For many dog owners, the idea of feeding your pooch vegetables is not so popular. The logic behind this thinking is that dogs are carnivores, so we should put them on a meat-based diet. After all, most of their wild cousins strictly feed on meat. However, this it is not true that dogs are carnivores and they are, in fact, omnivores, just like humans.
However, with rising meat prices, many dog food manufacturers and owners are forced to find plant-based alternatives. Many of the lower cost dog food brands use low-quality ingredients and fillers like Corn and Wheat. But surely there are higher-quality and healthier alternatives?
So can Asparagus be a viable option in a dogs diet? As it turns out, specific vegetables when prepared correctly can be very beneficial to your dog’s health. In this article, we’re going to focus on Asparagus and if it is a positive addition to a dogs diet.
What is Asparagus?
Asparagus is a vegetable with a rich history. Legend has it that this vegetable was ubiquitous among the Romans, Spanish, Syrians, and Greeks, thanks to its texture, taste, and health benefits. This crunchy veggie is now universal, but it’s mainly grown in Spain, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, and China (major world supplier).
Moving on, this veggie comes with lots of health benefits, including:
• Vitamins and minerals- It’s no secret that this vegetable is loaded with minerals and vitamins that can be beneficial to your dog. It’s rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B3. Also, it’s a good source of Folate, Phosphorous, Manganese, Choline, Zinc, Iron, and Pantothenic Acid.
• Antioxidants – Antioxidants are poorly understood but they can provide a significant boost to your dog’s immune system. Antioxidants can reduce the chance of chronic diseases such as heart diseases, Type 2 Diabetes, and even cancer at a lower rate.
• Digestive health- Asparagus is richly packed with dietary fiber, which can be an essential addition to some dogs in order for them to maintain a healthy digestive system. So if your dog is dealing with symptoms such as constipation, feeding him asparagus could help bring regular bowel movement. A Fiber-rich diet can also cause quicker fullness, therefore assisting dogs struggling with weight gain.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
So because asparagus is healthy for humans, does it mean it’s also great for dogs? The simple answer to this question is YES, but you must be careful before feeding it to your pooch.
First, asparagus boasts quite a tough stalk, and that is the main reason why we humans don’t eat it raw because it can be challenging to chew. It’s always recommended to chop the vegetable into small pieces before feeding it to your “best friend” to avoid any unnecessary risks when swallowing. This way, your dog won’t have to take it whole and possibly choke in the process.
Another thing, your pooch might have problems digesting raw asparagus because this vegetable is so tough. To avoid any digestive complications with your dog, it’s advisable that you cook it lightly before feeding it to your pooch. Don’t forget that cooked asparagus is also easier to chew. That being said, we strongly advise not to use cooking oil or any butter when preparing asparagus for your young pup, as these can make him/her sick. The best thing to do is to steam or boil the vegetable. You should also avoid over-cooking Asparagus as you’ll be decreasing its nutrient content.
Something else to remember before feeding asparagus to your dog is that asparagus fern can be very toxic. Asparagus ferns are the small, scale-like structures at the top and on the sides of the vegetable. You might even confuse them with leaves. With that in mind, the asparagus ferns contain natural substances called saponins, which can cause liver toxicity and intestinal issues in dogs. Therefore, if you have grown asparagus in your garden, it’s recommended that you fence it up to prevent your dog from eating the toxic part when you’re away from home.
Lastly, feeding asparagus to your dog can result in strange smelling urine – but don’t worry, because that’s normal, even in humans. As pesky toxins are flushed out thanks to asparagus’ antioxidant properties, they pass via your dog’s urine resulting in the foul smell. If this occurs regularly, you could try walking your dog as much as possible to allow them to pee.
Asparagus – The Bottom Line
It’s always a good idea to test your dog’s reaction to new foods before feeding them any significant portion. Asparagus is exceptionally healthy, and both you and your dog can benefit from eating it. However, you should remember that this delicious veggie isn’t a regular on your dog’s diet.
For this reason, it should be slowly introduced into their diet and in small quantities. Also, before adding asparagus into your pooch’s diet, talk to your veterinarian if it’s okay to do so. He/she might recommend a softer, more nutritious vegetable like carrots, cucumbers, and celery.