Question: Can dogs eat asparagus?
Answer: Even though I can’t imagine why anyone would want to eat asparagus (yes, I love it just that much!), you might be having some yourself right now and wondering whether you can feed your friendly companion some.
To me, asparagus and celery look a whole lot like one another and I want nothing to do with either, but we’re not here to talk about how they look or how they taste, we’re here to talk about weather or not asparagus is good for dogs to eat.
So, what’s the deal here? Can dogs eat asparagus? Or is asparagus bad for dogs?
There seems to be a fair bit of misconception online concerning this issue, and we’re here to clear all that up.
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Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Generally speaking, YES, asparagus is a very safe vegetable for your dog to eat.
When the subject of feeding dogs some vegetables comes up, dog owners very commonly think about feeding their canines some asparagus, cauliflower and kale, just to name a few common options that come to mind.
However, we must differentiate very well between the asparagus vegetable and the asparagus plant.
Asparagus Stalk Vs Asparagus Fern
As you can see on this page ASCPA has up over here, Dogs CANNOT eat asparagus fern (the plant), because it can lead to some very serious toxicity problems.
With that being said, a very important note must be stated concerning anyone who has a garden/plants at home that their dog might come in contact with.
Just like you should never ever feed your dog any asparagus plant (again, not the vegetable, just the plant that the vegetable comes from) because of serious gastrointestinal problems your dog will experience, you should also never ever let them come in contact with the asparagus plant.
Just coming into physical contact with the asparagus fern can lead to your dog developing allergic dermatitis.
The only thing your dog should ever come in contact with and be able to consume is the asparagus spear (or asparagus stalk) itself, after you properly wash it and rid it from any chemicals that might be on it, of-course.
How Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Dogs can eat asparagus in raw, cooked, steamed, boiled, grilled or roasted forms, whichever method you prefer to go with is fine.
If you’re torn between which form to feed your dog asparagus in, just know that cooking the asparagus makes it lose a significant portion of its nutritional profile, but makes it MUCH easier for your dog to digest.
One reason it’s not very much recommended that you feed your dog raw asparagus is the fact that the asparagus is much harder for your dog to properly chew swallow (which also poses the risk of it getting caught in your dog’s throat, and thus leads to choking) and digest properly.
(This is very identical to what happens when you want to feed your dog raw spinach as well).
Serving Asparagus To Your Dog
When preparing the asparagus, you have to first remove the fibrous ends, wash them very carefully and grill them for about 1 minute on all sides.
You can also feed your dog asparagus by adding it to one of your dog’s meals on occasions.
When feeding your dog asparagus, avoid adding any specific seasonings, sauces or whatever else you could think of to their portion, because those will make your dog sick.
The best way to serve asparagus to your dog is by feeding them this vegetable just as nature intended.
Never feed your dog any leftover asparagus from your plate, because chances are that you’ve using seasonings, toppings and/or a few other ingredients on that plate that your dog should never consume (such as butter and garlic). Just a quick reminder because sometimes we tend to forget and let our dogs share some food from our plates.
How Much Asparagus Can Dogs Eat?
As for the portion size, you’re best off cutting the asparagus into small, tiny pieces and giving your dog 1-2 of these pieces.
As long as you only feed your dog small and reasonable amounts of asparagus, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
(Quick tip: Ensure your dog doesn’t have easy access to a whole bag of asparagus stalks, they can easily rip through that bag and consume the whole thing in no time, especially if they are larger dogs.)
Don’t give your dog asparagus spears/asparagus stalks in their entire length all at once, as this can cause potential problems.
Feeding Dogs Asparagus Frequency
For safety measures, and as you should do with any new food you introduce to your dog’s diet, you should always start off by feeding your dog the least amount of the food possible to monitor any stomach upset or health problems that might come around, which usually signals that your dog doesn’t handle this food pretty well and you should stop feeding it to them.
Generally, dogs don’t really need to eat that much vegetables, because they’ll be getting the bulk of their nutritional needs from the quality dog food they’re eating (and I hope you’re feeding them nothing short of quality dog food!).
Just be sure not to let your dog eat too much asparagus at once, because besides there being no significant reason or benefit of you doing so, that could just lead to problems such as stomach aches, diarrhea and vomiting.
A Few Weird Things You’ll Notice
One thing you might notice if your dog eats more asparagus than they should is that the color of their feces might turn into a green-ish color.
Other dog owners have also reported that when their dogs eat too much asparagus, it can be easily noticed that they develop bad odors when they pass gas or urinate.
So if you see any of those two happening, this maybe a sign that it’s time to cut down on that asparagus!
However, it must be said that some dogs will have their urine turn slightly greenish, they will surely have some stinky-smelling pee and will start to emit foul-smelling gas even at the slightest bit of asparagus, so it’s not always a sign of something bad, sometimes it’s just nature doing its thing.
As always, if you’re in doubt about something like this and want to make sure, your veterinarian will be able to give you the best and most exact answer and let you know whether you have anything to worry about and change.
The most obvious sign that you’re way overdoing it with feeding your dog asparagus (or that your dog’s system is just sensitive to being fed asparagus and doesn’t appreciate it) is one that you never want to come across – a dog with diarrhea and a terrible smell to their poop.
Asparagus For Dogs: Why Is It Good?
When talking about vegetables, asparagus is often mentioned as one of the most healthy and beneficial food you could ever get your hands on.
Now, even though dogs don’t benefit from asparagus as much as we do (because their bodies don’t benefit from human food the same way you and I do), here are a few benefits that asparagus could very well offer your dog.
- Is very high in fiber
- Is one of the lowest-calorie human foods available (which is why you always see it being recommended for people who are dieting). If your dog needs to slim down a bit by cutting back on some food, this is a great snack you can offer to make them feel full and still consume as few calories as possible.
- Contains vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K
- Is rich in iron, copper, manganese, potassium and calcium
- Is loaded with beneficial antioxidants, especially glutathione, a very important antioxidant notorious for keeping the likes of cancer, inflammation and arthritis at bay
- Is a good source of folic acid
- Is very well known for its ability to neutralize and stop the work of free radicals that damage body cells
- Very low in saturated fat
- Very low in cholesterol