Highly nutritious, healthy, and easy to prepare asparagus is a very popular vegetable and a commonly used ingredient in many recipes. If you like cooking and eating asparagus, you’re probably wondering if you can share a bite or two with your canine sidekick.
So, can dogs eat asparagus? Yes, dogs can eat asparagus. Asparagus isn’t toxic to dogs and contains many nutrients that can be beneficial for your dog’s health. Since raw asparagus can be difficult to digest, feed your dog cooked asparagus. To avoid any side effects feed asparagus to your dog as an occasional treat.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits and risks of feeding asparagus to dogs. Keep on reading to learn everything there is to know about dogs and asparagus!
Is Asparagus Good for Dogs?
Besides being safe for dogs to eat in moderation, as a treat, asparagus is also very nutritious.
Naturally rich in vitamins A, C, and B6 asparagus can boost your dog’s immune system and overall health. Furthermore, this green veggie also contains essential minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Asparagus is also an excellent source of dietary fiber that is essential for healthy digestion and proper nutrient absorption.
Last but not least, asparagus can be a great low-calorie treat for obese and overweight dogs. With absolutely no fat and only 20 calories per 100 g, small amounts of raw or cooked asparagus can be a great alternative for commercial dog treats.
Benefits of Asparagus for Dogs
Like many other vegetables, asparagus is an amazing source of vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to stay healthy and thrive.
The biggest health benefits of feeding asparagus to your dog are:
1. Asparagus Supports Healthy Digestion
Cooked and raw asparagus is chock full of fiber – both soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber supports digestive health and helps maintain good gut flora, thus promoting healthy digestion and gastrointestinal health. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, helps your dog feel full for longer and adds bulk to the stool, thus promoting regular bowel movement.
2. Asparagus for Healthy Skin and Coat
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin A, an essential vitamin that is involved in many functions inside your dog’s body. Your dog’s skin, coat, nerves, and muscles all need vitamin A to function properly.
Pregnant dogs and puppies especially need vitamin A for proper growth, and muscle and neurological development (source).
3. Asparagus for Strong Bones
In addition to other beneficial minerals, asparagus also contains phosphorus and calcium which are essential for the musculoskeletal system and support strong bones. Getting the right calcium-phosphorus ratio is extremely important for large breed puppies and their development (source).
Besides helping form strong bones and teeth, phosphorus is also involved in other body functions and promotes growth and cell repair.
4. Asparagus is Full of Antioxidants
Asparagus, like other green veggies, is high in antioxidants that help fight free radicals and the damage they cause to your dog’s body. Besides vitamins A and E which are powerful antioxidants, asparagus also contains glutathione, polyphenols, and various flavonoids.
Antioxidants from asparagus can boost your dog’s overall health, help reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of certain chronic diseases, including cancer.
Risks of Asparagus for Dogs
In small amounts, asparagus is perfectly safe and good for dogs to eat as an occasional treat. On the other hand, eating large quantities of asparagus comes with certain side effects.
The biggest risks of feeding asparagus to dogs are:
1. Choking Hazard
Choking hazard is one of the biggest risks associated with feeding asparagus to dogs. Since asparagus stalks are rather tough they are difficult to chew and might be hard for your dog to digest properly.
To prevent your dog from swallowing a huge chunk or a whole asparagus stalk, you should chop it into small pieces.
If you decide to feed your dog pieces of raw asparagus, supervise your pooch while they are eating. And if your dog tends to just gobble down their food without chewing much, you might be better off not feeding them raw asparagus at all.
2. Upset Stomach
Besides being hard to chew, raw asparagus can also be difficult for your dog to digest and cause an upset stomach. Gas, diarrhea, and vomiting are the most common symptoms of digestive upset and may happen after your pooch eats raw asparagus.
If your dog shows any signs of digestive issues after eating raw asparagus, try feeding them cooked asparagus next time. Don’t use any butter, oils, or seasoning while cooking asparagus since these additions can make your dog sick.
3. Asparagus Fern
If you decide to feed asparagus to your dog, you should know that asparagus fern, a decorative plant from the asparagus family, is toxic to dogs. So, if you’re growing asparagus fern, keep that part of the garden fenced so your pooch can’t wander in and eat the toxic plant.
Dogs who eat asparagus fern can experience vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. If your pooch shows any of these symptoms call your vet right away or take them to the emergency veterinary clinic (source).
How Much Asparagus Can a Dog Eat?
Like all other treats, asparagus shouldn’t make more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. While your dog can eat asparagus as an occasional treat, you should talk with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
Your vet will also be able to tell you exactly how much asparagus can your dog eat based on their age, size, breed, overall health, and activity level.
How to Feed Asparagus to Your Dog?
There are many different ways you can serve asparagus to your dog! And while raw asparagus isn’t toxic to dogs, it is tough and difficult to chew, and your dog might be better off eating only cooked asparagus.
Here’s how you can feed asparagus to your dog:
- Steam or boil plain asparagus
- Mix cooked pieces of asparagus with your dog’s food
- Use bite-size pieces of asparagus as a topper
- Make dehydrated dog treats using pumpkin, carrots, and asparagus
Full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, asparagus can be a healthy, low-calorie treat for your dog. But while dogs can eat asparagus, it doesn’t mean that they should!
Raw asparagus can be particularly problematic for dogs since it is tough, hard to digest, and poses a choking hazard. If you decide that your dog can benefit from eating asparagus once in a while, make sure to cook it first and only then feed it to your dog.