Dogs are commonly assumed to be carnivores, an animal that can feed only on meat and flesh but, the fact is that they are omnivores who love to eat both meat and plant-based food. As dog owners, we concentrate on giving them unsweetened treats, food mixed with meaty gravy but have you tried feeding them with leafy vegetables? 

Kale is a superfood that belongs to the cabbage family. They are quite similar to vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and usually have green or purple leaves. The difference is that it is completely leafy and there is no head part, which makes it a no-waste vegetable.

The recent human food trend has witnessed the role of Kale in several meal varieties from smoothies to salads. But is kale good for dogs?

Health benefits of Kale: 

Kale is rightfully called a superfood as it has an equal level of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. These minerals play a vital role in strengthening your puppy’s heart and bones. 

As kale is a cruciferous vegetable, they provide high nutrition and boost the energy levels in the body. Adequate consumption of kale will regulate blood and muscle health, cleanse the immune system and could also help in preventing inflammatory diseases.  

Kale is loaded with antioxidants like lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which could help protect your dog from cancer and support vision. They can also help your dogs to detox and to avoid infections.  

Chlorophyll pigment in kale can regulate haemoglobin levels of your dog. Since the pigment has a similar chemical structure to your dog’s haemoglobin, oxygen flow will be improved. They are rich in fibre and lower in calories, which makes it a perfect food for dogs who overweigh. You can mix it with their meal or feed them with kale treats.  

Harmful effects of Kale: 

Dogs can be fed with kale as a supplement to their meals, with meat, balancing nutrients and lots of protein-rich ingredients. They are very helpful to fight against cancer but they are high in calcium oxalate, which is not good for dogs. This mineral could lead to issues like kidney and bladder stones

It is proven with studies that everyday consumption of Kale could disrupt the functioning of the thyroid and lead to intestinal upset.   

Even with many health benefits from this vegetable, you need to be careful with the proportion. When kale is added in excess amount, they lead to nutrient deficiencies in dogs. Some doggies can be intolerant to kale. You can easily deduct it if they are often releasing gas or refuse to eat the meal. 

The Do’s and Don’ts for feeding your dog with kale 

While kale is a good source of antioxidants, you need to be careful in feeding them without losing the nutrients. Find shops that sell only organic, pesticide-free kale to reduce the toxicity. Never try to overcook the vegetable by boiling it for a long duration. Lightly steam it to reduce the harmful effect on thyroid levels. To avoid the difficulty of digestion in dogs, introduce kale to them gradually.  

Kale should be a part of their balanced meal, do not make it the major ingredient. Some breeds and sizes cannot tolerate the leafy content in their meal. Be watchful and avoid continuing with kale if your dog experiences gastric problems. Also, dogs with issues of thyroid and stones should minimise the kale intake.  

But if you wish to include kale in their food for weight management, please consult with a nutritionist or a veterinarian for better clarity.  

What do experts say? 

Kale can help your dog to boost overall health but it is suggested that you feed them occasionally. If your dog accidentally eats a bit of kale, it is alright. It will not bear negative effects on him. But keep an eye on your puppy for discomfort.  

To feed or not to feed kale, the famous pet care expert says, “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. If dogs have been fed conventionally grown cruciferous vegetables, both cilantro and chlorella can be used to naturally bind and excrete (chelate) thallium from the body.”