If you’ve got a bundle of kale lying in your refrigerator crisper drawer, you might be tempted to share this with your pet dog. After all, kale is a superfood loaded with vitamins and minerals. But then again, can dogs eat kale? Is kale safe for dogs?
Long-time pet owners are well aware that many of the foods humans eat are toxic to dogs. The foods deemed dangerous to dogs even include some healthy ones like onions, macadamia nuts, and lemons.
So, it’s good that you asked if kale is among the foods that should or should not be included in your dog’s diet. And you know what? You’ll find out everything here.
Aside from knowing if this food is safe for dogs, you can also expect to find a truckload of information about anything related to dogs and kale.
Must-Know Kale Facts
Yes, it’s true. Many hate its strong, bitter taste. You either love it or hate it. But maybe you haven’t tried the other varieties of kale yet. Because apart from the green kind, kale is also available in various colors like purple, bluish-green, and white.
If you prefer a milder, sweet flavor, go for the red Russian kale. Raw, young, freshly cut kale or those grown during the colder months taste better than old kale that has not been touched by cool weather.
When it comes to its nutritional value, these low-calorie cruciferous greens top the list. Although the kale trend is over and done with, this veggie is still a superstar nutrition-wise at the end of the day.
To give you a clearer picture, here are just a few of the vitamins (according to Healthline) you’re missing out on if you haven’t tried adding at least a cup of raw or cooked kale to your diet:
- It has more Vitamin K than spinach (684% of DV to be exact)
- It has more Vitamin C than oranges (134% of the DV)
Apart from that, this leafy vegetable also contains:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A (from beta carotene)
Can Dogs Eat Kale?
Do a quick search in Google, and you’ll find plenty of sites saying that kale is bad for dogs. On the other hand, some search results would say that this vegetable can also be beneficial for your pet dog. So, what’s the real deal behind feeding your dog kale? Can your dog eat kale?
The short answer is IT DEPENDS. Same with humans, this nutrient-dense vegetable is not for every dog.
Now, don’t be confused, though. This isn’t like chocolate and grapes that will wreak havoc to your dog’s health once consumed.
The truth is, some dogs can safely eat small amounts of kale without experiencing any health problems. Others, however, are better off eating other greens or vegetables.
So, if you want to know if feeding your dog kale is a great idea, read on. You’ll find most of the important stuff down below.
Health Benefits Of Kale For Dogs
Kale may no longer be in the spotlight, seeing that the kale craze has ended, but this does not remove the fact that this leafy vegetable is one healthy food brimming with essential vitamins and minerals.
Humans get to enjoy a ton of benefits whenever they include this in their diet. It helps people lose weight, aids digestion, improves heart health, and also fights cancer. But does the same apply to dogs?
If your canine companion is among the dogs that can tolerate eating a small amount of kale, your pet is also in for a surprise. Here are some of the benefits your dog gets from eating kale:
Helps Fight Diseases
These leafy greens are high in antioxidants. In fact, large amounts of kaemferol, quercetin, lutein, and zeaxanthin are found in this veggie.
Antioxidants can help counteract free radicals and prevent oxidative damage (a common cause of cancer). They also have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects.
Improves Dog’s Blood Function
Kale contains tons of vitamin K – a nutrient needed to activate your dog’s blood clotting ability. This also helps enhance bone and heart health.
Great For Weight Management and Digestion
Since kale is high in fiber and low in calories, feeding kale to dogs can help make your dog feel full. So, if your dog is trying to shave off some pounds, you can probably add kale to their regular dog food to somehow limit their food intake.
Apart from that, the fiber in this vegetable can also help improve your dog’s bowel movement.
Supports Eye Health
Eating foods rich in beta carotene is a must if you want to keep your eyes healthy. The same goes for dogs.
And since kale contains sufficient quantities of this red-orange pigment, feeding your dog a few pieces of these greens every now and then can help keep their eye health in check.
Potential Dangers Of Kale For Dogs
While feeding kale to dogs can have its benefits, it’s not always a good idea. As mentioned, this vegetable is not for every dog.
Just like its cruciferous cousins (think spinach and broccoli), kale contains natural compounds that can potentially harm your dog.
This includes calcium oxalate and isothiocyanates. If you wish to find out all the possible health issues your dog may experience, check out below:
May Cause Kidney And Bladder Stones
Veterinarian Mara Ratnofsky of Angell Animal Medical Center discourages pet owners from feeding dogs kale because of this vegetable’s calcium oxalate content.
Research shows that high calcium oxalate levels in the urine may increase your dog’s chances of developing urinary crystals and kidney and bladder stones.
Can Cause Mild To Severe Gastric Irritation
Cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cabbage are brimming with an organic compound called isothiocyanates. Generally, isothiocyanates are considered safe as long as they only take up less than 10% of your dog’s daily diet.
On the one hand, ingesting over 25% is considered toxic. Too much of this can cause gastric irritation. If you think your dog had too much kale, watch out for signs of diarrhea, bloating, gas, and nausea and contact your vet right away.
May Interfere With Thyroid Function
Letting your dog eat large amounts of cruciferous vegetables (like kale) may negatively affect your dog’s thyroid functioning. So, if your pet dog has hypothyroidism and is taking meds for it, it might be best for you to give your dog some other treat.Continue reading below _______________________
Tips On How To Feed Your Dog Kale
Is it safe to feed your dog kale? Yes and no. It all depends on your dog’s overall health condition. And as dog owners who want their dogs to live a longer, healthy life, contacting your vet should always be on your to-do list. This is a must if you plan to introduce any new food to your dog.
Now, if you have your vet’s “Go” signal, here are some tips on how you can feed this cruciferous food to your dog. This way, your dog can enjoy the benefits of kale to the fullest and do away with any of its harmful effects.
Wash Your Greens Thoroughly
Pesticide consumption is a real risk with kale. To avoid this, you can either let your dogs eat organic kale. Otherwise, you can simply wash your vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your dog.
Serve It Plain
Dogs can safely eat raw or cooked kale. However, vitamins and minerals are often lost during the cooking process. This is why many opt to feed this to their dog raw. Pureeing raw kale will make it easily digestible.
But if your dog prefers it cooked, you can lightly steam it or blanch it. Whether raw or lightly cooked, make sure to serve this food plain or free of oils and seasoning.
Always Start Small
Keep in mind that some dogs are more sensitive than others. As such, your dog can have an upset stomach instantly or feel gassy after eating a small amount.
If it’s your pup’s first time to eat kale, make sure to give just a tiny bite. This way, you can observe your pet’s reaction and stop if your dog shows any signs of queasiness.
Portion Control Is Key
Just like any other food, too much kale is bad for your dogs. So, if you want to let your dogs eat kale, give it in moderation. Kale is considered a treat and should only be given occasionally. And since it’s just a treat, it should not be added regularly to your dog’s diet.
How much is too much? This depends on the size of your dog. Generally, the 10% treat rule is a good rule of thumb.
Food For Thought
Kale (and other crucifers like broccoli) is really impressive, considering its cancer-prevention properties. But if your dog can’t tolerate it, it’s okay. After all, your pal’s health should be your top-most priority.
Yes, when your dog eats treats, they will wag their tails like crazy and smother you with love. That happiness, though, is only temporary.
If you want your dog to be REALLY healthy and happy, one thing you can do is to feed them a complete and balanced diet at all times.
Otherwise, you can feed them a healthy yet tummy-friendly treat like cucumber or cantaloupe if you wish to reward them.