Can Dogs Eat Spinach? Is Spinach Bad for a Dog

Out of all of the foods you can feed your pet, spinach can be one of the most controversial. Spinach is a super food and very healthy for humans; it also contains many useful nutrients and can serve as a low-calorie snack. Can it ever be bad for dogs? Dogs in the wild are carnivorous, and if meat is scarce, they might eat vegetation to supplement their diets. However, dogs really do not need vegetables.

As with most human foods, it turns out it’s perfectly fine if you feed your dog spinach every once in a while; dogs who have healthy kidneys can easily process small amounts of the soluble oxalates that spinach contains. However, large quantities of the vegetable could cause damage, including kidney stress, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle weakness, and respiratory paralysis. If your dog’s kidneys are healthy, and you choose to feed them spinach, feed in only infrequent and small amounts. This will lower the possibility of any damage.

As always, consult with your veterinarian before adding spinach to your dog’s diet, even as a snack. Your vet will know best whether it’s safe for your dog specifically, and you should always check in about their medical history before giving them new foods. As their owner, it’s your responsibility to take care of your dog as best as possible and make sure they don’t eat anything that will cause them harm. In general, dogs don’t need vegetables—in fact, their diet should consist of 25 percent or less vegetable matter. Your vet can help you decide ultimately whether spinach will help or harm your pet.

How Spinach Can Be Good for Your Dog

Spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also contains antioxidants, beta-carotene, iron, and roughage, which stimulates the digestive tract. As you’re feeding your dog healthy, nutritious dog food, small amounts of spinach can provide many benefits for them. Spinach is a super food for us, and it may be for your dog as well, as it packs a powerful nutritional punch.

Spinach is also good for the heart and gives a boost to the immune system, restoring energy and vitality. On top of vitamins and iron, your dog will also get calcium, potassium, fiber, manganese, and folate. Overall, dogs can benefit from eating this very healthy food.

How Spinach Can Be Bad for Your Dog

Spinach contains very high amounts of oxalic acid. This acid blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which can lead to kidney damage. Soluble oxalates, which contain oxalic acid, bind with magnesium and calcium in the blood, which limits the availability of these electrolytes. When magnesium and calcium are limited, it leads to a low level of blood calcium, and this can cause a sudden metabolic imbalance. Calcium oxalate is excreted through the kidneys, so a large amount of it can cause kidney damage and can even lead to kidney failure.  

The reason why feeding spinach to dogs is controversial is because science linking the diet of dogs to the development of kidney stones has been inconclusive. If you’re worried that spinach will pose a health hazard to your dog, you shouldn’t worry too much as long as your dog eats a modest amount. Some rare medical conditions do warrant oxalate restrictions, however, these don’t likely apply to dogs.

How to Feed Your Dog Spinach

If you weigh the evidence, have spoken with your vet, and decide to feed your dog spinach, preparation of it is very important. The best way to give your dog spinach is when it’s steamed; boiling spinach makes the green lose most of its nutrients, and raw spinach will be difficult for your dog to digest. Even steamed, don’t add any spices, herbs, salt, oil, onion, or garlic to the spinach, as these substances can be toxic for dogs.

Before cooking, always thoroughly wash the spinach. Try to get organic spinach if you can to ensure it’s free of pesticides or radiation, and cut it into pieces. Smaller pieces will help your dog avoid choking, and their digestive tract can’t break down vegetables in the same way ours does. In general, the canine digestive system isn’t well equipped for leafy greens.

Washed, cooked, and chopped spinach is the best way to go if you’re feeding some to your dog. You can slip amounts to your pet as a treat, or mix it in with their dog food every once in a while to add extra nutrition to their meals. Incorporating the leafy green vegetable can be easy and convenient especially in wet dog foot. You can create a meal for your dog that contains roasted chicken, carrots, and spinach, or a meal that has chicken, beef, sweet potatoes, and spinach. All of these foods are safe for your dog, and just like humans enjoy a side of veggies with a meat-focused meal, your dog will enjoy the combination as well.

Can Dogs Eat Spinach Conclusion

Everyone knows that spinach is very healthy for humans. However, sometimes it isn’t a good idea to feed our pets human food, no matter how healthy it is. It’s tempting to share spinach since it’s a superfood. If you’re asking yourself whether you can feed your dog spinach, the answer is yes. Your dog can even benefit from consuming the vegetable.

Under normal circumstances, a moderate amount of spinach can benefit your dog. As long as they don’t eat large portions regularly, oxalates aren’t a factor and you shouldn’t be concerned about your dog’s kidney health as they consume small amounts of spinach. You should wash, cook, and give spinach to your dog as a treat, or mix it into their food every once in a while. It won’t be toxic, as long as you limit portions.

As with all human food, take note of how it settles with your dog, and how your dog reacts to the food, before feeding them more. By also checking in with your vet about feeding your dog spinach, you can ensure your dog’s health.

Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
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