It may be tempting to feed your dog scraps of food while cooking. But your favorite pup’s stomach does not work like yours. While some foods are healthy for you, they may not be for your dog, like chocolate and garlic. As a versatile leafy green, spinach offers many health benefits for humans, but can dogs eat spinach?
The short answer is yes. But you need to know some things before tossing a few spinach leaves into your pup’s food bowl or as a snack. While the health benefits outweigh the risks, knowing how much to feed your dog and the best way to prepare it can save you a costly visit to the vet.
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Can Dogs Have Spinach?
Yes. Dogs can have spinach, but don’t go opening up a can of spinach like Popeye just yet. Dogs are carnivores, and a proper diet will contain 75%–85% meat. Too much spinach or other vegetables can be bad for their digestion as dogs cannot process vegetables as humans can.
If you feed your dog spinach, keep in mind some simple tips:
- Introduce spinach slowly and watch for adverse reactions
- Only feed your dog raw, cooked, or steamed spinach
- Cut large leaves up for easy digestion
- Feed your dog no more than one or two tablespoons of spinach a day
- Never feed your dog canned spinach
- Do not replace all meat with vegetables
- Never add extra salt or seasoning
Health Benefits & Risks of Eating Spinach for Dogs
With any food, too much of one thing is never a good idea. You wouldn’t want to eat just one thing for the rest of your life, and neither does your favorite furry friend. Your dog will benefit from a healthy diet as much as you will, and spinach definitely makes a great source of vitamins and minerals to help give your dog a rich coat, strong bones, healthy eyesight, and much more.
Is Spinach Good for Dogs?
Spinach has a plethora of vitamins and minerals essential in helping keep your dog healthy and happy throughout their lives.
Spinach contains beneficial minerals like:
- Magnesium helps with nerve and muscle function, increased energy, heart rhythm, blood pressure, and immune system.
- Copper helps promote red blood cell growth.
- Iron is beneficial for anemia and keeping your dog active.
Spinach also provides these healthy vitamins:
- Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system.
- Vitamin A is great for eye health and a nice shiny and healthy coat.
- Vitamin K is essential for a healthy heart and strong bones.
And it also has powerful antioxidants which:
- Protects from free radicals that weaken and destroys cells
- Stimulates the GI tract for better digestive health
Most dogs will be fine with adding spinach to their diets. But you want to introduce it slowly and watch for any adverse reactions. If your dog has kidney disease or other medical issues and you give your dog too much spinach at once, it can lead to severe problems and a costly vet bill if you do not have pet insurance.
Some of the Risks in Feeding Your Dog Spinach
If you want to feed your dog spinach, less is more. Spinach contains high levels of sodium. A 30g serving of spinach has 24mg of sodium and can lead to dehydration. Spinach also holds high levels of soluble oxalates. Soluble oxalates bind with calcium and magnesium in the blood and prevent them from absorbing into the bloodstream. Calcium, an essential part of your dog’s health, aids in bone growth and density and regulates blood pressure.
If your dog eats too much spinach, it can lead to:
- Kidney damage
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Muscle weakness
- Respiratory paralysis
- Kidney/bladder stones
After reading this, you may be wondering, is spinach good for dogs? Even with these risks, most dogs tend to be okay with eating small amounts of spinach. Each pup is different, and you will want to check with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
Can Puppies Eat Spinach?
Puppies beware! While spinach has many health benefits for dogs, a puppy’s kidneys are still forming, and feeding them spinach at an early age can lead to urinary health issues as they grow older.
When adding spinach to their diet, make sure your dog drinks enough water to help them flush out the sodium and soluble oxalates in their system to prevent them from building up.
How To Add Spinach to Your Dog’s Diet
Make sure to choose the best type of spinach to give to your dog—organic. That way, you encounter less risk of your dog getting sick from pesticides or other chemicals. You can prepare spinach for your dog by:
Cut the spinach into small pieces to help with digestion and mix it well with protein. One to two tablespoons of spinach per day makes up the recommended amount for most dogs. Smaller dogs will require less, and you should introduce spinach into their diet slowly and watch for signs of diarrhea and vomiting.
Can Dogs Have Collard Greens?
Yes. Your dog can have collard greens and other vegetables. Since spinach has such high levels of sodium and soluble oxalates, it may not be right for all dogs. If you want to add vegetables to your dog’s diet, check out this list of some healthy alternatives for your pup:
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Spinach
Adding spinach to your dog’s diet makes a great way to give them the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy and happy. But you want to ensure you give them the right amount and prepare it properly to help save you from costly vet bills.
Before you change up your dog's diet, make sure you have them protected with a pet insurance plan. Our team at Fursure can help you find the best pet insurance to cover your best friend in case of emergencies, accidents and even wellness checkups. To make sure your furry companion is happy and healthy for the rest of their life, buy a pet insurance policy here.