There are many discussions about which human foods are safe for dogs, spinach being one of the most controversial. Let’s begin by remembering that dogs in the wild are carnivorous. If meat sources are scarce, they may eat vegetation to supplement their diet however, dogs do not need vegetables. Nevertheless, some fruits and vegetables have useful nutrients and can also serve as a low-calorie snack. Here are the two sides of the spinach debate:
Spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also contains iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and roughage, which stimulate the digestive tract. Likely, you feed your dog a healthy, nutritious dog food that contains everything they need, though small amounts of spinach can provide benefits.
Spinach is very high in oxalic acid, this blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and in some cases, it can lead to kidney damage. There’s some science to back this up. Soluble oxalates, which contain oxalic acid, bind with magnesium and calcium in the blood, which limits the availability of these electrolytes. It leads to a low level of blood calcium, which can cause a sudden metabolic imbalance. Calcium oxalate is excreted through the kidneys and a large amount can cause kidney damage and in some cases, even kidney failure.
This being said, many specialists agree that a dog would have to eat rather large quantities of spinach to cause any damage. Dogs that have healthy kidneys can easily process small amounts of soluble oxalates. But long-term consumption can cause kidney stress, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, and even respiratory paralysis.
If you weigh this evidence and decide to feed your dog spinach, preparation is important. The best way to prepare it is steamed. This is because 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 before offering it to your dog. This is due to the way a dog’s digestive tract works as it can’t break down vegetables the way ours does.
If your dog’s kidneys are healthy, and you choose to feed him spinach, feed him only occasional small amounts. This could lower the possibility of calcium malabsorption and kidney damage. We also recommend you consult a pet nutritionist before adding spinach to your dog’s diet, even as a snack. As we mentioned, dogs don’t need vegetables. In fact, their diet should consist of 25 percent or less vegetable matter. Your nutritionist will help you decide whether spinach will help or harm your dog.