As we say goodbye to the last traces of winter and welcome the spring … it means it’s asparagus season!
With so many different foods, it can be difficult to know what to feed your dog! Some fruits and veggies are healthy for your dog … and then there are others that can be harmful (like grapes and onions).
So… can dogs eat asparagus?
Keep reading to find out the benefits and downsides of feeding asparagus to your dog.
4 Health Benefits Of Giving Asparagus to Your Dog
Here are my top reasons why and how this vegetable is so great in your canine’s bowl!
Asparagus is packed with fiber! It has two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps support regular bowel movements. It also helps encourage the renewal of the cells that line your dog’s intestine.
Soluble fiber helps the digestive system and supports immunity. It feeds the good bacteria in the colon … making it an excellent prebiotic. Prebiotics help grow and maintain healthy gut flora. 80% of your dog’s immune system is in his gut … so that supports your dog’s immune system.
Asparagus provides vitamins A, C, E, K, and B9.
- Vitamin C is a non-essential water-soluble nutrient for dogs. It’s non-essential because your dog manufactures this vitamin on his own.
Asparagus provides potassium, copper, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
- Potassium is an important electrolyte. When you think of potassium you usually think of a banana. But asparagus is also a great source of this mineral! It helps control nerve impulses, brain function and muscle function.
- Copper supports red blood cell production, nerve cell maintenance. It helps form collagen, bone, and connective tissue.
- Iron helps supply oxygen to your dog’s body. It’s in the protein hemoglobin that takes oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Another protein, myoglobin, delivers oxygen to the muscles.
- Phosphorus is a mineral that teams up with calcium. It helps form bones and teeth. And it works as a catalyst for bodily functions like growth, maintenance, and cell repair.
- Calcium is essential for your dog’s bone and cartilage development. It’s also vital for blood clotting … and supports the neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immune and endocrine function.
Earlier I mentioned some vitamins are antioxidants.
But asparagus also provides your dog with polyphenols and flavonoids.
- Polyphenols are micronutrients in plants
- Flavonoids are a group of polyphenols
- Polyphenols are rich in antioxidants
Remember…antioxidants help fight free radical damage in your dog’s body.
Antioxidants can help control inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Downsides Of Asparagus
Feed Small Amounts
Asparagus is non-toxic, but in large amounts, it could cause your dog some digestive upset and gas (pee-ew!). So start slowly if your dog’s not used to it, or you could be in for some smelly nights!
Raw asparagus and other veggies can be quite indigestible for your dog.
You can make any vegetation you give your dog more digestible by:
- Sautéing in a healthy fat
Doing this helps break down the cell wall to get the wonderful nutrients into your dog!
Prep It Properly
With a tougher plant like asparagus, there are some extra steps to take before feeding it to your dog.
Keep in mind that humans eat the soft stalk of the plant and cook it until tender.
Feeding the whole stalk would be very harsh on your dog’s digestive system … and could stop him from getting its health benefits.
So… how should you prepare it?
- Trim off the rough, fibrous end of the stalk
- Cook it until tender (steamed, or cooked in water, bone broth or healthy fat)
- Cut it into bite-size pieces to prevent choking
Caution: If you grow your own asparagus, don’t let your dog eat the red seedpods that sprout from the plant after the females’ flower. They’re toxic and will cause diarrhea and vomiting.
How To Give Your Dog Asparagus
So now you know the wonderful benefits of this plant, how much should you give your dog?
The rule of thumb is that vegetation should be no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
So, as a general guideline:
1-2 tsp daily for small dogs
2-3 tsp daily for medium dogs
1-2 Tbsp daily for large dogs
You can give your dog asparagus…
On top of any meal
Stuffed into food puzzles and toys
Made into homemade treats in a low oven or dehydrator
Now that you’re armed with the information on asparagus… use it!
Although your dog should eat a mainly meat-based diet … some non-starchy plant matter can support his health in lots of ways.
Filled with vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, fiber, antioxidants, and more … asparagus is another great addition to your dog’s bowl this spring!