Can Dogs Eat Kale? Are There Benefits?

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can dogs eat kale

The straightforward answer is YES. You can make kale a part of your dog’s diet, but there are a lot of factors that you must consider before you decide to do so

Kale is a green leafy vegetable that is rich in many nutrients. Dogs can eat kale when consumed in moderation. Despite their numerous benefits, you must be careful before feeding it to your dog.

It offers a variety of nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems.  

As you read further, I will bring to your knowledge all the factors that should be considered before you start to feed your dog with kale. 

Nutritional Value of Kale for Dogs 

Kale is a bundle-house of nutrition, as we have seen already. In fact, it is a nutrition superstar because it provides these many nutrients at a very low-calorie count.

One cup of raw kale has just 33 calories and only 7 grams of carbohydrate.

So it is a very weight-friendly vegetable that will not lead to weight or cholesterol-related issues developing in your dog. 

Some of the nutritional values your dogs stand to enjoy from eating this food area follows: 

Sodium

Sodium is found mainly in blood and fluid that surrounds cells. The main function of sodium is to prevent cells from either swelling or dehydrating.

Sodium is also very important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle cell function. 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends that dry dog foods contain at least 0.3% sodium for both maintenance and to support normal growth and development. [1]

Vitamin K 

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin instrumental in activating your dog’s blood’s ability to clot. This means vitamin K is important in keeping your dog safe from minor bruises and scratches or even harmless insect bites.

One cup of kale (67 grams) has a very small quantity of Vitamin K, which is 0.5 mg. That much amount of it is sufficient for your dog’s body to be able to care for itself. 

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is the key component in carrots; the food is strongly recommended for maintaining good eyesight.

This fat-soluble vitamin is also responsible for growth, fetal development, immune function, and cell function.

How important these vitamins are for your dog can only be understood from the fact that there are eye care supplements available for dogs that include Vitamin A. 

Calcium 

Calcium is important for your dog just the way it is important for you.

Calcium is an important part of your dog’s diet and it helps with their overall growth, healthy teeth and bone maintenance, proper muscle building, and functioning, as well as keeping a very healthy nervous system. 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that adult dogs get at least 1.25 mg calcium/kcal, which is 1.25 grams for every 1,000 kcal. 

9 percent of a typical serving of Kale comprises calcium in the form of calcium oxalate. And this is where things tend to get a little tricky. 

Protein 

Proteins are the building blocks of our body. Dogs are known to love protein-rich foods like eggs, cheese, and chicken.

According to USDA, kale is a decent source of protein for dogs as it contains 2.92 grams of protein per 100 grams. This roughly translates to 2 grams of protein per serving of kale, which is 67 grams.

So, in combination with other foods that your dog loves, kale can contribute to improving the growth and repair function in your dog’s body.

Drawbacks of Kale for Dogs 

While generally, Kale is good for your dog, the only matter of concern is the presence of a significant amount of calcium oxalate in kale. Not every dog can digest that much amount of calcium.

The suitability of this vegetable in their diet can vary depending upon their age, size, physical activity, and preexisting conditions if any.

For example, especially toy puppy breeds are not cut for digesting food like kale, also owing to the fact that kale has a very high amount of fiber.

The amount of calcium oxalate present in kale can cause such dogs to develop kidney or bladder stones. The same goes for dogs who are comparatively old or have a lack of digestibility towards foods with such heavy minerals. 

Also, it is noted that excessive consumption of kale can interfere with thyroid function. Kale, along with other cruciferous vegetables, contains a high amount of goitrogens, which are compounds that can interfere with thyroid function.

Specifically, raw kale contains a type of goitrogen called goiters. This means that if your dog is of a breed that is more likely to develop thyroid, or your dog has previously been diagnosed with such a condition, in that case, it is better to drop the idea of including kale in your dog’s diet. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Kale? 

raw kale

According to veterinarians, if your dog does not fall in any of the above-mentioned categories for which kale can be risky, it is okay to have kale either raw, cooked, or boiled.

What you may need to consider is that your dog may not like the taste of raw kale. One hint is that if your dog resents the taste of raw spinach, then raw kale is definitely not something it will like. In that case, you may want to try different ways in which kale can be served to your dogs.

How to Feed Kale to Dogs 

Though kale can be given raw for your dog to consume, usually it is preferred to give it after cooking or boiling along with your canine buddy’s meat diet in case they do not develop a liking for it.

Serving it along with meat makes it easy for them to consume it. 

Other important factors you must consider are to always buy organic kale, as preservatives and pesticides can sometimes cause allergic reactions. Thoroughly wash it before serving or preparing any dish out of it.

In fact, if your dog likes it, you may even want to try preparing a dish in kale purees like cheese kale or chicken kale. 

So Can Dogs Eat Kale? When is Kale Bad for Dogs?

As we have discussed already, kale has an abundance of benefits to provide to your dog. However, the only scenario when kale is unsuitable for your dog is when high amounts of calcium present in the vegetable pose a risk due to one reason or the other.

Additionally, you must buy only organic kale and wash it properly before serving or preparing it. 

The Bottom Line 

There’s no denying that dogs are going to love the way they feel when their diet is rich with nutrients kale has to provide. However, what we need to remember before including anything in our pet’s food is that moderation is key. 

It is important to know that every dog is different, and tends to react differently towards food. Hence, always weigh in all the factors unique about your dog, and only then you should reach any decision. 

Taking the advice of an experienced veterinarian before starting any new diet regimen for your dog can save you and your dog any useless hassle that may, just in case, follow otherwise.

If you must provide kale to your dog, start with fairly small amounts to see how your dog reacts to it. If all goes well, then you can consider increasing its amount in your pet’s diet. 

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Author
Andrei Bratu
Andrei is the owner of Dog Food Camp and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He is passionate about helping dog lovers learn about canine nutrition.

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