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Can dogs eat asparagus? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat asparagus provided they are cooked. Asparagus is a nutritious food that enhances your dog’s health with its rich fiber and vitamins content. On the contrary, refrain from feeding raw asparagus to your dogs as they are pretty difficult to chew and can cause digestive issues. 

What is Asparagus? 

Asparagus or Asparagus officinalis is a healthy, yummy vegetable that belongs to the Asparagaceae family, containing more than 200 species of plants. It is a perennial vegetable that grows year after year and is prevalent in regions like China, Thailand, Mexico, Peru, and Germany. There are different types of asparagus, namely:

  • Green asparagus 
  • Purple asparagus
  • White asparagus

Is Asparagus Safe for Dogs?

Asparagus is a non-toxic and edible vegetable. However, raw asparagus can pose a potential choking hazard due to its toughness. So, cut and cook to ensure safe consumption for your dog.

The asparagus plant contains the asparagus fern, which is toxic to both plants and human beings. In addition, once the plant is allowed to flower, they produce small red berries that are also toxic. So, ensure to feed the cooked stalks of the asparagus while they are still growing. Additionally, if you have a garden with the asparagus plant, seal its access with a solid fence to protect your dog.

Why is asparagus good for dogs?

  • Low fat treat 

Asparagus is low in calories and fats and is devoid of sugars. Hence, this vegetable is an excellent healthy treat for your overweight dogs instead of high-fat commercial treats.

  • Powerful antioxidant

Asparagus is known for its powerful antioxidant properties. Therefore, this vegetable effectively battles free radicals that damage the cells and lead to cancer, arthritis, and inflammation. 

Additionally, asparagus constitutes 93% water and has about three grams of dietary fiber per cup in addition to essential nutrients that improves your dog’s health as follows:

Nutrients Supportive Function
Vitamin – B6Supports red blood cells generation and immune response Nervous system function Hormone regulation
Vitamin – ABoosts your puppy’s immune systemPromotes bone development and the reproductive system.Enhances eyesight, prevents night blindness and cataract in dogs.Supports proper function and quality of skin, coat, muscles, and nerves.
Vitamin – CThis powerful antioxidant targets and destroys free-radical molecules that can damage new cells. Anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic
Vitamin – EEnriches the skin and coat Prevents skin irritation and ear infections.
Vitamin – KThis is an essential mineral that synthesizes the coagulation of proteins needed for blood clot 
PotassiumIt helps in the proper functioning of your dog’s kidneysAids in maintaining cardiac and digestive healthIt strengthens your pet’s bones. It regulates fluid levels, and promotes muscle development.
Dietary fiberRegulates bowel movementsPrevents constipationHelps weight managementBuilds the immune systemReduces bloatingFortifies against illness and infectionLowers the risk of colon cancer
Folic acidTreats deficiencies.Helps maintain normal metabolic function.Aids in the red blood cells formation.
PhosphorousThis mineral teams up with calcium to form bones and teeth.Acts as a catalyst for bodily functions like growth, maintenance, and cell repair.
ManganeseCatalyzes enzyme activity
ThiaminUsed for carbohydrate metabolism required for the proper functioning of the brain and other high-energy organs.
SeleniumAids in thyroid metabolism.Promotes DNA synthesis.
AntioxidantsServes as a good anti-inflammatory.Promotes immune system activity and helps fight allergies.Effectively removes free radicals from the body and decreases the ill effects due to aging.The glutathione antioxidant fights against free radicals that damages the cells causing arthritis, inflammation, and cancer.

Why is Asparagus Bad for Dogs?

Despite its health benefits, asparagus comes with certain risks you need to know. Therefore, it has to be fed with caution:

  • Choking Hazard: 

Raw asparagus comes with a tough stalk that challenges your dog’s ability to chew. As a result, your canine may swallow it, resulting in a choking hazard. Therefore, ensure to cook the stalks and feed them in smaller pieces. 

  • Upset Tummy:

Consuming raw asparagus can upset your canine’s digestive system. Hence, it has to be cooked to reap the nutritional benefits. However, as asparagus is rich in fiber, you have to feed it sparingly to your dog to avoid gassiness and diarrhea. 

