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Asparagus is a great vegetable for humans as it’s packed with fiber and other nutrients — but is it safe for dogs? Figuring out what dogs can eat can be difficult, so let’s take a closer look at when and how to feed asparagus to your four-legged friend, as well as when to avoid it.
So, can dogs eat asparagus? In short, yes. Asparagus is considered safe for dogs to eat when prepared correctly. Whether or not they enjoy the taste, though, is another question.
Make sure you don’t add any spices, butter, oil, or other extras when serving asparagus to your dog as they may cause an upset stomach. Similar to vegetables like broccoli, asparagus benefits include:
● Being a high-fiber, low-calorie snack
● Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and K
● Nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and folic acid
● Micronutrients like zinc, iron, and riboflavin
That said, there’s some debate on just how beneficial asparagus can be to a dog’s overall health in comparison to more nutrient-dense vegetables. The general consensus is that although asparagus isn’t unsafe for dogs to consume, there’s really no point in giving it to your dog over other vegetables.2
Before feeding your dog asparagus or introducing any new food, always consult with your dog's veterinarian for a professional recommendation.
While it is safe for dogs to consume, there are a few things to keep in mind before giving asparagus to your dog. Most notably is the toughness of raw asparagus, which can pose a choking hazard. Instead of tossing your dog a stalk of asparagus, consider cutting up the vegetable into small pieces that are easier to chew and always monitor your dog while feeding. If you notice your dog has difficulty chewing asparagus, or has gas or diarrhea after eating it raw, try cooking it to make it easier to digest.
Feeding your dog cooked asparagus is considered a safer option as it becomes softer when it is boiled or steamed. However, keep in mind that a vegetable’s nutrient value tends to decrease when it is cooked, so it’s recommended to opt for more nutrient-rich raw vegetables or other nutritional cooked foods for your dog.
Asparagus can also give your dog’s urine a more potent odor, similar to what humans experience when eating the vegetable. This, and even green-colored feces, can be totally normal when consuming the vegetable.
Regardless of whether you’re feeding raw or cooked asparagus to your dog, it’s essential to avoid asparagus ferns and berries found on the asparagus plant. Asparagus ferns and berries are toxic to dogs and can cause intestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea.3
Like all good things, asparagus may be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet in moderation, but there are certainly better options out there and, as previously mentioned, you should consult your vet before altering your dog’s diet. Despite the vegetable being considered generally safe, accidents happen. Find out how pet insurance works to offset the costs of pet care, from routine exams to medical emergencies. Consider adding a dog insurance policy as an additional layer of protection with MetLife Pet Insurance.1
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
2 Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can’t Eat, American Kennel Club.
3 Asparagus Ferns, ASPCA