I’m a keen fan of vegetables and I prefer my dinner plate to be overflowing with vegetables rather than meat.
But even I struggle with asparagus.
Sometimes, I can be chasing it across my plate because it can be so difficult to cut into it!
And then when you are chewing it?
It doesn’t seem to go anywhere, it just stays in my mouth no matter how much I chew.
As I think, is this what eating bamboo must be like for a Giant Panda?
But is it any different for dogs?
Can dogs eat raw asparagus?
Asparagus has me stumped- and not just because they are shaped like sticks.
You see, there is nothing that is toxic or poisonous to dogs in asparagus, and so it can be eaten raw.
But I think that doing so would be an unpleasant slog even for a dog.
Raw asparagus has no real crunch, you bite into it and then it is just all “stringy” and fibrous.
And dogs love to chew but I think that chewing on an asparagus spear would have them waving a white flag in surrender..
Dogs and nutrition
In a moment, I will discuss how nutritious asparagus is- and it really is very nutritious.
But hopefully your dog is eating a complete diet.
And what I mean by that is that the wet food (cans) or dry food (kibble) that you are feeding them is all they need to eat in order to get the right amount of calories and the correct amount of minerals and vitamins.
And so anything else that we give our dogs is an optional bonus, whether that is a croissant or an asparagus spear!
And so with asparagus, what I am looking at is feeding it to my dog and using it like a vitamin and mineral “booster” as opposed to being a fundamental part of their diet.
The nutrition in raw asparagus
Vegetables are nutrient rich and dark green vegetables are nutrient “off the scale”.
They tend to have higher levels of nutrients than paler vegetables.
From the nutrition label that you can see on the right hand side, the two things that jump out at me are the amount of fibre that asparagus has in it (2.1%) and the amount of iron (2.14 mg. )
There is even better news when we start to look at the vitamins and minerals.
Five of the biggest vitamins within asparagus are: riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1), vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin K.
Vitamins B1 and B2 help in the process of converting food into energy: how important is that to a dog?!
Vitamin A plays an important role in making sure that a dog’s eyes are functioning correctly.
Vitamin B6 makes a number of important hormones, including serotonin which is involved in controlling moods.
And finally vitamin K which plays a central role in blood clotting.
Which is a fairly important vitamin to have if you have a dog who is constantly getting into scrapes.
Now it is time to look at the minerals.
The biggest five minerals contained within raw asparagus are: copper, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
Copper and iron both play important roles in creating red blood cells and keeping them healthy.
Manganese is a bit of a multi tasker and is involved in blood clotting and reducing inflammation.
Phosphorus is involved in building, maintaining and repairing bones and teeth.
What raw vegetable should I feed my dog instead of asparagus?
This is a difficult one because the choice of an alternative is almost unlimited.
However, I will limit myself a bit by choosing a vegetable that is high in vitamin K and also copper- as asparagus is.
How about an asparagus doppelganger? A vegetable that is exactly like it, only it isn’t.
And my doppelganger is long stem broccoli.
It is dark green and so it contains similar nutrients but the important difference is that the stems aren’t as fibrous.
I’m not sure that I would feed it to my dogs raw but at least it can be tamed and softened with a few minutes of steam…
My other choices would be kale or spring greens.
Granted, they are not the same shape.
But they are part of the “dark green vegetable pack” and they are much easier and satisfying to chew than asparagus.
Even when served raw!
Kale has already been chopped up for us!
And spring greens just look so soft and luscious, don’t they?
What is the best raw vegetable to feed to my dog?
Oh, how lovely it would be if there was a king of raw vegetables, a vegetable that every dog should be eating every day.
But, of course, that vegetable doesn’t exist- for dogs or people.
I can give you a short list of “do not eat” vegetables for dogs- tomatoes, onions and wild mushrooms.
Instead dogs should have access to a range of raw or cooked vegetables that provides variety in the nutrition and the texture and the taste.
My dogs are real fans of carrots, cauliflower leaves and broccoli stems.
Carrots have got to be high up on the list because they are cheap, easy to get hold of and they have a great crunch and flavour.
I think that as long as you avoid any toxic vegetables like the plague, you should try as many different ones as possible.
The next three questions and answers specifically target all of you who want to press ahead with feeding asparagus to your dogs.
How much raw asparagus should I feed to my dog?
Even though asparagus hasn’t any vitamins or minerals which are toxic to a dog, I think that you should only feed a couple of tablespoons to your dog.
And this is because of how difficult or unsatisfying it will probably be for your dog to eat.
How should I prepare raw asparagus?
So, you are determined to feed asparagus to your dog, but please give them a chance and cut it into lengths of three or four centimetres.
That way, after your dog has chewed on them for a bit they can be swallowed safely.
It will be a different story if a dog is chewing on a whole “spear” of asparagus.
Because a dog will make very little “progress” by chewing on a spear, they will then be tempted to swallow it whole.
And at that point it could become a choking hazard!
Can a puppy eat raw asparagus?
No- I would strongly recommend that you didn’t feed asparagus to a puppy.
As I described throughout this article, there are better alternatives to raw vegetables that will provide the nutrition of asparagus, without the frustration and danger.
Carrots are a great starter raw vegetable for puppies.
They are full of flavour with a satisfying crunch.
Either chop the carrot into small pieces or if you feed it to your puppy whole, just watch them closely to make sure in their excitement that they don’t choke on any bits.
How should raw asparagus be cooked?
Normally, I would recommend that any cooked vegetable that you give your dog, should be lightly steamed.
But steaming asparagus will make it more chewy and string- like.
To make it more palatable you would need to boil it for about ten minutes or so.
Which is great in one sense because it will become easier to eat.
The trouble is that by boiling it, most of the nutrients will have disappeared.
The asparagus has about as much nutrition in it as a wet and muddy stick!
Can dogs eat raw asparagus? Yes, they can. Dogs can even eat it cooked.
Asparagus contains lots of important nutrients, such as vitamin K and copper.
It just has a very fibrous and string like texture to it whether it is eaten raw or cooked.
Should they eat it? No. There is a long list of good quality raw vegetables that will be a much better “fit” for your dog.