If you love tender, delicious asparagus, you’ll be delighted to know that you can share some of this amazing vegetable with your canine best friend. Asparagus is packed with vitamins and minerals. And, it contains no toxins to harm your dog. There are a few things to know about asparagus so keep reading.
Facts about Asparagus
Asparagus is considered to be a very healthy vegetable. It’s an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It also contains plenty of folate, copper, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, choline, zine, iron, and pantothenic acid.
All together, these nutrients can help protect your dog’s immune system and help your dog’s organs function properly. They also promote healthy skin, teeth, eyes, and coat.
Asparagus also has antioxidant properties such as glutathione which are believed to be able to fight free radicals which can damage cells.
Is Asparagus Good for Your Dog?
In moderation, yes, asparagus is good for your dog. Along with the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, asparagus is a good source of dietary fiber which can help digestive health. For dogs that are overweight or might need to lose a little weight, eating a little asparagus as part of his meal – or between meals – can help a dog feel fuller so he will eat slightly fewer calories.
Asparagus is also a good source of inulin which is a unique kind of carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic. It helps condition the digestive system to grow healthy bacteria.
Are There Concerns about Asparagus?
There are a couple of minor concerns about giving your dog asparagus. Some raw asparagus can be tough, especially if you buy it later in the year. Early spring asparagus is usually quite tender but as asparagus grows, the stalks get bigger and tougher. Dogs can have difficulty chewing and digesting these tough stalks if you feed them raw. You can chop off the tough ends of the asparagus and throw them away, only giving your dog the middle and upper parts of the asparagus which are much easier to chew. Or, you can chop off the tough ends and gently cook the rest of the asparagus for a couple of minutes so they will be soft for your dog. Don’t cook the asparagus too long or it will turn to mush. Boil or steam the stems for 3-4 minutes on the stove top. The longer you cook them, the more nutrients they will lose. Remember not to use any seasoning, butter, or oil when you give your dog vegetables since these can have unintended consequences.
If your dog has any trouble eating or digesting asparagus (raw or cooked), and vomits, has gas, or diarrhea, you might try giving him a vegetable that is easier to digest such as lightly cut up and cooked carrots or green beans.
You should avoid giving your dog canned or pickled asparagus since these products can contain vinegar, salt, and even onions. None of these ingredients are good for your dog.
Asparagus also has an unusual side effect. It can affect the odor and even the color of urine. If your dog’s urine looks green after eating asparagus and smells funny, blame the vegetable. This side effect is perfectly normal and won’t hurt your dog.
One more thing to remember: the asparagus fern, the inedible part of the asparagus plant, is toxic to dogs. If you are growing your own asparagus in a garden, make sure your dog cannot get to the asparagus. Consider fencing off this part of your garden. If your dog eats this part of the plant it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
Asparagus has many health benefits for dogs but you should only give it to your dog in moderation. It’s best to avoid the tough bottom part of the stems, especially if you are giving your dog raw asparagus. Chopping asparagus into small pieces and cooking it lightly for a couple of minutes is usually advisable. If your dog has any problems chewing or digesting asparagus, consider giving him a vegetable treat that’s easier to eat such as green beans.