuts that have unwrinkled and smooth skin, preferably without soft spots. Use a plastic bag to store them in the refrigerator where they can remain fine for two weeks, depending on their freshness. Peel the skin off before feeding water chestnuts to your dog.

Are Water Chestnuts Suitable for Canines?

It is better to serve dogs freshwater chestnuts, because the canned variety contains a high amount of sodium. Moreover, water chestnuts are starchy, and for dogs, it is hard to digest. In moderation, they can be a healthy option for a dog’s diet.

There are two distinct species of water chestnuts. The edible one is Eleocharis dulcis, which is a corm-shaped water chestnut belonging to the Cyperaceae plant family, and the other species is Trapa natans which is invasive and thorny.

Precautions before Serving Water Chestnuts

When serving water chestnuts to a dog, remove the outermost skin as it can cause choking. Secondly, cook and grind them into a paste. This paste can be easily mixed with dog food. Salted and grilled water chestnuts are not suitable for dogs as the combination of fatty and high fiber foods with salt is harmful. Excessive intake of water chestnuts can lead to digestion problems but will not be toxic. Serve a limited portion so that the dog can enjoy healthy and tasty meals.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Too Many Water Chestnuts?

It is better to serve occasionally and preferably in smaller portions. There is no perfect measurement, but the only thing required is not to let the dog fill up on them. Having too many portions may lead to diarrhea that can cause abdominal pain or pancreatitis if emergency medical care is not provided.

Interesting Facts

  • Stems of the plant are used for making skirts in New Guinea and sleeping mats in Sulawesi and Sumatra.
  • Stems are also used as mulch or as cattle feed.
  • Useful in treating various ailments such as amenorrhea, abdominal pain, liver problems, and hernia.
  • Tuber juice is bactericidal in nature.
  • Edible part of the water chestnut is used in preparing chips in the Philippines and Indonesia.
  • It is available mostly in all the Asian stores around the globe.
  • They are commonly eaten fresh and raw. Sometimes they are sweetened in Southeast Asia and China.
  • Chinese water chestnuts are either consumed as a vegetable or for manufacturing starch (flour)
  •  It is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine.

The key to water chestnuts is to let your dog enjoy them safely and in moderation.


Hello, I'm Shelly! I write about all things dogs. I'm a proud mother of 3. So I guess my official title is fulltime mother, part-time dog blogger. Look around and if you have any questions reach out to me