It’s no secret that dogs often love to indulge in human food, but that doesn’t mean that all the foods that people eat are appropriate or safe for dogs to consume. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is spinach good for dogs?” then you’ll be happy to know that spinach can make a wonderful addition to your pup’s diet. In fact, vets recommend this green, leafy vegetable because it packs a seriously nutritious punch. If you’re looking for a way to make your pup’s diet healthier than ever before, you’ll definitely want to learn more about including spinach in his routine.
Most people feed their dogs kibble and perhaps a meat-based wet food. Some of these foods are better quality than others. These better foods usually feature more protein and a more complex mix of produce when compared with bargain brands. Still, all commercially produced dog food goes through fairly extensive processing which can remove some of the nutrients from the various ingredients. Moreover, many dog food formulas feature an overabundance of processed grains and synthetic nutrients that don’t necessarily benefit your dog as much as most pet parents would like.This is why so many people are choosing to supplement their pup’s diet with fresh produce like spinach.
Vets usually recommend this approach as long as certain fruit and vegetables that are known to be toxic to dogs are avoided. Fortunately, spinach, when served in moderate amounts, is in no way harmful to dogs. This makes it the perfect produce to add into your dog’s homemade meals. In fact, dietary guidelines suggest that a healthy diet for a dog should consist of approximately 25 percent vegetable matter. This vegetable matter or produce may be either cooked or raw. Frankly, most dogs prefer produce to be cooked, but your pup may have developed a taste for the raw versions. When it comes to spinach, it is sensible to cook it. This is because a dog’s digestive system is quite different from a human’s. Because it is so different, it’s usually easier for your pup to process cooked vegetables. Cooking makes spinach easier for your dog to digest, and this may make the whole experience more pleasant for you and them.
If your dog has never had spinach before, then it makes sense to introduce it slowly and in small quantities. Spinach is known for having a pretty strong flavor, which may not appeal to some pups at the beginning.
Cooking makes it more palatable, and mixing it in with other foods makes it even easier for dogs to eat. Of course, dogs may have allergies just like people do. When introducing a new vegetable like spinach, give it to your dog once, and then watch him closely for his reaction. If you don’t notice any odd behavior or unexpected physical reactions, then it’s probably safe to continue introducing him to spinach. However, any signs of indigestion or bowel issues should be monitored closely. Contact a vet if these symptoms persist or become worse.
Most dogs can tolerate spinach and other vegetables without any difficulty as long as they are prepared appropriately. Many pet parents choose to chop and then steam spinach before mixing it in with their dog’s food. Steaming is a quick, no-fuss preparation method which ensures that the spinach retains most of its nutritional value. Boiling is not recommended because the vegetable can lose a great deal in the way of nutrients in the process.
It isn’t necessary to add any spices or flavorings to the spinach. Things like salt, pepper, lemon, garlic powder, and onion do not make produce more palatable to dogs. Some ingredients, like onions, are even toxic to them. It’s always a good idea to recall that simple is best when it comes to adding produce to your dog’s diet.
Nutrients In Spinach
Spinach is particularly nutrient dense, which makes it an attractive option to feed dogs. It features twice as much iron when compared to other greens. Iron is important for your dog because it joins with copper to form hemoglobin, which helps to carry oxygen throughout the blood system. Other important components include fiber, potassium, and calcium. Dogs need fiber to prevent both constipation and diarrhea as well as to reduce the risk of colon cancer. All of that fiber is also very filling, which can lead to significant weight loss. Potassium helps the nerves and muscles while calcium ensures the strength of your pup’s bones.
Spinach also includes vitamins A, B6 and K in abundance. Vitamin A can improve the quality of your pup’s skin and hair while vitamin B6 promotes optimal brain function and helps with water regulation in the body. Vitamin K is essential to building and maintaining strong bones. If your pup has any inflammatory issues, then spinach may be beneficial. Many pet parents whose dogs exhibit IBS-type symptoms have found relief through adding spinach to their dog’s diet. Of course, if you suspect that your dog has an ongoing medical issue, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian before trying a home remedy. This green, leafy vegetable may also help to protect dogs against cancer. Several studies have demonstrated the ability of spinach extract to reduce incidents of skin cancer, and all of those nutrients may help your pup fight other forms of the disease.
Spinach also contains solid levels of iron and folate. These substances are important for ensuring proper blood circulation. They can also be used to treat anemia. Your dog’s vision might even improve thanks to spinach. The vegetable contains antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein, which are both known to ward off retinal damage and improve eyesight.
Spinach is a wonderful addition to your dog’s diet in moderate amounts. Some detractors have noted that this vegetable contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to dogs. Oxalates have been known to cause kidney issues and bladder stones. However, a dog would have to consume exceptionally large quantities of spinach on a regular basis in order for this damage to occur. The reality is that it would be extraordinarily difficult for your pup to actually eat enough spinach to cause her harm. Mixing in a small amount of spinach will give your dog’s diet the nutritious boost that it needs without putting her in danger of developing kidney issues.
Make Your Own Dog Food
If you’d like to try your hand at making dog food that includes spinach, here is a simple recipe. You can make countless variations on this formula, just make certain that you always include a protein source, vegetables, and a carbohydrate. The protein could be any meat like beef, chicken, turkey or lamb. Fish and eggs can also be used. If you like, you can include more than one protein source in the homemade food.
Dogs can safely eat a number of different vegetables, so go ahead and toss in some spinach, carrots, green beans, peas, broccoli and pumpkin, among others. Obviously, it isn’t necessary to include all of these in a single batch. Choosing two or three at a time is typically sufficient, especially if you’re serving the homemade food in alternation with a commercially available dog food that may have other produce in it.
Carbohydrates can come from rice, potatoes, pasta, oatmeal or yams. Bear in mind that your dog may be allergic to one of these carbohydrate sources, so choose carefully. Just don’t be tempted to leave the carbs out, because they actually do contain essential nutrients that your dog needs for optimal health.
When putting together your ingredients, keep in mind that dog food should generally be made up of about 50 percent vegetables, 40 percent protein, and 10 percent carbohydrates. A Dutch oven works well for preparing homemade dog food. Just fill it with water and put it on the stove to bring it to a boil. Add the carbohydrates, allowing them to cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the protein and the vegetables. Boil for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re including spinach, steam it and then add it to the mixture after removing the Dutch oven from the heat. Allow the food to cool completely before spooning it into freezer-safe containers for storage.
If you want to make certain that your pup gets the best nutrition possible, then feel free to add spinach into his diet. Not only is spinach good for dogs, but it aids in basic physical and mental functions that help to guarantee your pooch’s long and happy life.