Question: Can dogs eat spinach? And is spinach good for dogs?
Answer: Popeye, anyone?
Besides what could be one of my (and very possibly yours as well) favorite cartoon characters ever, I love spinach, and a lot of you reading this probably do to.
And, we as dog owners like to share some of the food we eat with our dogs, mainly because they beg us to do so and we don’t have it in us to say no, do we? 🙂
When it comes to feeding dogs spinach, there’s a lot of controversy that you can run into about this subject. Much of it is uncalled for, and we’re here to set the record straight!
Generally speaking, dogs don’t really crave green leaves such as spinach and lettuce, so they probably won’t bug you about it too much. But, if your dog is one of those “exceptions to the rule”, can you safely feed your dog spinach?
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Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
If your dog likes to eat spinach, then good news! YES, dogs can eat spinach safely! 🙂
Despite the controversy that seems to surround this subject for strange reasons, spinach isn’t toxic or poisonous for your dog to eat, as long as you properly prepare and serve it to them the way you should.
Spinach can even be beneficial to your dog as it is to us humans (and as it was to Popeye).
However, speaking about these controversies and health risks surrounding this issue, these risks only become dangerous when you perform wrong practices in feeding your dog spinach, which is what we’re here to clear up today.
How Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
The most popular form that dog parents like to feed their dogs spinach in is:
- Steamed: However, make sure you don’t add any salt, lemon, onions or garlic powder to the mix, as these could be poisonous to your furry companion.
Chop the spinach you want to cook first, then serve some to your dog on its own or mix it in with a meal they’re having. You want to make sure you chop the spinach first because that will make it much easier for your dog to digest.
Some forms you DO NOT want to feed your dog spinach in are:
- Boiled: As it will make the spinach lose most of its nutrients
- Raw: Raw spinach is much harder for your dog to digest than cooked spinach, and will upset their stomach.
How Much Spinach Can Dogs Eat?
Here’s where the controversy begins.
While some people claim that spinach is toxic to dogs and can do all sorts of bad things to your dog’s kidneys, that’s not the whole story. To do kidney damage, spinach must be consumed in HUGE quantities, ones your dog couldn’t possibly eat even if they wanted to.
Spinach is high in oxalic acid, which if ingested in very high quantities (which are very hard for your dog to eat, unless all they eat during the day is spinach) can lead to kidney damage and bladder stones.
So, stick to giving your dog spinach in moderate amounts every now and then, and you have nothing to worry about.
It’s not like your dog needs large amounts of leafy vegetables anyway, they get most of the nutrition they need from their high quality dog food.
Why Is Spinach Good For Dogs?
Just as leafy greens are good for you and I to eat (which is why we’re always told to focus more on these and less on fast food, but we don’t seem to be doing much of that nowadays, do we?), leafy greens are also good for your dog to eat.
While your dog won’t benefit from eating spinach the same way humans do, because they aren’t meant to eat human foods like spinach but we are, here are some of the most important reasons why spinach can be beneficial to your dog, nonetheless.
- Contains essential vitamins like vitamin A, B, C, E and K
- Contains important minerals like folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and potassium
- Is a very rich source of dietary fiber, and is one of the best foods humans and dogs can ever eat if they want to stimulate their digestive systems during tough times such as constipation
- Improves dog bone health
- Improves blood circulation and helps in the treatment of anemia, thanks to the fairly high levels of iron spinach contains. Anemia patients suffer from different levels of iron deficiency, and including spinach in the diet can help out with this ilness.
- Improves dog vision and protects retinas from damage over time as your dog ages
- Is one of the highest vegetables in protein count (again, think of Popeye! The producers of that cartoon show were trying to send us a message 🙂 )
Spinach And Calcium Absorption Problems In Dogs
Remember how we talked about certain controversies that surround the subject of dogs eating spinach?
Most of the controversy around this subject stems back to the concept that spinach significantly decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is obviously a problem for both humans and dogs alike, because spinach is considered as an oxalic acid food.
This is especially a huge problem if you’ve got a growing puppy at home and you don’t want to mess with their growth progress.
Oxalic acid foods are food that contain higher than average levels of oxalic acid in them, which does in fact lead to a decrease in the ability of the body to absorb calcium.
However, in order for such an oxalic acid food to have an effect on your dog’s body and decrease its capability of properly absorbing calcium, your dog will have to consume very large amounts of it.
With the moderate amounts of spinach you will be feeding your dog in their diet from time to time as a snack on the side or a small addition to their dog food, such portions won’t have nearly enough amounts of oxalic acid in them to be able to have a negative effect on the ability of your dog’s body to properly and efficiently absorb calcium.