Additionally, asparagus is often cooked in oil or butter and maybe loaded with salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and cheese that can make your dog sick. 

  • The Asparagus Fern and seed pods

The asparagus fern comes from the asparagus plant. When these plants flower, they produce small red berries. Both these parts of the plant are said to be toxic to both plants and human beings. If consumed, they may cause the following symptoms in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Unpleasant Urine and changed stool color

Asparagus contains asparagusic acid, which breaks down to sulphur containing by-products once it is digested. These sulphur by-products evaporate almost instantly the moment your dog pees, giving it an unpleasant smell. Additionally, your dog’s stools may also turn green as a result of eating asparagus. 

How Much Asparagus to Feed Your Dogs?

In general, vets recommend incorporating up to 10% raw vegetables to your dog’s diet. To start with, you may begin adding smaller pieces to your canine’s diet and wait to see how she responds to it. Then, a generalized rule for respective dogs will be as given below:

Breed sizeDaily Amount to feed
Small Dogs1-2 tsp
Medium Dogs2-3 tsp
Large Dogs1-2 Tbsp

However, do remember that asparagus has to be fed sparingly to prevent your dog from developing any digestive issues due to its high-fiber content. 

How to serve asparagus to dogs?

There are different ways to serve asparagus to your dogs as an occasional treat. But before feeding them in any form, you need to carry out the below-mentioned steps to ensure better digestibility. They include:

  • Remove the fibrous end of the stalk

Make the asparagus chewable and digestible by following any one of the following processes:

  • Blending
  • Fermenting
  • Steaming
  • Boiling
  • Sautéing in a healthy fat

The above processes help break down the cell wall to get the nutrients into your dog.

  • Add small pieces to their food.

Alternatively, these small pieces can be used as toppings over your dog’s daily meal or can be hidden between their puzzles and toys. 

  • Cook asparagus as homemade treats in a low oven or dehydrator. However, avoid dressing the vegetable with salt, pepper, oil, butter, cheese, garlic or onions.
  • Another way to feed asparagus to your dogs is to cook the bite-sized pieces of asparagus and other vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes in bone broth. 
  • Cook rice in chicken broth. Once done, add chopped asparagus and cook for another 10 minutes to get some tasty dog risotto.

Other Asparagus Recipes for Dogs:

  1. Sweet Potato Casserole:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 can low-sodium drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350. 
  • Scatter some coconut flakes over a parchment-lined sheet
  • Bake them to a toasty brown for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Wash, peel, roughly chop and steam the vegetables until soft.
  • Cool the veggies and keep them aside. 
  • Rinse kidney beans to remove excess sodium.
  • Combine the beans and veggies in a food processor.
  • Drizzle some coconut oil and add the spices to the combination
  • Garnish with the toasted coconut and serve.
  1. Chicken Pot Pie Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked and finely diced turkey or chicken
  • 2 ½ cups flour (AP flour, Wheat, or Oat flour will all work well)
  • ½ low or no-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup frozen mixed peas and carrots or leftover plain veggies diced

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (175 ºC).
  • Combine the flour, meat, and spices in a bowl.
  • Add the broth and mix thoroughly.
  • Now add eggs and mix for the dough to hold together.
  • Fold in the veggies without mashing them.
  • Divide this dough into halves and roll out.
  • Cut out using a cookie cutter and bake them for 20 minutes until golden around the edges. 

What if my Dog Ate asparagus?

At times, your canine may munch on too much of a food that pleases him. Suppose you happen to see your dog consume an excess amount of cooked asparagus. In that case, he may experience gastrointestinal upset symptoms like:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Alternatives for asparagus

If you prefer replacing asparagus for your dog, you can consider feeding them other vegetables like:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash

Conclusion

Asparagus is an excellent vegetable that helps your canine mate to be at his optimum well-being. To achieve this, you have to cook it properly and feed him in smaller quantities to ensure he doesn’t fall sick. As a pet parent, you have to balance between what is good and healthy to reap optimum nutritional benefits for your dog. 

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