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To bond with my dog, I like to share the healthy foods that I love. As spring approaches, so does asparagus season—a magical time of year. Asparagus is like no other vegetable. We eat the young stalk right after it sprouts from the ground and before it grows leaves, fruits, or seeds. That makes asparagus a bit of a mystery as far as its safety as a treat for dogs. Can dogs eat asparagus?
Yes, but you have to be careful. Dogs can eat the part of the asparagus that people eat–the tender, cooked stalk, and tips. However, raw asparagus can be difficult for dogs to digest, and whole asparagus stalks can present a choking hazard.
If you buy raw asparagus, remove the fibrous section at the bottom of the stalk, and cook it until it’s soft. Then it’s fine to share some with your dog.
A word of caution: When left to grow, asparagus plants can flower and grow small red “berries”. These seedpods are poisonous to humans and dogs, so it’s best to only eat asparagus when it’s in the tender shoot stage.
Ingesting the berries can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. This is usually only a concern if you’re growing asparagus in your home garden, in which case, a sturdy fence should keep your dogs away.
Dogs are omnivores, and they benefit from many different fruits and vegetables for the same reasons humans do— these foods are low in fat and sugar, and high in vitamins and fiber.
Asparagus is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber, thiamin, vitamin A, and vitamin B6, important nutrients for dogs. Asparagus is also high in fiber, which dogs need in small amounts but can cause gas and diarrhea if they eat too much.
It’s essential that asparagus is well cooked and soft before giving it to your dog. Chop the asparagus into bite-size pieces to avoid any choking dangers.
- Cook asparagus in bone broth with other veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes, and ladle up some soup for your pup.
- Cook rice in chicken broth and add chopped asparagus in the last 10 minutes of cooking for some tasty doggy risotto.
- Share a spear of plain cooked asparagus from your dinner with your dog for a healthy, easy treat.
If you do serve your dog asparagus, be sure to chop it up into bite-sized pieces and to cook it before serving. Asparagus can be fibrous, so test the pieces to make sure they’re very soft and easy to chew.
Vets commonly recommend that dog parents follow the 10% rule. Treats, including raw veggies, can make up 10% of the calories in your dog’s diet.
Asparagus is about 93% water and has about three grams of dietary fiber and 28 calories per cup.
As with any new food, give your dog a small amount of asparagus to start. Feed your dog a few pieces, then wait to see how her belly responds. Keep an eye (and nose) out for gas and diarrhea.
Asparagus is not toxic to dogs, but it’s recommended to trim the tough ends off the stalks and cook them until soft before feeding asparagus to your dog.
There’s also a plant called the “asparagus fern” that is toxic to dogs. While related to the asparagus we eat, this plant is not edible for humans or dogs. Usually, if you hear that asparagus leaves are toxic to dogs, vets and other experts are referring to the asparagus fern and other related plants, not the edible variation.
Again, if you’re growing asparagus, watch out for the berrylike red seedpods produced after the plant is allowed to flower. Those are toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
For a colorful and crunchy snack, try putting cooked asparagus stalks into a dehydrator, along with green beans and sweet potatoes.
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours
- Yield: 5 trays
- Category: Healthy Snacks
You can dehydrate any dog safe veggies you’ve got on hand – from pumpkin or squash to carrots and zucchini strips. For this recipe, we walk you through processing techniques for dehydrated sweet potatoes, green beans, and bell peppers, but you can use this recipe with all dog-safe fruits and veggies.
Feel free to experiment and have fun!
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 pound green beans
- 1 pound asparagus spears
- 2 red bell peppers
- Oven or dehydrator. We used the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Dehydrator.
- Stockpot for blanching
- Ice for an ice-bath
- Cookie sheet and towels or paper towels to dry after blanching
- Optional: mandoline for slicing
- Fill a stockpot about three-quarters full of water and set to boil. If the water boils before you’re done prepping, just turn it down to medium-low until you need it. It will perk back up quickly.
- Rinse all your veggies well.
- Snap or snip the ends off your green beans/asparagus spears and set aside.
- Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 1/4″ pieces, rounds, or strips. If you have a mandoline, this step goes quickly.
- Put green beans, asparagus, and sweet potatoes in boiling water to blanch for 4 minutes.
- Add ice and cold water to a large bowl to drain blanched veggies when they’re ready.
- Prep sweet bell peppers by removing seeds and white pith. Slice into 1/4″ strips.
- Remove beans and potatoes when done by dipping a long-handled strainer into the boiling water, draining a second, then pouring veggies into ice-bath.
- When all veggies are removed from boiling water, add the bell pepper strips and blanch for 1 minute, then add to the ice bath.
- When all the veggies are cooled, proceed to the drying stage.
- On a large cookie sheet or sheet pan, place a clean dry tea towel or two layers of paper towel.
- Place cooled veggies onto the dry towel, adding another towel on top and another layer of veggies on top of that until all the veggies are nestled in. Pat or squeeze gently.
- Layer dried veggies onto dehydrator trays, taking care to make sure nothing is touching.
- Dehydrate between 110-140 degrees for at least 8 hours.
- If you want your sweet potatoes chewier, you can pull them out and continue drying your other veggies to the crisp stage.
- When fully dehydrated, allow veggies to cool to room temperature, then pack loosely in an airtight container or bag.
- For crisper veggies, keep in the dehydrator longer.
- You can use your oven instead of a dehydrator, set to the lowest possible setting and start checking dryness at 4 hours and every 30 minutes or so thereafter.
- Veggies dried crisp will last longer than veggies dried to the chewy state.
- Chewy veggies should be eaten in the next couple of days or kept in the fridge.
- Crispy dried veggies should last 2 weeks in an airtight container.
- Check out these drying tips from the National Center for Home Preservation for the optimum longevity of your dried goodies.
Learn more about feeding your dog a wonderfully varied diet while learning the limitations of a dog’s sensitive digestive system. We offer a collection of articles on foods that are safe, dangerous or even toxic for dogs to eat, including vegetables, dairy, bread, and junk food.