As this superfood increases in popularity, many pet owners wonder if their dogs can get the nutritional benefits of kale, too.
With any new addition to your dog’s diet, it’s up to you to make the choice. Read on to discover the benefits of kale and how to prepare this vegetable for your pup:
Can Dogs Eat Kale?
Yes, dogs can safely eat kale. You can choose to add kale as a meal supplement or feed it to your pup as a tasty treat.
One thing to remember, is that all dogs react differently to each and every food. If you choose to feed your dog kale, a larger dog likely will be able to safely enjoy more in its diet than a smaller dog.
We understand that other sources may claim kale is not healthy for dogs. However, when making up a small percentage of a recipe, you can give your dog the nutritious aspects of this vegetable without any harmful effects.
Like any nutrition plan, balance and variety is important. Do not feed one thing exclusively. This quote by Dr. Karen Becker sums it up well:
"Follow your grandma’s advice: everything in moderation! The crucifers are the warrior veggies that knock out cancer; don’t deny your dogs the benefits of the indole-3-carbinol found in these healing foods, but use them in rotation. Buy crucifers grown in organic soil to avoid thallium contamination from environmental pollutants.”
Kale Nutrition Facts
Below is the nutrition information for 100 grams raw, kale according to the USDA:
- 35 Calories
- 2.92 grams protein
- 1.49 grams fat
- 4.42 grams carbohydrates
- 4.1 grams dietary fiber
- 4812 IU Vitamin A
- 389.6 mcg Vitamin K
- 254 mg Calcium
- 348 mg Potassium
- 33 mg Magnesium
Benefits of Feeding Kale
Kale, like many other leafy greens, is very nutrient-rich. Cruciferous vegetables are known to be “nutrition power-houses”, and the potential benefits are many.
Loaded with vitamins K, A and C, feeding your dog kale can aid in higher energy levels, blood and muscle health, a better immune system and comes with the potential to fight cancer as well as other inflammatory diseases.
If your dog has a tendency to overeat or carry extra weight, kale is a great option. It’s a low-calorie treat that not only tastes good but also can aid with digestion.
Other potential benefits of feeding your dog kale:
- Kale is a great source of two main antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) which can protect against cancer.
- Leafy greens like kale are also high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, which support healthy bones, and a healthy heart.
- As it’s vitamin-packed, feeding your dog kale can support vision and colon health, liver detoxification, and fight off infections.
Balance Kale with Protein
Even with a healthy option - too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. It’s important to remember that dogs are naturally carnivorous, and 75-85% of their diet should be meat-based.
Feeding too much kale can lead to nutrient deficiencies - specifically amino acids as it’s low in protein. Therefore, kale should always be fed in moderation alongside a source of protein. When fed in moderate amounts, it can help minimize supplements needed.
“Kale is rich in some minerals that when compared with AAFCO, FEDIAF or ancestral standards, are short in many meat-based diets… Mineral-rich vegetables reduce the number and amount of supplements that we need to add to meet standards.”
– Steve Brown, pet nutrition expert
The key is to make sure that your pup’s diet is well-balanced. Our free-range chicken entree is a perfect example of how to balance feeding your dog kale alongside a source of protein.
We begin with organic, human-grade kale that has been washed, blanched and frozen at the peak of freshness. In order to provide the most benefits for your pup and to make it easier to digest, the kale is blended into a raw puree.
As with any food that you eat, your dog may have an intolerance to kale. If your dog does have an intolerance to this leafy green, you’ll know. Your pup may experience a small amount of gas - a cue easy for you to pick up on that this may not be the right supplement for their diet.
How to Prepare Kale for Dogs
Due to the difference in digestive systems, the way you would prepare kale for your pup is different than the way you would for yourself.
Whether you steam and serve as a treat or alongside an entree - there are multiple ways to prepare and serve kale for your four-legged friend. It can also be cooked, as long as no other additives are used. Similar to any new food that you would try: introduce it slowly.
Other useful information to keep in mind when preparing kale for your dog:
- Buy organic when you can!
- Thoroughly wash the kale before feeding to your pup in order to remove as many pesticides as possible from the leaves.
- Try a puree. Because your dog’s digestive system is different than yours, chopping or pureeing this leafy green will make it easier to eat and digest.
- You can feed your pup cooked, steamed or raw - whichever way your pup prefers for it to be prepared.
- A balanced diet is key! Always serve kale or other leafy greens with a source of protein like chicken or beef.
- Avoid any additives. Adding in spices, oils and other herbs can be toxic to your dog. Make sure to serve plain or with other vegetables if they aren’t fond of the taste.
- Serve moderately. In order to avoid any negative side effects - introduce any new food slowly. When served and prepared correctly, kale can be a wonderful addition to your dog’s diet.
Remember: Always Consult Your Vet
Before introducing any new food or supplement into your dog’s diet, it’s always best practice to consult your vet. However, in the end, the decision is yours. Make sure to do your own research, and gather many sources of information before making the decision.
Happy eating to your furry friends!