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Can My Dog Eat Asparagus? Benefits & Risks Dog Owners Should Know

Can My Dog Eat Asparagus? Benefits & Risks Dog Owners Should Know

Is asparagus safe for my dog to eat? The short answer is yes, it’s safe for dogs. There are, however, a few other things to consider.

Asparagus is a healthy vegetable, so why wouldn’t it be good for your dog? As much as we might try to avoid feeding our dogs table scraps, there’s always that one person who can’t seem to help themselves. The good news is that vegetables, like asparagus, won’t hurt your dog.

The reality is that asparagus can add a wealth of nutrients and fiber to your dog’s diet, when offered as an occasional treat.

The word “moderation” is key here. Asparagus is packed with vitamins, but it also has a lot of fiber. Yes, dogs need dietary fiber, but too much of a good thing can leave your dog with gastrointestinal pain and constipation.

Remember that any new food added to a dog’s diet (including asparagus) can be hard on a dog’s digestive system.

Let’s face it, not all dogs will want to eat asparagus unless it’s hidden in a side of beef. That said, if it’s something your dog wants to eat, chucking him or her a small amount now and then shouldn’t be a problem.

This post will help you determine how much to give your dog and whether it should be fed raw, cooked or canned.

Yummy Asparagus!

Asparagus is delicious steamed or lightly fried with a dollop of butter and a pinch of salt. It’s great wrapped in bacon or on its own.

The scientific name for asparagus is asparagus officinalis and it’s a member of the lily family. Most of us probably recognize asparagus as a green stalk, but you can also find it in white, green, and purple. They’re the perfect way to add flavor, bulk, and vitamins to any meal.

Feeding it to your dog is another matter. Yes, it’s safe, when fed to dogs in moderation, without any added salt, sugar, or bacon!

Can dogs eat asparagus?

The Health Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus is low in calories and high in nutrition.

Instead of adding it to your dog’s overall calorie intake, why not switch it out for some of the high-calorie treats he/she may already be getting?

A small asparagus spear (5″ long or less) only has 2 calories. Some store-bought dog treats can have up to 70 calories or more! Swapping out a dog treat for a few small spears of asparagus may help keep your dog at a healthy weight.

Swapping highly-processed treats for fruits and vegetables (in moderation) is a good way to add nutrition to your dog’s diet without the junk.

Asparagus contains:

  • Micronutrients like iron, zinc, and riboflavin
  • Vitamin K (essential nutrient involved in blood clotting and bone health)
  • Folate
  • Antioxidants including Vitamin E, Vitamin C

In addition, asparagus is rich in insoluble fiber (cannot be digested) and soluble fiber (can be digested). Insoluble fiber is what keeps your dog having regular bowel movements.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dogs need firm stool to release their anal sacs when they have a bowel movement. The anal sacs (picture a clock), sit internally at 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock. They’re not something you notice until your dog starts scooting his/her bum across the floor.

If the anal sacs don’t empty regularly through a healthy bowel movement, they become impacted. This causes discomfort for your dog. If they don’t release on their own, a veterinarian may need to manually express the anal glands.

How Much Asparagus Can My Dog Eat?

This vegetable is high in insoluble fiber. It’s great for adding bulk to support healthy stools, but too much in a dog can cause stomach pain and gas.

There’s a chance your dog won’t even like asparagus. However, if you have a dog that will literally eat anything, make sure he or she doesn’t get too much.

How Much is Too Much?

Asparagus is a safe, non-toxic vegetable that can be added to a dog’s diet in small quantities. Unfortunately, there isn’t any set rule on how much to feed a dog.

When determining how much human foods to give a dog, consider the size of your dog and the amount of food he/she is already eating in a day.

Asparagus is a low-calorie treat, but that doesn’t mean more is better. The high fiber content will leave your dog with an upset stomach if given too much. Generally speaking, a few bite-size pieces for your furry friends is enough.

Well, it’s non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about that. You may, however, have a dog with some gastrointestinal upset for a day or two. If your dog happens to eat a large amount of asparagus in one sitting (doesn’t matter if it’s from a can, jar, or raw), feed him or her a bland diet for the next couple of days.

Small Dogs versus Large Dogs

Instead of considering the size of your dog when determining how much asparagus to feed them, think about the dog’s calorie requirements.

A few asparagus stalks aren’t going to force your dog’s diet into the red zone, but it’s still important to consider how many calories your dog is eating per day.

