Bok choy is a kind of Chinese cabbage that doesn’t form a rounded head. It’s easy to cook and high in some vitamins. It’s used much like spinach and cabbage. Find out if you can share it with your dog below.
Bok choy is considered a cruciferous vegetable, similar to broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. The flavor is sweeter than spinach with a mildly peppery under taste. The green leaves taste stronger than the white bulb at the base of the bok choy.
One cup (70 grams) of shredded bok choy contains 9 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 total gram of sugar, and 1 gram of fiber.
It also contains some beneficial micronutrients such as antioxidants to protect your cells from oxidative damage.
Bok choy also has sulfur-containing compounds such as glucosinolates which may help prevent cancer. One study found that eating bok choy once a week significantly lowered the risk of oral, esophageal, colorectal, breast, and kidney cancers compared with never eating the vegetable.
Bok choy also contains selenium which is thought to have anticancer properties.
Eating cruciferous vegetables may also help prevent stomach cancer.
Some of the minerals in bok choy may also support bone strength such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin K.
There are some potential side effects to bok choy if it is consumed in large amounts. If it is eaten raw, bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables contain an enzyme called myrosinase that breaks down the glucosinolates they contain. When they break down, they can prevent your body from absorbing iodine which is crucial for thyroid function.
Cooking the bok choy should deactivate the myrosinase enzyme so it won’t interfere with iodine absorption.
Since bok choy is high in vitamin K, you should be cautious about eating it in large amounts if you take blood thinning medication (such as warfarin). Vitamin K is important in blood clotting so combining bok choy with any blood thinner can interfere with your medication.
If you are taking a blood thinner, ask your doctor before consuming bok choy and how much is safe to consumer.
Bok choy can be hard to digest, especially if you eat it in excess. That’s because it contains sorbitol. It can go through the small intestine without being digested and into the large intestine. Gut bacteria in the intestines breaks it down to form gases such as hydrogen which causes bloating issues.
Can you give your dog bok choy to eat?
Yes, dogs can eat bok choy but we recommend that you cook it. This is especially important if your dog has any thyroid issues. Like humans, some dogs are hypothyroid. (Hypothyroidism in dogs can be diagnosed with specific blood tests.) Cooking the bok choy should remove the risk of interference with your dog’s iodine absorption and thyroid.
Dogs can have a hard time digesting bok choy if they eat too much of it. It will produce the same gas and bloating problems that some people have.
It is safe for your dog to eat all parts of the bok choy but you do need to chop or shred it into small pieces so he won’t choke on it.
Many people saute bok choy with a dash of olive oil. Olive oil is safe for your dog in small amounts. You can add it to your dog’s food after it’s been sauteed; or you can toss it with a little rice. Others boil bok choy or steam it.
Don’t add salt or other seasonings to the bok choy. Many seasonings such as garlic and onion are unsafe for dogs.
If you are concerned about oxalates (which can lead to kidney stones), bok choy is very low in oxalates so they should not be an issue for your dog. Bok choy has only 1 mg of oxalates per cup. Some leafy green vegetables are much higher in oxalates.
How much bok choy can your dog eat?
Too much bok choy can cause problems for dogs. Just as eating too many of any cruciferous vegetables usually leads to gas and stomach pain, you need to give your dog bok choy in small amounts. Even though it’s a nutritious vegetable, too much can be bad for your dog.
Calories and fat are not a problem with bok choy but it has quite a bit of fiber. Fiber is good for your dog but too much can lead to digestive problems.
A couple of tablespoons would be suitable for a small dog. Medium and large dogs could eat a little more. Remember, it’s not a matter of calories with bok choy since a cup only contains 70 calories. The issue is fiber and digestive problems even when the bok choy is cooked.
It’s especially important to chop or shred bok choy into small bites if you have a small dog. It can pose a choking hazard for these little dogs.
How often can you give your dog bok choy?
If your dog enjoys bok choy and he has no side effects from eating it, you could give him some about once per week.
Bok choy is a nutritious cruciferous vegetable. It contains many vitamins and minerals in small amounts. It’s also high in vitamins A, C, and K. When it’s cooked, it should be safe for most dogs to eat in small amounts. Eaten raw, it can interfere with iodine absorption and lead to thyroid problems. The fiber in bok choy and similar vegetables can cause gas and digestive problems so it’s important to limit the amount you give to your dog at one time.