Is Asparagus Safe for Your Dog?
Every dog owner knows that it can be tough to keep their best friend's nose away from food that they’re interested in. And while it’s tempting to slip them a quick treat, it’s always to good to check that it’s safe for your dog to eat whatever food you’re offering them. Despite how tasty it may be, there are some foods that are just not good for dogs to eat.
Some of those foods are fruits and vegetables. While these ingredients are often found in the wet or dry meals that you normally serve your pup, the difference between the culinary staples on your plate and the same items in their food bowl is the way they’re prepared. Like humans, dogs can enjoy the health benefits that come from getting enough fruits and veggies in their diet. These foods contain plenty of fiber and vitamins while staying low in sugar and fat content. However, they can also have a detrimental impact on your pup's digestive system if you're not careful about how you serve these foods to them.
One vegetable that your pup might enjoy is asparagus. While you may not be a big fan of the green stalks yourself, chances are your dog is. Even though asparagus is full of healthy minerals and vitamins, before you drop one of them off of your plate and into your dog's dish there are some things you should know about their effect on your pet.
The Benefits of Asparagus for Your Dog
Even if you're not all that keen on the taste of asparagus, there's no denying the many health benefits this vegetable can provide. Asparagus is high in potassium, thiamin, and vitamins A and B6. These nutrients aren't just good for you, but for your dog as well.
Potassium gives your dog energy as it promotes the proper function of the heart, the muscles, and the nervous system. Vitamin A is important for your dog's coat, skin, and muscles, while vitamin B6 promotes good glucose, red blood cells, and proper nervous system functionality. Asparagus is also high in fiber which is important for maintaining your dog’s digestive health.
All of these nutritional benefits are good for your dog and should be incorporated into their food on a routine basis. Asparagus is just one way to provide your pup with these vitamins and minerals.
The Risks of Asparagus for Your Dog
One thing to keep in mind when feeding your dog asparagus is that it is a very tough vegetable to consume. Raw asparagus is too tough to even cut into, and you certainly wouldn't want to bite off a piece and chew it. Even though it’s healthy to let your dog chew on tough treats from time to time, raw asparagus should not be one of those treats.
So if you're going to give your dog asparagus, make sure it's cooked first. A dog can easily choke on a raw asparagus stalk and cooking is the easiest way to prevent this.
Raw asparagus can also present digestion problems. Your dog may have bad gas or diarrhea after consuming asparagus raw, and could even start vomiting. For all of these reasons, we highly suggest you cook asparagus before feeding it to Fido.
How Should You Feed Your Dog Asparagus?
Whether you're preparing it solely for your pup or you're going to give your dog a few stalks before you sit down to your own dinner, there are some things you should keep in mind throughout the preparation process.
Regardless of how you plan to prepare the asparagus, make sure it is fully cooked so that it's soft and easy to chew. Even when cooked, the length of the asparagus stalk can present a choking hazard. To make it safer for your dog to eat, cut up the asparagus into easy to eat, bite-sized chunks. It's safe for your pup to eat both the stalk and the tips of asparagus, but asparagus does have a fibrous tip at the end of the stalk that could be too chewy. Be sure to cut away this fibrous portion before cooking, and always check to see if the pieces are tender and soft.
There are many ways to cook asparagus to make it tasty, but the cooking methods you might use for your meal may make it unsuitable food for your pup. Many of us like to prep our vegetables in oils or butters to give them more flavor. Unfortunately, these ingredients are not good for your dog as they can upset their stomach. Steamed or boiled asparagus is perfectly safe for your dog to ingest, even if it is a bit bland for the average person.
How Much Asparagus Can I Feed My Dog?
While asparagus can be a healthy addition to your pet's diet, it should still be considered a “treat” as opposed to an essential food staple. Vets often suggest that asparagus be a fraction of the calories your pet ingests in their diet, just like any other treat.
So feel free to give your pup an asparagus stalk here and there, but don't make a habit of dropping it into your pet's bowl on a regular basis.
Growing Asparagus With A Dog
Pet owners may choose to grow asparagus at home and harvest their own vegetables from the garden. This is a lovely idea that can have potentially tragic results if left unattended. Asparagus plants contain “asparagus fern” which is inedible and can be toxic for pets to consume. The small red berries of asparagus plants are also poisonous for pets (and humans too!).
If you are planning to grow asparagus at home, always make sure they are kept secured behind a fence or barrier. This will prevent your pet from helping themselves to a snack of asparagus and possibly becoming poisoned. Symptoms of asparagus fern ingestion include extreme abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you suspect that your pup has been poisoned from eating asparagus, be sure to take them to a vet as soon as possible.
Can dogs eat asparagus? The answer is yes, as long as you feed it to them with the same moderation as any other treat. Remember to cook asparagus and cut it up into bite-sized pieces so you don’t have to worry about your pup choking. When prepared appropriately, asparagus can be a delicious treat for your pooch.
Looking for tips and advice for taking care of your pup? Be sure to visit the Two Tails Pet Co. Blog