- Spinach is a very complicated product, but in general, it’s not dangerous for dogs.
- Adding spinach to your dog’s diet can provide many benefits. For instance, it can improve the pet’s eye health, provide a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, improve your pup’s digestion and prevent different types of cancer.
- Spinach is not recommended for dogs with kidney problems, as it contains a lot of oxalic acid, which can worsen the condition and cause kidney stones. Spinach has high sodium levels too, and it may be hard to digest for puppies.
- If you decide to give your dog spinach, steam the leaves instead of boiling them to keep their nutritional value high. It’s best to purchase only organic spinach for your dog. You should also consult with your vet before introducing spinach to your dog, even as a snack.
Pet owners can’t help sharing their meals with their dogs. Despite the fact that dogs are naturally carnivorous, their meat-based diets should be enriched with vegetables. While spinach is generally safe for canines, it’s probably the most controversial product for dogs, and there are some aspects of this leafy green you should be aware of.
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Can I Give My Dog Spinach?
Giving your dog spinach every now and then will increase the nutritional value of the pet’s diet by providing additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some benefits of spinach for dogs:
Improves Eye Health
Spinach contains vitamin A as well as soluble fibers such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and chlorophyll. These nutrients give spinach its vibrant color, and they also help the pets’ eyes differentiate between light and dark colors, which is especially necessary for senior dogs.
Packed With Minerals
Spinach is rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron, and copper. Magnesium helps improve metabolism, maintain nerve and muscle function, healthy heart rhythm and blood pressure, and boost the immune system.
Rich In Vitamins
Spinach also contains a lot of vitamins A, C, E, and K, which contribute to the well-being of your dog. Besides improving eye health, Vitamin A helps dogs maintain a healthy coat, while Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and lowers the body’s predisposition to different diseases. In addition, vitamin K is essential for heart health, and it helps improve bone strength.
Spinach is full of antioxidants, which help protect cells from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals, reactive molecules that damage DNA, increasing the risk of diseases such as cancer.
Studies have proven that spinach decreases your pet’s risk of developing cancer because of all the vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. Spinach is also rich in folate, a compound necessary for creating red and white blood cells and converting carbohydrates into energy. Folate also helps cells repair the pet’s DNA.
Fiber, antioxidants, iron, and beta-carotene found in large quantities in spinach are crucial for keeping your canine’s GI tract healthy.
Risks Of Dogs Eating Spinach
As mentioned above, spinach is a highly controversial product, so it’s up to you to decide whether you want to give it to your dog or not. You should remember to feed it in moderate amounts and watch for your canine’s reaction, as with any other human food. Here are some properties of spinach which can make it potentially harmful for dogs:
High In Oxalic Acid
In comparison with other vegetables, spinach has a high level of oxalic acid (1000mg/100g). This compound interferes with calcium absorption, which can potentially cause kidney damage. Calcium is vital for the body, as it’s responsible for bone density and growth, blood clot formation triggering, blood pressure regulation, and it also controls insulin secretion.
When soluble oxalates form a bond with calcium and magnesium in the blood, it automatically reduces the amount of these nutrients available to the body. When the levels of bioavailable calcium decrease, it disrupts the body’s homeostasis. Moreover, when the combination of oxalate and calcium is filtered through the kidneys, it damages them and can even cause kidney failure. As a result, regularly giving your dog foods high in oxalates can lead to the pet developing kidney or bladder stones.
Low In Protein
Canine diets should contain 75% to 85% of meat, and giving your pet spinach in large amounts can result in nutrient deficiency. Specifically, the pet may not get enough necessary amino acids, which are important for protein synthesis, tissue repair, and food digestion.
Spinach Can Be Dangerous For Puppies
You should be very careful when giving spinach to a puppy. The dogs’ kidneys are still developing at a young age, which means they are not good at eliminating calcium oxalates properly. This makes your pup more predisposed to urinary tract issues.
High Sodium Levels
Relatively speaking, spinach contains high sodium levels (30 g of spinach has 24 mg of sodium), which can be harmful to your dog and cause sodium poisoning.
Wrapping It Up
Despite everything listed above, you should keep in mind that your dog would have to eat a large amount of spinach to experience any type of adverse effects. Dogs with healthy kidneys generally don’t have any trouble eliminating calcium oxalates. But frequent spinach consumption can cause kidney damage, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, and even respiratory paralysis.
How To Cook Spinach For My Dog?
If you decide to add spinach to your dog’s diet, you should be aware of the fact that their digestive systems work differently, and therefore, you need to prepare food differently from food made for human consumption.
First of all, make sure you gradually introduce spinach into your pet’s diet. Too much spinach can result in diarrhea, stomach upset, and vomiting. Pureeing, steaming, and blanching spinach will make it more digestible. The most efficient way is to steam the leaves, as boiling destroys a lot of nutrients.
Try to make sure that your dog drinks a lot of water after eating spinach to flush out the oxalic acid present in spinach. This will also lower its blood sodium levels.
When serving spinach, make sure that it doesn’t contain additional seasonings, including onions, garlic, herbs, butter, and oil. Some of these can upset your pet’s stomach, while onions and garlic are extremely toxic to dogs.
It’s always better to buy organic spinach, but if you buy non-organic, you need to thoroughly rinse it before cooking.
You can safely feed your dog raw spinach as well, but make sure you chop it into small pieces first. This will help your dog easily digest the green because canines’ bodies have trouble breaking down vegetables.
Don’t give your dog spinach if it has kidney disease or other conditions, as it might have trouble digesting the veggie and can experience stomach upset as a result.
How much spinach should I give to my dog?
Despite the nutritional benefits of spinach, dogs don’t need a lot of it. They won’t receive more nutrients if you feed them more greens. A couple of tablespoons of chopped spinach is more than enough. While spinach isn’t dangerous for dogs, it’s recommended to talk to your vet before giving any new foods to your pet, even as a snack.
If your dog is a picky eater, and you notice it rejecting spinach, you can include it in some homemade spinach dog treats. Or you can simply replace spinach with other leafy greens such as kale, lettuce, arugula, cabbage, or collard greens.
How much spinach can I give my dog?
2-3 tablespoons of chopped spinach is enough, as your dog doesn’t need much to receive all the necessary nutrients.
What leafy greens are good for dogs?
Broccoli, celery, Brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans, peas, and cucumbers are excellent sources of nutrients for dogs.
What leafy greens are bad for dogs?
If your dog has any kidney problems, avoid giving it kale, spinach, beet roots and leaves, collards, parsley, leeks, and quinoa.
Can dogs eat cooked spinach?
Yes, but it’s better to steam the spinach because when it’s boiled, it loses most of its nutrients.
Will spinach upset a dog’s stomach?
Yes, if you give your dog too much spinach. Otherwise, spinach will not cause the pet any discomfort.