Many dogs enjoy a bite off of their owner's plates from time to time. Those "puppy dog eyes" are convincing, and we think that if we feed them healthy food, like asparagus, it won't do any harm. However, only some healthy food for humans is good for dogs, and some can make them very sick. So you may wonder - can my dog eat asparagus? Is asparagus beneficial for them? What about if they eat raw asparagus? Below, we'll tell you everything you need to know about feeding asparagus to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Yes, dogs can eat asparagus! While a dog's diet does not require eating asparagus, this food is safe and non-toxic to dogs. Not only that, asparagus offers many health benefits. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when feeding asparagus to your pet and why it might not be the best choice of healthy treat for your dog.
Health Benefits Of Eating Asparagus
Asparagus is an incredibly nutritious vegetable, and dogs can access many of these nutrients.
Asparagus is full of vitamins! It has Vitamin C for a strong immune system. There's Vitamin K for wound healing. Vitamin A takes care of overall organ function, and vitamin E works as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals. Asparagus also has Vitamin B6, which is important for brain development!
Asparagus has many essential minerals, including potassium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, thiamin, and folic acid. Whew! These minerals keep your nervous system functioning, produce healthy red blood cells, support metabolism, break down proteins, and much more!
Asparagus is high in dietary fiber. Fiber promotes digestive health by regulating the digestive tract, reducing constipation, and preventing weight gain.
The Downside To Dogs Eating Asparagus
Although asparagus is one of the most healthy foods out there, there are some risks to feeding your dog asparagus.
High Fiber Content
"Wait, didn't you just say the fiber content was a good thing?" Yes, but there can be too much of a good thing. Too much fiber in a dog's digestive system will cause gas, stomach upset, and indigestion. Asparagus is a healthy vegetable, but large quantities of it will cause problems for your dog.
Asparagus stalks can be difficult to chew. This is true for humans, especially dogs - who tend to gobble down food without bothering to chew it at all! Because asparagus stalks are tough and likely won't be chewed anyway, it would be very easy for a dog to choke on a piece of asparagus. If your dog does manage to swallow the piece, it could lead to an intestinal blockage later.
Strong Urine Smell
Asparagus contains a particular compound known as "asparagusic acid". As this acid is metabolized, it produces a sulfur smell. This smell tends to show up when your dog urinates after eating asparagus. If your dog is housetrained, this shouldn't be a significant concern.
What Is The Best Way For Dogs To Eat Asparagus?
If you'd like to feed your dog asparagus, you need to prepare it properly and safely for your dog to eat. The asparagus needs to be cooked, plain, and bite-sized. Avoid feeding raw, as dogs can experience vomiting, gas, or diarrhea after eating raw asparagus.
It's best to avoid feeding your dog raw asparagus. Cooking asparagus breaks down the fiber strands, making it easier for your dog's digestive system to break down the food. Raw asparagus will likely pass through your dog undigested, with none of the nutrients absorbed. Cooked asparagus is also just plain safer! Raw asparagus stalks are incredibly tough and likely to cause choking. When you cook asparagus, be sure to cut off the fibrous end, just as you would if you were cooking it for yourself. It won't be digested, cooked, or not.
When we eat asparagus, we tend to enjoy it cooked with butter, garlic, or onions. However, all these added ingredients are toxic to dogs, and it's unsafe to feed your dog your asparagus from your plate. Instead, steam asparagus specifically for your pet. Boiling the asparagus is another option, but this cooking method loses many nutrients to the water.
Because dogs don't tend to chew their food, it's important that their asparagus - even softer, cooked asparagus - is cut into bite-sized pieces. This reduces the likelihood of choking or digestive upset.
How Much Asparagus Can Dogs Eat?
As with any occasional treat, it's important to keep in mind that 90% of your dog's daily caloric intake should come from well-balanced dog food, and only 10% should comprise healthy snacks. This might equate to a mere teaspoon of asparagus for a small dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Soup?
Canned asparagus soups, such as cream of asparagus, should be avoided. These foods are typically filled with sodium. Homemade asparagus soups typically have other ingredients in them that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic, onions or onion powder, and shallots. However, you can make your own dog-friendly asparagus soup by blending cooked asparagus with chicken stock and other vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and green beans. Many dogs enjoy this spread on a lick mat.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Fern?
No, dogs cannot eat asparagus fern. While related to the asparagus plant, it's not actually asparagus (or a fern, for that matter). And it's toxic to dogs and will lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and severe stomach upset.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Leaves?
Often, when someone says that dogs shouldn't eat asparagus leaves, they are mistakenly referring to asparagus ferns. Asparagus doesn't have proper leaves. However, if you are growing asparagus in your garden and letting it go to seed, watch out for the red seed pods. These are toxic to dogs and will lead to vomiting and diarrhea.