There is no doubt that vegetables are a healthy diet choice. This is true especially for green and leafy veggies, as they are healthy for humans. However, is cruciferous kale healthy for a carnivorous canine?
In recent years, kale is receiving much attention from media and health experts. Until then, it was only common in Europe. Belonging to the same family of cauliflower and broccoli, kale is now perceived as a super food. It is added to recipes including salads, eaten raw, topped on dishes, or is blended in a smoothie. The uses of this cruciferous food are versatile due to which several pet owners get a thought of giving kale to dogs.
For humans, kale is a nutritional food whose leaves provide at least 20% of the recommended daily consumption of a variety of minerals as well as vitamins. This is why it is a great notion to include it in the human diet. However, does the same benefit goes to dogs too? Let us check out!
Can Dogs Have Kale?
A simple answer without pondering much is “Yes!” If your dog is used to consuming leafy greens, chances are high for consuming kale. By itself, kale does not do any harm to these four-legged canine creatures. However, there is a likelihood of your dog being gassy.
Further, because it has a high level of oxalates just as there is in spinach, consuming it for a long period can trigger bladder or kidney stones in dogs. This is because the oxalates can mix with calcium, the result of which is stones. However, consuming kale occasionally does not pose any issue.
In short, having small kale portions in the normal dog food is sensible and healthy. However, it should not be overdone.
How Kale is Beneficial for Dogs?
Although dogs and pups are carnivores, there are some benefits of consuming kale for them. Certainly, the big punch of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in kale is the main benefit. In meat-based diets for dogs, there are not enough of these nutrients. However, kale has them in abundance due to which it makes a dog’s diet highly nutritional.
Dogs like consuming meat and protein, which are their primary nourishment sources. However, there are many dogs for whom these sources are insufficient due to their extra nutritional needs. This is where including leafy greens in their diet are likely to help in preventing health risks as well as treating illnesses naturally. A few high-quality foods for dogs now come with kale included in their recipes.
Kale can give health benefits due to its high content of phytonutrients and antioxidant vitamins. Antioxidants tend to defend cells from being negatively affected due to the impact of environmental factors such as pathogens and chemicals. This protection keeps several diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis away. Research has concluded that kale can prevent colon and bladder cancers.
Kale is also rich in indole-3-carbinol, an ingredient that can significantly fight cancer. It is also robust enough to support the cardiovascular system and heart as well as effectively detox the body. This is an essential dietary aid for maintaining a good digestive health.
Although dogs require digestion functions just like humans, they demand some aid for smooth functioning of their digestive system. Such a digestive system facilitates removal of toxins. At the same time, it also contributes to boosting the immune system.
Kale is also full of lutein, which is essential for healthy eyes. This is why dogs and humans having aging eyes or deteriorating eyesight are likely to benefit from daily consumption of kale. The leafy vegetable is also rich in beta-carotenes, which can have a positive impact on eyes. This impact is more than what carrots can do, as even they have the same nutrients.
Thus, including kale in your dog’s diet can simply reduce vet visits. However, the main caution to take is about adding additional calcium. Kale’s oxalates negatively affect calcium absorption due to which it can result in calcium deficiency. Therefore, it is best to consult your vet before you add anything to the diet. After all, even a good idea can cause harm if done without analyzing its consequences.
Is There Anything to Take Care of While Giving Kale to Dogs?
Before you give kale to dogs, it is essential to comprehend the differences between canine and human digestion. Humans are genuinely better to digest plant food. Both the intestines offer a big surface area for digesting leafy plants fully by absorbing all their nutrients. However, the intestines in dogs differ a bit, as they are more suitable for digesting meat. The digestive system is simpler, due to which the green veggies are not digested that nicely.
If a dog eats a lot of kale, it may result in diarrhea. This is because it passes through the digestive system more quickly than a majority of other foods. However, it is not toxic. Thus, no negative effects are predictable unless the dog has its allergy.
Having kale in huge quantities can reduce thyroid levels, as the leafy vegetable has goitrogenic properties. To minimize this, it is ideal to cook or steam it. Steaming or cooking this vegetable takes away some of the nutrients.
Well, this can be beneficial as too high level of nutrients has its own side effects. For example, too much of these nutrients, when accumulated inside the body, can cause stones. Thus, if your dog really has no requirement of a cruciferous vegetable, you can opt to provide kale sparingly.
How Much Kale is Fine?
Well, the quantity of kale should be moderate! Feeding a moderate amount frequently can bring several health benefits without any risk. Apart from offered nutrients, there is no other reason why you should include kale in your dog’s diet. This is because the digestive system of a dog operates differently. However, whenever you choose, go for good brands.
Regardless of how much beneficial kale is for a canine creature, it is essential to take its food only from a reliable brand. Only such brands know the right amount kale to include. Despite this fact, it is wise to talk with your vet prior to changing the diet. At times, less is more, which is applicable to dogs.