Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?

Key takeaway

Asparagus is non-toxic to dogs, making it a safe and potentially nutritious snack. However, asparagus can cause GI upset and is difficult to chew. How you prepare the asparagus will affect your dog's ability to digest it, but it can also impact its nutritional value.

Asparagus is a delicious, healthy vegetable you can share with your dog since it's packed with vitamins and minerals. Asparagus for dogs is non-toxic, but you should know a few things before sharing this snack with them. In this article, we'll discuss how to feed your dog asparagus, the benefits of asparagus, risks, and alternatives.

Can dogs eat asparagus?

Feeding Your Dog Asparagus

You've just learned whether or not dogs can eat asparagus. However, knowing how to feed your dog asparagus is key to ensuring you're not overfeeding them or upsetting their sensitive stomachs. While asparagus is non-toxic to dogs, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start giving them this vegetable. For example, raw asparagus can be difficult to chew, so it's best to chop it up into small pieces to prevent choking.

Cooking it can also make it easier to chew. However, adding heat can remove some of its nutritional value. Additionally, asparagus should never be cooked in oil or butter or with additional seasonings, like salt or garlic powder. If you're making yourself asparagus for dinner, consider cooking your dog's asparagus separately to ensure you're not adding any harmful flavorings.

Pet parents should also avoid giving their dog canned asparagus because it can contain additives, such as salt.

How Much Asparagus To Feed Dogs

If you're feeding your dog food that isn't a part of their normal diet, such as treats, asparagus, and other safe human foods, vets recommend following the 10% rule. The 10% rule states that treats shouldn't make up more than 10% of your dog's entire diet.1 Additionally, your vet may recommend not feeding your dog anything other than their food, depending on their health. For example, obese dogs may not be allowed to have snacks that add calories or lead to diabetes or conditions like pancreatitis in dogs.

Additionally, it's always best to start small with new foods to see how your dog reacts. For example, if your dog has diarrhea after eating something non-toxic, it's typically best not to continue feeding it to them. You can give your dog a few small pieces and wait to see if they have any adverse reactions, such as gas or diarrhea.

Always consult your vet before feeding new foods to your dog, especially if they're on a weight management plan. While asparagus is relatively low in calories, you don't want to overfeed your dog, especially if they're on a strict diet.

Is Asparagus Good for Dogs?

You now know that asparagus is non-toxic, but you may still be wondering if asparagus is beneficial for dogs. Ultimately, just because something isn't toxic doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. That said, there are a few benefits to feeding your dog asparagus. Asparagus contains many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Calcium: Calcium promotes strong bones and teeth.
  • Zinc: Zinc can help improve the immune system to keep your dog healthy.
  • Iron: Iron is a vital mineral that provides the organs and muscles with oxygen.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation while supporting your dog's immune system.
  • Vitamin B: Vitamin B supports your dog's heart, coat, and nervous system.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K supports bone health.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants can help fight free radicals and encourage good health.2

Asparagus is also low in calories and has a high water content, which can be an excellent option for overweight dogs on a weight management plan.

This delicious vegetable also contains fiber, which can improve your dog's gut health and ensure a healthy digestive tract and immune system. Insoluble fiber can improve bowel movements, alleviating constipation and diarrhea. In contrast, soluble fiber is prebiotic and feeds good gut bacteria.

Unfortunately, raw asparagus is hard to chew, so many pet parents prefer to cook it to make it more delectable for their dogs. However, doing so removes many beneficial nutrients.

Risks of Feeding Your Dog Asparagus

Risks of feeding your dog asparagus

Even though asparagus is considered safe for dogs, there are still risks when feeding your dog asparagus, including:

  • Choking hazard: Asparagus is tough to eat, which is why humans don't typically eat it raw.3 Dogs may also have difficulty chewing raw asparagus, making it a choking hazard. It's best to cook the asparagus and chop it into small pieces to prevent choking.
  • Gastrointestinal upset: Dogs can have difficulty digesting raw asparagus, which can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Additionally, asparagus contains a lot of fiber, which can cause digestive problems.3 Common signs of gastrointestinal upset include vomiting after eating, stomach bloating, and diarrhea.
  • Foul-smelling urine: Asparagus is known to cause foul-smelling urine in humans and animals.3 However, if your dog is housetrained, the smell of their urine won't affect you. If your dog is not fully house trained or has accidents inside your home, it may be best to avoid asparagus.
  • Toxic asparagus fern: The asparagus fern is toxic to humans and pets.3 If you choose to grow asparagus, keep it away from your pets to ensure their safety.
  • Less nutritional benefits when cooked: Once asparagus is cooked, it loses much of its nutritional value. However, it can still be a great low-calorie treat or snack for dogs, especially if you're already making some for yourself.

