Question: Can dogs eat kale? Or is kale bad for dogs?
Answer: Just like the trend of quinoa surged in recent years to become a permanent guest among many people’s diet plans, kale has followed the same path as well and became a fan favorite among the health and fitness community not too long ago, thanks to the numerous benefits it provides to the human body.
And chances are that if your dog is a fan of leafy greens such as lettuce and celery, then it’s only a matter of time before they come hunting for some of that kale that’s just calling out their name all the time.
Because of all the hype that surrounds kale nowadays and everyone making it seem like “the next big thing”, you’re bound to think about feeding some of it to your dog at one point in time.
So, when that happens, should you allow your dog to eat kale?
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Can Dogs Eat Kale?
YES, dogs can eat kale! (Assuming your dog isn’t allergic to it, that is).
Chances are you’re already feeding your dog kale right now, as more and more dog food brands are including it as an ingredient in their products every day, or you’re thinking about starting to incorporate this powerhouse of a vegetable into your dog’s diet from time to time so they can reap all the benefits it has to offer.
Either way, you’re good to go!
Did you know that kale falls in the same family category of vegetables as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, all 3 of which are vegetables you’re clear to feed your dog? This family of vegetables is known by the name “Cruciferous vegetables”.
Kale is also a part of the Brassica family of vegetables, but enough about vegetable families, you’re not here for that! We can leave that for biology class. 🙂
Before you feed your dog any kale, you have to know about a few stuff to ensure that you don’t do anything wrong and give your dog’s digestive system any trouble it doesn’t need, so let’s move on, shall we?
How Can Dogs Eat Kale?
After properly washing it and making sure all chemicals and bacteria are removed from it, you can serve kale to your dog either raw or cooked, whichever way they prefer it.
If you want to cook the kale before you give it for your dog to eat, you can steam it, bake it or grill it, whatever you choose would be fine.
Then, cut the kale into small pieces and give some for your dog to eat instead of giving them a whole kale to eat all at once, which puts them at risk of choking and digestion problems.
You can also mix some kale or puree them into your dog’s plate along with any food they’re having, which makes for a nice addition.
How Much Kale Can Dogs Eat?
You don’t want to go overboard on feeding your dog too much kale, mainly due to the fact that kale contains high levels of oxalates which, if accumulated in certain amounts in your dog’s system, will lead to minor issues such as diarrhea, and more serious problems such as bladder stones and kidney problems.
Most cases of dog sickness due to over-eating kale are can be solved with simple medicinal treatment, however more serious cases can require hospitalization for proper treatment.
As long as you feed your dog a moderate amount of kale from time to time, kale can be a nice addition to your dog’s diet and you don’t have anything to worry about.
There isn’t any real reason why you should focus on vegetables when it comes to your dog’s diet anyways, as your dog’s digestive system works in different ways than those of your body and mine, which is why the focus of your dog’s diet should be dog food from good brands.
Why Is Kale Good For Dogs?
- Is a good source of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K
- Is a good source of beta-carotene
- Is rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, copper and magnesium
- Is an excellent source of fiber for your dog’s diet
- Is low in calories, which makes for a perfect treat while ensuring your dog maintains their healthy weight
- Helps your dog’s body fight against the formation of cancer cells in the body, fighting cancer forms such as colon cancer
- Improves your dog’s vision and eye health
The Problem With Kale For Dogs And Thallium
As it comes to just about everything in life, you have people who stand for something and others who stand against it.
The same holds true about what food dogs can’t and can’t eat, especially human foods, Kale included.
Seeing as we’ve covered everything there is to cover about feeding your dog kale in the above sections, let’s talk about one problem that people who stand against feeding dogs kale always bring up – and that’s thallium poisoning.
This is one of the two be-all end-all reasons that many people opt not to feed their dogs kale after hearing about it.
Thallium, a chemical element found in vegetables like kale and broccoli, is believed to have many toxic properties to it and it’s often argued that it poses severe health risks to both humans and dogs alike.
To clear things up once and for all about this, you just have to know that as long as you’re not feeding your dog a diet that’s made up of only green vegetables like kale, you won’t have to worry about thallium poisoning in your dog.
The amount of kale (and other green vegetables) fed to dogs in moderate amounts aren’t nearly enough to cause thallium poisoning.
The amount of kale your dog has to eat before they get thallium poisoning is a very large amount of kale, and you shouldn’t even be feeding your dog this amount of kale in the first place.
If you were to read a few other articles we’ve written on this website about vegetables and other human foods that dogs can and can’t safely eat, one very common pattern you’ll find in all the articles is “moderation, moderation and some more moderation”.
The bulk of your diet should consist of premium dog food that will be giving your dog all the calories, nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need to lead a healthy life – any other human foods (kale included) you’re thinking about feeding your dog should only be given to them from time to time and in small amounts only.
Unless you’re going out there and trying to have your dog follow something like the kale diet (I just made that up, not too sure if there’s actually something named as such) where all they eat all day long is kale and nothing but this green vegetable, then you won’t have to worry about this.
All you’ll be giving your dog is a few kale leaves here and there, which won’t be nearly enough to pose any risk to your dog’s as far as thallium poisoning is concerned. This becomes a problem when your dog is consuming ample amounts of kale on a frequent basis, for which there’s no reason for them to be doing so in the first place.
The Problem With Kale For Dogs And Thyroid Function
Remember how we said that the issue of thallium poisoning is one of the two be-all end-all reasons many dog owners opt not to feed their dogs any kale?
Well, the other be-all end-all reason is because they often hear that kale severely damages thyroid functions in dogs (as well as humans).
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey! All these vegetables and greens have always been touted as miracle foods for anyone who’s on a diet or wants to get healthy, and now all I hear is they can severely damage my thyroid function! What gives?”.
Again, and just like the case is with Thallium, this whole thing is being blown out of proportion everywhere.
The main problem with feeding your dog kale and thyroid issues happens when you feed your dog raw kale, as vegetables such as kale in their raw form are able to cause some damage to normal thyroid activity.
As long as you cook any kale before you feed it to your dog, you can rest assured that any significant thyroid-damaging properties that were in the kale have been destroyed.
This is one of the main reasons why kale, among many other vegetables, is almost always recommended to be fed to dogs in cooked forms and not in raw forms.