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Kale is a super food! This cruciferous vegetable is certainly very healthy, but does that hold true for a precious pet dog?
Here’s the deal:
You can share this veggie in small amounts. In fact, your dog can benefit too.
With that being said, it’s important to limit portions. Feeding lots of kale does not make sense and we’ll tell you why.
First, there’s something else you should know right up front…
Raw kale is bad because it may eventually affect thyroid function.
Your Dog Can Have Kale (cooked and small amounts)
Don’t overdo it with this vegetable.
Truth be told, kale has some downsides for dogs. Play it safe and be conservative despite the nutritional benefits.
Kidney stones, bladder stones, gastric irritation and other complications are possible as a result of eating too much.
Calcium oxalate, Isothiocyanates and Thallium need to be understood before your canine gets to chow down on kale.
Above all else, moderation is a must!
The Isothiocyanate Factor
Kale is said to have excellent anti-cancer properties.
Studies show that isothiocyanates are extremely valuable in this regard. However, some dogs do react poorly to this powerful plant property.
Gastritis (upset stomach) is not an uncommon result.
Thankfully you can mitigate this concern by limiting the amount of kale your dog gets to eat.
In other words, don’t get carried away!
Canine And Calcium Oxalate
Much like beets and spinach, you have to ration kale for a few other reasons as well.
The presence of calcium oxalates is another factor to consider.
Dogs can also develop bladder and/or kidney stones from eating certain foods. Over time these solid masses may become extremely painful to pass.
The goods news:
Take the time to boil your kale and oxalates won’t be a problem!
Troubles With Thyroid?
Large amounts of kale consumption can affect thyroid function.
It cannot be stressed enough:
Do not feed your dog raw kale (or the ribs).
To be clear, the goitrogens are a bit worrisome especially if your dog has Hypothyroidism or any other thyroid condition.
The Truth About Thallium
A chemical element called Thallium is found in kale as well as broccoli.
The thing is this heavy metal could be harmful for a dog if enough is consumed. Thankfully, Thallium poisoning is relatively rare.
Nonetheless, there is a degree of toxicity. It is something to be aware of.
Healthy For Hounds?
You can produce a long list of healthy aspects to kale.
Vitamin A and vitamin C are off the charts!
Thiamin, riboflavin, fiber, potassium, iron, vitamin K, manganese, copper and folate are great.
Protein and calcium too!
If you are keen on kale then look into this:
All-natural non-GMO crunchy organic dog treat which gets great reviews.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately it is a judgement call whether to feed your dog kale or not.
Weigh all the factors regarding this veggie.
Avoid raw. Because, otherwise, kale is not great as a treat in our view.
At the same time, don’t panic if your dog ate some. Small and infrequent amounts are not toxic.
23 thoughts on “What You Must Know About Feeding Your Dog Kale!”
Kale has a very low content of oxalates. Check these references:
I’ve given my Lab a salad at suppertime for years. She started pretty young when we used to travel. We’d stop at McDonald’s or Wendy’s for some food and soon found out that Molly would rather eat my wife’s salad than anything else. She especially likes the lesser cuts of the salad. The crunchier the better.
So, now we get her a half salad when we stop to eat. We continued it at home and she just loves it. Her favorite is just a plain salad mix, which has a little bit of kale in it.
She sorts the kale out and won’t eat it. We also hide her medication (pills) in the bottom of the bowl. On the mixed salad we put maybe a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, some diced apple, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, or blueberries and/or strawberries. Whatever is in season.
She also loves mandarin oranges. We top it with blue cheese dressing and 4 or 5 croutons. We also put a dab of dressing on her broken up pill. This is the only way we have been able to get her to take it. The only thing I’ve noticed, in her stool, is that she doesn’t seem to fully digest sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, if they are whole.
Kale isn’t toxic in small amounts, but it can cause kidney stones which would be rather uncomfortable for a dog. I use it as an occasional treat. They love to sneak a few kale chips when I pull them out of the oven!
Last year I planted kale in my herb garden. Once my dogs discovered it, they gnawed one giant stalk off. They then laid down in the yard and ate the stalk but not the leaves. Yesterday, I planted a new kale plant then went into the house to grab a pitcher of water. By the time I came outside, my little Charles had pulled it out of the ground and ate it, all of it!
My dog loves the the stalk of kale and broccoli.
My German Shorthaired Pointer was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his right foreleg 12 months ago. I basically took him home to die, at 11 years old and two ruptured cruciates. There was no other option.
However, he improved week by week and a scan 8 weeks later showed there had been a ‘spontaneous regression’ of the cancer. Around the same time, my vegetable garden was being shared with friends and I thought they were taking my kale plants.
However, one day I discovered my dog eating a head of kale plant. It turns out he had eaten the entire patch. It has not been toxic for him. I have continued to plant kale and he continues to chow down. He is now 12, happy and healthy.
I really appreciate your story. I’m going to start feeding my 14 1/2 year old Siberian Huskey some kale. Thanks for sharing.
