Can Dogs Have Asparagus? We Delve Into The Drama
While some folks have a “No people food!” policy with their dogs, others supplement their pet’s diet with healthy foods that are safe for canines. The right foods can offer nutritious variety to a processed kibble diet. The wrong foods can be dangerous.
Asparagus can be a healthy and fun snack for your pooch. It is safe for your pup as long as you follow some simple rules.
It's a tough and fibrous vegetable, meaning there is a small chance of a choking hazard that you can avoid with either of the following strategies:
- Cut into small pieces before giving it to your dog.
- Lightly steam to soften before feeding.
The vegetable is also mildly toxic, even to humans, when raw. It largely depends on individual sensitivities as to how strong a reaction to expect.
Most people and canines are not bothered by raw asparagus in small quantities. However, if you want to be on the safe side, cook before feeding to your pooch. Remember that over-cooked vegetables lose many of their valuable nutrients, so keep it to a light steam.
It is always safest to start with a small quantity of any safe food you add to your pups diet. Individual dogs can have allergies or intolerance's just like people. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Finally, it is always best to keep additions to your canine’s diet in moderation. Rapid changes to their diet can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting or diarrhea. One of the best ways to avoid this is to add asparagus to your dog’s regular dish of kibble, rather than feeding a large amount on its own.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Ends?
The bottom end of asparagus usually gets chopped off and discarded because people find it too tough. However, don’t let these ends go to waste! Your dog won’t be offended if they get the ends. Just remember to steam them or chop them into ½” pieces first.
Can Canines Consume Asparagus Fern?
There are two different things sometimes referred to as “Asparagus Fern.”
The first is the ferns that form in the garden when the vegetable matures. Gardeners know that they need to let some of the asparagus stalks grow to enjoy the harvest the following year. In the fall, these ferny plants will flower and develop small clusters of red berries.
The second kind of asparagus fern is an attractive and popular house plant (Asparagus densiflorus), often grown for its lush foliage and pretty seasonal red berries. It is closely related to the one grown for food, although it does not produce edible stems.
It turns out that BOTH varieties of fern are mildly toxic to canines and felines. Both the foliage and the berries it can cause stomach upset and/or a skin rash. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common side effects if a dog eats the fern type.
Gardeners should make sure their dogs are kept out of the asparagus bed and if you have the indoor plant, be sure it is out of reach and that the berries do not drop within range of your pooch.
My Dog Ate The Fern! Should I Take Him To The vet?
If you know your dog ate a small amount of the fern then keep an eye on them. Chances are that they may not even have a notable reaction to eating a small amount.
Call your vet if you suspect that your dog has eaten a significant quantity of either version of mature asparagus fern or the berries, or if they show symptoms including loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea.
It turns out it's one of the most healthy vegetables out there. It is a nutrient dense food with many potential health benefits. In addition to providing some fiber for your pups diet, the vegetable is packed with the following nutrients:
- Vitamins A, C, E, B6 and K
Asparagus & Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipe
If you happen to be a gardener and have a surplus of asparagus each spring, you may want a fun way to share the bounty with your pooch. Here is a fun and easy dog biscuit recipe to try.
1 cup shredded or finely chopped asparagus
½ cup canned pumpkin (check the label, do not use the pre-spiced kind)
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup rolled oats
1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
2. Mix the first 4 ingredients well.
3. Mix the flour and the oats in a separate bowl before combining, a little at a time, with the wet ingredients. Dough should be similar to cookie dough, adjust by adding more oats if needed.
4. Roll out dough to ¼” thick and cut into cute shapes or slice quickly into strips with a pizza cutter.
5. Bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
6. For a crunchier treat, turn oven down to 200° F and bake an additional 20 minutes.
Freeze the extra in a plastic bag for up to 6 months for asparagus dog treats that offer spring nutrition year round!
Strange (and harmless) Side Effect
If your pooch eats it you may notice one strange side effect that is perfectly harmless: Strange smelling urine. Just like in people, this weird side effect of eating asparagus is nothing to worry about.
Another side effect? Well, a little gas can be a result of adding new foods to your dog’s diet. Other than a slight affront to the olfactory senses, nothing to panic about.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Asparagus is a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet as long as you do so in moderation and feed it lightly steamed. As with any new addition to your dog’s food, try a little bit first to make sure it is not going to cause any unusual reactions.
On the other hand, be sure to make sure to keep Fido out of the asparagus bed in your garden. The ferny tops are toxic to dogs and cats (and people) and are best to avoid. This is also true of the common houseplant known as the Asparagus Fern. Call your vet if you suspect your pet has eaten this plant.
Does your dog love asparagus? Leave a comment below to share your story!
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Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
For more info on Sharon click here