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Can Dogs Eat Spinach? Everything you need to know

Yes, dogs can eat spinach in moderation. Spinach is packed with essential minerals and vitamins which can benefit the dog. However, some may worry that the oxalates in spinach, a natural compound that binds to specific minerals like calcium, might cause renal issues in dogs. Still, a dog would have to eat nearly his whole body weight of spinach to be impacted. 

What Is Spinach?

Spinach is a flowering plant with lush green leaves native to Central and Western Asia. It belongs to the Caryophyllales order, the Amaranthaceae family, and the Chenopodioideae subfamily. Its leaves are typical culinary vegetables that may be consumed fresh or preserved by canning, freezing, or drying procedures. It may be eaten cooked or raw, and the flavor is somewhat different; steaming can help to lessen the high oxalate level.

Originally from Persian aspānāḵ, it made its way into European languages through Latin, from Arabic.  The term “spinach” comes from the late 14th-century Spanish word espinache.

Is Spinach Safe for Dogs?

Yes, spinach is safe for dogs to eat in moderation and a small amount. However, you should not offer raw spinach to your dog as it may be difficult to digest and may also contain worms if not washed properly. Worms may cause infection in your dog’s intestinal tract.

Why Is Spinach Good for Dogs?

Spinach is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They can benefit your dog big time! The vital vitamins and minerals are:

Vitamin A: It is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps in a dog’s eyesight, cellular differentiation, immunological responses, reproduction, and bone development. 

Vitamin B: Vitamin B complex is a coenzyme. It promotes metabolic activities that convert carbohydrates to glucose, giving energy and stamina. It is required to digest protein and fat in a dog’s diet.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C serves as a powerful antioxidant. It can help prevent inflammation and cognitive aging by scavenging free radicals that damage the body functioning. Although dogs’ livers can generate vitamin C on their own, supplementation may provide health advantages in some situations. 

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is a fat-soluble substance required to create coagulation proteins necessary for blood clotting. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), which is generated in plants and maybe ingested through food or supplements, is the most common dietary source of Vitamin K.

Folate: Folate ensures fast cell development during puppyhood, adulthood, and pregnancy. It regulates homocysteine levels in the blood, and employs amino acids to construct new proteins. Vitamin B9 or folate has a role in regular blood production, immunological function, cell division, and tissue development. In addition, folate generates red blood and white blood cells, transforms carbohydrates into energy, and enhances the cells’ capacity to fix their DNA.

Iron: Iron is a mineral that your dog’s body needs to accomplish critical processes, including transporting oxygen throughout the body in the hemoglobin of red blood cells so that his cells can generate energy. Iron is also required to metabolize various enzymes in the body.

Copper: Spinach is rich in copper, which assists in the growth of red blood cells.

Calcium: Calcium is an essential dietary component for your dog’s health. It is required for bone and tooth development, nerve impulse transmission, cell communication, muscle contraction, and blood coagulation. Therefore, it’s critical for your dog’s general health that he gets adequate calcium.

Magnesium: At the cellular level, magnesium is involved in energy generation. Magnesium is required to allow the passage of energy whenever your pet moves a muscle, has a heartbeat, or thinks.

Insoluble Fiber: Fiber is an excellent source of nutrients for a dog’s digestive system. The healthy bacteria usually found in your dog’s colon, digest fiber into fatty acids. This fatty acid then aids in the recovery of the colon by preventing the expansion of any harmful bacteria.

Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant and an immune system regulator. In dogs, it’s also a provitamin A. Both cell-mediated immune responses are influenced by beta-carotene. Beta-carotene boosts plasma antibody levels and improves hypersensitivity in dogs.

Antioxidants: Chronic inflammation, a hallmark of a wide range of complex health conditions in animals, are neutralized by antioxidants. Antioxidant therapy may help with any chronic autoimmune illness.

