Kale is one healthy veg chock-full of nutrients – a great addition to our diets. This super-food is versatile enough to be incorporated into several dishes, from salads to smoothies, soups, etc.
As a dog parent, you can’t resist spoiling your pup with all the goodness in the world, including human foods. Are you wondering if it’s safe to give your four-legged best friend kale? Will your dog benefit from all the nutritious goodness? Does kale pose any danger to your dog?
Stick around as we kick off with these and so much more!
Can Your Dog Eat Kale?
Yes. Your pup can eat kale but in small amounts. Leafy greens such as kale and cabbages are not harmful to your canine companion as long as they are consumed in moderation. Since kale is jam-packed with nutrients, it’s a paw-positively perfect addition to your pup’s diet.
You can feed your dog cooked or raw kale leaves. Nevertheless, although safe for your pup, raw kale is more challenging to digest and can cause tummy upset and gas. Cooked kale is much gentler on the stomach and easier to digest. So, it’s best to lightly boil, steam, or bake kale before feeding it to your pup.
As for kale stems or kale ribs, they are edible but extremely bitter, tough, and fibrous. Some dog parents give the stems to their hound as a crunchy treat, but these pose a choking hazard. They are also distasteful to your dog and risky because of their high oxalate content.
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Is Kale Good for Your Dog?
Kale is jam-packed with nutrients for humans, making it one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. The jury is still out on whether the benefits of kale trickle down to our furry companions. But given the potent nutrients in these greens, your furry friend is sure to reap a ton of goodness.
Here are the paw-friendly nutrients in Kale:
- Iron: Veggies like kale and Brussel sprouts are rich in iron which staves off anemia. Iron also helps maintain healthy skin, nails, hair, and cells.
- Calcium: Kale is a fantastic source of plant-based calcium, which is great for strong bones and healthy teeth. The oxalate in kale makes the calcium readily available for absorption by your pup. However, oxalate can ruin your dog’s health, especially if it has bladder stones.
- Fiber: Kale, like cauliflower, provides insoluble fiber when consumed by dogs, ensuring proper digestion and bowel health. Fibre also helps to control your dog’s cholesterol and sugar levels. Tossing a small serving of kale in your pup’s feeding bowl can help it feel full for longer and shed extra calories.
- Vitamins: Kale is rich in vitamins C, K, and E. Vitamin C ensures a healthy immune system and the growth and repair of body cells and connective tissue. The vitamin is also a vital component in several body functions like absorption of iron and collagen formation.
- Antioxidants: These clean up free radicals in your pup’s body that cause cell damage and lead to oxidative stress, linked to arthritis, stroke, heart disease, and cancer. Kale is a chock-full of antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and chlorophyll.
Can Kale Make Your Dog Sick?
Thanks to its numerous health benefits, we’ve seen that kale earns a paw of approval as a pup-friendly green. However, it should always be served plain and in moderation to prevent your dog from falling ill. Like most leafy greens, consuming too much kale will leave your dog with a nasty tummy ache, flatulence, and diarrhea.
There are specific compounds in Kale that are harmful to your trusty companion. The risk is even higher when you regularly feed your pup this veggie in large quantities.
These compounds include:
Soluble oxalates are naturally safe, but this is not the case for your canine. Soluble oxalates bind with calcium causing kidney and bladder stones. So, if your dog has issues with its kidney or bladder, or is prone to stones, it’s best to avoid all oxalate-rich foods like parsley, kale, spinach, collards, beet greens, Swiss chard, leeks, okra, and quinoa.
Certain breeds are more likely to be diagnosed with calcium oxalate stones, so you should take extra caution with them:
Kale and Broccoli have a compound known as isothiocyanates. This compound provides plenty of benefits to humans, including warding off cancer. But in dogs, it is safe when ingested in small amounts. Too much consumption and your pup will experience gas, mild to severe gut irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and toxicity.
