The question here isn't so much "can dogs eat asparagus?" It's more a query of whether you want to take the time to prepare it for them. That's because dogs can have asparagus—just as long as it's cooked, cut, and unseasoned.
That's a lot of work when your pup could just eat baby carrots or green beans, raw veggies that need little preparation. Nevertheless, asparagus offers dogs excellent nutritional value when fed in moderation. Just make sure your dogs aren't trying to consume a large, fiber-heavy piece that can make him sick.
"There are many other veggie options that are safe for dogs, many without the hassle of so much tough fiber, that might make better options for a daily treat," says Gabrielle Fadl, DVM and director of primary care at Bond Vet.
Here's what else to know about asparagus and dogs:
Is Asparagus Good for Dogs?
When it's prepared properly, asparagus has several health benefits for dogs. Namely, it encourages "healthy gut bacteria" and regular poops, Fadl says. That's because it's high in fiber.
Asparagus is healthy for dogs for many of the same reasons it's healthy for us. It's a low-calorie snack that includes a myriad of vitamins—B, A, C— as well as iron and potassium. It even offers a little bit of protein, so it can be an excellent compliment to your dog's diet.
So yes, Fadl agrees that asparagus is a healthy option for dogs looking to keep their weight in check or avoid obesity. Dogs' asparagus just needs to be cooked first and consider avoiding any thick fibrous stalks.
How to Make Asparagus for Dogs Safe
You have to cook asparagus plain for your dog to safely consume it, Fadl says. That might mean boiling it because cooking oil and popular asparagus seasonings can make your pup sick. (More on that below.)
After cooking the asparagus, you'll want to cut the stalks into pieces so your dog can eat them. Big pieces, especially when a small dog is eating, can be a choking or digestive hazard. In fact, it's probably a good idea to save the bottom of the stalk—the toughest part—for yourself or the trash can.
If you plan to feed your dog asparagus, check with your veterinarian first. They'll tell you how to specifically prepare it for your dog or whether you should look for an alternative snack.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Asparagus?
No, dogs should not eat raw asparagus. While the veggie's fiber is healthy for dogs, it's also what makes raw asparagus tough, Fadl says. Dogs ingesting the harder pieces can experience:
Remember, these risks persist even if you cook the asparagus and cut the stalk up for your dog properly. That's why you should check with your vet before purposely feeding your dog asparagus.
Dogs shouldn't eat flavored asparagus, either. That means no butter, salt, garlic, and other seasonings. Some are unhealthy for dogs—offering high amounts of fat or calories—while garlic and onions can cause anemia.
If your dog does consume a flavored piece of asparagus that falls on the floor, Fadl recommends keeping a close eye on them, monitoring them for any of the above signs. If your dog becomes especially sick, know how to reach an emergency vet or pet poison hotline quickly.
Other Vegetables for Dogs
Because we humans usually don't consume that much unseasoned asparagus, it might be better for your dog to enjoy one of the following:
As always, talk with your vet before you make any significant change to your dog's diet.