can dogs eat spinach

Spinach is a unique vegetable that can be used in both human and dog diets. Spinach has many properties that can help your dog’s health, but too much is dangerous and inappropriate for any dog, especially those with underlying medical conditions. In this article, we will tell you whether dogs can have spinach or not. What are the properties and benefits of spinach for dogs, and what are the dangers of overeating it. We also tell you the contraindications of spinach for dogs and puppies.

Can I give my dog spinach?

Yes, you can, but there are some things you should know!
Dogs are carnivores, but their meat-based diet can be supplemented with vegetables such as spinach.

As we mentioned in the article about useful vegetables for dogs, spinach is one of the permissible and safe vegetables, but this is not the whole story, and you need to know more about spinach.

In the following, we will explain more about the benefits of spinach, its harms, and its contraindications so that you have correct information about this vegetable.

Benefits of spinach for dogs

Feeding dogs with spinach has many benefits and benefits for them. The presence of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in spinach improves the dog’s health. But the benefits of spinach for dogs are:

Strengthen the visual system

Spinach contains vitamin A and soluble fibers such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and chlorophyll. These nutrients in spinach will improve your dog’s vision, especially for old dogs. In addition, spinach can prevent cataracts in dogs.

Rich source of minerals

Spinach is rich in minerals, including magnesium, iron, and copper. Magnesium helps improve metabolism, maintain nerve and muscle function, maintain heart rate, regulate blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system.

Rich in vitamins

Spinach also contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, E, B9 (folate), and K, which will help your dog’s health. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and reduce the body’s susceptibility to various diseases.

vitamin K is essential for heart health and helps improve bone strength. In addition to these vitamins, spinach contains small amounts of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and B2 (riboflavin).

Having an antioxidant effect

Spinach is full of antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals, reactive molecules that damage DNA and increase the risk of diseases such as cancer.

Prevent cancer

Studies have proven that spinach reduces the risk of cancer in your pet because of all the vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids it contains.

Spinach is also rich in folate, a compound needed to make red and white blood cells and convert carbohydrates into energy. Folate also helps cells repair the animal’s DNA.

Improve digestion

The fiber, antioxidants, iron, and beta-carotene in spinach are essential to keeping your dog’s digestive system healthy.

Disadvantages of overeating spinach by dogs

Spinach is one of the allowed vegetables for dogs, but you should not use too much spinach in your dog’s diet. Overeating spinach can have many side effects for your dog. The dangers of overeating spinach include:

High level of oxalic acid

Compared to other vegetables, spinach has a large amount of oxalic acid (1000 mg/100 g). Oxalic acid prevents calcium absorption in the dog’s body, which can cause kidney damage.

Calcium is vital to the body because it is responsible for bone density and growth, stimulating blood clotting, regulating blood pressure, and controlling insulin secretion.

oxalate

When soluble oxalates bind with calcium and magnesium in the blood, it automatically reduces the amount of these nutrients available to the body.

When the level of bioavailable calcium decreases, it disrupts homeostasis in the body. In addition, when the combination of oxalate and calcium is filtered by the kidneys, it damages them and can even cause kidney failure.

Therefore, if you regularly give spinach to your dog, it is better to know that it is prone to kidney or bladder stones.

Calcium oxalate stones are much more common in males than females, especially in small breeds such as Miniature Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, or Yorkshire Terriers.

Dogs with healthy kidneys usually have no problem eliminating calcium oxalate. But frequent consumption of spinach can cause kidney damage, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythm, and even respiratory paralysis.

kidney stone in miniature schnauzer
High consumption of spinach causes kidney stones in dogs

low protein

Dogs are carnivores, and their diet should contain 75-85% meat. Using a lot of spinach and other vegetables can prevent the dog from getting the protein it needs.

Too much sodium

Spinach contains high amounts of sodium (30 grams of spinach contains 24 milligrams), which can harm your dog and cause sodium poisoning.

