It’s well known that veggies are healthy, so you may have wondered if your pet dog can also benefit from eating edible green and leafy plants. In particular, let’s address carnivorous canines consuming cruciferous kale!
Obviously, in the wild, dogs likely wouldn’t be eating kale. Hunting down animals, for meat protein, is their preferred diet based on evolutionary instincts. But that doesn’t mean Fido cannot get some benefits from this green leafy vegetable.
Us humans, however, tend to better utilize the nutritional aspects of Kale more so than your dog can. Our digestive system is well accustomed to consuming plants like leaf cabbage. Vegetables, in general, have more time to be broken down and absorbed by Homo sapiens compared to canines.
Can I Give My Dog Kale? Answer: Yes
Small portions, added to their regular chow, may make good sense but don’t overdo it.
When your dog eats a vegetable, like kale, it doesn’t spend much time being absorbed. Their little body may not completely break it down before sending it on its way. So some nutritional benefits are unlikely to be obtained. But pets also do not require the same sort of nutrients that we do. Most experts will agree that kale is not a food necessity for dogs.
Chow Compared to Kale
Your dog may actually be better off if you stick to a quality dog food, which is formulated in a way that makes it easy for them to digest and break down. If you buy a good brand it will be formulated in such a way that it will mimic what they’d be getting in an ideal situation. It’s silly for us to think that living with us and eating foods meant for us is best for them.
Any Digestive Troubles
If you’ve already given your dog kale, or if they got into some, there’s no need to panic. If they ate a lot of it you might see them have a case of diarrhea. It will certainly move through their system more quickly than most other foods you feed them.
But, just like eggplant, it’s not toxic for them. There shouldn’t be any other negative effects unless your particular dog is allergic to it.
Evolution & Domestication
Dogs were on there own for millions of years before they started hanging with us. They haven’t adapted to our diet completely, and they still retain many of the same traits as their wolf cousins. Perhaps a few million years of domestication will change things, but at this point in time it’s best to give them what they’re used to consuming.
Some owners follow an all raw diet for their dogs, giving them raw pieces of meat and bones to replicate their diet in the wild. This is a hard thing to do for most people, which is why dog food is still the most popular way to go.
If you are worried about your dog getting a bunch of food that they don’t really need, check the ingredients list of the food you give them. If you see that the first ingredient is a veggie or a grain, it might be time to upgrade.
The first ingredient should be an animal-based protein. It’s okay if a vegetable or two is included, but having it as the first ingredient makes it a filler, and is a way for the dog food company to keep costs down while still producing something that looks like dog kibble.
Conclusion on Kale
Dogs will eat just about anything but they don’t actively seeking out vegetables when they have other food sources available. There’s no need to give them kale but you can provide small portions on occasion. It won’t do any harm. Some owners are very lax, giving their pets whatever they feel like. Others are strict and wouldn’t consider foods such as kale, sticking only to a high quality dog food. In the end, it’s your choice.