For decades it was said that children had to eat spinach to grow big and strong. The hero of a popular comic series provided proof. What is good for children is often also healthy for dogs. But does that also apply to spinach?
Can dogs eat spinach leaves?
But there is no need to panic if the dog has nibbled on some spinach. Even if spinach isn’t healthy for a dog, a small amount won’t make him sick.
Can my dog be allergic to spinach?
Allergies to spinach do occur but are very rare. If you’re not sure whether your dog can tolerate spinach, it’s best not to give him any.
The nutritional value of spinach is not so high for the dog that it might be worth taking any risk. If your dog is allergic to latex, it is also possible that he has a cross-allergy to spinach.
The iron content of spinach
For many decades, spinach was regarded as the ultimate iron supplier among vegetables. Until it turned out that this assessment was wrong. When the iron content was originally determined, the documentation simply slipped a comma, which incorrectly increased the percentage tenfold.
Spinach still contains a significant amount of iron. However, because of the special combination of ingredients in spinach, it is on the one hand of low bioavailability and the other hand generally rather uninteresting for dogs.
As carnivores, they have more effective sources of iron at their disposal. If you feed your dog vegan, you will have dealt with the supply of iron anyway and discovered other suppliers.
Oxalic acid in spinach is unhealthy for dogs
Spinach still deserves a front runner position in terms of the proportion of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can be quite useful, for example in removing stains and rust. Beekeepers use them to control mites.
However, it has no direct nutritional value.
Since oxalic acid forms salts in connection with iron, magnesium, and calcium, precisely these substances in foods are not available to the organism during digestion. Depending on the constantly fluctuating content of oxalic acid, it can even remove calcium or magnesium from the body in other ways.
In the strongest form, kidney stones are formed. Therefore, it is better not to give spinach at all to a dog who already has kidney problems. For this reason, spinach is also completely unsuitable for puppies.
It is fundamentally important to provide a dog with adequate calcium. Therefore, foods like spinach that inhibit calcium absorption are not recommended.
Oxalic acid breaks down at temperatures above 150 degrees. That means it doesn’t change when you cook. If you give your dog leftover food because you both like spinach, it’s best to give baked foods – maybe filled puff pastry.
How healthy are finished products from the freezer for the dog?
Spinach is mainly bought in the form of frozen products. In principle, there is nothing wrong with that, because there are hardly any fresher spinach leaves or prepared variants.
If you’re one of those people who love creamed spinach, your dog may get a spoon here and there too.
Snacking on small portions will not harm your dog. You should only bear in mind that ready-made preparations such as Iglo Spinach not only contain “cream” – that is, cream – but also skimmed milk powder, about half of which is milk sugar (lactose).
Adult dogs cannot digest lactose and will react with diarrhea and gas. Larger rations of creamed spinach are therefore forbidden by themselves.
Those who love spinach also like Swiss chard
If your dog likes spinach, he or she probably won’t spurn Swiss chard either. Although they are not botanically related, Swiss chard is quite similar to spinach – unfortunately also in terms of its oxalic acid content.
On average it is slightly lower, but since the proportion of oxalic acid fluctuates greatly, it can occasionally happen that chard contains even more of it than spinach. The same feeding recommendations apply to Swiss chard as to spinach.
Is there any dog food or ready-made food with spinach?
Almost all manufacturers have ready-made feed preparations with a small amount of spinach in their product range. The combination of spinach and salmon is particularly popular. B. can be found in the products of Purizon and Animonda.
Here the spinach content is less than 5% and should therefore be harmless regardless of the manufacturing process.
Canned food such as Dog’s Love Bio green vegan, with a higher spinach content, is intended as a side dish. However, since these are not a complete feed, but only serve as a supplement to a meat ration, the amount is put into perspective.
Spinach is not always part of a healthy dog diet
Spinach is allowed in small portions in the dog bowl from time to time, if the dog enjoys it, is grown up and healthy. As a regular part of a healthy diet, spinach is not suitable for dogs.
Although it contains important nutrients with low calorific value, the content of harmful oxalic acid can be so high that the nutrients do not offset it.