Water spinach, otherwise known as Ong Choy in Cantonese, Kangkong in the Philippines, or Rau Muong in Vietnam, is a leafy vegetable that belongs to the Morning Glory family. It is a common staple in many Southeast Asian dishes, known for adding flavor and nutrients to local cuisine.
If you find yourself cooking with water spinach or swamp spinach, or you’re in a restaurant and one of your orders contains the vegetable, you might be tempted to give your pup a taste or two. This is especially true if you find your canine friend is begging you for a taste, and you find yourself wanting to feed it to your dog.
While water spinach is nutritious and flavorful for humans, can dogs eat it? Is it safe to feed it to your dog, or is it bad for them? In this guide, we’ll take a look if kangkong is good or bad for your furry friend.
What is Water Spinach?
Water spinach is also known as swamp spinach or kangkong in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, within the regions where it grows abundantly. Despite its name, water spinach is not actually spinach and is not related to spinach family. It is a completely different vegetable that looks similar to spinach but it comes from a different family of vegetables.
Water spinach is known for its high levels of dietary fiber, as well as its dense amounts of vitamins and minerals that make it a superfood. But just because it’s healthy for humans, does it mean it’s healthy for dogs, too?
Can Dogs Eat Water Spinach?
Yes, dogs can eat water spinach. In fact, water spinach is a great vegetable that can help a dog who may be suffering from digestion problems. Even without digestive issues, kangkong can help keep your dog’s stomach healthy.
Aside from the high levels of dietary fiber, water spinach also contains vitamins and minerals that are great for dogs. Some of these include Vitamin A, which boosts your dog’s energy levels, Vitamin C for an improved immune system, Vitamin K for heart health, as well as folic acid for brain health, amino acids for muscle development, and beta carotene for eye health.
Water Spinach Nutritional Facts
One serving or 56 grams of chopped water spinach contains the following nutrients:
- Dietary Fiber = 1.2g
- Protein = 1.5g
- Carbohydrates = 1.8g
- Potassium = 175mg
- Sodium = 63mg
It also contains high levels of vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, folate acid, iron, and magnesium.
Benefits of Water Spinach for Dogs
- Improves Digestive Health
The high fiber content in water spinach is good for your dog’s overall digestive health. It can help improve bouts of constipation and can help to regulate your pup’s daily bowel movement.
- Improves Overall Health
Water spinach is packed with antioxidants that help reduce free radicals in your dog’s body. Antioxidants can also protect your dog from cell damage and delay the signs of aging.
- Boosts Immune System
Water spinach’s high levels of disease and infection-fighting nutrients help improve your dog’s immune system. Vitamins C, A, and E, help to fight against disease, while magnesium and zinc also help to boost the immune system.
- Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Water spinach has low levels of sugar and calories. Being a low-calorie food, it helps to regular blood sugar levels in diabetics or prediabetes, especially dogs who are prone to develop type-2 diabetes.
- Helps Keep Weight Down
Obesity is a big problem in dogs since it can increase a dog’s risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, ad cancer. With water spinach being low-calorie and high in protein, adding it to your dog’s diet can help it feel fuller for longer, eliminating the need to overeat and thereby, helping to reduce the risk for obesity.
- Keeps Dog’s Coat Healthy and Shiny
Water spinach is also known o help improve your dog’s skin and coat, making it healthy and shiny.
Things to Consider When Feeding Water Spinach to Your Dog
Though as healthy as water spinach may be, there are also risks involved that you should consider. Here are things to watch out for:
- Raw Water Spinach
Water spinach or swamp spinach are grown in swamps, which may be polluted. These waters may have parasites or bacteria that are harmful to your dog. To prevent this, you should feed your dog cooked water spinach. Avoid giving raw water spinach as much as possible because these may contain parasites, even after you’ve washed them.
- Too Much Water Spinach
Giving your dog more than 3 servings of water spinach for one day is too much. If your dog has accidentally eaten a lot of water spinach, it may develop adverse side effects, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or recessive gas. These symptoms usually go away on their own but if symptoms persist after 12 to 24 hours, bring your dog to the vet to prevent dehydration, which can be deadly.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can puppies eat water spinach?
No. Small puppies have a hard time digesting vegetables, especially ones that are high in fiber.
- Is kangkong bad for dogs?
Raw kangkong is bad for dogs because it may contain bacteria and parasites that come from polluted water, where the plant is grown. To ensure the water spinach is clean and safe to eat, it’s best to feed your dog cooked kangkong.
- Is water spinach the same as regular spinach?
No, water spinach is completely different from regular spinach and they have different nutritional benefits for dogs.
- How do I feed water spinach to my dog?
Give cooked water spinach to your dog by giving it directly or adding it to its commercial dog food. One tablespoon of chopped water spinach is good per day. Do not give your dog more than two servings since the high fiber content can cause digestive issues if your dog overeats.
Water spinach, also known as swamp spinach or kangkong, is a highly nutritious leafy vegetable that belongs to the morning glory family. When cooked, it is a great addition to your dog’s diet for its high levels of fiber and other nutrients that boost your dog’s overall health. However, limit the amount to only 1 tablespoon per day since dogs still need protein and other nutrients that come from commercial dog food.
Water Spinach (Pixabay)
Feeding Your Dog (Pixabay)