When it comes to our dog’s diet, can we apply the same principles that we do to our own?
Well, you might be surprised, but not all healthy human foods are healthy for dogs. Some can even be toxic and cause your dog harm.
So, what about asparagus? Can dogs safely eat asparagus? Let’s find out.
What Is Asparagus?
Asparagus is a green vegetable that is usually harvested in Spring and early Summer when the shoots are young and more tender. As they mature, the stems become woody and inedible, and ferny leaves sprout. The young shoots of asparagus are easily recognizable by their unique spear-like appearance. While asparagus is usually grown as a vegetable crop, it is actually a perennial flowering plant if left to grow. Asparagus is often enjoyed roasted, grilled, blanched, or stir-fried and is versatile as a vegetable accompaniment or even an ingredient in a soup.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Asparagus In Humans?
Asparagus is high in fiber, which means it’s good for keeping your gut healthy and your stools regular. Of course, too much asparagus could have the opposite effect and lead to constipation! It’s also low in calories, salt, and fat, so it won’t contribute to obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. Despite it being mainly water, Asparagus is a very nutritious vegetable, containing a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, as well as being a great source of protein.
Vitamins and minerals have various roles, including aiding the immune system and nervous systems, as well as keeping your eyes, teeth, bones, and heart healthy. The protein provides important amino acids for the growth and repair of body tissues. With all these nutrients, it’s easy to see why many people consider asparagus a bit of a superfood.
Are There Potential Health Benefits Of Asparagus In Dogs?
This doesn’t just help keep their stools regular. Their gut also has a role in protecting them from infection. Asparagus is also a low-calorie, low-fat, low-salt snack, meaning it’s better for your dog’s weight and waistline than many other treats. It’s not just about what they look like. Obesity can lead to other health complications like Diabetes, heart disease, and mobility problems. Therefore, if you choose to give your dog the occasional tidbit or treat, asparagus sounds like a good choice.
Asparagus contains high levels of protein, and your dog’s body can use these amino acids to maintain muscle, skin, and other soft tissues. Asparagus contains Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, which have functions throughout the body, including maintaining oral health, eyesight, and blood clotting ability.
The vast list of minerals found in asparagus includes calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and potassium. These minerals help maintain your dog’s teeth and bones, prevent anemia, and regulate blood pressure, among other roles.
Are There Risks When Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Firstly, raw asparagus poses a risk to your dog in multiple ways. When raw, asparagus is so tough that it’s not easy to chew. This means that pieces of asparagus could get lodged in the mouth, throat, or further down the esophagus (food pipe), meaning a risk of choking and other issues. It’s only hard to break up raw asparagus by chewing. It’s also difficult to digest. This means that raw asparagus could cause a blockage within the gut or stomach or cause your dog unpleasant symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, wind, or constipation.
Another risk of feeding asparagus to your dog is related to cooking methods. Of course, by cooking the asparagus, you make it easier for your dog to chew and digest, so you avoid some of the risks. But, if you use cooking oils, fats, seasonings, or sauces, you could cause your dog a painful flare of pancreatitis or a stomach upset. Other ingredients served with your asparagus could also be toxic, including onions and garlic, so you should also avoid these.
If you grow your own asparagus or your dog has access to asparagus plants, they mustn’t eat them. This is because the inedible fern of the asparagus is toxic to dogs.
So, Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Asparagus is indeed a nutritious vegetable with some theoretical benefits for your dog, and, most importantly, young shoots of asparagus that humans eat aren’t toxic to dogs. However, there are plenty of risks still associated with feeding your dog asparagus, depending on whether you feed it raw or what you cook it with. Since the nutritional value of asparagus is reduced when you cook it, it might not end up being as beneficial for your pooch as you intended. Therefore, there are some better options if you’re looking for safe and nutritious treats for your canine companion.
How Much Asparagus Can A Dog Safely Eat?
It’s best to avoid giving your dog asparagus, even if it’s cooked, because there’s a risk it won’t agree with them or won’t be able to digest it easily. However, if you decide to feed your dog asparagus, make sure it’s cooked without oil, fats, or seasoning.
If they’ve never had asparagus before, try them with just a small amount first. Around a centimeter cube would be reasonable. If they don’t develop signs of an upset stomach, you can offer a little more next time. Once you know that your dog can eat small amounts of asparagus without it upsetting their gut, you can offer up to half a stem at a time. Ensure it’s cut into smallish pieces, though.
How Often Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
There are far better alternatives to feeding your dog asparagus, but if you want to and they enjoy it, you shouldn’t give a portion more frequently than twice a week. Any more frequently than this could cause constipation or diarrhea. If you’re giving your dog asparagus for the first time, remember to give a tiny amount and wait to check that they don’t develop any unwanted symptoms.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Asparagus?
If your dog has eaten a small amount of cooked asparagus, monitor them closely for any problems. However, especially if it was unseasoned, plain, and cooked without fats, they’ll probably be fine. On the other hand, if they’ve eaten a large amount of asparagus, it’s worth speaking to your veterinarian as it could make them constipated or cause a blockage.
If your dog has eaten raw asparagus and seems to be choking or vomiting, you should contact a veterinarian immediately in case the asparagus is causing a blockage in their throat, esophagus, or gut. It’s also important to make an urgent appointment with the vet if your dog has eaten the ferny part of the asparagus plant because this is toxic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Although asparagus contains lots of vitamins and minerals, it’s hard for your pup to digest. This means it could cause a gut obstruction. The inedible parts of the asparagus plant as toxic to dogs, so if you grow your own, you should make sure it’s out of reach to keep your furry friend safe.
Why Do Dogs Love Asparagus?
All dogs are different, and they have different tastes, just like humans. Some dogs enjoy the taste and texture of asparagus. Perhaps this is because it’s hard to chew, a bit like their chew toys. However, asparagus is a choking hazard and can cause other health issues, so it’s best avoided.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Ends?
Asparagus ends aren’t toxic to dogs, but they are tough to chew and digest. This means that giving your dog asparagus is sometimes a risk to their health. If you do give it, make sure it’s unseasoned and cooked without fats. You should never give your dog raw asparagus as they could choke.
On paper, asparagus might seem like a great choice as a treat that also keeps your dog healthy. But, sadly, it’s not without risks, which include choking, vomiting, diarrhea, and gut obstruction. Since cooking asparagus makes it safer for your pooch but removes a lot of its vitamins and minerals, it might be worth sticking to other options.