Can I Give My Dog Asparagus?
Vegetables are not known for their popularity or for inspiring feelings of passionate love. When we were kids, the foods we loved were full of corn syrup, white pasta pressed into the shape of Disney characters, and fluorescent dyes that glowed in the dark. Even the healthiest kids tended to get excited over sweet treats like bananas or watermelon. When we enter adulthood, however, we begin to recognize the decadence of a handful of vegetables. Asparagus is one of those vegetables.
Whereas celery and spinach often feel like chores, many of us look forward to summer dinners that feature fresh asparagus. This vegetable is as delicious as it is nutritious, so we get to feel like we’re indulging without eating anything that is unhealthy for our bodies. On the other hand, just like everything else on the dinner table, we have to struggle with the all-important question of where to put our table scraps—should we take them straight to the trash can, or is it okay to toss asparagus scraps to our canine companions? After all, most canines love carrots. Can we share our asparagus with them, too? Can dogs have asparagus?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat asparagus in moderation. Though there are several types of asparagus plants that are poisonous to your pooch, asparagus-the-vegetable is considered perfectly safe; even if your dog steals the whole plate off the table, it is unlikely that they will develop any serious, long-term, or life-threatening health problems. Asparagus is a healthy, low-calorie, nutrient-rich treat that may help your dog stay happy and healthy for years to come. Feel free to share a couple bites from time to time!
Asparagus is considered by many to be a superfood—it is absolutely loaded with important nutrients like folate, copper, B vitamins, fiber, Vitamin K, potassium, and even zinc. It’s also chock full of powerful antioxidants that may help protect your dog against the harmful effects of free radicals. These antioxidants support immunity and decrease your dog’s risk of developing many painful, chronic, or life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and even some types of cancer.
There has not been a lot of research on the effect that asparagus has on canine health, but studies performed on humans and other animals reveal that this food may help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of several diseases. One antioxidant in particular, a chemical called glutathione, is thought to provide much of asparagus’s disease-fighting superpowers. Glutathione, in conjunction with the other antioxidants in asparagus, can prevent the cell damage that leads to cancer and arthritis.
Asparagus and other antioxidant-rich foods may be beneficial for dogs who are already suffering with chronic inflammatory illnesses, too. Many studies have shown that consuming anti-inflammatory foods may be able to alleviate the painful symptoms of these diseases. Dogs who have arthritis may experience reduced joint pain, as well as improved joint mobility, after they have begun to eat antioxidant-rich foods regularly.
Though antioxidants are incredibly powerful micronutrients, asparagus is not the key to preventing disease or to managing your dogs’ existing illnesses. For health and happiness, your dog should vary the veggies that they consume, and those veggies should be used as supplementary foods and not dietary staples. Feeding your dog large quantities of asparagus (or any vegetable) instead of their usual dog food can cause digestive problems and nutritional imbalances. Though dogs are omnivores, they tend not to benefit from fruits and vegetables the same way that we do—they need higher quantities of protein and much lower amounts of dietary fiber.
Things to Consider
This vegetable is safe for dogs to consume raw or cooked. Because dogs can’t handle large quantities of fiber, it may be preferable to feed them asparagus that has been gently cooked. By lightly cooking asparagus, you make it much easier for your dog to digest. This will make it easier on their stomach, and it may also make certain nutrients more readily available for absorption. In most cases, the worst thing that will happen to a dog who eats too much asparagus is an upset stomach.
When cooking your asparagus, keep in mind that dogs need relatively simple food. Avoid giving them asparagus that has been cooked with large amounts of oil or butter. Minimize salt and spices. If the asparagus was prepared with garlic or onions—especially garlic or onion powder—do not give them any. Both garlic and onions are extremely poisonous to pets.
So, next time you put asparagus on the dinner table, feel free to save a stalk or two for your precious pooch. This vegetable is nontoxic, fairly low in calories and fat, and full of micronutrients that may provide a healthy boost for your pet. Just remember that your dog is not designed to eat tons of fiber. If you give them too much asparagus, they might develop diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or foul-smelling gas!