3 min read

Can Dogs Eat Spinach?


By Kevin Hughes

Published: 04/23/2024, edited: 05/11/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Spinach is considered a ‘superfood’ — valued for its nutritional properties and overall healthy qualities. Us humans may love the green stuff, using it as an ingredient for smoothies, adding it into a pasta dish or using it as a salad. But can dogs eat spinach? And, if they can, should they? Is spinach good for dogs in the same way it is for people?

Let’s find out.

Can dogs eat spinach?

The short answer to the question ‘can dogs eat spinach?’ is yes, they can. But, as with many vegetables, how you feed your dog spinach, and how much of it is given to your dog, is really important.

As spinach is packed full of vitamins, including vitamin A, B and Ciron and antioxidants, it can be a healthy food for your dog. That said, dogs don’t really need spinach in their lives. They’re meat eaters at heart and their regular dog food should include all the nutrition they need in a balanced diet; dogs shouldn’t need additional vegetables like spinach. You should be feeding your dog a dog food that includes vegetables — read our guide to choosing the best food for your dog here.

So, you don’t really need to feed your dog spinach — don’t suddenly panic and start adding it to your dog’s bowl every day. Of course, as any pet parent knows, if you’re cooking with spinach and eating it, it’s highly likely your dog will show some level of interest. If you’re eating, they’ll probably want to ‘share’ some of it. It’s useful, then, to know what you can and can’t feed, and you can give spinach to your dog safely.

Do dogs even like spinach?

There’s no definitive yes or no to this question. Every dog is different. Some dogs will happily wolf down anything they’re given, which includes fruits and vegetables, while others may sniff a serving of spinach before turning away from it (not unlike some humans).

Spinach is something of an acquired taste in any case, so don’t be at all surprised if your dog isn’t interested in eating it.

human hands sifting through baby spinach leaves - can dogs eat spinach

Is spinach safe to give to dogs?

Yes, spinach is safe to feed to your dog — with a few caveats. You can’t just scoop a portion out of your pan and straight into your dog’s bowl.

Can dogs eat spinach cooked? Yes, though the golden rule is that the spinach has to be plain. Ideally, just boiled or lightly steamed. Don’t add any spices or flavoring. We might like our spinach to have salt and pepper on it — it can be a bland vegetable to eat — but that might upset a dog’s delicate stomach. Make sure the spinach has been washed thoroughly first.

Some of the typical ways we prepare our spinach, cooked in garlic, onions, with oil or ginger (as with stir fries) won’t be suitable for a dog to eat. Remember, garlic and onions are toxic to dogs.

Be careful with the amount of spinach you give to your dog. Too much spinach can easily upset your dog’s stomach — canines have sensitive stomachs at the best of times. Because spinach is full of fiber, eating too much can lead to diarrhea. The flipside to this is that spinach can offer a solution if your dog is suffering with constipation; a small amount of it can help to relieve the problem and loosen bowels.

There’s another, more serious risk of giving your dog too much spinach to eat, too. The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests that dogs who are at risk of developing kidney stones and bladder stones should avoid eating spinach as it’s high in something called oxalic acid, which can affect the way the body breaks down calcium, resulting in calcium oxalate stones being produced.

If your dog has had urinary crystals or stones before, it’s probably best to avoid giving it any spinach. Otherwise, just be sensible with the amount you feed — you’d need to give your dog large servings of spinach for this to be an issue.

All in all, a small serving of spinach should be an occasional treat or snack for your dog, and no more than that.

Can dogs eat spinach raw?

Dogs can eat spinach raw, though it should be washed first and the stalks chopped and removed. Don’t let your pup eat the stalks! However, dogs might find raw spinach difficult to swallow and digest; the leaves can feel hard and crunchy to them and there’s a slight chance they get stuck in their throat.

If you’re feeding your dog spinach, it’s better that it’s cooked so it wilts and becomes easier to eat.

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.