Can Dog Eat Spinach
Can Dog Eat Spinach Of all the discussions about which human foods are safe for dogs, spinach may be one of the most controversial? Let’s start by remembering that dogs in the wild are carnivorous. If meat sources are scarce, they may eat vegetation to supplement their diet. But dogs do not need vegetables. However, some vegetables have useful nutrients and can also serve as a low-calorie snack. Here are the two sides of the spinach controversy:
Spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also contains iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and roughage, which stimulate the digestive tract. Presumably, you feed your dog a healthy, nutritious dog food that contains everything he needs, but small amounts of spinach can provide benefits.
Spinach is very high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. There’s some science to back this up. Soluble oxalates, which contain oxalic acid, bind with magnesium and calcium in the blood, which limits the availability of these electrolytes. It leads to a low level of blood calcium, which can cause a sudden metabolic imbalance. Calcium oxalate is excreted through the kidneys and a large amount can cause kidney damage, even kidney failure.
Many sources agree that a dog would have to eat very large quantities of spinach to cause damage. Dogs that have healthy kidneys can easily process small amounts of soluble oxalates. But long-term consumption can cause kidney stress, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, and even respiratory paralysis.
If you weigh this evidence and decide to feed your dog spinach, preparation is important. The best way to prepare it is steamed. Boiled spinach loses most of its nutrients, and raw spinach is difficult for a dog to digest. Even steamed, don’t add any spices, herbs, salt, oil, onion, or garlic since these substances can be toxic for dogs. Chop the spinach; a dog’s digestive tract can’t break down vegetables the way ours does.
If your dog’s kidneys are healthy, and you choose to feed him spinach, feed him only infrequent small amounts. This could lower the possibility of calcium malabsorption and kidney damage.
And please, consult your vet before adding spinach to your dog’s diet, even as a snack. As we said, dogs don’t need vegetables. Their d,iet should consist of 25 percent or less vegetable matter. Your vet will help you decide whether spinach will help or harm your do
Health Benefits of Spinach
Dogs can benefit from eating a small amount of spinach every day. Here are the vitamins and minerals that spinach provides and their role in boosting your dog’s overall health.
Vitamin C and E: These powerful antioxidants support your dog’s immune system, reduce inflammation, and protect the brain from the cognitive effects of aging.
Beta-carotene and vitamin A are antioxidants that also support your dog’s vision.
Also called vitamin B9, folate is important for red cell production and healthy cell growth.
This vitamin is essential for the blood’s ability to clot.
Spinach contains the micro-minerals potassium, magnesium, manganese, coppe,r, and iron. Micro-minerals support your dog’s skeletal structure, fluid balance, cell function, nervous system, and muscle contraction.
These are fiber components in the plant that dissolve in water, turning into a gel-like substance. This gel lowers your dog’s bad cholesterol and blood sugars and feeds the good bacteria in their gut.
Here’s a rundown of the soluble fibers found in spinach:
Spinach contains high levels of nitrates that promote heart health.
This decreases the risk of cancer and chronic diseases.
This reduces the risk of infections and inflammation. Spinach is one of the richest sources of this soluble fiber.
This gives spinach its rich green color. It also cleanses body cells, fights infections, and boosts the immune system.
Zeaxanthin and lutein
These protect the eyes against oxidation and sunlight damage. They also enhance your dog’s ability to see contrasts between light and dark.
Insoluble fiber: This is a fiber that aids digestion. It doesn’t dissolve in water and isn’t digestible. Because it stays intact, it can help move waste through the digestive tract. It bulks up poop to prevent constipation and keeps your dog’s digestive system healthy. Fiber also aids in weight loss by keeping your dog full for longer.
These little soldiers fight the free radicals that cause oxidation in your dog’s cells. Antioxidants reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and prevent some cancers and cognitive effects of aging.
All these vitamins and minerals seem like positive health benefits, and they are. But the full picture is more complicated. Spinach also contains some things that could harm your dog – and that’s where the controversy comes in.
Let’s dive into that now.
Oxalates and your dog
Spinach contains a relatively high level of oxalates. Oxalates, or oxalic acid, are compounds found in plants that disrupt your dog’s normal metabolism.
When oxalate levels in your dog’s body are high, they can form calcium oxalate crystals. The crystals reduce calcium absorption and lower the overall levels of calcium in your dog’s body. This can be very harmful.