According to Dr. Jerry Klein, the chief vet officer at American Kennel Club (ACK), “Broccoli is ideally safe for dogs only if the total amount consumed is no more than 10% of their recommended daily intake. More than 25% and your dog will experience toxicity.”
Kale and broccoli have similar isothiocyanate levels. So, while we agree that kale is safe for your furry friend, it should only be given in small quantities.
Your pup requires a healthy dose of iodine to help them stay healthy and prevent hypothyroidism. But excess iodine can cause stomach upset and even cancer. If your pup is suffering from a thyroid condition, it’s best if you don’t feed it kale. You don’t want the iodine present in kale to interfere with your dog’s thyroid function or medication.
Compared to cooked kale, raw kale can cause thyroid gland issues, including interfering with its regular functioning. Like other leafy greens, kale contains goitrogens which can stop the body from absorbing iodine. Cooked kale is much safer since the heat deactivates the goitrogens.
My Dog ate too Much Kale. What Can I Do?
Even the most responsible dog parents cannot control what their dogs always eat. Canines have a way of going rogue and wolfing on anything foodie in their sight. If you suspect your dog has chomped down a lot of kale, the best thing to do is monitor him closely for signs of stomach upset.
Look out for vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal urination, or difficulty in urination. These are likely signs of kidney and bladder stones of which your furry friend requires immediate veterinary care.
How Much Kale Should You give Your Dog?
Remember the golden 10% rule when feeding your dog “human foods” like Kohlrabi and Kale. Plus, they should be fed occasionally to avoid tummy upset. When you feed your dog too much kale- a quarter of their calorie RDA, it will experience toxicity. 90% of your dog’s daily calories should come from their dog food to ensure it gets a proper balance of nutrients to stay healthy and happy.
Even though we mentioned that a small amount of kale is harmless to your dog, not all pups react the same way. For instance, the amount of kale, you can feed your Labrador Retriever is more than what you can feed a Yorkshire Terrier.
Keep an eye on your pup, and when it shows signs of stomach upset or becomes windy, don’t feed it any more kale or give it smaller portions in the future. You can always consult your vet before feeding your dog kale if there are any concerns.
Tips for Feeding Your Dog Kale
Our digestive system is different from that of our Fido. So, how you would prepare kale for yourself is different from how you would for your pup. There are several ways you can prepare kale for your furry friend as long as no seasonings or additives are used.
Like any new food you want to introduce to their diet, start slowly observing how your dog responds before upping the servings.
Here are more valuable tips to consider when prepping Kale for your pooch:
- Buy organic– it’s safe and minimizes the potential of thallium poisoning that could cause symptoms such as seizures, high body temperature, trembling, and even death.
- Avoid seasonings or additives– spices, herbs, oils, and onions are toxic to your pup. Serve your kale plain, or mix it with other vegetables for taste.
- Small servings– introduce it in small portions to avoid adverse effects.
- Opt for puree– because your pup’s digestive system is different from yours, try pureeing or paper-thin chopping of the kale to make it easier to digest.
- Balanced diet– leafy greens like kale are best served with a protein source such as beef or chicken.
- Thorough wash– ensure you wash the kale thoroughly with clean water to remove pesticides and dirt before feeding it to your dog.
- Non-organic? Add cilantro or chlorella to help rid your trusty four-legged companion of thallium.
- Lightly steam kale to minimize its effect on the production of thyroid hormone.
Bottom line: Should Dogs Eat Kale?
Kale is a truckload of nutrients that are beneficial to our canines. But like many greens, too much of a good thing can cause illness. Most healthy adult canines can handle kale as long as it’s plain and unseasoned.
But if your pup has bladder or kidney problems, you should avoid feeding it kale because of its high oxalate content, which can cause bladder or kidney stones. Also, kale is a no-no for dogs with thyroid issues as it can interfere with thyroid function or medication.
The bottom line is kale is safe and healthy for your dog to eat as long as it’s fed in small amounts to an otherwise healthy dog.