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Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? The Health Benefits and Risks

Can dogs eat asparagus? Yes — if you leave out butter, garlic, and other “human” ingredients and follow these additional safety tips when feeding the veggie.

A close up shot of asparagus.

Can dogs eat asparagus? Yes — if you leave out butter, garlic, and other “human” ingredients and follow these additional safety tips when feeding the veggie.

Are you a fan of asparagus? This popular and healthy vegetable is common around dinner tables, and it's easy to see why. Asparagus is nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious. Our canine companions can eat many of the same fruits and veggies that we can — they're omnivores, after all, and can derive nutrition from both plant and animal sources. But is feeding asparagus to your pet a good idea? Can dogs eat asparagus in the same way we do?

The answer isn't as cut and dry as you might think. While this vegetable has various health benefits for dogs, it also presents a few risks. Asparagus isn't toxic to dogs, but it must be prepared and given to your pooch in the proper manner before it can be considered safe. 

Read on to find out more about the benefits and risks of asparagus, and whether or not you should give this popular veggie to your pet. 

What Are the Benefits of Asparagus for Dogs? 

Asparagus spears are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are just as beneficial for your dog as they are for you. This vegetable is high in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, which help to rid Fido's system of free radicals and toxins. Other nutrients like potassium and dietary fiber aid in digestion, skin health, eyesight, and much more.

The healthy nutrients found in asparagus include:

  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Thiamin
  • Selenium 
  • Dietary fiber
  • Folic acid (folate)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

That's quite the list of beneficial nutrients that asparagus can provide your dog. But dog owners shouldn't rush to feed asparagus to their four-legged friends. The truth is, while asparagus is quite nutritious, it also presents some health risks for Fido. 

​What Are the Risks of Asparagus for Dogs?

A brown and white dog lays on its stomach.

There are two main reasons that asparagus can prove hazardous to dogs: Your dog can choke, and asparagus can upset your pet's stomach. Growing asparagus at your home presents a few risks too. 

It's a choking hazard.

Take a look at an asparagus stalk. It's rather hard and not very easy to chew. If you give one to your dog, they're likely to gobble it up whole. A hard piece of the asparagus stalk can easily get lodged in your pet's windpipe, creating a dangerous choking hazard. 

Take note that raw asparagus is even harder than cooked asparagus. You wouldn't eat raw asparagus, so it's not safe for your dog either. 

It can cause an upset stomach.

The other concern with asparagus for dogs is that it's not very easy for your pet to digest. Too much of any foreign food added to your dog's diet can upset the digestive system. If your dog ingests too much asparagus at once, it's likely to lead to gas, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

Think about the way you cook asparagus. Typically, you prepare it in oil or butter. You might also add garlic, salt, pepper, or cheese. These human foods are bad for dogs — they can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea just as easily as asparagus itself. Garlic is particularly dangerous and can poison your dog even in small amounts. 

If your dog experiences frequent gas and you’re looking for a way to promote his or her gut health, Native Pet's Probiotic Powder can help. It supports a thriving environment for healthy flora in Fido's gut, and can even help soothe and prevent upset stomach and diarrhea.

It presents added danger when home-grown.

Do you grow asparagus plants in your garden? Take note that when these plants flower, they can grow small red "berries'' known as seedpods. If a dog ingests the berries, they could experience diarrhea and vomiting. 

A plant called the asparagus fern is another thing to be aware of. The asparagus fern is not the same thing as the asparagus plant that produces the stalks we enjoy cooking and eating. The fern is not edible — for dogs, ingesting any part of it can cause side effects like stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep your dog away.

How Can I Prepare Asparagus for Dogs?

A black woman sits on the floor next to her dog, who rests on a grey couch.

Can dogs eat asparagus just like humans can? Usually, the answer is no. It's important that you prepare asparagus in a certain way if you're going to feed it to your dog. Here are four tips for pet owners to follow when cooking asparagus for their dog:

  • Steam or boil asparagus spears. Rather than cooking asparagus in oil or butter, try steaming or boiling it. This method retains all of the nutrients that make asparagus such a healthy food while avoiding some of the risk of upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. 
  • Cut the spears into bite-size pieces. Never give your dog a whole asparagus spear. Always cut the spear into small pieces to make sure your dog doesn't choke. To be safe, make sure the pieces are about a half-inch in length or smaller. For small dogs, cut even smaller pieces.
  • Leave off the extras. When preparing asparagus for your dog, leave off the extra ingredients like cheese, garlic, onions, salt, and pepper. These foods can make your dog sick or even poison them.
  • Don't give your dog a lot of asparagus. Remember that a large amount of any new food, no matter how healthy it might be, won't be kind to your dog's digestive system. Only give your dog a few chunks of asparagus at a time. More than three or four just isn't worth the risk.

Keeping the above in mind, a small amount of asparagus that’s prepared properly can be a healthy snack for your dog. You might even consider substituting two or three small chunks of steamed asparagus in place of regular dog treats. Or, add a few bites to a bowl of dog food for a little added nutrition at meal time. 

For another dog treat that tastes delicious and gives your dog a health benefit, Native Pet's Hip and Joint Chicken Chews are a great choice. They provide a healthy protein boost, improve Fido's mobility, and aid in long-term joint health.

Yes or No: Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? 

Are you still asking yourself, "Can my dog eat asparagus?" The answer is yes — this veggie is packed with nutrients that are good for your dog's body and immune system. Dogs can eat asparagus, as long as it's prepared in a way that's safe for them. 

Can dogs eat asparagus that's been cooked in oil or butter, or dressed up with garlic, cheese, salt, or other additions? No. These foods aren't safe for your pet. Plain, fully cooked asparagus (ideally steamed or boiled) is the way to go. 

Be sure to always cut asparagus spears into small pieces so that your dog doesn't choke. Make sure the vegetable is fully cooked so it's not hard. And always keep the portion size small to reduce the risk of an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

Remember: If you grow your own asparagus at home, don't let your dog get anywhere near the flowering plant. The seedpods can poison pets. And the asparagus fern, a shrub which isn't edible, can poison your dog, too. Always keep your pet away.

To learn more about your pet's health and wellness needs, check out the Native Pet blog for more great articles.

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