Most pet owners know from experience that dogs usually like almost all “people food.” It’s important to know, however, that dogs’ bodies work differently than human bodies do, so what is safe for us may not be safe for them.

Asparagus is a healthy vegetable that many people enjoy, but can dogs eat asparagus too?

A group of asparagus on a table.

Can dogs eat asparagus?

Asparagus is not toxic for dogs, so, yes, they can eat it. Dogs are carnivores, however, so their bodies are intended to digest meat, not vegetables. So, asparagus, and other safe table foods, should be given in moderation.

It should be noted that the leaves that grow on an asparagus plant are toxic to dogs, so you should fence in your garden if you are growing asparagus there. If your dog ingests these leaves, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Does it matter if the asparagus is raw or cooked?

Due to the toughness of raw asparagus stalks, it is recommended that you only feed cooked asparagus to your dog. If you think about it, most people eat cooked asparagus only, so it’s no different for dogs.

The toughness of raw asparagus can also make it difficult for dogs to digest, potentially causing diarrhea and vomiting.

If you do feed your dog raw asparagus, you should cut it into small pieces to reduce the risk of choking. Cutting asparagus up is a good practice to get into with cooked asparagus as well, to exercise caution.

A dog eats asparagus.

What are the benefits of asparagus for my dog?

Asparagus is high in dietary fiber, so it can be good for your dog’s digestion. Dietary fiber can also be helpful in managing hunger for dogs who are on a weight loss plan.

Asparagus also contains powerful antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can cause cancer and other diseases when too much of them enter the body. Note, however, that the research on the benefits of asparagus has been done on humans, so the benefits may not be as strong in dogs.

Some of the key vitamins and minerals that asparagus provides your pup are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Dietary fiber
  • Potassium
  • Folic acid
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorous
  • Selenium
  • Thiamin

The benefits of this healthy food are many. Its rich antioxidant properties help remove toxins and free radicals from your pup's bloodstream. The minerals and vitamins found in asparagus can help your pup maintain a healthy coat of fur, sharp eyesight, strong teeth and bone composition, and a stronger immune system.

As with other vegetables, cooking asparagus does remove some of the nutrients from it. So, if you’re giving your dog asparagus for the health benefits, the nutrients will have a higher concentration in some other vegetables that your dog is able to eat raw.

Is asparagus dangerous for dogs?

Although asparagus provides significant nutritional benefits for dogs, it can also pose some health risks. Here's what to watch out for when feeding your dog asparagus:

Stomach upset

Raw asparagus is not the easiest vegetable to digest, for people or dogs. It can cause side effects like an upset stomach and vomiting. Cooking will help make asparagus easier on your dog's system, but still may result in diarrhea or gas. The high fiber content of asparagus is good for digestive health in general, but too much will cause gas and other tummy troubles.

Choking hazard

One major risk of asparagus for dogs is that it's not very soft and can therefore cause choking. The tough stalks are difficult to chew, and if your dog eats too large a piece, it's easy for the stalk to get caught in the throat. Since many dogs tend to eat without chewing, a hard asparagus stalk can get stuck in their esophagus.

A retriever sniffs some vegetables on the floor.

How should you feed asparagus to your pup?

  1. Cook asparagus properly and thoroughly. Asparagus is not something that should be fed to your dog raw. It's too easy for them to choke on and they will have difficulty digesting it once ingested since our dogs don't always fully chew their food before swallowing. Instead, steam or boil the asparagus until it's soft enough for your dog to eat.
  2. Cut the asparagus into small pieces. Make sure you cut the asparagus into smaller pieces so your dog can chew and swallow it.
  3. Serve only plain asparagus to your dog. Don't give your pup asparagus after it has been dressed up with salt, garlic, onions, butter, oil, cheese, or pepper and other spices.
  4. Small portions only. As with any food that isn’t a typical part of your dog's diet, too much can cause digestive upset. Stick with small portions only for your pup's meal.

So can dogs eat asparagus?

The answer to this question is yes, your dog can technically eat asparagus. It contains many nutrients that are beneficial for pet health. But remember, just because a dog can eat asparagus doesn’t mean they should. Your pup gets all the nutrients from their normal food, so asparagus is not a necessary addition to a dog's diet. If you want to give your dog asparagus, make it the occasional treat and not a normal part of their diet.

What are some recipes that use asparagus?

Just as you do when preparing asparagus for people, be sure to remove the tough end, as even cooking doesn’t tenderize it enough to be pleasing--or safe--to eat.

When serving asparagus to your dog, you can simply boil or steam it, but do not cook it in butter or oil, as these are not safe for pets.
 

Asparagus Recipes For Dogs

Simple Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

1/2 c. asparagus, chopped

1/2 c. carrots, chopped

½ c. sweet potato, peeled and chopped

3 c. chicken or beef bone broth

Directions

Combine all ingredients in soup pot and boil until vegetables are very tender. Amount of liquid and types of vegetables can be adjusted to preference.

 

Asparagus “Risotto”

Ingredients

1 c. rice, cooked in chicken broth according to package directions

½-¾ c. asparagus, cooked and chopped

Directions

Mix cooked rice and asparagus together, making sure both are tender and in small enough pieces so as not to pose a choking hazard.

References

  1. Bess, E. Can My Dog Eat Asparagus? Retrieved from https://www.rover.com/blog/can-dog-eat-asparagus/
  2. Healthline. Antioxidants Explained in Simple Terms. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/antioxidants-explained#what-they-are
  3. Pet Poison Helpline. Is Table Food Poisonous for Dogs? Retrieved from https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-safety-tips/is-table-food-poisonous-for-dogs/
  4. Ripley, K. (2017). Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-asparagus/
  5. Smart Dog Owners. Is Asparagus Safe for Dogs? Retrieved from https://smartdogowners.com/asparagus/