Kale has become one of the most popular types of greens in the past couple of years and is often described as being a superfood. However, feeding a food that’s fit for human consumption to our furry friends might not always be a good idea.
Sure, dogs are omnivores, so you are allowed to feed them some veggies and even fruit, unlike what you’d be allowed to feed cats, for example. However, not all veggies or greens are good for dogs, and there are some risks involved in feeding kale to your Fido.
In this article, we will look at what kale really is, its vitamins, minerals, and its basic nutrients on the whole, but we’ll also address the reasons why it might not make the perfect option for your canine companion.
Is kale good for dogs?
We decided to answer this question first so that we get it out of the way. While kale might be nutritious for people, it should be kept away from dogs. Lots of pet parents have started to feed kale ribs to their dogs as a bit of a treat, but the problem is that kale contains a lot of calcium oxalate.
In dogs, calcium oxalate can cause several health issues such as bladder or kidney stones. It’s true that dogs can recover from these health conditions with the right medication, but some have to be hospitalized and receive supportive care so as to aid recovery. Are you prepared to be worried about your dog’s health, or would you rather not give him/her kale at all?
Other types of greens that have a high calcium oxalate content are leeks, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, beet greens, okra, quinoa, and the roots of beets.
How much kale is too much?
It all depends on the bodyweight of the dog, so there isn’t a specific amount that we can recommend against. For example, German Shepherds aren’t the smallest breed out there, which means that if you feed them three to four cups of kale or broccoli in a single day, they might not show any clinical signs.
That doesn’t work the same for a toy or small dog breed, however. In this case, four cups of kale can cause serious clinical signs and can definitely lead to the development of urinary pathologies.
What else can kale do?
Believe it or not, when it is fed on a regular basis, kale can even interfere with a dog’s thyroid function. Dogs that suffer from hypothyroidism can have medication interactions if they are fed large or regular amounts of kale. So, the safest way of going about things, in this case, would be to talk to your vet before deciding to feed your dog any table scraps or so-called superfoods.
Is it okay for my dog to eat kale now and then?
You can boil kale and throw out the water, in which case you would remove part of the calcium oxalate that could exist in the vegetable.
However, kale can also contain a heavy metal called Thallium, which can be harmful to a dog when consumed in higher amounts. There is a certain degree of toxicity to Thallium, but cases of Thallium poisoning are extremely rare, in both animals and humans.
If you cook the kale properly and you make sure that you feed it to your canine friend only on occasion, it’s safe to add to his or her diet. There are some healthy benefits to feeding your dog kale (only occasionally). For example, it’s rich in vitamin A and vitamin C.
It also contains a healthy dose of thiamin, fiber, riboflavin, iron, potassium, manganese, vitamin K, copper, as well as folate. It even contains calcium and protein. That’s why there are kale chips for animal consumption now available for sale.
But in the end, understanding that dogs aren’t supposed to be fed the same foods that we eat on a regular basis is what matters the most. While it might be a judgment call whether you choose to feed your dog kale or not, there are factors to consider, and most of them involve your canine companion’s health.
What if your dog ate kale?
You can’t always control what your Fido eats, and dogs have a special way of stealing food and wolfing it down. Some know their way around a trash can or a compost bin, which means that it can be even more challenging for you to prevent your dog from eating this vegetable.
Don’t panic if your dog has eaten a small amount. Several leaves aren’t going to make your dog suffer from kidney or bladder stones, but it would be a good idea to keep your canine friend under observation for a couple of days.
In case the dog does develop symptoms typical to kidney and bladder stones or digestive discomfort, you’ll notice difficult urination or a change in your pet’s urination habits, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea.
A small amount of kale can be relatively harmless, but it also depends on what dog breed you have. As we have mentioned, if you have a large dog and he’s eaten a couple of cups of kale, you aren’t going to notice any or too many side effects. But if you are the guardian of a Chihuahua, you should get in touch with the vet if you suspect that the dog has eaten several cups of kale.
When eaten in small amounts, kale can leave a dog unharmed. However, since it has some potentially harmful compounds, especially if it’s uncooked, feeding it to your dog can inadvertently send you on a trip to the vet. If you can avoid it, try to stick to other veggies and fruit — such as apples or peas.