Contains nitrates

Nitrates are relatively non-toxic, but they turn into nitrites after consumption, which can cause a blood disorder called methemoglobinemia.

Therefore, when deciding to include spinach in your dog’s diet, it is essential to do so in moderation to avoid these adverse health effects. In the following paragraphs, we will see how much and how to include spinach in a dog’s diet.

Can spinach be dangerous for puppies?

Be very careful when giving spinach to your puppy. Dogs’ kidneys are still developing young, so they cannot correctly eliminate calcium oxalate. Therefore, your puppy is more prone to urinary tract problems.

spinach harmful for puppies

Contraindications of spinach for dogs

Although dogs can eat spinach, spinach is contraindicated in some instances. In particular, the use of this substance should be avoided in the following cases:

  • Dogs with kidney problems, especially those with gallstones.
  • Small breed male dogs (such as miniature schnauzers, chihuahuas, or Yorkshire terriers) are more prone to calcium oxalate stone formation.
  • Anemic dogs
  • Dogs with food allergies or intolerances
  • Dogs whose digestive systems are susceptible to dietary changes

How much spinach should I give my dog?

Despite spinach’s nutritional benefits and drawbacks, dogs don’t need a lot of it. The exact amount depends on the age and weight of your pet. In general, for the dog to have easier digestion, it is recommended that 2 to 3 tablespoons per week are enough for the dog’s diet.

Note: Due to the high oxalate content of spinach, your dog should eat it sparingly and in tiny amounts.

How do I give spinach to my dog? Important nutritional tips

If you decide to add spinach to your dog’s diet, you should remember that their digestive system differs from humans.

First of all, both fresh and frozen spinach is good for dogs. If you choose fresh spinach, don’t forget to wash it well to remove any dirt or pesticides on the surface.

You can feed your dog raw spinach. But be sure to cut it into small pieces first. This will help your dog digest the vegetable easily, as dogs have a hard time digesting vegetables.

The best way to prepare spinach for dogs is to steam it because it preserves its nutritional properties and is much easier for dogs to digest.

steamed spinach; The best choice for dogs

Try adding spinach to your dog’s diet gradually.

When serving spinach, ensure it does not contain extra seasonings such as onions, garlic, herbs, butter, and oil. Some of these ingredients can upset your pet’s stomach, while onions and garlic are highly toxic to dogs.

Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water after eating spinach to flush out the oxalic acid in the spinach. This also lowers the dog’s blood sodium level.

It is always best to buy organic spinach, but if you buy non-organic spinach, you should wash it thoroughly before cooking.

Too much spinach can lead to diarrhea, stomach upset, and vomiting. Pureeing, steaming, and blanching spinach make it more digestible.

What should I do if my dog eats spinach?

Spinach is not toxic to your dog. If you notice that the dog has consumed it without your knowledge, just pay attention to his behavior.

You should contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice diarrhea or gastrointestinal discomfort. Because these symptoms show that your dog is having trouble digesting spinach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best alternatives to spinach in a dog’s diet?

Dogs with kidney problems should not eat spinach, so the solution is to substitute other vegetables instead of spinach.

Alternative vegetables are:

  • Cucumbers
  • zucchini
  • lettuce
  • beans
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • pumpkins
  • and broccoli

read more about other good vegetables for dogs:

dog can eat broccoli?

can dogs eat zucchini?

dogs can eat lettuce?

Can dogs eat cooked spinach?

Yes, but spinach is best steamed, as it loses most of its nutrients when boiled.

Can spinach upset the stomach of dogs?

Yes, if you feed your dog too much spinach. Otherwise, spinach does not cause any discomfort to the animal.

The bottom line

I hope you have answered your questions about having spinach for dogs and puppies. As we said, spinach is one of the valuable vegetables for dogs that you can add to your dog’s diet in small amounts.

Remember that overeating spinach can cause different health problems for your dog. Especially if your dog has kidney problems, it is better not to use spinach in the dog’s diet and consult a veterinarian to find a suitable alternative.

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