Sauerkraut is just one of the few human foods that dogs are not really attracted to because of its strong smell, and even stronger taste.
So, dog owners should not be bothered when eating hot dogs, casseroles, and meaty dishes with sauerkraut on top.
But, just in case your canine buddy got curious, can he safely eat sauerkraut? Can dogs eat sauerkraut?
Can Dogs Eat Sauerkraut?
Well, what’s sauerkraut in the first place? In simple terms, sauerkraut is fresh cabbage that has been thinly sliced and fermented with lactic acid bacteria. Hence, just like other fermented foods, sauerkraut is safe for dogs to eat.
That being said, yes, dogs can eat sauerkraut, but only in moderation since it is high in sodium. And as dog owners, we know that too much sodium in our dog’s diet can lead to several health complications.
Is Sauerkraut Bad for Dogs?
No, sauerkraut is not bad for dogs. Raw cabbage is already nutritious enough, but raw sauerkraut or fermented cabbage is even more nutritious.
However, as with any other fiber-rich foods, too much sauerkraut can make your dog gassy, and he may end up snubbing it next time you add it to his meal.
Also, when choosing between warm homemade sauerkraut and store brought sauerkraut, we’d have to say the former is a safer and healthier choice.
Mass produced sauerkraut sold in supermarkets usually contains additives and can have too much salt content for your dog to consume.
So, is store bought sauerkraut safe for dogs or not? Well, it’s not toxic, and it can also be safe in moderation. But then again, it’s not a healthy food choice for your dog because of its higher sodium content.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Sauerkraut?
Yes, dogs can eat cooked or warmed sauerkraut. However, there’s a lower chance that they will because of its stronger smell and taste than raw or cold sauerkraut.
Another downside of feeding cooked sauerkraut to your dog is that it does not contain natural probiotic or good bacteria that kills the bad ones and make it harder for them to come back and flourish inside your dog’s body.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Sauerkraut?
Yes, dogs can also eat canned sauerkraut. However, if you should be feeding your dogs sauerkraut, it’s best to stick with homemade, raw, and refrigerated sauerkraut.
Can You Feed Dogs Sauerkraut with Caraway Seeds?
Sauerkraut is safe and good for your dog’s health, as long as it doesn’t contain additives, too much salt, and caraway seeds.
Sad to say, according to ASPCA, caraway, also known as Meridian Fennel or Persian Cumin, is toxic to your canine companions.
Don’t get it wrong, though with the powdered cumin that you buy in stores. While both belong to the same parsley family, they come from different plants.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten sauerkraut with caraway seeds, you should watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs that he is feeling unwell.
And in case you sense something is wrong, trust your gut, and take your dog to the vet right away so that proper assessment and interventions can be given.
Why Is Sauerkraut Good for Dogs?
Sauerkraut is simply canned cabbage, right? So, why is it better than plain fresh cabbage?
Contrary to what most people think, sauerkraut isn’t just canned cabbage. Essentially, it is fermented cabbage that is stored in a can, and this minute difference is what enables it to give numerous health benefits to dogs and humans.
Just like other fermented vegetables and foods, sauerkraut is rich in antioxidants and cancer-fighting probiotics.
It’s also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and other important nutrients that can help support your dog’s heart health, immune system, and bone health.
Additionally, it is also good for your dog’s eye health and gut health, as well as for his joint pain, and skin and coat problems.
Nutritional Benefits of Sauerkraut for Dogs
Whether your pup loves to eat sauerkraut, or you are simply creative in sneaking it to your dog’s food, it doesn’t really matter – either way, your canine buddy is going to enjoy heaps of health benefits from eating this tasty and nutritious fermented food.
To start, the fermentation process creates sauerkraut probiotics that are beneficial for your dog’s gastrointestinal health, immune system, as well as his overall health and well-being.
The probiotics inside your dog’s body produce colonies of healthy gut bacteria that help prevent gastrointestinal problems, such as digestive tract inflammation and canine gastroenteritis. Fresh or uncooked sauerkraut contains several strains of this good bacteria.
Hence, sauerkraut probiotics also help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria inside your dog’s gut. When there is an overabundance of bad bacteria inside your dog’s stomach and entire digestive system, he will be more at risk of having recurring infections, skin irritation, diarrhea, and even depression.
If these are not enough, sauerkraut probiotics may also help prevent cancer in dogs, reduce symptoms of seasonal or food allergies, improve eye health, ease nervousness and anxiety, reduce incidences of infections, and even generate the production of omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for a dog’s brain functioning and development.
With all of these health benefits, we can say that the probiotics in sauerkraut are without a doubt the main reason why a lot of dog owners want to introduce sauerkraut into their dogs’ diet. And if it’s your dog’s first time to try sauerkraut, you should not forget to only give him a small amount and then observe how he reacts.
As always, new foods should be added gradually into your dog’s diet to prevent stomach upset. Moreover, for your dog to get most of the benefits from eating this fermented food, make sure to only offer fresh or refrigerated sauerkraut.
Unfortunately, cooked sauerkraut doesn’t contain the much sought-after probiotics because they don’t survive at a temperature of around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you want to preserve the gut health benefits from sauerkraut probiotics, you can warm it, but only at a low temperature.
Aside from all of these nutritional and health benefits, sauerkraut is also rich in iron, which is good for your dog’s blood circulation, energy, and metabolism. It is also useful in lowering cholesterol levels in older dogs. And the good bacteria present in this fermented food interfere with fat absorption, which then aids overweight dogs to lose body weight and improve their cardiovascular health.
And just like other leafy vegetables, the phytonutrients in sauerkraut act as anti inflammatory antioxidants that play an important role in reducing joint and muscle pain in dogs with arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems.
Additionally, every cup of sauerkraut contains plenty of vitamin C, which is important in strengthening your dog’s immune system. Vitamin C also helps with cellular regeneration and white blood cell production in dogs.
Moreover, the nutrients present in sauerkraut are also helpful for developing stronger bones in puppies and promoting bone health in adult dogs. And as mentioned earlier, vitamin A and carotene in sauerkraut are good for your dog’s eye health and helpful for the prevention of cataracts in older dogs.
Tips in Feeding Sauerkraut to Your Dog
By now, you must be so eager to feed sauerkraut to your dog, but before you do that, remember to follow the rule in introducing new food to your dog’s meals, which is by adding a small amount gradually.
Also, since most dogs won’t eat sauerkraut alone, your best bet would be to hide it in his regular food so that he won’t easily notice its strong smell and taste. You can also put it in a bowl, mix it with apple juice or water, and soak it for about 30 minutes to reduce its smell and flavor.
If your dog absolutely hates it even if it’s already mixed with his favorite canned food or kibbles, then, just turn away with your sauerkraut-infused dog food and don’t force him to eat it again. Instead, you can give him other foods and drinks that are rich in probiotics and are safe for dogs, such as kefir or yogurt.
Of course, you can always resort to high-quality dog foods and treats that are not only rich in probiotics, but also other essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.