Asparagus Alternatives for Dogs

The preferred way to feed dogs asparagus is by cooking it and chopping it up. Unfortunately, asparagus loses its nutritional value when cooked. While asparagus is a low-calorie treat or snack for dogs, there are other healthier alternatives you can give your dog.

Asparagus alternatives for dogs

Here are just a few asparagus alternatives for dogs.

Broccoli

Broccoli is safe for dogs in small quantities and can be served as an occasional treat when you're eating some yourself. This vegetable is also high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat.4 However, broccoli may cause gastrointestinal irritation in some dogs. Additionally, if you're going to share broccoli with your dog, it's best to chop it up to avoid esophageal obstruction.4

Carrots

Carrots are another healthy vegetable for dogs that are low in calories and high in fiber and other nutrients. Carrots may also provide oral health benefits by removing plaque.4

Celery

Celery is a safe alternative to asparagus. It's loaded with vitamins and is a low-calorie treat with a high water content. Celery may also help freshen your dog's breath.4

Green Beans

Vets commonly recommend green beans to help overweight dogs lose weight. You can give your dog chopped, steamed, raw, and even canned green beans (as long as there's no added salt). Green beans are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Peas

Many different types of peas are healthy for dogs, and you can even use them as a food topper to entice picky eaters.4 Peas are filled with vitamins, minerals, protein, and even fiber.4 They also make a great training treat for dogs because they're small and don't contain too many calories. Avoid canned peas with added salt or other seasonings when feeding your dog peas.

Before sharing any new food with your dog, it's best to consult your vet. While many human foods are safe for dogs, there are several toxic foods to avoid. If you're unsure whether something is safe to feed your pet, a vet can help steer you in the right direction.

Golden retriever dog eating food from bowl

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?: FAQs

How much asparagus can my dog eat?

When feeding your dog asparagus, it's best to follow the 10% rule, which states that treats (including asparagus and other human foods) should not make up more than 10% of your dog's diet. If you're unsure how much to feed your pet, you can consult a vet to ensure you're not overfeeding them.

Can dogs eat raw asparagus?

Dogs can eat raw asparagus. However, raw asparagus is tough, so many dogs have difficulty chewing it. Additionally, raw asparagus may cause GI issues, such as diarrhea and vomiting. It can also be a choking hazard and lead to foul-smelling urine. It's typically recommended to cook and chop up the asparagus before sharing it with your dog. However, don't season it with salt or other seasonings, and never cook it in butter or oil.

Is asparagus good for dogs?

Asparagus is safe for dogs and can provide them with many nutrients. It's also a low-calorie snack. However, the cons may outweigh the benefits. Pet parents can cook asparagus to minimize GI issues and prevent choking, but very few nutrients will remain. Ultimately, there are better, healthier options for foods to share with your dog, including celery and green beans.

Final Notes

Asparagus is a safe treat and snack for dogs. However, it's not the best option out there. Of course, if you're cooking asparagus for yourself, there's no harm in sharing some with your dog as long as it's unseasoned and not cooked in oils. Additionally, asparagus for dogs should be chopped up to prevent choking. Feeding your dog asparagus raw is generally safe. However, raw asparagus is tough to chew, making it a choking hazard. Additionally, it may lead to GI issues because it's difficult for dogs to digest. If you notice any signs of GI issues with your dog after feeding them something new, it's best to monitor their symptoms.

Ultimately, it's best to consult your vet before feeding your dog anything new to ensure it's safe for them and won't affect their health. If you're unsure what to feed your dog, consult a Dutch-affiliated veterinarian today. A remote vet can help you find the best snack to share with your dog and develop ways to incorporate new foods into their diet.

References

  1. Burke, Anna. “How Many Treats to Give a Dog a Day.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 30 Aug. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/how-many-treats-can-dog-have/

  2. “Fooddata Central Search Results.” FoodData Central, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168389/nutrients.

  3. Ripley, Katherine. “Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 19 Mar. 2018, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-asparagus/.

  4. Staff, AKC. “Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can't Eat.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 24 Mar. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fruits-vegetables-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/.