Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
Can dogs eat spinach? As pet owners, we all want to ensure that our furry friends are getting a balanced and nutritious diet. While dogs thrive on a meat-based diet (that includes the proper ratio of muscle meat, organ meat, and raw bones), it's natural to wonder whether incorporating plant-based foods into their diet can provide additional health benefits.
One such food is spinach, which is packed with vitamins and minerals. At We Feed Raw, we understand the importance of feeding our canine companions the right foods, so let's take a closer look at whether spinach is safe and beneficial for dogs to eat.
Can Dogs Have Spinach?
Yes, dogs can have small amounts of spinach. It’s a superfood, filled with vitamins, minerals, and other health benefits, like iron; vitamins A, B, C, and K; beta-carotene; and antioxidants.
However, spinach contains high amounts of oxalic acid, which can stay in your dog’s blood and cause decreased calcium absorption and kidney damage if you feed it to your dog too often. Additionally, spinach is high in fiber, which could upset your dog’s stomach in large amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Spinach?
Yes, dogs can eat cooked spinach, as long as it isn’t cooked with butter, oil, onions, or garlic. The best ways to cook spinach for a dog are steaming and blanching. Don’t give your dog too much cooked spinach or give it too often because it can lead to kidney problems.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Spinach?
Yes, dogs can eat raw spinach. However, raw spinach is difficult for dogs to digest, so we recommend cooking it first. While small amounts of spinach are an excellent superfood full of vitamins and minerals, large amounts of spinach could potentially cause negative effects.
Can Dogs Eat Baby Spinach?
Yes, dogs can eat baby spinach in moderation. Moderate amounts of spinach can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet, especially if it is cooked first. However, too much baby spinach in a dog’s diet can block their ability to absorb calcium.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Spinach?
No, dogs should not eat canned spinach due to its high sodium content. Fresh, cooked spinach (in moderation) is a much better option for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Spinach?
Yes, dogs can eat frozen spinach in moderation. You can feed it frozen for a satisfying crunch or cook it according to the bag’s directions, as long as you don’t add butter, oil, or salt. Note that too much spinach can cause health problems in dogs, so keep the spinach as an occasional treat.
Is Spinach Good for Dogs?
Yes, spinach is good for dogs in moderation. Spinach is packed with health benefits, including vitamins A, B, C, and K; beta-carotene, antioxidants, iron, and fiber, which is excellent for digestive health. However, too much spinach for dogs can cause health concerns, so feed it as an occasional snack rather than part of your dog’s daily diet.
Health Benefits of Spinach for Dogs
Fed in moderation, spinach provides many benefits for dogs, including:
•Vitamin A, which can improve a dog’s skin, coat, and eyesight
•Vitamin B, which helps the brain and nervous system function properly
•Vitamin C, which can strengthen your dog’s immune system
•Vitamin K, which supports a healthy heart
•Dietary fiber, which can prevent constipation and improve digestion
•Beta-carotene, which may help increase antibody levels in the blood
•Iron, which helps dogs maintain healthy muscles, bones, and organs
•Antioxidants, which help protect dogs from free radicals
Is Spinach Toxic to Dogs?
While spinach is not toxic to dogs, it is high in oxalic acid, which can hinder your dog’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage, so be careful not to give your dog too much spinach or feed it too frequently.
Also known as oxalic acid, oxalates are compounds in plants that disrupt a dog’s normal metabolism. While your dog’s kidneys can excrete some oxalates, high levels of oxalate levels can form calcium oxalate crystals that reduce calcium absorptions, lower your dog’s overall calcium levels, and build up in the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney failure or death.
Signs of oxalate overload in dogs include:
•Abnormal heart rhythm
Since spinach is high in oxalates, it should only be given to dogs in moderation.
Traditionally grown spinach is often covered in pesticides, so if you want to give spinach to your dog now and then, stick with organic varieties.
In addition to oxalates, spinach contains high sodium levels (24 mg of sodium per 30 grams of spinach), which is another good reason to make sure spinach is only an occasional treat for your dog rather than a permanent part of their diet.
Fiber is great for dogs—in moderation. The high levels of fiber in spinach can cause stomach upset, so give dogs spinach sparingly.
Can Puppies Eat Spinach?
Puppies should not eat spinach because the high oxalate levels can hurt their still-developing kidneys. Wait until your puppy is an adult before adding some spinach to their diet as an occasional treat.
How Much Spinach Can Dogs Eat?
Treats—including spinach—should make up less than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake. Our PhD pet nutritionist recommends feeding dogs no more than 5-8% of their daily diet as fruits or vegetables. Additionally, since spinach is high in oxalates and sodium, you should limit how much you give to your dog.
With all that said, a healthy dog of a moderate size could safely eat 1-3 tablespoons of chopped, cooked spinach once or twice a week.
How to Safely Prepare Spinach for Dogs
The best way to prepare spinach for dogs is to wash it thoroughly to remove potential pesticides, chop it up, and steam it for about 5 minutes without adding salt, butter, oil, spices, herbs, or anything else.
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