Are there sometimes wherein you would like to share your food with your dog? We get you! No one can resist the puppy dog eyes our dogs give, but we do have to keep in mind if it’s healthy for them. Vegetables might be a tasty treat for you as a human but would it be great for your dog too?
Here, we take a look at how giving asparagus to your dog might affect his health and well-being.
Table of Contents
What is Asparagus?
Asparagus is a vegetable that is not that easy to grow as it would require some labouring to do. These are the young shoots of a lily plant and are often served when it’s young. It’s considered to be an expensive treat, but its taste, smell and overall contribution to health make it worth it. It’s also known to be a tasty addition to hearty gourmet meals.
There are a lot of variants to the asparagus. The young ones are called sprue; French asparagus is colour yellow while the British and American ones are green. At the same time, it’s colour is also different for Spanish and Dutch. Its white colour can be contributed to the fact that it is grown under the soil and cut when the tips emerge.
Can I Give Asparagus to my Dog?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a club which specializes in any breed, health and information for dogs since 1884, says that you can give asparagus to your dog. This is because it’s not toxic for them unlike when you give your dog sweets. Thankfully, your dog’s digestive system is equipped with the enzymes that will break down the asparagus. However, there are things you should consider first before giving your dog a whole asparagus as a treat.
The stalks of asparagus are quite hard for dogs to bite
Humans usually don’t eat raw asparagus; instead, we boil it to keep it clean. That’s why it’s easy for us humans to eat it. For dogs, however, it’s recommended that before serving a piece of asparagus to them you should cut it into smaller bites so your dog can chew on it without it being a choking hazard. You can opt to serve it raw, but some dogs have different reactions toward uncooked food. These can either induce vomiting, passing gas, or diarrhea. So, it is recommended that after giving your dog raw asparagus, you should observe his behaviour for about 12 hours and if he doesn’t react to it negatively, then you can continue giving it to him as a treat. However, you can also cook it. But it’s essential to pan-fry it and not use any butter or cooking oil as it could make your dog sick. You can choose to pan-fry, boil, or steam it.
Leave out the asparagus fern
The asparagus fern is the inedible part of the asparagus which is toxic for dogs. Although the effect is relatively mild to moderate, it can cause discomfort to your dog and some of the following symptoms:
- abnormal pain
- loss of appetite
So before giving it to your dog, take note of these precautions first. Always remember that prevention is still better than cure!
Is it Safe to Feed Asparagus to Dogs?
Asparagus isn’t toxic for the dogs. However, like any other food out there, it should be given to them in moderation. You can either choose to provide raw or cooked asparagus, depending on whichever your dog will prefer. For dogs, however, it’s easier for them to chew and digest cooked asparagus. When it comes to the quantity, you can give it as a treat or a part of the nutritious snack.
Is it Safe to Feed Asparagus to Puppies or Small Dogs?
You can definitely give your puppies asparagus. However, due to the size of the vegetable, you may want to chop it down first before you give it to your dog. Also, some puppies still don’t have tough teeth to chew the asparagus properly. It has been mentioned above that asparagus can come off as hard for big dogs, what more for puppies? So it’s advisable to feed your puppies cooked or boiled (but definitely not fried in oil or butter) asparagus that has been cut into bits.
Benefits of Giving Asparagus Dogs
Like with its effect on humans, asparagus gives a lot of nutritional benefits to dogs. Here are some of what your dog can get from the eating asparagus.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Your dog can get a lot of vitamins and minerals. Here’s a list that’s broken down for you and how it can benefit your dog.
Vitamin K – This vitamin is essential for dogs to strengthen up their immune system. This is usually given to treat poisoning and ingestion of rodent poisons. Lack of vitamin K may cause some digestive, skin, and nasal problems to your dog.
Vitamin B6 – This vitamin is also called dietary calcium fiber, and it’s essential for insulin resistance, diabetes, or Cushing disease. It can solve problems such as excessive weight gain in dogs, hair coat loss, and excessive thirst.
Vitamin C – Also known as the magnesium protein. It can increase a dog’s immunity so they will be able to avoid diseases. It’s also anti-carcinogenic meaning having it will help your dog beat cancer. It’s also useful for fighting ailments like infections and coughs.
Vitamin E – The zinc beta-carotene vitamin which is essential for keeping your dog’s skin free from rashes and skin allergies. It also helps the proper maintenance and function of your dog’s muscles, circulatory system, and for healing injuries. It also serves as an anti-oxidant which will help protect the cells of your dog to be damaged.
Manganese – This vitamin is not naturally produced in dogs; therefore, they would need to get it either from food or vitamin supplements. Manganese is vital to help digest and absorb the proteins and carbohydrates their body has taken up. Healthy foods are useless especially if the nutrients they should bear are not incorporated into the bloodstream.
