Dog owners often ask, “Can dogs eat spinach?”.
This raises a number of intriguing questions. How and why might someone get the idea that dogs want spinach, like it or need it? Is it a new trend in pet ownership to try and match healthful human dietary recommendations to what animals should eat? Are dogs breaking into refrigerators and stealing containers of fresh spinach? In any case, is spinach good, bad, nutritious or toxic for dogs? If you’re eating a bowl of spinach salad and your dog stares at you, does that mean it wants a taste, or is there some other reason for the dead-eye dog stare?
And speaking of non-meat dog food choices, what fruits and vegetables are on the “can eat” and “can’t eat” lists for dogs? Are there some foods that are always toxic for dogs? Wouldn’t a veterinarian be able to tell dog owners whether Fido should or shouldn’t eat spinach?
Is Spinach Safe For Dogs?
Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not carnivores. They’re omnivores, meaning that they eat both animal and plant products. However, when a dog has access to an abundant supply of meat, it won’t eat any plant products. Canines only resort to eating plants when they can’t get any, or enough, meat to satisfy their appetites.
But, do dogs like spinach?
Apparently so, based both on anecdotal and expert reports about things dogs enjoy eating. Many owners report pets that get into open bowls of spinach leaves and devour as much of the stuff as they can get before being shooed away. Scientists say that spinach probably tastes good to dogs based on the chemicals that make up the natural plant.
Is Spinach Good for Dogs?
Unfortunately, much of the spinach we humans purchase at grocery stores contain enough pesticide residue to harm a dog’s digestive tract, particularly its kidneys. Dogs also are not able to chew spinach leaves enough to allow for proper digestion. Finally, spinach contains, among its many healthful nutrients, a substance called oxalic acid. In very large quantities, oxalic acid could interfere with a dog’s kidney function. But veterinarians often point out that dogs would have to eat at least 10 pounds of spinach, all at once, to be harmed by the oxalic acid content in the vegetable.
The bottom line is that spinach contains many nutrients that are healthful for dogs, as long as the stuff is organic, thoroughly washed, and put into a form other than whole leaves. Cooking the spinach removes too much of the good stuff. Raw spinach is nearly impossible for a dog to digest. But steamed spinach is the way to go. If you start with organic spinach leaves, rinse them, steam them and then puree them, your dog will love you for it. Also, you’ll be adding some powerfully good nutrition to your dog’s diet. As an occasional add-in to the animal’s regular food, spinach is usually a tasty, nutritious treat for your dog.
Should I Ask My Vet?
Whenever you intend to feed human food to your dog, it’s a wise move to ask the vet first. This is the best way to make sure that your dog doesn’t have any special health conditions that might prevent it from being able to digest or enjoy certain kinds of unconventional items, like spinach. When in doubt, ask a veterinarian.
Is There a List of Veggies and Fruits Dogs Can Eat?
The good news is that the “yes” list is much longer, and begins with the “four B’s,” Brussels sprouts, bananas, blueberries, broccoli. Other safe-to-eat fruits and veggies for doggo include celery, carrots, cantaloupe, cucumbers, cranberries, green beans, mango, peaches, oranges, pears, pineapples, peas, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon and, of course, spinach.
While most human foods and snacks are not good for dogs, it is generally okay to give a dog unseasoned, cooked white rice, unseasoned, cooked eggs, and very lean meats. Contrary to what most dog owners believe, animal fat, cooked or uncooked, is very bad for a dog’s stomach, even though the animals might devour it and love its taste. So if you do give your dog lean mean, make sure all fat has been removed first. Never add spices or flavorings to human food that you prepare for your dog.
Dogs do not like or tolerate spices and flavorings that are pleasing to human taste buds.
Can I Make a Spinach Treat For My Dog?
Your dog will love, love, love you if you make some baked spinach bars. They contain four ingredients, all of which are safe for canines, and are simple to whip up in about 30 minutes.
You’ll need two cups of oats and one-half cup of butter, along with a one-quarter cup of honey and one-half cup of pureed organic spinach.
Set your oven to preheat on 325 degrees.
Use a saucepan to mix and heat the butter and spinach until it’s completely combined.
Take the pan off the heat and put the oats and honey into the spinach-butter mix.
Thoroughly stir all four items together until they are as mixed as possible.
Press the mixture onto a greased baking sheet.
Be sure to press the dough down firmly onto the sheet before heating. This will help the treats hold together after baking.
Bake 25 minutes or at least until the mixture is light brown on the top. Remove from oven and put the baking sheet somewhere to cool for at least one hour.
After that, slice the cooked concoction up into bit-sized squares and serve one to your dog. Store the rest in an air-tight plastic bag in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for about two weeks. Try not to give your dog more than two of these treats per day. One per day is even better than two.
In General, What Foods/Liquids Are Toxic For Dogs?
It’s best to never feed dogs food that is old, considered a human “snack food,” or leftover food.
Dogs can easily get sick from old food. Snacks we humans love tend to be heavily processed and contain all sorts of chemicals that are harmful for a dog’s digestive system. Leftovers are a no-no because they are typically too spicy for dogs and have been prepared with substances that are not good for most animals. What tastes very good to us is usually bad for a canine.
In general, most dogs should never be given any of the following: garlic, liver, marijuana, corn on the cob, raisins, macadamia nuts, hops, vitamins made for humans, yeast, tobacco, salt, sugar, plum pits, persimmons, peach pits, raw fish or meat, tomato leaves or tomatoes, dairy products including milk, chives, peppers, onions, cooked animal bones, trimmings of fat, caffeinated beverages, candy, cat food, chocolate, mouthwash, gum, alcohol, toothpaste, apple seeds.
Some Important Dog Facts
There are approximately 900 million dogs in the world, about 73 million of those being in the U.S. Experts say it’s really very hard to arrive at an exact number of the global dog population because about 85 percent of all dogs are “free-range” animals that have never been domesticated.
Know what Your Dog Can and Can’t Eat
If you decide to feed spinach to your dog, try to use organic leaves you buy from the grocery store. Wash them thoroughly before steaming them and pureeing. Include some of the pureed spinach in the dog’s regular food. And remember, it’s always best to speak with your veterinarian before adding or subtracting any “human food” to a dog’s diet. It’s one thing to change brands or flavors of standard dog food. It’s quite another to begin feeding random fruits, vegetables and leftovers to your beloved pet.
Spinach is one of the many vegetables that is healthful for both humans and dogs, but we need to be careful in how, and how much, we serve to our pets. In addition to the fact that dogs are very inefficient chewers, the digestive system is completely different from ours. So is their sense of taste. Things that are delicious and nutritious for humans are not always good, or good tasting, for a dog. It’s wise to remember that dogs are attracted by the taste of many human foods that are bad for them. Animal fat is a good example of this principle. Dogs love the smell and taste of animal fat, but it is very harmful to their digestive tract.