Loaded with beneficial nutrients and low in calories, spinach is extremely healthy for people. If you like eating spinach and sharing foods with your pup, you are probably wondering whether this leafy green superfood is safe for dogs to eat.
So, can dogs eat spinach? Yes, dogs can eat spinach. This leafy vegetable is chock full of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that improves digestion. Being low in calories, spinach is also a good choice for dogs who need to lose weight. But, dogs with kidney problems shouldn’t eat spinach since it is high in oxalates.
In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of spinach for dogs and help you decide whether to feed your dog spinach or not.
Is Spinach Good for Dogs?
Low in calories and fat but teeming with nutrients, spinach is safe and good for dogs to eat. While spinach shouldn’t make your dog’s entire meal, eating small amounts occasionally can be beneficial for your dog’s overall health.
Raw spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C, and K. This leafy vegetable also contains several essential minerals, antioxidants, and beta carotene.
Small amounts of spinach are perfectly safe for healthy dogs, however, if your dog has kidney disease you should consult your vet before feeding them spinach. This leafy veggie contains oxalates that bind to calcium and can cause renal failure in dogs with pre-existing kidney problems.
Benefits of Spinach for Dogs
Including spinach in your dog’s diet can have a positive effect on their overall health and well-being. Let’s check out the biggest health benefits of spinach for dogs!
1. Spinach Boosts the Immune System
Spinach is naturally rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports a strong immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Vitamin C is involved in many functions within your dog’s body and is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of cells and tissues.
2. Spinach Promotes Digestive Health
Like many other leafy vegetables, spinach is also high in digestive fiber which prevents constipation and is necessary for optimal digestive health. Fiber-rich foods such as spinach can also help your dog feel full longer.
Fiber also adds bulk to your dog’s stool, making it easier to pass and helping regulate your dog’s bowel movements.
3. Spinach Supports Healthy Skin and Coat
Spinach has large quantities of vitamin A which is an essential vitamin for dogs that must be a part of your pup’s diet. Vitamin A has many functions within your dog’s body and supports good vision, bone health, reproduction, and immune system (source).
This vitamin also has a role in the production of oil in the skin follicles, thus making sure that the skin and hair are properly moisturized.
4. Spinach Supports Strong Bones
Spinach is also a great source of calcium and potassium that are necessary for healthy teeth and bones. Getting the right amount of these two minerals is especially important for growing puppies since they can develop musculoskeletal conditions without proper levels of calcium.
Risks of Feeding Spinach to Dogs
Spinach can offer many health benefits to dogs, but only if consumed in small amounts. Eating too much spinach too often can be problematic for some dogs and lead to serious health issues.
The most common side effects of eating spinach are:
1. Kidney Problems
Spinach has high levels of oxalic acid, which obstructs the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage.
In fact, soluble oxalates which contain oxalic acid, bind to calcium and magnesium in the blood, thus lowering the levels of these electrolytes and creating metabolic imbalance.
Calcium oxalates are excreted through kidneys and in large amounts, calcium oxalates can cause kidney damage or kidney failure.
Dogs without kidney problems can deal with small amounts of soluble oxalates without problems. However, dogs that eat spinach or other foods that are high in oxalates regularly can develop kidney or bladder stones and other health problems (source).
2. High Levels of Sodium
For a leafy vegetable, spinach has an extremely high level of sodium which can cause an array of health problems in dogs. Eating too much spinach can cause twitching and trembling muscles, vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, or coma caused by excess sodium in your dog’s blood.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, call your veterinarian immediately or take your pooch to an emergency clinic.
3. Urinary Problems
Puppies shouldn’t eat large amounts of spinach since their still-developing kidneys have trouble eliminating calcium oxalate. This in turn makes the puppy more likely to develop chronic urinary tract problems that will continue later in life.
If you have a puppy, you might want to rethink feeding them spinach until they get older. And to avoid any potential health issues, always consult your vet before feeding spinach to your pooch.
How Much Spinach Can I Give My Dog?
In small amounts, spinach is perfectly safe for healthy dogs and can be a good source of valuable nutrients. Just remember, you should always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
Your veterinarian will be able to tell you whether your dog can benefit from eating spinach and exactly how much they should eat. Depending on your dog’s size, you can try adding one to three tablespoons of spinach to their pet food.
How to Feed Spinach to Your Dog?
If you decide to feed your dog spinach, choose organic spinach whenever possible. Furthermore, knowing how to prepare spinach so it doesn’t lose all valuable nutrients is key.
The best way to prepare spinach is to steam it without adding seasoning, oils, onion, or garlic since some of these ingredients are toxic to dogs. Make sure to chop the spinach into small pieces so your dog can digest it properly.
Popular ways to feed spinach to dogs are:
- Mix chopped spinach with your dog’s food
- Use steamed spinach as a topper
- Make homemade dog treats with spinach, carrots, and zucchini
- Make pumpkin and spinach dog cookies using whole wheat flour and eggs
Chock full of valuable nutrients, spinach is safe for dogs to eat and can be a good source of essential vitamins and minerals. Feeding spinach to your dog can improve their immune system, aid in digestion, and promote bone health.
However, spinach is high in sodium and oxalates which can be problematic for dogs and cause kidney damage or bladder stones. To avoid any health issues, consult your veterinarian before feeding spinach to your dog.