asparagus on wooden table

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.


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Depending on how they’re prepared, most vegetables are safe, even beneficial, for dogs to eat, including asparagus. Asparagus is a fiber-rich vegetable that is high in several vitamins and minerals. It is a popular addition to many spring dishes and can be served steamed or cooked. Aside from asparagus being healthy for humans, it is safe for our canine companions too.

Whether you want to give your dog the asparagus from your plate or include it in their diet for health benefits, this article has all the answers you need.

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Is Asparagus Safe for Dogs to Eat? Risks and Benefits

Asparagus is considered safe and non-toxic to dogs. However, unlike some other vegetables, asparagus isn’t the most nutritious one you can offer your dog. Asparagus does contain valuable vitamins and minerals, although most of these nutrients might be lost when asparagus is cooked.

As with most human foods, there are various risks and potential benefits when it is fed to dogs.

asparagus and scissors on wooden platform
Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Risks

As with feeding any new food to a dog, there is always a risk of causing a tummy upset. Also, in its raw form, asparagus is quite tough and fibrous, so there is a small risk of it causing a blockage, so it is safer to steam or lightly cook it before offering it to your dog. Fortunately, there are no risks of this vegetable causing any toxicity to your pet.

Potential Health Benefits

Because it is safer to give your dog cooked asparagus, this process virtually negates its nutritional benefits, so if  you are only wanting to feed asparagus to your dog for its nutritional content, you might want to look into alternatives, like carrots, green beans, broccoli or bell peppers.

Purple asparagus (along with most purple pigmented fruits and vegetables), contains a higher amount of a particular flavonoid antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is purported to have a number of health benefits, including antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects, as well as prevention of cardiovascular diseases – wow!

  • Safety tip: Always consult with your dog’s veterinarian before introducing new foods into their diet.
  • Asparagus Fern: Be aware of the Asparagus Fern! This deceptively named plant is not closely related to the asparagus vegetable, and it’s not even a fern! It’s actually a member of the lily family, and is highly toxic to dogs and cats. If your dog has come into contact with asparagus fern, it could suffer from allergic dermatitis. The berries can be gastrointestinal upset when ingested, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • Feeding Asparagus to Dogs: If you want to safely feed asparagus to your dog, here’s what you need to know.
  • Cooked vs Raw Asparagus: Dogs can eat both cooked and raw asparagus, although it is best served steamed or blanched. Asparagus can be difficult to digest raw, and cooking helps to soften the vegetable. Steaming or blanching (briefly boiling) can help reduce the toughness, whilst retaining some of its nutritional value. Trimming the toughest ends is also a great way to make this vegetable easier to eat. You should ideally only feed your dog plain asparagus that has no additives. This means that the asparagus should have no seasoning, sauce, garlic, onions, artificial ingredients, or flavor enhancers. You want to avoid feeding canned asparagus to dogs, since they may contain the harmful additives we just discussed. You should only offer your dog small, bite-sized pieces of chopped asparagus and not the whole stem. This is to ensure that the stalk cannot get stuck in your dog’s mouth and cause them to choke. If the asparagus is soft enough to mush up, you can also feed it to your dog in a paste-like consistency to eliminate the choking risk.

How Much?

Dogs should not eat too much asparagus too often.

Generally, miniature to small-sized dogs can be fed one to three teaspoons of asparagus. Whereas medium to large-sized dogs can eat one to three tablespoons of asparagus. For example, a small Chihuahua should have no more than two teaspoons of asparagus at a time, while Great Danes can have as much as three tablespoons.

How Often?

You can give your dog asparagus up to three times a week, or as discussed with your dog’s veterinarian. Asparagus should never make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet, and they should get most of their nutrients from balanced and complete dog food. Not all dogs will willingly eat asparagus if they aren’t fond of the texture, so mixing it in with other dog-safe veggies can be beneficial.

a crate of asparagus
Image Credit: Pixabay

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FAQ

1. Will asparagus make your dog’s urine smell bad?

A downside to feeding asparagus to your dog is that it can give their urine a foul smell. Asparagus contains a compound high in sulfur, known as asparagusic acid. When your dog’s body breaks down that compound, it is released into your dog’s pee and evaporates quickly. It is responsible for the rotten egg smell that can be unpleasant to smell. The smell usually goes away after a day or two and isn’t a cause for concern.

If your dog isn’t housebroken, you might want to rethink feeding asparagus to them.


2. What happens if your dog eats too much asparagus?

Moderation is key when feeding certain vegetables like asparagus to dogs. Overfeeding asparagus may cause your dog to suffer from minor gastric upset, such as abdominal pain. If your dog is eating a large portion of asparagus often, they might also experience a bout of diarrhea.


3. Which types of asparagus can dogs eat?

There are different types of asparagus available, and they are typically distinguished by their coloration. Green asparagus, the one you commonly find in grocery stores, is the most popular type you can feed to dogs.

You also get white and purple asparagus, with the former having a similar taste to green asparagus, and the latter being much sweeter. All three types of asparagus (green, white, and purple) are perfectly safe for dogs to eat. Some dogs might prefer purple asparagus for its sweeter taste, but green asparagus is the most readily available option.

asparagus on the table
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Conclusion

Asparagus is a fibrous vegetable that can offer your dog various vitamins and minerals, provided they’re not cooked too well. Dogs can eat all three types of asparagus, but purple is the best if you can find it! It is best to feed asparagus blanched or steamed rather than raw, boiled, or canned. You don’t want to feed asparagus to your dog too often or in large quantities, but there is no harm in letting them have some from time to time, as long as you don’t mind the smell!.


Featured Image Credit: macroworlds, Shutterstock

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