I was always curious about introducing asparagus to my dog’s diet. I always thought of it as a healthy vegetable they would enjoy eating but I was unclear about the potential risks I would be exposing her to if I chose to feed her.
Therefore, rather than rely on my intuition for something as sensitive as my dog’s safety, I did a bit of research on the matter and I found my answer:
So, can dogs eat asparagus? Yes, you can feed Asparagus to your canine safely. First, it is not toxic to them and second, your pooch can actually acquire some useful nutrients from it.
However, you have to do it in moderation.
Is Frozen, Raw or Cooked Asparagus better for Dogs?
Now that you know that feeding your dog asparagus is good, how do you go about it? You can either feed it raw (fresh, frozen, or canned) or cooked (steamed or boiled).
Raw Asparagus is packed with all the nutrients. However, its stalks are tough and crunchy which explains why even we, humans, don’t always eat it in this state (although some people love the crunchiness). The danger with feeding your dog raw Asparagus is that when he attempts to swallow the stalks whole, he risks choking on them.
To avoid that, you should cut it into smaller bits that she can swallow easily.
Your dog may also have a hard time digesting raw asparagus since her digestive system is designed to handle meaty foods. She may suffer undesirable effects like a gassy stomach, stomach pains, vomiting, and even diarrhea.
Overall, raw asparagus is too much trouble and, fortunately, there is a way around this problem; cook the asparagus.
When you steam vegetables, asparagus included, they become tender without losing most of their nutrients. Moreover, your dog can chew it easily and the digestive problems associated with raw asparagus become less of a concern.
Alternatively, you can boil the asparagus. Boiling tenderizes it for puppies and nullifies the choking hazard almost completely. It also makes it more digestible. The obvious downside to boiling is that it makes it less nutritious – the heat breaks down most of the vitamins and minerals that make it nutritious in the first place.
What about frozen asparagus? Can your dog handle it? Well, if your dog has no problem eating asparagus raw, she can eat it frozen. Besides, when the weather is sunny and hot, your dog will appreciate the much-needed cooldown.
If you are a big fan of canned fruits and vegetables, canned asparagus is a valid way of feeding it to her. One disadvantage of canned foods is that they may contain preservatives; be careful with those especially in the long-term. Fresh asparagus is better than the canned alternative because it is less likely to be toxic.
- As you cook the asparagus, avoid using cooking oil or butter as they’ve been known to make dogs sick. To avoid this risk, use only water to boil or steam.
- You don’t have to serve asparagus alone, it can be part of a tasty meal that incorporates other veggies or proteins.
Asparagus: The Good and The Bad
• We incorporate asparagus into our diets because it is nutritious. To a dog, it is a healthy source of minerals and vitamins. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K. It also provides folates, manganese, copper, phosphorous, potassium, iron, zinc, chlorine, and selenium. These elements and vitamins are vital for normal organ function
They also aid in the production of hormones and absorption of other nutrients in its body.
Selenium protects your dog from heart disease and some forms of cancer. It is no surprise that many dog food manufacturers insist on having it in their products.
When your dog’s diet has all these minerals and vitamins, he will have healthy eyes and teeth, and her coat will look great.
• If your dog is overweight and needs to lose weight, you should incorporate asparagus into her diet. It is rich in fiber which makes her feel fuller much faster when he eats it thus lowering her appetite for high-calorie foods. This will help with her weight-loss program.
• Asparagus is rich in natural antioxidants. Most of the vitamins we just mentioned are technically antioxidants. They serve important functions in a dog’s body just as they do in our human bodies:
They flush out toxins and eliminate cell-damaging radicals from the dog’s system to ensure cellular health. These radicals cause conditions like arthritis and inflammation.
They prevent cardiovascular complications, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
They enhance the dog’s immune system.
• If your dog experiences indigestion, Asparagus is also great for the digestive tract in several ways:
If your dog is suffering from constipation and irregular bowel movements, the fiber in it can help loosen her stool.
Asparagus is a rich source of inulin; a carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in the digestive system. These bacteria facilitate the absorption of other nutrients, minimize the incidence of allergies, and protects your dog from colon cancer.
• On top of being healthy and nutritious food, asparagus is cheaper than many supplements that provide the same elements. You can even grow it in your garden!
So far, we have hinted at how you should be cautious with asparagus in your pooch’s diet. Here are the unwanted and potentially hazardous side effects your canine may suffer:
• The fern (part of the asparagus plant) is not edible for dogs (and humans). If your dog eats the fern, she will suffer from indigestion, stomach pains, and general discomfort. I wouldn’t go as far as say it will kill her, but you won’t forgive yourself for letting your dog suffer. If you have asparagus plants in your garden, keep your dog away from the plants.
• Asparagus served raw is a choking hazard even when you cut it up into smaller bits before you feed it to your dog. Since it is relatively tough, she will attempt to swallow the bits. Smaller dogs and puppies are at greater risk of choking on the small pieces if they attempt to swallow them whole without chewing. I would advise you to cook the vegetable before you serve it. Steam it for a couple of minutes to soften it.
• Your dog may suffer from indigestion if you serve her raw asparagus. The solution to that is to steam it before you give it to her. You can boil it to be safe but the vegetable will lose its nutritional value.
• Your dog will produce smelly urine (this one is not a serious problem but merely a concern). If you eat asparagus, you may have realized that your urine acquires a characteristic pungent smell. Well, dogs aren’t spared either. If your dog is not housebroken, you will find the smell unbearable. It would be better to hold off on the veggie and have her housetrained first.
If your dog chokes on asparagus, prepare to perform first aid. If she ingests the toxic ferns, rush her to the vet.
Should I Give My Dog Asparagus?
Dogs are predominantly carnivorous but they adopt omnivorous tendencies from us. If you are going to feed her veggies, asparagus is a good option. Asparagus in her diet is actually quite helpful because it supplies her with vital nutrients. If you feed her with moderation, she will be alright.
If your dog chokes or experiences undesirable side effects, take her to the vet. If she is not housetrained, remember that her pee will smell bad.
Here are some common questions dog owners ask about asparagus
Can Asparagus Hurt Dogs? Since it is relatively tough, it can choke them if they eat it whole. Smaller pieces can choke the smaller dogs. Raw asparagus is also not easy to digest.
Can Diabetic Dogs Eat Asparagus? Yes, diabetic dogs can have asparagus because it is not harmful to them. In fact, it has antioxidants that prevent type 2 diabetes.
Can Puppies Eat Asparagus? Yes, they can. However, serving raw asparagus to puppies is not a good idea because they may have difficulties chewing and swallowing. Cutting it into smaller pieces may help but they can still choke on it. Apart from the choking hazard, their digestive tracts may not be mature enough to digest the fiber causing stomach pains and diarrhea. If you are already serving your bigger dogs asparagus and you want your pups to get used to it, cook it first.