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Can Dogs Eat Spinach? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Christin Perry LitteThings writer by Christin Perry
Christin is a mom and editor specializing in lifestyle content. She also hides cookies like a boss.

Many pet owners still faithfully scoop out a cup or two of dry dog food at mealtime, and most also give their furry friends the occasional treat. Increasingly, those treats and snacks are foods meant for humans.

Many of these foods are perfectly safe and even beneficial for dogs, if given responsibly. But pet owners should always be sure to check with a vet or other reliable source before giving any new food to dogs.

Some foods, like onions, are considered quite healthy for humans but toxic to pups. Other foods, like cheese and nuts, are safe for dogs when given sparingly but can lead to complications if you allow them to overindulge. And still others can vary by brand. For example, in an attempt to reduce its sugar content, there’s been a recent trend of including xylitol in peanut butter, but xylitol is a deadly toxin to dogs.

So what about spinach? Can dogs eat spinach? It’s a “superfood” for humans — why wouldn’t it be for them? Despite the major health benefits for humans, you may not want to let your pup get all Popeye on a bunch of spinach without first knowing the pros and cons. Here, we’ll discuss both, and tell you the best way to prepare spinach for your pooch if you choose to do so.

Can Dogs Eat Spinach?

Dog jumping for spinach on fork
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you’re a dog owner, you may be wondering, “Can my dog eat spinach?” The answer is yes, dogs can eat spinach, but be careful how you prepare it.

Remember that they don’t have the same nutritional needs as humans — if you’re feeding your pup a good-quality dog food, he’s probably getting everything he needs. Below, we’ll discuss the way to make spinach the best treat possible for your pup to eat.

Is Spinach Good For Dogs?

Vitamins equal spinach
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

One of the things that makes spinach good for dogs is what makes it good for us — the vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants. According to WebMD, spinach is packed with vitamins A, B, and K. It is a known cancer-fighter, and those dark, green leaves contain lots of iron. Just be sure to use it sparingly, since too much of a good thing is, well, not good.

Is Spinach Bad For Dogs?

Oxalic acid in spinach can affect dog's kidneys
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Pet owners should be aware that spinach does contain oxalic acid, an alkaloid that can cause kidney damage to dogs if given in large doses. According to rawfamily.com, “Oxalic acid in food is considered harmful because it can combine with calcium and may leach the body of this important mineral.”

Is Spinach Toxic For Dogs?

Dogs eating spinach can affect the heart and kidneys
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Despite the potential harm, spinach is not toxic for dogs — as long as you use it sparingly.

As the American Kennel Club states, “Many sources agree that a dog would have to eat very large quantities of spinach to cause damage.” But they also go on to warn that “long-term consumption can cause kidney stress, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms and even respiratory paralysis.”

How To Prepare Spinach For Dogs

Do not add to spinach for dogs and always chop it up
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

The key to making spinach OK for dogs is in how you prepare it. Here’s some advice the American Kennel Club gives about making spinach for dogs:

“The best way to prepare it is steamed. Boiled spinach loses most of its nutrients, and raw spinach is difficult for a dog to digest. Even steamed, don’t add any spices, herbs, salt, oil, onion, or garlic, since these substances can be toxic for dogs. Chop the spinach; a dog’s digestive tract can’t break down vegetables the way ours does.”

How To Keep Spinach Safe For Dogs

Adding spinach to dog bowl on snowy day
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

It’s so hard to know whether to share a snack with our furry friends when there are both benefits and drawbacks. We only want the best for our best friends!

So, what’s the conclusion? When it comes to dogs and spinach, we say: go for it, but use it wisely. Steam up a small amount of spinach for your pup from time to time to give him an extra dose of vitamins and minerals.

To avoid health issues related to oxalic acid, however, consider feeding dogs spinach on occasion and only in the cold-weather months, as a way to prevent colds and flu. (Yes, pups can suffer from these maladies, too!)

Do you feed spinach to your best furry friends? Please SHARE this article with your dog-lover friends!