Omega 3: DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid component, helps puppies develop their brains and eyes properly. DHA may also help dogs with canine cognitive impairment and enhance their cognitive function. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids have been proven in studies to aid in the treatment of canine arthritis and chronic renal disease. 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin help protect eyes from blue light, improve night vision, and fine detail vision. Cataracts and degenerative issues are prevented. In each scoop, pets get the vital chemicals they need to support their eyesight with active lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Nitrates: Spinach is abundant in nitrates, which is good for your dog’s heart.

Kaempferol: This soluble fiber decreases the chances of getting cancer.

Quercetin: Quercetin cuts down the chances of canine infection and inflammation. 

Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll aids the dog’s immune system and cleanses body cells. 

Why Is Spinach Bad for Dogs?

Although spinach is good for dogs, it has its downsides too. The side effects of dogs consuming spinach are:

Fiber: High fiber levels induce digestive issues and prevent normal nutritional absorption. Dogs, unlike humans, are carnivores, meaning they prefer meat to plant-based foods to meet their dietary demands.  Symptoms of high fiber consumption are:

  • Diarrhea  
  • Vomiting  
  • Gastrointestinal issues  
  • Gas  
  • Dehydration  
  • Acidity  

Oxalates: Spinach has a lot of oxalic acids, which prevent the body from absorbing calcium. In the blood, soluble oxalates, including oxalic acid, bind with magnesium and calcium, limiting the availability of these electrolytes. It causes a drop in blood calcium levels, inducing a metabolic imbalance. The kidneys eliminate calcium oxalate, and an excessive quantity can damage or even kill the kidneys. 

Note: Oxalates can only affect the dog if he consumes spinach weighing similar to the dog. For example, a 20-pound dog can be affected by consuming 20 pounds of spinach in a single day! Symptoms include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Stone in bladder and kidney
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Respiratory paralysis

Sodium: Dogs should not consume above 100 mg of salt each day. Dogs consuming excessive salt can face sodium ion poisoning. The symptoms of sodium ion poisoning are: 

  • Dehydration 
  • Disorientation 
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Kidney issues 
  • Blood pressure 
  • Blood-thinning 
  • Seizures 
  • Convulsions 
  • Tremors 
  • Coma 
  • Muscle tremors 

Pesticides: Spinach can have pesticides as it grows low on the ground. Pesticides can be harmful to dogs and may trigger:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • GI infections

How Much Spinach to Feed Your Dog?

Three to four tablespoons of spinach once a week is perfect for dogs. However, it is essential to consult the vet before introducing spinach to your dog. 

How to Serve Spinach to Dogs?

Serve bland cooked spinach to your dog without seasonings. Ensure the leaves are appropriately chopped before serving. To avoid pesticides, buy organic spinach readily available in the market. 

Here is a homemade spinach treat for your pet:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups of chickpea flour
  • ½ cored apple
  • ½ cup baby carrots
  • ¼ cup of water

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Take a bowl.Mix oil, flour, and eggs. 
  • Using a blender or a food processor, grind the spinach, carrots, apple, and add water. 
  • Blend the pureed veggies and the flour mixture thoroughly. 
  • Bake the mixture for 15 minutes until the edges turn golden brown.

What If My Dog Ate Spinach?

If your dog ate excessive spinach accidentally, he would have stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is best to take your dog to the vet for treatment. 

Keep table scraps out of your dog’s reach. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can puppies eat spinach?

No, puppies cannot eat spinach as their body cannot flush the oxalates present in the spinach, resulting in kidney damage. 

Can dogs eat lettuce?

Yes, dogs can eat steamed lettuce in moderation. 

Final Thoughts

Winding up the article, we can rightly state that spinach is beneficial for dogs. It has soluble and insoluble fibers, essential minerals, and vitamins that aid in a dog’s digestion, heart health, and overall gut. However, it is also high in sodium, oxalates and may have pesticides. These components can pose a threat to your dog. The best is to consult the vet and slowly introduce spinach to your dog. Ensure a healthy and happy life for your dog. 

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