The quick answer: Yes, spinach is safe for your dog when consumed in small amounts.
Benefits of spinach
This leafy green is touted for its health benefits and is chock full of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also contains protein, iron, beta carotene, and dietary fiber. Spinach can be consumed raw or cooked, and steaming is recommended as the best cooking option to preserve most of the nutrients.
Spinach contains oxalates, a naturally occurring substance that is also found in other vegetables, such as kale, beet roots, collards and quinoa. Oxalates block the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can cause kidney and bladder stones when consumed in large quantities. Many sources agree that a dog would have to eat very large amounts of spinach to cause issues, so a little bit of spinach here and there shouldn’t be a problem for most dogs. However, if your dog is prone to kidney stones, refrain from feeding spinach or consult your veterinarian before doing so.
Dogs with healthy kidneys can process small amounts of soluble oxalates, but regularly eating significant amounts of spinach over the long term can cause damage, such as kidney stress, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, and even respiratory paralysis.
In order to avoid pesticides, it’s best to opt for organic spinach or wash your greens very thoroughly. Whether your pup eats spinach cooked or raw, keep it plain. Added salt and spices can cause trouble for your dog, ranging from dehydration to toxicity, and oils may cause tummy upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight gain.
It’s important to moderate your dog’s intake of spinach for the reasons mentioned above, but also because too much of any fruit or vegetable is never good for your dog’s tummy. Consuming a heaping amount of spinach in one sitting can cause an upset tummy, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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