When oxalatebuild upup, they build up in the kidneys. The kidneys will excrete them, but too much can cause bladder stones or kidney damage. Left unchecked, kidney failure and even death can result. For this reason, dogs with kidney disease should never eat spinach.
Here are the signs of oxalate overload:
• Abnormal heart rhythm
• Kidney stones
• Muscle weakness
• Respiratory paralysis
If your dog suffers from any of these symptoms, give them lots of water to flush the oxalates from their system and speak to your vet.
Some dog parents believe the risk of eating spinach is minimal, while others think the risk for dogs with health problems is too great. For that reason, if you’d like to offer spinach to your dog, talk to your vet first.
If you like the idea of offering your dog spinach but worry about the oxalates, consider feeding them another leafy vegetable like kale, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, collard greens, or swiss chard.
Spinach also has high levels of sodium. 30 grams of spinach has 24 mg of sodium. This is another reason dogs with kidney disease should stay away from spinach.
Spinach grows low to the ground and collects all kinds of bugs. Farmers spray the fields with pesticides, which can be bad for your dog’s health. This is one reason why organic spinach is the healthiest choice for your pooch.
Fiber aids in digestion, adds bulk to stools to prevent constipation and helps your dog lose weigh because it keeps them feeling full for longer. But too much can cause problems too.
Spinach stems are very fibrous. When eaten, they can upset your dog’s stomach. Your dog could also get very gassy from the high fiber since it’s not digested. To reduce this risk, cut the stems into bite-sized pieces and make sure not to offer them too much.
The kidneys of a puppy are still developing and therefore can’t eliminate calcium oxalates. This could damage their kidneys or cause them to develop kidney stones. Don’t offer any spinach to a puppy until the veterinarian confirms their kidneys can digest the vegetable.
Now for the fun stuff!
Whenever you’re offering your dog new food, check with your vet first to make sure there are no health issues or interactions that could harm your dog.
You should also stick to the 90/10 rule for your dog’s daily diet and dog treats. 90% of your dog’s daily calories should come from their regular balanced dog food, while the remaining 10% can come from healthy treats. Give them a larger proportion of treats and you risk weight gain or obesity.
Spinach is okay to feed your dog in small amounts. The most common ways to serve it to your dog are:
Raw spinach: This can be hard for your dog to digest. Cut it into bite-sized pieces so it won’t pose a choking hazard.
Boiled spinach: Boiling spinach makes it softer and easier to digest, but you lose many of its nutrients.
Steamed spinach: This is the best way to serve this leafy vegetable to your dog. It’s soft enough to prevent any choking hazards, and the nutrients are still present in the plant.
Anytime you want to offer your dog spinach from your salad or dinner, make sure it contains no extra ingredients. Onions, garlic, fats, and seasonings are toxic to your dog. (Onions and garlic are the most dangerous.) The compounds in these vegetables can cause damage to your dog’s blood cells and lead to severe anemia. You can read more about the risks of the allium family of root vegetables here.
Add a small amount of steamed spinach to your dog’s regular food. Most dogs will gobble it up. Just make sure they treat doesn’t include any additional ingredients.
Many tasty recipes include spinach on the internet. Here are a few I found that seem dog-worthy.
Is spinach good for dogs?
Adding a few spinach leaves to your pet’s meal from time to time will add several nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We’ve listed some of the amazing health benefits of spinach for dogs.
Rich in minerals.
Spinach contains nuseveralerals like magnesium (necessary for maintaining nerve and muscle function, energy metabolism, regular heart rhythm, healthy blood pressure, and a strong immune system), copper (associated with red blood cell growth), and iron (beneficial for anemia and energy production).
Packed with vitamins.
This green vegetable is rich in essential vitamins like vitamin A, C, E, and K. Vitamin C is known for strengthening the immune system, while vitamin A is an antioxidant that supports eye health and provides a healthy coat. Vitamin K supports a healthy heart and bones and improves the ability of the blood to coagulate normally.
Good for the eyes.
Besides vitamin A, this superfood contains soluble fibers like lutein, chlorophyll, and zeaxanthin, which give spinach leaves their vibrant color but also increase the ability to analyze dark and light, which is especially important when the pup’s older.
Provides many antioxidants. Spinach contains antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that weaken and destroy cells, leaving them at an increased risk of disease.
Better digestive health.
