Steamed, roasted, or grilled — asparagus is a versatile and popular side dish that many people enjoy. Not only is this spear-shaped veggie filled with flavor, but it’s also loaded with beneficial nutrients. While it’s clear this green veg is good for us, today, we’re answering the question: Can dogs eat asparagus too?
Short answer: Yes, as long as it’s served properly!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 small asparagus spear (5″ long or less) (12 g) is packed with:
- Water – 11 g
- Calories – 2.4
- Protein – 0.264 g
- Total fat – 0.014 g
- Carbs – 0.466 g
- Fiber – 0.252 g
- Sugar – 0.226 g
- Calcium – 2.88 mg
- Iron – 0.257 mg
- Magnesium – 1.68 mg
- Phosphorus – 6.24 mg
- Potassium – 24.2 mg
- Sodium – 0.24 mg
- Folate – 6.24 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 85.2 µg
- Beta Carotene – 53.9 µg
- Vitamin A – 4.56 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.011 mg
- Vitamin C – 0.672 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.136 mg
- Vitamin K – 4.99 µg
- Supports a Strong Immune System – Dogs’ bodies naturally produce Vitamin C on their own, so they don’t necessarily require a dietary source. However, the vitamin C in asparagus, along with their other key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, do help support a strong immune system.
- Helps To Detox The Body – Some experts believe a boost of vitamin C can be beneficial for dogs if they’ve ingested a toxic substance. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine: “Vitamin C could be the most important antioxidant for the liver. Even though dogs and cats produce their own, a little extra help during a toxic exposure or a cleanse is prudent and easy.”
- Great Addition To An Anti-Cancer Diet – Asparagus is packed with vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants that help fight against free-radicals in the body (AKA unstable molecules that can damage cells). If there are too many free radicals in the body, it can lead to chronic disease. Experts link free radicals to various illnesses, including cancer.
- May Aid Digestive Health – Asparagus has both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps to promote regular bowel movements. Soluble fiber also helps the digestive system and supports immunity.
- Supports Heart Health – Fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C all offer up heart health benefits.
- Promotes Eye Health – Eyes need many types of antioxidants to stay healthy. They include lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. All of these nutrients are found in asparagus!
- Benefits Bones – Asparagus packs a nice amount of calcium, which is essential for your dog’s bones and cartilage development.
- Benefits Blood – Asparagus offers up a nice amount of vitamin K, which aids the overall health of blood (it plays a role in clotting and beyond).
- Trim off the rough, fibrous end of the stalk
- Cook asparagus until it’s tender! We don’t eat raw asparagus for a reason – it’s tough, hard to chew, and difficult to digest. Well, it’s the same thing for dogs. So, when feeding asparagus to your dog, make sure to lightly cook it first, until it’s soft and easy to eat. Simply steaming or boiling this veggie is perfect!
- When cooking asparagus for your dog, don’t add any extra butter, cooking oils, or seasonings. Just serve it plain.
- Cut into bite-size pieces before adding asparagus to your dog’s food bowl or offering as a treat to avoid a choking risk.
- Feed asparagus to your dog in moderation. If overfed, it may cause an upset tummy and gas.
Yes, Asparagus Will Make Your Dog’s Urine Smell …
You know how when you eat asparagus, your urine has a pungent odor? This will also happen to your dog. If your pup is potty trained to go outside then you likely won’t notice or have an issue with it!
An Extra Caution For Gardeners
While asparagus is fine for dogs in moderation, the asparagus fern (which is the inedible part of the asparagus plant) is toxic to dogs. If you grow asparagus in your garden then you may want to consider putting up a fence to ensure your dog cannot eat this toxic part of the plant. Ingesting the asparagus fern can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and severe tummy pain.
Introduce New Foods Slowly
As with any new food, introduce it slowly into your dog’s diet to see how he handles it. If you have any questions or concerns, speak with your veterinarian.
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!