Can dogs eat asparagus?

Health and Wellbeing

Asparagus is another staple of healthy eating for humans, and pairs particularly well with salmon. But while asparagus is perfectly safe and healthy for humans to eat, can dogs eat asparagus too?

Can dogs eat asparagus?

The American Kennel Club actually advises against feeding your dog asparagus in one article, then in another says that asparagus is safe for dogs to eat. It’s no wonder owners might be scratching their heads and wondering if they’re barking up the wrong tree.

So, can dogs eat asparagus?

CAN DOGS EAT ASPARAGUS?

Yes, technically, your dog can eat cooked asparagus. Asparagus is not toxic to dogs so it is “safe” for them to eat in moderation, but that doesn’t mean they will want to eat it.

Asparagus isn’t the most dog-friendly veggie out there because it doesn’t seem to tantalise canine tastebuds all that much, and not every pooch can eat it raw. However, it’s another healthy vegetable you can try feeding your pooch if you want to give them some variety or use natural, healthy foods instead of processed treats.

Although there’s not a whole lot of research on the effects of asparagus in a dog’s diet, this nutritious vegetable does have a few super benefits for humans. And who knows, maybe they will transfer to your hound. But in general, there are more tasty and nutritious fruits and vegetables your pooch can snack on, like apples, peppers, pumpkin or carrots.

If you are going to feed your dog asparagus, make sure it is cooked and served plain. If you’ve ever eaten undercooked asparagus, you’ll know it’s pretty tough to chew. There’s also a woody part at the end you should cut off before cooking and serving to you or your dog.

Meanwhile, keeping the asparagus plain is important because seasonings, butter, and oil could cause stomach upset.

CAN DOGS EAT RAW ASPARAGUS?

Yes, dogs technically can eat raw asparagus because it is not toxic. However, it is very tough to chew and difficult for dogs to digest. If you don’t want to cook the asparagus to make it easier to eat, you could also try cutting it very finely so it is easier for your pup to chew and break down.

Cutting up raw asparagus before feeding your pup is important anyway because it can be a choking hazard for small dogs, and whole stalks can pose a choking hazard for big dogs.

However, raw asparagus is still technically “safe” to eat, but it just has a greater risk of making your dog unwell. You might find your dog suffers from vomiting or diarrhoea after eating raw asparagus. If your pooch shows any signs of illness,, you should stop feeding them asparagus and contact your vet for advice.

CAN DOGS EAT ASPARAGUS ENDS?

It depends what ends you mean! If you mean the bottom end of the stalk that is hard and woody, no. Your dog shouldn’t eat that because it is very tough and difficult to chew and digest, making it a potential choking hazard for small dogs, or it could cause an obstruction in their gut.

As for the asparagus tips, or heads, your dog can eat them. Basically, if your asparagus is so tough you wouldn’t eat it, your pup shouldn’t either.

CAN DOGS EAT ASPARAGUS SOUP?

No, your dog shouldn’t eat asparagus soup. Many recipes are very cream heavy which can make dogs unwell. There’s usually a lot of butter and oil in there too, making it rich and fatty, and these foods are not good for dogs to eat.

Additionally, regardless of whether your soup is homemade or store-bought, it probably contains ingredients like shallots, onion, dried onion, onion extract, or garlic. 

Onions, shallots, and garlic in any form are toxic to dogs. Even when they are eaten in small amounts regularly it can lead to illness. Therefore, it’s best to avoid asparagus soup.

CAN DOGS EAT ASPARAGUS EVERY DAY?

No, your dog shouldn’t eat asparagus every day. Not only will it make their urine very smelly, but it might cause either diarrhoea or constipation. There is no reason your dog should be eating asparagus every day anyway, especially if they are eating complete dog food, because they should be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need from their usual dinners.

Asparagus can make a healthy treat on occasion, but your dog doesn’t need to eat it every day. They probably won’t want to either, since there are other healthy snacks that pups find far more appetising.

HOW MUCH ASPARAGUS CAN A DOG EAT?

The most important rule to follow when trying to work out how much of something your dog can eat is to abide by the 10% rule. Any treat, topper, or titbits that your dog eats throughout the day should not make up any more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.

You will still need to keep an eye on your dog to make sure the asparagus doesn’t disagree with them.

CAN DOGS EAT ASPARAGUS WITHOUT GETTING SICK?

Yes, your dog can eat asparagus without getting sick. Like most vegetables though, your dog can become unwell if they overeat asparagus. Plus, raw asparagus is difficult for dogs to digest so it can easily upset their stomach. The best way to let your dog eat asparagus without getting sick is to boil or steam the veggies until they are thoroughly cooked and soft. Then, simply keep it plain and cut it into small pieces.

You can add these bits of asparagus to their dinner or have them as bitesize treats. Only feed your pup a few pieces at first and keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t poorly afterwards. If they are okay and seem to enjoy eating asparagus, you can by all means offer them some more.

There is one exception to this rule though. If you grow your own asparagus, you need to ensure the plant is fenced off and inaccessible to your dog because the asparagus fern is toxic to dogs. If your pooch is anything like my Spaniel, they’ll probably nose around the garden and try to sample every leaf out there, so you need to make sure they keep their snout out of trouble and nowhere near an asparagus plant.

Eating asparagus leaves shouldn’t kill them, but it will probably cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and terrible tummy pain. If your dog eats part of an asparagus plant, you should contact your vet for advice.

IS ASPARAGUS GOOD FOR DOGS?

Asparagus contains vitamins A, C, and E which are all powerful antioxidants which help to combat free radicals and reverse cell damage. They also help to prevent cancer and even slow down the ageing process. These vitamins are also super for contributing towards healthy eyes, fur, and a strong immune system.

These green spears are also rich in folate, also known as vitamin B9. We usually associate folate with pregnancy, but it’s actually important for every human and hound to eat plenty of this vitamin throughout their lives. Folate helps with the production of red blood cells and other metabolic functions such as the creation of DNA.

Asparagus is also full of several minerals like zinc and potassium, but not huge amounts. One thing this veggie is good for is fibre. There’s a lot of soluble and insoluble fibre in these shoots which can help to keep your dog’s bowel movements regular, keep them feeling full, and help to regulate their blood sugar.

However, your pooch probably won’t eat enough asparagus for it to have a huge impact on their health, but it can certainly make a nutritious, low-calorie treat in the place of biscuits or toppings.

RECAP: CAN DOGS EAT ASPARAGUS?

Yes, it is perfectly safe for dogs to eat asparagus. It can be terribly tough to chew and digest when it is raw or undercooked though, so make sure you cook the asparagus first so that it is tender and more appetising for your pup. You should cut off the fibrous end too, as even after cooking it stays woody and unpalatable.

Raw asparagus is still “safe” for dogs to eat, but it is more likely to upset your dog’s stomach compared to cooked asparagus.

Just remember that if you feed your dog asparagus, cut it into bite-size pieces first and always feed in moderation to reduce the risks of illness caused by overeating. And don’t forget, just like after you eat asparagus, your pooch’s pee will probably smell pretty pungent after eating asparagus. Just a warning!

Although asparagus is a really healthy veggie, we include many vegetables in our Pure recipes to make sure your dog gets loads of nutrients from their 5 a day. We include vegetables such as peas, carrots and cabbage alongside protein and extra vitamins and minerals so your dog is always eating a complete and balanced meal.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.