The antioxidants and iron in spinach, along with dietary fiber and beta-carotene, work together to stimulate the GI tract.
Recent investigation has shown that spinach may help combat cancer in animals. This is due to the high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach is also rich in folate, which helps create red and white blood cells, converts carbs into energy, and improves the cells’ capacity to repair their DNA.
How to add spinach to your dog’s diet
If you’re interested in incorporating this superfood into your pet’s meals, there are certain things to be mindful of. Pups have different digestive systems than humans do, so they can’t always eat foods prepared in a way that we would.
• To make spinach easier for dogs to digest, consider pureeing, steaming, or blanching it first. The best way to prepare spinach is by steaming, as boiling destroys most of its nutrients.
• If you’re serving cooked spinach, make sure it doesn’t contain any additives like onion, garlic, herbs, butter, oil, salt, or spices because some of these can be toxic to dogs or result in GI issues.
• If you’re wondering “can dogs eat raw spinach” the answer is yes, you just need to make sure to chop it into small pieces to facilitate digestion, as dogs can’t break down vegetables as well as humans.
• Avoid giving spinach to dogs with kidney disease or other conditions, as they might not be able to digest the veggie without experiencing metabolism issues.
• Whenever possible, buy organic spinach. If you buy non-organic, be sure to always rinse the leaves well before preparing the food for your pup.
• Make sure your pooch drinks lots of water to help flush out the oxalic acid present in spinach and to help with the high sodium level.
• Dogs don’t need much of this superfood to receive its health benefits. Adding a couple of tablespoons of chopped spinach to their food is plenty. Although many healthy dogs can handle small, occasional amounts of spinach, it’s always best to consult your vet before introducing new foods.
• As with all new foods, introduce spinach slowly into your pet’s diet. Too much spinach can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
If your dog shows symptoms of stomach upset, be sure to take them to the vet for a physical exam and proper diagnosis. Pet insurance can save you money on emergency vet costs, so if you haven’t enrolled in a plan yet, consider signing up for all your future needs.
What if my dog is a picky eater?
Many dogs aren’t very enthusiastic when it comes to eating leafy veggies and might simply reject spinach the first few times they try it. If your pup is a picky eater and doesn’t like their new dietary addition, consider including it in some homemade spinach dog treats.
Alternatively, you can offer other leafy greens such as kale, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, collard greens, Swiss chard, or vegetables like carrots and broccoli.
Our blog contains a collection of articles on foods that are safe or dangerous for dogs including fruit, veggies, dairy, nuts, spices, and more. Many human foods are safe and healthy for our little buddies, but some of them can be dangerous or even toxic. We’ve created these articles to help you make informed decisions related to your dog’s diet, but your vet is always the best person to talk to for advice on your unique pet.
What Kind Of Spinach Can Dogs Eat
Dogs can safely eat any kind of spinach that is out there. These are the most common types of spinach that you can buy, and they are all safe for dogs to eat.
• Baby Spinach
• English Spinach
• Malabar Spinach
• Water Spinach
• Wild Spinach
• Yellow Spinach
• Organic Spinach
Can Dogs Eat Raw Spinach
Yes, dogs can eat this leafy green vegetable raw. You don’t have to cook it. If your dog gets into your garden and eats fresh spinach, it will probably be just fine.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Spinach
Now let’s look at the different ways to cook this leafy vegetable and its safety for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Boiled Spinach
Yes, dogs can eat boiled spinach. When you boil it, the spinach wilts and so it might be less appetizing for your dog to eat this way.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Spinach
Fried foods are not a good thing for dogs to eat. Do not give your dog any kind of food that you fry with lots of fatty oils.
Can Dogs Eat Grilled Spinach
Yes, dogs can eat grilled spinach. Just make sure it is not grilled with garlic or onions.
Can Dogs Eat Sauteed Spinach
Yes, dogs can eat sauteed spinach – although most dogs probably won’t like the soft texture when you do it this way.
Can Dogs Have Spinach Juice
Even though spinach juice is safe for dogs to drink, it’s not a good idea to give your dog juice of any kind. This has way too much natural sugar to be good for your dog’s health.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Spinach
Due to the high levels of sodium, dogs should not eat canned spinach. Too much salt can lead to health issues in your pet.
As you can see, dogs can eat spinach safely. It’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about spinach and your dog’s health.
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