Asparagus might not be everyone's favourite veggie, but there’s no denying that it’s good for us. We also know that lots of vegetables that are good for us, are good for dogs too. But what about some of the less common veggies? Can dogs eat asparagus?
The good news is that asparagus is not toxic to dogs. In fact, asparagus is loaded with many nutrients that can support your dog's overall health.
Let’s look at what’s so good about asparagus anyways:
- Folic acid - aids in amino acid metabolism
- Potassium - supports bone + muscle development and maintenance
- Thiamine - supports high energy organ function, like the brain and kidneys
- Vitamin A - maintains eye health
- Vitamin B6 - aids in hormones secretion, growth, and weight management
- Antioxidants - fight free radical cells that can lead to cancer or other mutations and diseases
- Fiber - supports digestion by regulating speed of digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste disposal
Many veggies contain healthy nutrients and can be added to your pet’s diet or treat routine, but make sure you know which vegetables are safe for dogs and which can be harmful. Check out Which Fruits and Vegetables are Safe for Dogs to help you find out the right healthy snack to share with your dog.
How to Feed Asparagus to Your Dog
So, asparagus is both safe and good for dogs, but it’s probably not the first vegetable you’d think to feed your dog, right?
If your anything like me, then you probably prefer asparagus when it’s grilled up with a load of butter and garlic. Of course, your dog can’t eat it that way, so we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts to help you feed asparagus to your dog safely.
Asparagus Do’s and Don’ts
Do cook the asparagus. Raw asparagus stalks are tough and woody, and they are quite difficult to digest. That's why we trim off the tough ends cook asparagus. Gently steaming the stalks can soften the tough stalks and make them much easier for your dog to digest. Make sure that asparagus made for your pet is not cooked in butter, oil, or spices.
We know that cooking a vegetable can destroy some of the nutrition, but is there a way to feed raw asparagus to your dog without causing digestive issues?
There is! Instead of steaming it, purée the raw asparagus. All vegetables have an indigestible outer layer called cellulose. Puréeing it will break apart the casing, and in the case of asparagus, will break apart the tough structure of the stalk to make it a breeze for your dog to digest properly.
Don’t feed whole stalks. It’s best to trim off the toughest end of the asparagus just like you would when preparing it for yourself. Even when cooked, a whole asparagus stalks can be a choking hazard.
Whether you are feeding asparagus as a treat or adding it to their meals, we recommend cutting the asparagus into bite sized pieces first.
Do feed in moderation. Feeding veggies as treats or as part of their meals is fine, but portion control is important. Treats and meal toppers should be less than 10% of their daily diet. This will ensure that they are always getting an appropriate amount and variety of nutrients to support them.
Over-feeding treats, table scraps, and even healthy veggies can lead to digestive discomfort. Remember that asparagus is high in fiber.
Fiber is helpful for digestion, but too much or too little can cause issues. If your dog is getting gassy after eating asparagus, then it’s probably time to cut his portion or switch to a less fibrous veggie treat.
Don’t let your dog anywhere near asparagus fern. This is especially important if you grow your own asparagus. The fern of the plant is highly toxic to dogs. It is only safe to feed your dog the trimmed asparagus stalk.
Not only is the plant toxic when ingested, asparagus fern can result in mild skin irritation for some pets. If you do grow asparagus in your garden, make sure that the garden is secure and blocked off so that your pet has no access to it.
Don’t freak out if you notice your dog has some unusually smelly pee. Just like in humans, one of the by-products of digesting asparagus is pungent urine.
Give it a Try
So, can dogs have asparagus? Absolutely! Not every dog will be into asparagus, just like not all humans are. If you regularly feed vegetables to your dog, then you can add asparagus to the list and occasionally rotate it in with his other favourite veggies.
Adding asparagus to a meal is a great way to spice up your dogs dinner and add some extra nutrition, too. For alternative treating options, asparagus can be added to bone broth recipes, homemade goodies, and even dog popsicles.
Does your dog like asparagus? How do you feed it? Let us know in the comments below.
Posted by Krystn Janisse
Krystn is a passionate pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others. She loves all animals but is currently channelling some crazy cat lady vibes with her five lovable, but rebellious cats.