Asparagus is one of the favorite veggies for humans, and there is a good reason for this. The veggie is highly affordable, nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious. Asparagus makes a fantastic side dish to be served with an entrée such as pasta or steak and included in various dips, salads, and other food. That said, if asparagus is one of your regulars on the dinner table, you might be tempted to give your dog some asparagus. But is asparagus good for your canine friend? Can it offer the same great nutrition to dogs as it does to humans? Here is a look at whether dogs can eat asparagus, the benefits, risks, and everything else you need to know about giving asparagus to your dog.
So, can dogs eat asparagus?
The simple answer is yes! Dogs can eat the cooked, tender stalk and tips that humans eat. Asparagus is a healthy and highly nutritious veggie for your dog, providing similar health benefits to your dog similar to humans. However, you should be careful. Raw asparagus can be challenging for dogs to digest, and feeding them whole asparagus stalks can be a choking hazard. When you buy raw asparagus, remove the fibrous section at the stalk’s bottom and cook or steam it until it turns soft. This way, it will be safe to share some of the asparagus with your dog. As a caution, asparagus plants can blossom and produce small red berries when left to grow. The seed pods are poisonous to dogs and humans, so it’s best to eat asparagus in its tender shoot stage. Eating the berries can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. However, this will just be a concern if you are growing asparagus in your backyard in which you should install a sturdy fence to keep the dogs from accessing the yard.
Health Benefits of Asparagus for Dogs
Dogs can safely eat asparagus with few side effects. This low-calorie veggie gives a lot of nutrients, loads of fiber, and powerful antioxidants. The nutritional components of asparagus and their benefit for your dog include;
Food rich in dietary fibers is essential in keeping the digestive tract healthy. Because most of the dog’s immune system lives in the gut, eating a high-fiber diet will help in boosting their immune system. Asparagus has high soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble bacteria dissolve in water into a gel-like substance that feeds the useful bacteria in the gut. The insoluble, indigestible fiber helps improve healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to the dog’s stool.
Asparagus is rich in antioxidants, including; Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, flavonoids, glutathione, and polyphenols. Antioxidants are essential in fighting the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and destroy cells in your body dog.
The vitamin helps in supporting blood clots and good bone health.
These include thiamin and vitamins B6 and B9 that help in improving the health of your dog’s heart, nervous system, and coat.
Folic acids are important for dogs in supporting the growth of red blood cells and DNA formation.
Calcium and phosphorus
Calcium and phosphorus work together in strengthening the teeth and bones.
Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps the electrical functions in your dog’s muscles, heart, and nerves.
Fats, calories, and sugar
Asparagus is low in fats and calories and has no sugars. This means that overweight dogs can benefit from eating asparagus as a healthy alternative to high-fat commercial treats.
Asparagus contains trace amounts of micronutrients, including; iron, zinc, manganese, and riboflavin. These help in regulating energy from carbohydrate metabolism. Your canine friend’s diet should include well-balanced dog food with recommendable amounts of nutrients daily.
Risks Of Asparagus for Your Dog
Asparagus has high amounts of fiber. Raw asparagus stalks are tough and can easily choke your dog if not prepared properly. Smaller dogs are at a higher choking risk. To eliminate the choking risk, chop the stalks into smaller pieces before giving them to your dog. However, avoid feeding your dog too much fiber as it can cause stomach upset, gassiness, and vomiting. While raw asparagus is good for your dog, it can be hard for their digestive system due to the indigestible fiber. Cooking asparagus makes the veggies soft, decreasing the risk that your dog might choke on them. Bite-sized pieces of cooked and soft asparagus are the best and safest option to feed to your dog. However, it can still result in side effects such as upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. Another issue with asparagus is when cooked in plenty of oil and butter. This makes them unsafe for your dog’s consumption. Cooked asparagus might also contain a lot of salt, cheese, garlic, pepper, and other additions that can harm your dog. Onions and garlic are very toxic for dogs. So, ensure to avoid these ingredients when cooking asparagus for your dog by steaming or microwaving. Canned asparagus is also unhealthy for your dog as it contains too much salt.
How Much Asparagus Should You Feed Your Dog?
According to vets, it is recommendable for dog owners to observe the 10 percent rule. Treats including raw veggies such as asparagus should make up ten percent of the calories in the diet of your dog. Asparagus makes up to 93% water and has about 3 grams of dietary fiber, as well as 28 calories for each cup. As with any other food, always consult your vet before offering your dog asparagus, or then start by giving them small pieces at first. Observe the dog closely for any adverse reactions such as diarrhea and gassy stomach before offering them more.
Asparagus is not toxic for your dog, and its low fat, low calorie, and high-fiber content makes it a safe option for even overweight or diabetic dogs. Chopped into small pieces and served without fat or seasoning, it is a healthy snack with lots of nutrients that enhance your dog’s overall health. Just ensure not to overfeed this high-fiber asparagus unless you want your dog to be gassy or with a stomach ache. If you grow asparagus in your homestead, be careful to ensure your dog does not eat the asparagus fern.