Dog’s Weight in PoundsCalorie Requirements per Day
9 240-297
11 280-351
13.2 320-403
15.4 360-452
17.6400-4499
19.8440-546
22470-590
24.2510-634
26.4540-677
28.6580-719
30.8610-760
33640-88
37.4700-897
39.6730-918
41.8760-956
44790-993
48.4850-1067
50.6880-1103
55940-1174
SOURCE: WSAVA GLOBAL NUTRITION COMMITTEE

DISCLAIMER: These calorie intake recommendations are for guidance only. Dogs have different dietary requirements and some dogs may need more or less calories in a day to maintain a healthy weight.

Risks Associated with Feeding Dogs Raw Vegetables

Feeding your dog the bottom part of the plant (stalk) can increase your dog’s risk of choking. The stalks are thick and can be difficult to chew, especially in senior dogs or dogs with dental problems. If you’re going to feed your dog asparagus, remember to chop it up into small pieces.

If you decide to feed your dog raw asparagus, remember to feed in moderation. If you want to include the stalks and not waste them, be sure to cut them up into small, bite-sized chunks before feeding.

Other Risks to Consider Before Feeding Your Dog Asparagus

Unless you’re preparing your dog’s food with added asparagus, there’s a good chance it’s being tossed from the dinner plate to the dog. It’s okay in moderation, as long as no other types of food or seasonings are added.

Onions, onion powder, garlic, and shallots (typically found in soups and other recipes) are toxic to dogs. That means if your dog is eating asparagus from a sandwich, soup, chowder, or other dish, it’s very possible that meal contains some things dogs should avoid.

Is Canned Asparagus Healthy For my Dog?

Canned asparagus, or asparagus in a jar, is usually just as nutritious as the raw asparagus stalks. However, it’s important to note that salt and additives may be added to keep the vegetable looking and tasting edible.

There’s no real danger in feeding your dog canned or jarred asparagus in moderation. Just be mindful of the ingredients. Ideally, you want to see the fewest ingredients possible. If salt is one of the first three ingredients in any canned item, don’t give it to your dog.

Excessive salt can quickly dehydrate your dog’s cells, making him or her very thirsty. This can be detrimental to dogs with underlying conditions like kidney disease, etc.

Which Type of Asparagus is Better for My Dog? Cooked or Canned?

Ultimately, asparagus in all forms is safe for your dog. The two most important thing to remember are moderation and ingredients. Anything with salt, additives, added sugar, etc. do not contribute to a dog’s overall healthy diet.

If your dog loves asparagus, , it’s okay to do so. Keep the amounts very small, chop it up to avoid a choking hazard, and stick to raw or steamed asparagus.

Asparagus is good for dogs

Diet Guidelines for Dogs

Small amounts of asparagus is safe for dogs. However, dogs need a more than just greens to stay healthy. The best advice is to check with your veterinarian with questions about your dog’s diet. The following, is a general guideline on what to feed your pooch:

  • Buy breed specific food the breed. Some breeds are high-energy dogs that require more calories than others.
  • Follow the feeding guidelines on the package and remember that any treats added to that are “extra” calories. Added calories will cause weight gain in dogs.
  • If you want to feed your dog a raw diet, you’ll still need to round it out with nutritionally dense, plant-based food.
  • Look for food that meets AAFCO standards.
  • Feed the highest quality food you can afford.
  • Choose diets with real, recognizable whole-food ingredients.

Nutritional disorders in dogs and cats are uncommon in developed nations, particularly when they are fed high-quality, commercial, complete diets. 

The majority of nutritional issues in dogs and cats are caused by imbalanced homemade diets. 

SANDERSON.SHERRY. “Nutritional Requirements and Related Diseases of Small Animals – Management and Nutrition – Merck Veterinary Manual.” Merck Veterinary Manual, www.merckvetmanual.com/management-and-nutrition/nutrition-small-animals/nutritional-requirements-and-related-diseases-of-small-animals. Accessed 6 Nov. 2022.

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Summing it up

Asparagus isn’t the kind of food most dogs are interested in. Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule. Although it’s considered safe and non-toxic for dogs, you might be better supplementing your dog’s diet with an occasional apple slice, pumpkin, carrots, or sweet potatoes.

Questions like can I feed my dog asparagus come up a lot these days. Dog owners like to feed dogs human-grade food. The theory is that if it’s good for us, it must be good for them. In some ways, that’s true. Dogs, however, have different nutritional requirements than we do.

Dogs need a balance of carbs, fats, proteins, healthy vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Very small amounts of chopped up asparagus are fine for dogs. Just remember that too much of a good thing can lead to painful gastrointestinal discomfort and gas.

Always take your veterinarian’s advice when it comes to your dog’s diet. Buy the highest quality dog food you can offer and be mindful of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

The bottom line is that plain asparagus can be considered a healthy treat with high nutritional value for your canine companion.

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