Should Dogs Eat Spinach Safely?
Most dogs love eating human food. If you are a dog owner, you probably noticed your dog looking at you while you’re eating. It doesn’t matter to them what you’re eating; they just want a piece of it. Some owners have a hard time resisting their dogs and can’t help themselves, so they slip something under the table. This might not be the best practice, but the truth is, it happens.
One of the foods in question can be spinach. If you ever caught yourself thinking, “Can dogs eat spinach? Is spinach good for dogs?” stick with us, and we will tell you all you need to know about feeding your dog spinach.
The shortest possible answer to that question is - yes. However, spinach for dogs is somewhat controversial. It is packed with beneficial nutrients, but at the same time, it has high oxalic acid content, which can be pretty harmful in larger quantities. Whenever you decide to give human food to your dog, you should weigh the pros and cons. Here are some things to think about to get a thorough answer to the question, “Can dogs eat spinach?”
There are different human foods dogs can eat, but what about cabbage? Check out this article - Can dogs eat cabbage?
Spinach is packed with healthy nutrients. It provides plenty of health benefits, and some of the best nutrients are;
- Vitamin A - Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that boosts the immune system and helps the lungs, brain, kidneys, reproductive system, and vision work properly.
- Vitamin B - This vitamin helps with maintaining good health. It helps with energy levels, cell metabolism, and brain functions.
- Vitamin C - This is an essential vitamin the body uses for building and repairing tissue. It also helps the immune system remain strong.
- Vitamin K - The vitamin K group helps with blood clotting and healing wounds.
- Iron - Iron is an essential mineral the body uses to produce red blood cells.
- Antioxidant - Spinach is an excellent antioxidant. It helps the body fight free radicals responsible for cancer development.
Like with everything else in life, spinach for dogs has a negative side. Spinach is packed with oxalic acid. Oxalic acid binds itself to calcium and magnesium in the blood and prevents these minerals from being used. Plus, oxalic acid is “filtered” through the kidneys, and a too-large amount can lead to sudden kidney damage and failure.
For kidneys to get damaged, dogs would have to eat a massive amount of spinach. However, over time, oxalic acid will cause kidneys to get “overworked.” It will cause kidney stress, leading to other health issues like muscle weakness, respiratory paralysis, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Corn is often added to dog foods. Check out this article - Can dogs eat corn?
If you consider the pros and cons, feeding the dog spinach is probably not the best idea. It is safe, and there are potential health benefits dogs can get from eating spinach, but, in our opinion, the risks are far too great. You can include many safer alternatives or supplements in your dog’s diet. They will provide them with the same healthy nutrients and far less risky ones.
If you are still adamant about giving your dog spinach, you can do so in the safest possible way. Make sure you know how to prepare it safely.
No matter how you prepare the spinach, the oxalic acid will always remain present. That is a risk factor you cannot eliminate completely. There is also a lot of difference between human and dog digestive tracts. We can digest vegetables easily, but dogs can’t. Boiled spinach loses nutrients, and raw is nearly impossible for dogs to digest.
The safest way to feed your dog spinach is to steam it. Steaming will preserve most of the valuable nutrients, and your dog can somewhat digest it.
Before you decide to introduce spinach to your dog’s diet, talk to your vet. Ask for advice and make sure your dog’s kidneys are healthy. The vet will help you decide whether spinach is an option for your dog.
Potatoes are an excellent carbohydrate source. Check out this article - Can dogs eat potatoes.
World Dog Finder team