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Can Dogs Eat Spinach? Is Spinach Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

can dogs eat spinach

Popeye makes it clear that eating your fair share of spinach can result in some great health benefits. After all, it’s filled with all the natural good stuff our bodies need to thrive. Leafy greens like spinach are low in calories, high in nutrients, and are very versatile in the kitchen. But can your pooch eat spinach right along with the rest of your family? That’s a great question! The short answer is yes, they sure can.

Like many issues related to your dog’s health, there’s a catch hidden somewhere in the fine print. Dogs can eat spinach, but is there a suggested amount? Is there any situation where spinach is bad for dogs? Following is everything you need to know about feeding spinach to your furry loved one.

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What’s Bad About Feeding Spinach to Dogs?

The truth is that spinach isn’t necessarily bad for dogs. But when eaten in large amounts or when eaten regularly over a long period, spinach can create some health issues for your pooch that might not be easy to deal with. Spinach contains oxalate acid, which, when highly present in a dog’s body, can affect the availability of magnesium and calcium ions. When this happens, your dog can experience a metabolic imbalance that may very well end up being life-threatening.

The good news is that your dog would have to eat a whole heck of a lot of spinach at once or eat large servings of it regularly to experience the side effects that oxalate acid could create. So, if your pooch gets into that new bag of spinach that you just brought home from the store, you don’t have to worry about symptoms of an overdose, which include lack of appetite, lethargy, weakness, and tremors. However, if you do notice any of these symptoms after feeding your dog spinach, be safe and call your local animal poison control center or the ASPCA hotline.

a bowl of spinach

What’s Good About Feeding Spinach to Dogs?

Despite the oxalate acid that is present in spinach, this dark green vegetable is packed with vitamins and nutrients that are good for your dog, just as they’re good for you. For example, the vitamin K in spinach can help strengthen your bones and your dog’s bones. Spinach is also good for heart health, and it offers a nice dose of magnesium that will help keep your older dog energized throughout the day.

Spinach also contains chlorophyll, which does all kinds of good for dogs. Chlorophyll cleanses a dog’s cells, helps them fight infections, improves their ability to utilize oxygen, and detoxes all of their organs. Perhaps this is why you might find your dog eating grass in the yard or while you’re on a walk sometimes.

As mentioned, chlorophyll is just as good for you as it is for your dog. So, when you’re sharing some spinach together, you are creating good health together. That’s a pretty impressive bonding experience to look forward to!

Spinach Feeding Ideas to Consider

Spinach should be steamed whenever possible before feeding it to your dog. This helps retain the essential vitamins and minerals that are in the veggie, whereas boiling the spinach will leach many of the nutrients out into the water before it can be served. Steamed spinach is easier for dogs to digest than raw spinach, but feel free to share a few pieces that haven’t been cooked if you don’t have time to do some steaming.

Spinach in a colander

There are a few different ways you can feed your dog spinach aside from simply offering them some leaves. In fact, many dogs turn their nose up at plain spinach. So, getting creative may be necessary if you want your pooch to benefit from the nutritional value of this delicate green. Try these options out:

An Easy Method: Add some steamed spinach to your dog’s wet or dry food during mealtime. Make sure the spinach is cut into small pieces and thoroughly mix the spinach into their food. They’ll likely never even know that it’s there!

A Fun Method: Make some homemade dog treats by mixing a cup of steamed spinach, a cup of brown rice, and a quarter cup of shredded carrot in a large bowl. Then roll a tablespoon of mixture into a ball and place it on a baking sheet.

  • Keep repeating this process until your baking sheet is full or your mixture is gone. Then bake the balls for a few minutes at about 300 degrees before cooling them down to room temperature and serving them. You can keep these treats in the fridge for a few days between uses.
  • The brown rice in this homemade treat recipe provides an excellent source of extra energy for your dog and help reduce the risk of problems like diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.

A Juicy Method: Try juicing some spinach and then adding the juice to your dog’s food a couple of times a week. If your dog doesn’t like the spinach juice itself, you can blend some chicken or beef broth with the spinach juice and slowly reduce the amount of broth you use until your dog is happy to slop up the spinach juice without an additive.

dog treat
Image credit: PourquoiPas, Pixabay

These serving ideas are just that. You don’t have to do anything special to spinach when sharing it with your dog if you don’t want to. Your dog will reap the benefits of raw spinach as long as he doesn’t eat several pounds worth. So, don’t be afraid to slip a leaf or two to your pooch during dinner time and keep your roast or baked chicken to yourself.

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The Bottom Line

Spinach isn’t the tastiest food on earth, but it sure does pack a lot of health benefits for both you and your dog. You can find high-quality dog foods on the market that contain spinach, but you can easily supplement whatever diet your dog is on by offering them a few leaves of spinach a few times a month.

If you do decide to share spinach with your dog, make sure that it’s free of additives like herbs and spices to avoid the development of tummy upset. Checking with your veterinarian is always a good idea when adding new food to your dog’s diet, even if it is just spinach as a snack.

What ways have you fed spinach to your dog? Share your experiences and your recipe ideas with us in the comments section below.

Featured Image: Needpix

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