Is Spinach Good For Dogs
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As humans, we can eat just about anything that’s edible. We are omnivores. We eat everything from meat to fruit to nuts to plants. But what about your dog? You probably wonder what kinds of food it’s safe to share with your best buddy. Can you give him some of the same foods that you enjoy? For example, what about spinach? Is spinach good for dogs? Let’s find out.
Are dogs omnivores or carnivores?
Actually, lots of people argue about the answer to this question. A look at a dog’s teeth, with their big “canines” would lead you to believe that they are carnivores. They also have a relatively short digestive system compared to humans. This often indicates an animal that hunts and digests food quickly, like a cat. Cats are well known for being obligate carnivores. They must have meat in their diet. But, don’t make your mind up about dogs yet.
Dogs may have started out as basic carnivores but they have lived with humans and been shaped by us for thousands of years. Your dog today doesn’t have the same digestive system as a wolf, for example. Or the same digestive system as his ancestor from 20,000-30,000 years ago when it’s thought that dogs began hanging around humans.
Over the millennia, dogs have evolved several genes for digesting starches https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2013.12280 – genes that their ancestors and wolves don’t possess. This is likely due to living with humans and eating a diet with leftovers that included starches. Dogs were present when humans invented agriculture so they learned to eat grains. Humans who lived off farmed foods showed similar genetic changes https://www.livescience.com/26513-starchy-human-diet-domesticated-dogs.html compared to peoples who existed by hunting and gathering.
So, when it comes to your dog, canines started out as carnivores but they have evolved to be able to eat other foods.
Can dogs eat the same foods humans eat?
Dogs can eat some of the foods that we eat but not all. In many cases dogs can eat healthy foods that humans eat, as long as they don’t contain a lot of salt, sugar, spices, or the ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
Ingredients which are always dangerous for dogs include: garlic, onion, chocolate, nutmeg, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, and foods that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol.
If you ever have any questions or concerns about giving a food to your dog, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian. This is especially important if your dog is overweight/obese, has diabetes, or if he has any other health issues.
Can dogs eat spinach?
So, what about spinach? Can dogs eat this leafy green that is considered healthy for humans? In general, yes, dogs can eat spinach, but only in small to moderate amounts.
Spinach is nutritious. Raw spinach is low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol. It’s a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and magnesium. It’s also a good source of niacin and zinc. However, it’s high in sodium which is not so good.
Spinach is made up of 56 percent carbohydrates, 14 percent fats, and 30 percent protein. Quite remarkable for a green veggie! Spinach is also higher in omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids. It’s rare to find vegetables with this ratio.
One cup of raw spinach (30 grams) contains just 6.9 calories.
Spinach also contain beta-carotene and antioxidants which are beneficial.
Spinach really is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. Popeye was telling the truth!
Are there any problems with giving your dog spinach?
Spinach obviously has a lot to offer in terms of nutrition, so where’s the problem if you want to give some to your dog?
The possible problem comes because spinach is high in something called oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can block the body from absorbing calcium and lead to kidney damage, among other things. There may also be a link between kidney and bladder stone formation and urinary oxalate content http://dogaware.com/articles/wdjcalciumoxalates.html.
Your dog would probably have to eat a lot of spinach over a long period of time to develop serious problems but it’s important to be aware of this issue if you want to give your dog spinach. Kidney and bladder stones can be serious problems and cause your dog a lot of pain.
Boiling or steaming spinach is said to reduce the amount of oxalates. Boiling will also remove some other nutrients, however.
If your dog has kidney or urinary tract problems, it’s best to completely avoid giving him any spinach just to be safe.
If your dog is healthy with no known kidney or urinary tract issues, you could give him a small amount of spinach occasionally. Check with your veterinarian if you have any questions.
Spinach is a very nutritious food for humans. It has some nutritional benefits for dogs, too, but you should only give it to dogs in small to moderate amounts because of the oxalic acid it contains. If your dog has any kidney or urinary tract problems, avoid giving him spinach. If your dog has other health issues, check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any spinach.