Lots of dogs actually like fruits and vegetables. Not only are they tasty, but they are also packed with all kinds of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. They make excellent snacks every now and then.
But on the same note, dogs have different digestive systems. While something could be very healthy for people, it might be extremely harmful for dogs. This is when you ask yourself – can I share asparagus with my furry friend? Can dogs eat asparagus? Is it worth the potential risks?
Asparagus is quite tasty and brings in a plethora of minerals and vitamins. It is healthy and actually recommended to people, but when it comes to dogs, things change a little. Here is everything you need to know about your dog and asparagus.
Can dogs eat asparagus? Benefits of asparagus for dogs
Asparagus is rich in fiber and dogs need fiber. However, there are two types of fiber out there. Insoluble fiber supports a healthy bowel movement. It ensures digestion is regular and it also boosts the creation of new cells in the intestines. On the other hand, soluble fiber boosts the immune system and improves the digestion. It is also handy when it comes to healthy bacteria in the colon, meaning it can be taken for a prebiotic.
Asparagus brings in a wide variety of minerals as well. Potassium is a healthy electrolyte that keeps muscles healthy, as well as the brain function. On the other hand, copper is excellent for the blood, but it also helps in the creation of bones and collagen. Phosphorus is not to be overlooked either – it works with calcium and helps teeth and bones.
Asparagus is rich in calcium and iron as well. Calcium is suitable for the skeletal system, as well as the cartilage maintenance. It is great for blood clotting too. Iron is suitable for the supply of oxygen. It has a direct role over your pet’s hemoglobin, which is responsible for pushing oxygen from the lungs to other organs.
In terms of vitamins, asparagus brings in vitamins A, B9, C, E and K. Vitamin C is probably the most important one. Dogs can do it by themselves anyway, but a bit of extra increases the amounts of antioxidants in the system, meaning they can fight free radicals and improve the immune system. Vitamin A is better for your dog’s eyes, skin and bones, as well as the reproductive system.
Vitamin B9 is critical in the creation of new cells. It helps the metabolism too. Vitamin E – just like vitamin C – is an antioxidant that fights free radicals. It is great for your dog’s coat and skin. Finally, vitamin K is just as important, as it protects the immune system.
It is important to know that asparagus is rich in methionine too, an essential amino acid that works as an antioxidant.
Other healthy nutrients worth being mentioned include polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants too.
Simply put, asparagus sounds perfect for dogs. However, it is not the only vegetable in this situation. Many veggies are great for dogs, but their downsides contraindicate them. So, can dogs eat asparagus? Are there any major side effects?
Disadvantages of asparagus for dogs
Asparagus is not a soft vegetable when raw. In fact, it is quite hard and could be difficult to chew. Some dogs eat things they love without even chewing them – this is when asparagus could become a choking hazard, as it could end up stuck in the esophagus.
Overcoming this issue is fairly simple. Make sure you do not feed your dog pieces of asparagus longer than an inch. Chop it into tiny pieces, so your furry friend has no issues at all. Other than that, avoid giving your dog raw asparagus, as it tends to be too harsh on the digestive system.
Given this aspect, it means asparagus could cause upset stomach. Obviously, raw asparagus is more dangerous than cooked asparagus. Other side effects include diarrhea and vomiting, as well as gas. Now, while fiber is actually recommended and healthy for the digestive system, too much of it can also cause gastrointestinal issues and affect the digestive system.
It is worth noting that any type of new food can cause such effects into dogs. If your dog has never had asparagus, you must pay attention to the serving size.
Now, how do you cook asparagus? Most people cook it in oil or perhaps in butter. You may also load it with some pepper and salt, not to mention other condiments and spices. All these things can be harmful for dogs. Onion and garlic are even more dangerous. From this point of view, cooked asparagus must be clear of any of these things – nothing but the pure vegetable.
Finally, make sure you can tell the difference between different parts of asparagus. The stalks are the parts you cook and eat. On the other hand, the fern is not safe to eat. While connected to the plant, it is not rich in nutrients. Technically, it is not even a fern. All in all, this part is toxic and will cause diarrhea and vomiting.
How much asparagus to feed your dog
So, can a dog eat asparagus? Yes, they can. How much? It depends. Normally, dogs can have up to 10% of their diets in vegetables. It does not mean that you can give your dog asparagus up to 10% of the dog’s diet. Instead, you need to blend it in with other vegetables. There are a few general guidelines regarding asparagus and dogs – if there is something you are not sure of, contact your vet.
Small dogs can have a tablespoon of asparagus on a daily basis. Medium dogs can have two tablespoons, while large dogs can have three tablespoons. There are more ways to feed your dog asparagus. It could be a treat or perhaps on top of a meal. You can also stuff it into toys or come up with some homemade treats.
If your dog has never had asparagus, start with a small serving size – bite size. Observe the potential reactions over the next 12 hours. If your dog looks alright, you can increase the serving size until you reach the optimal daily recommendation.
How to feed your dog asparagus
Make sure you give your dog asparagus in a responsible manner. For instance, you have to cook it properly. Dogs are likely to choke on raw asparagus. Even if they manage to swallow it, it will be difficult to digest. As for the cooking procedure, avoid spices, condiments, oil or butter. Instead, boil or steam it. This will help you avoid harming your dog.
Cut it in small pieces too. They should be about half an inch in size. This way, your dog is less likely to choke on it. Stay away from additives. You could find asparagus in jars or cans too – make sure it is not dressed with garlic, cheese, butter, oil or other ingredients. It could be difficult, hence the necessity to cook it yourself.
Finally, remember that while asparagus has some healthy nutrients, it is not normally part of a dog’s diet, so you need to keep the consumption to a minimum limit.
Frequently asked questions
There may still be a few question marks regarding asparagus and dogs.
Will asparagus hurt my dog?
Most dogs can have asparagus without too much hassle. Heavy amounts of it or other ingredients could harm your dog, so make sure you cook it, keep the serving size small and never mix it with anything else – no salt, butter, oil and other extras.
How much asparagus can a dog eat?
It depends on a few different things. Make sure your dog has a good stomach and digestive system. The serving size ranges between one and three tablespoons, depending on the size of your dog. This is a daily dose.
What vegetables are bad for dogs?
Avocados, mushrooms, unripe tomatoes, garlic, onions, broccoli and potatoes are generally considered to be unhealthy for dogs. While they may have some nutrients as well, their side effects tend to outweigh them, so it is highly recommended to avoid them.
What part of the asparagus is poisonous?
The fern is the toxic part of asparagus. People do not eat it and dogs should not eat it either. It is also hard and difficult to chew and digest, so simply remove this part before cooking asparagus. Side effects are normally related to the digestive system.
Bottom line, can dog eat asparagus? Generally speaking, asparagus is safe for dogs if given in small amounts. It is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Given in large amounts, its potential side effects could outweigh the positives, so stick to the daily recommended serving size.
Cook the raw asparagus and never dress it with anything else. Cut it in small pieces and your dog will love it. If there is something, in particular, you are not sure of, simply get in touch with your vet.