My 1.5 year old German Shepherd is super clingy and is with me wherever I go. When I prepare myself a kale salad, he waits patiently for the stem. He loves it. I haven’t given it much thought if it would harm his digestive system but so far, no impact. I don’t give him more than 2 stems on occasion.
I have a puppy who likes to shred things. He got into a kale stalk I dropped and shredded it to nasty, soggy bits. I’m glad it won’t hurt him.
My dogs enjoy all veggies and usually they get them cooked. However, the newest member to my pack loves vegetables raw and cooked as well as his meat. Today I harvested fresh kale and the boys went crazy for it.
I think my new boy too many fresh leaves and had stomach problems and began eating everything in sight to compensate. He’s now thrown everything up, including some of the rug he ate. He’s very thirsty as well. I’ll stay up with him tonight to ensure he’s okay.
I lost one my beauties almost 2 years ago because she was like this new boy and would eat anything, inside and out. She ate some poisonous plants, Yew trees, and died quite swiftly. I subsequently dug up and changed my garden so no other animal would succumb to same poison.
Watching my new boy tonight reminded me of what she went through and kale was the only new thing I’ve introduced to his diet. I just needed to know that it isn’t poisonous. Likely he ate too much and will be better in a few hours. Any advice will be appreciated.
This article is somewhat biased and one sided, favoring meat over the vegetables. The person who wrote this should read Obligate Carnivore. I started to feed my dog Evolution dog food which has all needs minus the unidentified crap grinded in. The FDA does not have to approve certain ingredients not on the labels, like plastic tags that were attached to euthanized dog and cats.
In short, you want to change the digestive system of the dog overnight when it took thousands of years of evolution just to accommodate our belief and way of life. At best it is animal cruelty. Yes my dog loves salad, green beans and carrots but they need the meat.
Dogs are evolving along with their vegan human caregivers. Being metabolically omnivores; they too can eat a vegan diet and live as long, or longer, than their animal-consuming counterparts.
Dogs’ digestive systems have evolved since we took on the role of dominating them into becoming our ‘pets’ and abusing them in laboratories. If dogs were allowed to be free, I can’t imagine my dogs bringing down a cow or chewing on a pigs ear. Dogs love vegetables and need the roughage in their diet.
As their guardians we must be prepared to give them a varied diet so they absorb all of the nutritional values they are so lacking. Many dogs do not live very long and spend so much time at the vet’s with skin conditions and allergies.
It’s often because people feed raw meat that has been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, plus awful commercial foods that contain 4D meats [including their own species]. Given the choice my dogs always go for their veggies first.
Wild dogs eat all the soft parts of the animal, including the stomach contents of their vegetarian prey. So I don’t see the problem with feeding my dog vegetables. Both of them are chewing their first kale stalks right now!
My dog loves to chew on the stalks!
Thanks for the advice about kale. I’ve been using organic Italian kale in smoothies but I only use the ruffly part of the leaves, not the stem. I’d been throwing the stems away but this morning I decided to try giving one to my dog. He’s a Terrier. He treated it half like a toy and half like a snack. When he got bored, I threw the rest of the stem away.
My dog just ate two helpings of kale, and then ate his kibble. “You don’t see dogs actively seeking out vegetables if they have other food sources available.” I guess you’ve never met a dog raised by a yuppie vegan millennial in Seattle.
Kale is good for your dog. This is a case where it instinctively knows what’s good and goes for it.
My dog often eats grass in the warmer months and I feel like he does it because his body craves some sort of green plants to complement his diet, but I could be wrong. He doesn’t do it to throw up.
A few theories exist to explain this seemingly odd behavior, though no answer is definitive.
The most common explanation for grass-eating is that it helps dogs purge their systems. Like humans, dogs can suffer from gastrointestinal issues including upset stomach, nausea, bloating and illness from pathogenic microbes.
In a 2008 study in the journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, researchers found that while grass consumption didn’t often lead to vomiting, dogs that seemed ill before eating grass were more likely to vomit than dogs that appeared to act normally beforehand.
Another theory is that the dog may even be seeking out grass to get additional nutrients it may not have in its normal diet, such as fiber, minerals or digestive enzymes. Indeed, a 2009 dog study in the journal of Veterinary Behavior found that puppies were more likely to eat grass if their mothers did while nursing.
Finally, another explanation is that dogs chew grass to get the chlorophyll! The chlorophyll is alkalizing when the dogs are overly acidic (i.e. stomach is upset). They generally don’t mean to swallow the blades but some inadvertently do.
Dogs, like most mammals, can’t digest the fibers in grass, because they don’t have two stomachs like cows, so if they swallow the blades, they will usually throw them up.
Studies show that green foods like kale can activate the liver’s ability to detoxify as well as directly influence many other genes that reduce cancer risks.
I’ve seen dogs pull out radishes, carrots and greens directly from the earth and consume them.