Spinach, a green leafy veggie dubbed as a superfood, is a popular healthy food option for many reasons.
It’s not surprising since it has tons of amazing health benefits, high nutritional value, and low-calorie content. For the same reason, people who love dogs could not help but wonder, “can dogs eat spinach?”
Spinach, indeed, is a healthy option for humans. But is it also good for your dog and your dog’s diet? Can you feed your dog spinach, or can you share it with your pup? If yes, how much and how frequent should that be?
Read on below to find out the answers to your questions about spinach and feeding it to your dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
Yes! Spinach is safe for dogs. Including a few leaves as part of your furry companion’s dog food from time to time will, in fact, give tons of benefits.
Spinach has lots of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin c, beta carotene, calcium, fiber, and many more. It promotes healthy teeth and a stronger immune system and improves energy levels.
However, as with any other human foods, there are a few things to consider before feeding your dog this yummy treat.
Following tips and knowing the do’s and don’ts will help your dogs eat this vegetable safely and without the side effects.
Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Spinach
Spinach presents many nutritional benefits for humans and dogs alike. These leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins A, B, B-9 (folate), C, and K.
They also contain antioxidants, fiber, and essential minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
Healthily giving your dog spinach may provide the following essential health benefits:
1. Spinach is good for the eyes.
Having healthy eyes is one of the health benefits that your dog could get from eating spinach. This veggie contains vitamins A and antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, that support good eyesight. The leafy veggie also has fat-soluble pigments that enhance a dog’s ability to recognize dark and light.
2. It has inflammatory properties.
Another reason why spinach is called superfoods is its inflammatory properties, which help minimize health problems and boost the immune system. Including vegetables like baby spinach as part of your pup’s pet foods will help reduce the risk of diseases.
3. It is rich in Vitamin K.
Spinach contains Vitamin K for strong bones and a healthy heart. This essential nutrient also aids in blood clots and protects your pup against bone and heart diseases.
4. It promotes good digestive health.
This superfood is rich in antioxidants, iron, dietary fiber, and beta-carotene that stimulates the gastrointestinal tract of your dog.
5. It helps prevent cancer.
Recent studies show that spinach helps against cancer in animals due to its vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids contents, and antioxidant properties. It also contains folate or vitamin B-9, which is vital in forming red and white blood cells, DNA synthesis, and other metabolic functions.
Risks of Feeding your Dogs Spinach
While spinach is healthy for people, it’s not the type of vegetables you’ll want to include in your dog’s regular diet.
Oxalates are usually a primary concern of pet owners when feeding their dogs the right food. Unfortunately, spinach is high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium.
If consumed in high amounts, this superfood can be toxic to your dog. Calcium oxalate can cause kidney problems like kidney stress or even kidney damage. High concentrations of calcium oxalate may also cause bladder stones or kidney stones.
Constantly feeding your dog foods high in oxalates may also cause irregular heart rhythms, muscle weakness, and respiratory paralysis.
Oxalates or oxalic acid could be the least of your worry, though. This natural chemical could only cause health issues in dogs if they consume in excessive amounts or nearly their body weight.
It’s also worth noting that spinach is low in protein and high in sodium, which is one of the reasons why it should only be fed in moderate amounts. Dogs are carnivores, and their diet should be 75% to 85% meat-based.
Thus, giving spinach in high quantities may lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health issues in your dog.
How to Prepare Spinach for Dogs
Choosing the right kind of food isn’t enough to ensure a healthy meal for your dog. Something that you need to also consider is proper food preparation.
Keep in mind that your dog has a different digestive system than ours. Because of that, our furry friends require different ways of preparing their food.
The key to making this superfood healthy and safe snacks for your dogs is proper food preparation. Here’s what you can do.
Before preparing the spinach leaves for your dogs, rinse the leaves thoroughly to remove pesticides or harmful chemicals. Then, cook the spinach by pureeing, steaming, or blanching it.
Ideally, the best cooking option for this green leafy veg is by steaming it rather than boiling. Boiling spinach leaves lose much of their nutrients and benefits.
While you could also give your dog raw spinach, it should be your last option since it can be difficult for your dog to digest.
When cooking this vegetable, make sure that you don’t add spices, butter, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, or other additives, as these are not good for your pooch.
These food ingredients can be toxic to our companion pets and may lead to upset stomachs and other digestive issues.
Once cooked, make sure to chop the leaves into smaller pieces before offering the food to your furry friend. Remember, a dog’s digestive tract is not meant to break down vegetables the same way as humans. Chopping will help your dog digest the spinach much easier.
So, if you’re wondering, “can dogs eat spinach?” the answer is yes. You may add cooked spinach into your dog’s usual meal but serve it occasionally and in small amounts.
After eating, allow your dog to drink lots of water to flush out the oxalic acid from spinach. As with other new treats, introduce this veggie gradually into your dog’s diet and avoid overfeeding to prevent possible health issues.
Easy DIY Homemade Dog Food
- Stove top / Induction cooker
- 1 1/2 cups Brown rice
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 3 pounds Ground turkey
- 3 cups Baby spinach Chopped
- 2 Carrots Shredded
- 1 Zucchini Shredded
- 1 cup Cabbage Shredded
- 1/2 cup Peas Canned or frozen
- In a large saucepan of 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
- Stir in spinach, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- Serve & enjoy!
Salmon and Spinach Dog Chow
- 1 15 oz Can boneless salmon
- 1 16 oz Package frozen spinach Thawed
- 2 Eggs
- Pour salmon and dethawed spinach into a warm sauté pan. Mix and heat through.
- Whisk the eggs to smooth.
- Pour the eggs into the pan and cook all the way through!
- Pour the puppy chow into the bowl you'll be serving them in.
- Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!
Spinach and Salmon Scramble Recipe
- Non-stick skillet
- Stove top / Induction cooker
- 1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/2 can Skinless, boneless salmon (3 ounces) Drained
- 1/2 cup Frozen chopped spinach Thawed and drained
- Heat the EVOO over medium heat in a small nonstick skillet.
- Add the salmon and spinach and cook until heated through.
- Add the eggs and stir continuously until cooked for about 2 minutes.
- Allow to cool and serve in a dog bowl.
Can I give my dog raw spinach?
Boiled spinach loses most of its nutrients, and raw spinach is difficult for a dog to digest. 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.
What leafy greens are good for dogs?
Lettuce, spinach, chard, cabbage and kale are all okay for dogs. Besides being rich in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron and potassium, leafy greens are also a good source of fiber. Much like humans, dogs get the most nutrients when the veggies are uncooked.
How much spinach is too much for a dog?
With as much as 24 milligrams of sodium in 30 grams of spinach, the high sodium content can cause health problems in dogs.
What vegetables are bad for dogs?
Onions, garlic, wild mushrooms, avocado, and rhubarb are all poisonous to pets, and corn is also a common allergen. You should also avoid feeding grapes and raisins to your pet, as they can cause kidney damage.