Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? The Answer From a Vet

asparagus

Green, white or purple; these are the colors of one vegetable that, for sure, is part of many of your salads. Do you already know which one it is? That's right, asparagus.

Asparagus is the plant from which tender shoots called asparagus are obtained. The stalk is the edible part of the plant, which is harvested just after it sprouts and before the leaves or fruit grow. Its coloration depends on the method of cultivation, which will influence the amount of chlorophyll it contains. And spring is the time to harvest it.

These nutrient-rich vegetables are important because of their high fiber content and low caloric intake. Do you want to know if asparagus is suitable for dogs? Read on to find out.

Can dogs eat asparagus?

The answer you are looking for is: yes, dogs can eat asparagus. Your pet can eat the tender stalk and tip, preferably when cooked.

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You are cooking when, suddenly, your dog looks at you. You want to give him a little treat but you wonder if he can eat the food you are holding in your hand.

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Benefits of asparagus for dogs

Asparagus is very low in fat (0.12%) and sugars (1.9%), and very rich in fiber (2.1%) and vegetable protein (2.2%) [1]. They stand out for their anti-diabetic, hypolipidemic, and antioxidant properties [2]. Some of their essential nutrients are:

  • Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, the first is responsible for reducing cholesterol and blood glucose, thus helping to prevent obesity and cardiovascular diseases, as well as helpful in the control of diabetes. The second regulates intestinal transit, protecting the digestive system [2, 3]. In cases of constipation, it may be useful to include asparagus in your diet because it accelerates intestinal transit.
  • B-group vitamins, such as folic acid, are important for the synthesis of proteins and DNA, which also provides benefits in pregnant dogs by decreasing the development of spina bifida and anencephaly [4]. It also contains vitamins C, E, and K.
  • Minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron, are found in a high percentage in the upper section of the stem, near the tip [1]. Very notable is the potassium content, which helps control blood pressure [5] and, together with the presence of an amino acid called asparagine, increases diuresis, beneficial in animals with kidney damage or fluid retention [6].
  • Flavonoids and phenolic compounds, with antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. [7].

How much asparagus can my dog eat?

Remember the 90-10 rule: 90% of the intake should be a balanced diet and the remaining 10% extras. Knowing this, you can give him 1 to 2 stalks a week if he is a small breed or 3 to 4 in large breeds.

Don't forget that whenever you introduce a new food to their diet, you should give them small amounts and observe how their body responds, and from there gradually increase the amount.

How to give asparagus to my dog?

Avoid giving your dog raw asparagus, so get your stove going. Follow our instructions to give it to your dog in a safe way:

  • Wash the shoots carefully and remove the bottom part of the asparagus, as it is fibrous and may be difficult for him to chew.
  • Cut the stalks into small, bite-sized portions for easy swallowing.
  • Boil or steam them until they are soft and tender, thus reducing the risk of obstruction and facilitating chewing. Additionally, cooking increases the antioxidant effect of asparagus [8].

Now that you have asparagus ready to offer to your furry friend, here are some ideas on how to incorporate it into his diet:

  • Mixed into their usual food.
  • In the form of a smoothie, blend with other vegetables, fruits and natural yogurt.
  • As an ingredient in a broth, along with chopped chicken and spinach, it will be a healthy soup that you will love in winter.

Can they be dangerous?

Asparagus in the form of tender stems are not toxic, but if we let the asparagus mature, it turns into ferns with poisonous red berries, both for dogs and humans, which can cause side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea or severe stomach pain.

So, if you grow these vegetables, put a fence around them to keep your pet away and avoid problems from poisoning.

Giving raw asparagus carries the risk of getting stuck and choking, especially in small dogs, because it is tough and stringy, and most dogs will gobble whole mouthfuls without chewing.

What should I do if my dog eats too much asparagus?

The most common symptoms you may notice are gas, upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea, due to the excess fiber your dog has ingested

Give him time for his body to recover, and help him by giving him probiotics. But if the symptoms persist, especially diarrhea, take your dog to the veterinarian as he may require pharmacological treatment or even serum therapy to rehydrate.

When is it not advisable to give asparagus to my dog?

You should not give this vegetable to your dog if he suffers from any of these disorders:

  • Food intolerance or allergy
  • Soft stools or diarrhea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Slow digestion or gas.

Can my dog eat canned asparagus?

Canned white asparagus contains a lot of salt and unhealthy additives, so we do not recommend giving it to dogs.

Why does my dog's urine smell bad after eating asparagus?

If you have given asparagus to your dog, you may have noticed that his urine has a more unpleasant odor. This is due to the presence of asparagusic acid, a compound containing sulfur, exclusive to this vegetable, which when metabolized is transformed into methanethiol, a molecule that confers this bad odor to the pee [9].

Alternatives to asparagus

Asparagus is one of the human foods with which your pet quite enjoy, but here are some other vegetables to offer your dog:

Conclusion

Dogs can eat the tender stalk of asparagus. They are low in calories and rich in fiber. It is an ideal food for diabetic and obese dogs or animals with constipation.

Add it to their food in small portions, cooked and unseasoned. It is a healthy vegetable but try not to overfeed your dog with asparagus if you do not want him to have gas or stomach ache.

Are you going to add asparagus to your dog's diet? Let us know in the comments and tell us how you will do it.

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