Fido is sat under the table again; you’ve managed to get the kids to eat their vegetables (you think), but it’s inevitable that some will fall on the floor and will soon be scoffed by your dog.
Your first thought – are those vegetables safe for a dog to eat?
In this article we will share with you four household vegetables for dogs which are safe for them to eat.
We will also share some of our favourite dog friendly recipes using these vegetables and the health benefits of feeding vegetables to your pooch!
Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
Being 90 percent water, lettuce is a perfectly safe vegetable to feed to your dog.
Most often used in salads, lettuce is a leaf vegetable which has a pretty low caloric content. Being high in water, it also has a low nutritional value too. For that reason, whilst being a safe vegetable for dogs, they aren’t getting much nutritional benefit from eating it; but some dogs sure do love the crunch!
Lettuce are available in a range of varieties:
- Crisp or floppy
- Completely green
- Red tinge
Those lettuce with a red tinge do contain beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A and a cup of lettuce will provide 17.4mcg of Vitamin K which, in the equivalent human terms, would provide 22% of their recommended daily allowance.
Being high in water content, lettuce is a great source of hydration. Water is the most important nutrient in a dog’s diet and lack thereof can result in serious health issues.
Lettuce is best served raw to your dog, this will help to preserve that crunch. Before feeding to Fido, tear the leaves off the stalk and wash them with clean water thoroughly.
Thorough washing significantly reduces the chance that you or your pet get sick.
It’s generally better to shred the lettuce before feeding to your dog; but you’ll figure out if he prefers whole leaves.
As you introduce any new food to your dog’s diet, watch for any signs of digestive discomfort such as vomiting, diarrhea or gas and bloating. Stop feeding immediately if you notice any of these.
Despite lettuce being one of many vegetables for dogs to eat, be mindful that you don’t just give him the leftover salad from dinner. Salads often include onions which are not safe to feed to Fido.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Romaine Lettuce?
Yes, romaine lettuce possesses even less nutritional value than other varieties, so despite it not being of much value; it’s low in calories and gives a nice crunch for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?
Lettuce is perfectly safe for dogs to eat, in moderation. Be watchful for signs of digestive discomfort when introducing and at any time Fido isn’t tolerating it, stop feeding. Remember, to wash thoroughly before feeding.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Humans are regularly told of the health benefits of asparagus.
Not only is it low in calories but it is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Folate and Thiamin.
If we were looking at the human equivalent, 1 cup of asparagus would provide 70% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting and protein synthesis.
Asparagus is perfectly safe to feed to feed your dog. Like all vegetables which are safe for dogs, feed them in moderation.
Not only is vitamin K important, but asparagus has high levels of Vitamin A which contributes to eye health; this is especially important for dogs who have eye problems.
It is also believed that asparagus has anti-inflammatory properties which suggests therapeutic potential in a range of health conditions.
The problem with asparagus, even as humans, is that we struggle to eat it raw – it is tough and very chewy.
For that reason, it is best to cook asparagus (e.g. steamed or grilled) before feeding to your dog.
If you do decide to feed this vegetable to your dog, it is best steamed or grilled, but don’t grill with any fats. For smaller dogs, asparagus should always be chopped into bitesize chunks to help them eat it.
If you are growing your own asparagus; the asparagus fern, the inedible part of the plant, is toxic to dogs so keep them away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
Asparagus is perfectly safe for dogs to eat, in moderation.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Stem?
Yes, however it’s best to chop asparagus up before feeding to Fido as the long stems can make it difficult for smaller breeds to eat.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Cooked?
We would advise you cook asparagus before feeding it to your dog. Raw asparagus is tough and chewy. Grill or steam asparagus for best results and chop it up for smaller dogs; being mindful not to create a choking hazard.
Can Dogs Eat Asparagus Spears?
Yes – they are perfectly safe for your dog to eat.
Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
If you are interested in nutrition, you will know the massive health benefits of spinach in humans. You would be forgiven for thinking that if it’s that beneficial to humans, it must be for dogs too?
Well… not exactly.
Spinach, like other super foods, is high in many vitamins which have a range of health benefits. Spinach also has high levels of folate, iron, magnesium and manganese. The range of anti-oxidants boast a super-food to reduce cell damage in the body.
However, spinach is high in oxalic acid which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
This in turn can lead to kidney damage for your dog; as calcium oxalate is a huge factor in developing kidney stones.
Whilst your dog would have to consume a very large amount of spinach for it to be of detriment to their health, you should consider whether your dog has preexisting health conditions affecting kidney function and health.
If you do decide to feed spinach to your dog, like asparagus, cooked is best. Raw spinach is hard to digest for your dog. Again, feed in small quantities and watch for signs of digestive discomfort such as vomiting, diarrhea or gas and bloating.
Can Dogs Eat Cucumbers?
Cucumbers are a perfectly safe vegetable for a dog to eat. The only thing to worry here is over-feeding this snack; especially for dogs prone to obesity. Cucumbers are largely water, which makes them a great low-calorie dog snack. If Fido loves the crunch of cucumber, they can be a helpful addition as training treats.
Not particularly high in nutritional value, cucumbers only really boast a good level of Vitamin K which is key in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
The bonus; due to their high water content, they are a good source of hydration so could be a welcome snack on those warm days.
Cucumber is best served raw but chop it to bitesize chunks for Fido to manage. The one concern is the risk of choking.
To prepare cucumber for your dog:
- Wash the cucumber then cut lengths of cucumber
- Place the lengths on their side and cut down the middle again (two halves)
- Again, cut into two (you should have long, thin lengths)
- This gives Fido a chew like snack which encourages him to actually chew before swallowing.
Introduce slowly and watch for signs of digestive discomfort like vomiting or diarrhea. If you do notice anything, stop feeding immediately.
Vegetables for Dogs – Nutrition Guides
We know that the most important nutrients in a dog’s diet are protein and fat:
- Protein is the building block of every cell in the body; we need protein to function and repair.
- Fat on the other hand, is essential for energy.
Alongside protein and fat, dogs require a range of minerals and vitamins to keep them functioning and healthy.
Most dog foods on the market are fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals which exceed the minimal requirements for dog health; for that reason, it is rare to find a dog who is suffering with symptoms relating to a deficiency.
Whilst ensuring your dog’s food is of good quality, if you decide to feed treats or snacks in addition to their daily food, make sure they are in keeping with his daily requirements; both caloric and nutritional.
Summary – Which Vegetables Are Safe For Dogs?
As with any new food or vegetable you feed to your dog, start slowly and watch for signs of any digestive discomfort.
If you are considering adding new foods to his diet, speak with your veterinarian to establish if any preexisting health conditions may affect it.
Despite their low nutritional value for dogs, cucumber, lettuce and asparagus are perfectly safe household vegetables to feed your dog.
Remember to wash the lettuce, cook the asparagus and chop the cucumber to stay safe. Spinach is safe but does run the risk of leading to kidney damage and eventual failure in large amounts. If you do decide to feed it, cooked is best.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s nutritional requirements or what you are feeding him, speak with a qualified dietician or your veterinarian.