As a youngster, I ate spinach for one reason: Popeye the Sailor Man. I saw the way spinach transformed that mumbling sailor man into a bulky hero, and I wanted that. Your furry friend, on the other hand, wants spinach because they want hooman food. But can dogs eat spinach?
A Controversial Green
Out of all the hooman vegetables, spinach draws much controversy. I know, I know. I’m sure you didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “Today, I’m going to learn that spinach is controversial in the dog community.” But, here we are.
The controversy with spinach stems from its comparable list of benefits and harms. On one hand, spinach contains tons of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. On the other hand, spinach also contains a harmful substance called oxalic acid.
Spinach contains fairly high amounts of oxalic acid, a substance that can potentially cause kidney damage. I’ll speak more on this later.
For now, let’s examine the benefits of spinach.
Why Can Dogs Eat Spinach?
Spinach is high in vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also contains a wealth of beneficial antioxidants and minerals.
Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help to protect your dog’s vision, boost their immune system, increase their energy levels and bone strength, and protect them from cancer. Not to mention, the high levels of iron aid your fur baby’s digestive system.
Obviously, spinach boasts a wealth of beneficial nutrients. So what’s with this oxalic acid that stirs such a controversy among doggy dieticians?
A Kidney Punch
Opponents of feeding spinach to your furry friend say that spinach’s harmful substance, oxalic acid, is too risky for your dog’s health.
Here’s the deal with oxalic acid. Spinach contains high levels of it, but a quick google search proves that only excessive consumption of spinach can harm your dog’s health.
Essentially, oxalic acid poses a potential risk to your dog’s kidneys, but only if your dog consumes excessive amounts of spinach on a consistent basis.
Long term, excessive consumption of spinach leads to kidney stress and muscle weakness for your fur baby. However, not many dog owners are constantly feeding their pup some spinach. So the oxalic acid in spinach shouldn’t pose too much of a threat.
In fact, oxalic acid isn’t the biggest potential risk for your furry friend. The biggest risk of spinach is how you cook it.
Can Dogs Eat Spinach That You Eat?
Not many people I know of eat spinach without any kind of seasoning. A little salt and butter goes a long way for making spinach real tasty. But seasoned spinach also creates risks for your dog.
Spinach cooked in tons of butter, oil, or seasoning poses a much higher risk to your dog’s health than oxalic acid. Also, avoid feeding your fur baby any spinach dishes containing garlic or onions. These two foods are more harmful to your pup than the oxalic acid in spinach.
The best cooking method is to steam the spinach without any seasonings or butter and give it to your pup or top their dish with it.
Curing The Controversy
So, can dogs eat spinach?
Ultimately, it’s up to you. But a little bit of spinach every now and then is completely fine for your dog, and actually benefits their health.