Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? Not As Safe As It Sounds

Ever wondered, can dogs eat asparagus?

Dogs are the best thing. These fur balls constantly offer us their unconditional love and demand nothing in return, except maybe a few pets and belly scratches every now and then.

But what’s more, in my opinion at least, is that they’re the easiest pets to take care of!

Not only do they eat meat, but happily devour other on-hand things as well like cheese, broccoli, salmon and so much more! So, what about one of the most common household veggie- asparagus?

The answer, for the most part, is yes.

Asparagus is safe for dogs to consume.

But, this answer comes packed with certain reservations.

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Which Parts Are Not Safe?

Knowing this is very important. Because while dogs can eat the stalk, they cannot eat the fern bit.

In fact, the fern of an asparagus is toxic for dogs. This is because the fern contains a type of steroid known as sapogenin, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems and skin related problems.

Therefore, it is best to keep our pets away from it.asparagus

So, if you do happen to grow asparagus plants at home, please be sure to build a fence around them so that your dog cannot get to them.

However, the world is not perfect and certain problems may still arise. 

I mean, our dogs could go on and accidentally come in contact with the ferns when we’re just tending to the plantations. 

Or, conversely, a situation where the asparagus is not safely cut off and used may also arise, leading to asparagus fern poisoning.

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Signs of Asparagus Poisoning 

Being proactive always helps if you’re a dog owner. This is especially true when we talk about the diets our dogs consume and their day to day activities.

When it comes to asparagus ferns, it’s best to get ahead of the problem and know how your dog may react if they have been exposed to sapogenin, either directly via the plant, or some other means. 

Signs of asparagus fern poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blistering
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Redness

Be sure to monitor your dog carefully should any of these symptoms become apparent in them. If they continue to persist, please be sure to consult a veterinarian immediately.

 

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Which Parts Are Safe?

When it comes to the stalk, the story changes completely.

Unlike the fern, this part is completely safe for dogs, both raw and cooked.

At the same time, however, it is important to note that while it is safe. It is generally not recommended by most veterinarians.

This is because giving it whole to your dog can potentially result in choking since the asparagus is hard to chew and digest.

I mean, try giving a human a raw asparagus and they’ll most likely take their time with it. The same thing happens with dogs.

In fact, if your pooch is small, they might find it even more difficult to chew and eat raw asparagus.

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Raw Versus Cooked

So, while dogs can have raw asparagus, it is always better to chop it into smaller, bite sized pieces before feeding.

Why? 

Simply put, while our furry buddies will gladly eat the things we give them, not all of them are able to eat the same diet in the same way.

This means that while on the one hand bigger breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Danes etc. might be able to gulp long, raw, stalks of asparagus; smaller dogs like Havanese or Pomerenians might run a risk of choking on them. 

Being responsible dog owners, therefore, it is our job to feed our buddies in ways that are best suited to them. 

Cooking or steaming asparagus will usually soften the vegetable enough for it to be chewy and easily pass down in one or two gulps, no matter the size of your dog.

Either ways, however, common reason dictates that once again, it is better to chop the stalks, even if they are cooked. Simply because the smaller the bite, the easier it will be for your dog to not only ingest but also, make it easier on their digestive system. 

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: How Cooking Effects Veggies

While cooking the asparagus will rid you of its ‘rawness’,  it might be worth noting that vegetables lose their nutrition when they are cooked.

Or, at least, much of their nutrition.

While the some vitamins and minerals will still be provided even if the asparagus is cooked, others might be lost or their effectiveness may decrease as a consequence of cooking.

What does this mean?

Well, boiling the asparagus in this case, will mean that water soluble minerals such Vitamin C and B Vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, folic acid etc. will be lost to the water.

Certain fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K may also be lost.

The best way to preserve nutrient content therefore, is to steam the vegetables.

In this manner, since there is no solvent present for the nutrients to be dissolved in, they can therefore be retained.  

However, some nutrition may still be lost owing to the development of water vapors during the steaming process. 

So, with that in mind, if you’re giving your pooch asparagus stalks simply for the nutritional value they contain, then we’d recommend following the earlier approach of smaller, chopped pieces instead.

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Is It a Good Treat?

Dog-eating-treats

This bit can be tricky. Primarily, because the answer depends on your dog.

Some dogs love chewing on vegetables. Others, not so much.

And while we would recommend easy to digest veggies like green beans; asparagus is not exactly on our list of highly recommended dog treats.

And you’ll see why.

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Nutritional Perspective

Asparagus is rich in some minerals and vitamins. This includes Vitamin A, B, C and K and minerals such as folate, iron etc.

However, whatever nutrients are present in asparagus are also contained within other vegetables and fruits such as green beans, cantaloupe etc.

So really, while it is okay to feed your pets asparagus, there isn’t as much benefit to them eating it as one might imagine.

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Recipe Guide

With that said, however, we would never discourage you from exploring a food group if we know it’s safe.

So, if you have made up your mind to give your pup this vegetable, here is a quick steaming guide that we hope would help you out!

Recipe: Steamed Asparagus

Ingredients

Asparagus- 10 stalks

Water- 1 to 2 cups

Recipe

Chop off the ends of the asparagus using a knife. Next, place them in a steamer or quick pot and add the water. Replace the lid and let it cook for a while.

Remove the lid. Check to see if the stalks have softened using a fork. Finally, serve!

Video Guide

 

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus: Fun Facts

  • Asparagus is used in home remedies to treat bee stings.
  • The name ‘asparagus has its roots in Latin as the word ‘sparagus’.
  • Asparagus is not always green in color!

 

FAQs

Can dogs eat asparagus with other foods?

Yes. But only if it is cooked.

Can asparagus cause GI problems?

If it is not digested by your dog’s gut then yes. But cooked asparagus usually saves you from this problem.

Is asparagus healthy for dogs?

Yes.

Can dogs eat asparagus without chopping the ends of it?

No. The ends are too rough and we’d recommend chopping them off.

Can dogs eat asparagus if it’s cooked in oil?

No. Avoid using anything with extra fat content such as oil.

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