Spinach, for most people, is a “love it or hate it” green. I love a good spinach salad with some other veggies, some nuts, and a nice vinaigrette dressing. Yum…
Ok, now I’m hungry.
And most of us know that spinach is a really healthy vegetable. But is that the case for our dogs. Can dogs eat spinach? Should it be part of their regular vegetable rotation?
Let’s take a look!
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that originated in Persia. It is part of the amaranth family and is related to beets and quinoa.
It’s also versatile – it can be prepared in many different ways, eaten both raw and cooked.
What’s more, it’s considered very healthy. Let’s take a quick look at the benefits!
- low in calories, but does contain some protein
- high in insoluble fibre
- an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including: vitamins A, C, B6, B9, E, and K1, folic acid, iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium
Spinach contains several valuable plant compounds, including:
- Lutein. This compound is shown through research help with eye health.
- Kaempferol. This antioxidant is linked to cancer and chronic disease prevention.
- Nitrates. Spinach contains high amounts of nitrates, which may promote heart health.
- Quercetin. This antioxidant may ward off infection and inflammation. Spinach is one of the richest dietary sources of quercetin.
And don’t forget, all of those really valuable antioxidant help to fight free radicals. Free radicals are harmful unstable atoms can do major damage to cells. If they continue to multiply unchecked, it causes something called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress damages your pet’s DNA (and your own), leading to disease. Antioxidants help to balance out the levels of free radicals in the body, so they’re really important!
Ok, that’s all well and good for us humans, but can dogs eat spinach?
Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
Yes! Spinach is a really great veg to add to your dog’s dinner!
For all the same reasons it’s good for us, it’s good for our dogs. The vitamins and nutrients, the antioxidants, and the fibre (which is really good for stimulating the digestive tract) are all reasons to feed your dog spinach.
Plus, a little goes a long way! Even a leaf or two cut up on top of your dog’s dinner once a week is great. This helps with the variety in your dog’s meals – not only for taste, but also with the nutritional components. We always like to switch things up to try and reach all systems of the body and give a variety of different nutrients from many different sources.
Note: Spinach is high in oxalic acid, which can blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. Your dog would have to eat a very large amount of spinach to have this problem, so just make sure you only feed it in rotation – switching it up with other veggies. That said, If your dog has a history of kidney or bladder stones, perhaps avoid spinach and go with other vegetables – some of our favourites are kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
Tips to Feed Spinach
Some dogs will eat a raw leaf right from your hand. Others will need the leaves cut up smaller and mixed in with their regular dinner. Chopping it up actually makes it easier to digest, so that’s what we recommend. And, of course, some just won’t eat it no matter how you try to hide it. Keep that in mind if your pup has never had spinach before. You don’t want to the addition of spinach to turn them off their dinner, so start slow.
Additionally, you always want to feed organic spinach. It is on the list of The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, meaning it can be one of the most contaminated produce as far as pesticides. It is really important to get organic spinach, both for yourself and your dog, and to wash it thoroughly before feeding.
Another way to feed it is to add it to your favourite treat recipes. We like to add a it when we make “pupsicles’ with other fruits and veggies. Sometimes this will hide the flavour very well, and you don’t run the risk of ruining dinner!
So, next time you’re making yourself a nice spinach salad or cooking up a big plate of Alfredo pasta with spinach, chop some up into small pieces and see how your pup likes it! Happy crunching!