Phosphorus – This is needed to make bones stronger and for the functions of your dog’s cell membranes. The cell membrane is important to put in all of its components together, and it’s crucial for the growth of the cell. It is also used for energy storage and transfer, support for nerve function and serves as a co-enzyme for other vitamins and minerals.
- Good for their digestive health
Asparagus is a vegetable that has high dietary fiber content. Now, what would this mean? This signifies that it is an excellent food to feed your dog to improve his good digestive health. Foods that are rich in fiber like asparagus, for this instance, can help induce regular bowel movements. It can help aid diarrhea and constipation, too.
- Recommended for dogs that struggle with their weight
Since fiber is known to add bulk to the food, it can cause your dog to feel and look fuller. This component of the asparagus makes it suitable for dogs who have trouble gaining weight or are picky eaters.
Inulin, which is present in asparagus, is an ingredient that is mostly found in dog foods that are top of the line. It’s actually a different carbohydrate that, when ingested, becomes a prebiotic which function as a digestive aid once it arrives in your dog’s large intestine. Probiotics are sources of tasty and healthy bacteria which can help in absorbing nutrients, reducing your dog’s allergies, and lowering the risk of colon cancer.
Raw or Cooked Asparagus: Which one is Better?
This is a constant frequently asked question when it comes to giving any kind of vegetable to your dog. There are actually some points that win over the other.
Raw asparagus can be a bit tough, and your dog may find it hard to chew and swallow. At the same time, when it’s not sliced into pieces, it can become a choking hazard to your dog. However, with raw vegetables, the nutrients and vitamins inside it are not degraded due to exposure to heat as it would have been if it’s cooked. So, fresh asparagus is recommended to be served to your dog if you want to get 100% of the nutrients it has.
On the other hand, if you prefer to give cooked asparagus to your dog, you have to make sure that you will either just boil it or pan-fry it. Don’t use oil or butter when frying the vegetable as it could be a source of fat which can be lethal to your dog when it is ingested in large amounts. You can heat it up to make it softer and therefore more comfortable for your dog to chew. The downside is that your dog may not be getting 100% of the nutrients asparagus has to offer. But still, it works just as well.
How to Prepare Asparagus for a Dog
Asparagus is available all year round. But British asparagus is only available on some months from May to July. You can choose the best asparagus out of the bunch by checking if the tips are tightly furled and perky than those of the limp. The shoots should also be straight and firm.
If you’re going to give your dog a raw asparagus, make sure that you cut off the inedible part as it could be toxic for your dog when they have ingested it.
Cooked asparagus should not be prepared in the same pan as where you cook your food, as it could be toxic for your dog. You can either boil the asparagus or pan-fry it. Always remember to chop it into smaller pieces to minimize the tendency of it being a choking hazard.
Possible Side Effects of Asparagus
If you’re curious about what might be the possible side effects your dog might encounter, then you should be ready for possible smelly by-products like urine and stool. Asparagus can change the color and smell of your dog’s body fluids, and it could really alter it in such a way that your dog can pass out smelly gas and change the color of the stool into great if they have ingested quite an amount of asparagus.
It can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, severe gas, and uncomfortable feeling to your dog if you’ve given him too much or he has overindulged. Hence, it’s really important to monitor how much your dog is eating, or it may cause your dog an upset stomach and could even present significant symptoms in the long run.
We know how hard it is to resist your dog’s barking and yearning for food, especially if he’s watching you eat. But it’s more important to care for your dog’s health and safety before anything else. Seeing the benefits and the possible effects of what asparagus can do, there are some factors you would need to weigh first before you feed your dog this healthy treat.
First off, you should consider if the significant nutrients that can be obtained from the asparagus are really what your dog would need. Dogs have different systems with humans, so it’s not advisable for them to have a lot of starchy and fibrous food. If you’re unsure whether what are the nutritional and dietary needs of your dog, you might first want to visit your local veterinarian before altering your dog’s diet. However, if you think your dog needs these nutrients and giving them asparagus is one of the most effective and practical ways to do, then by all means, you can provide him with one.
Next, you have to consider the right amount on what you will give your dog. Some dogs can tolerate much amount, but for some, especially for smaller dogs, even a teaspoon full may be more than what’s enough and recommended for them. To solve this problem, you should observe your dog for the first time you’ll give him asparagus. See how your dog reacts to it and give minimal portions that are cut in small pieces instead of leaving your dog on its own. In this way, you can see how your dog reacts to the food, and you can limit his intake. When given in moderation, giving your dog asparagus is probably one of the smartest things to do!