Kale used to be something people would only put under the cantaloupe in buffets. Nowadays, it is a must-have for chips, salads, pesto, pasta and even for desserts! And who would say no to a cup of kale smoothie?
People are crazy about kale and they even offer it to their dogs. But is this veggie canine-friendly? Before we get to that part, below are the benefits of kale that encourage many pet parents to give it to their dog.
Kale 101: Know Your Veggie
Kale belongs to the Brassica family. It has a slightly bitter taste, much like its “cousin” broccoli. Kale is an amalgam of flavor, with hints of earthiness and richness aside from the bitterness. Yet, there is more to kale than its distinct taste. It is a low-calorie treat and it has no fat. A serving of 100 grams of kale has around 50 calories. Other than that, here’s how one can benefit from consuming this green:
- It is an excellent source of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and flavonoids that can help ward off infections and diseases.
- Kale aids digestion because it is rich in fiber. A cup of kale has as much as 5 grams of fiber. When you’re constipated, eating more of it could help.
- It gets rid of toxins from the body. Kale is an excellent source of sulfur and glucosinolates that help in detoxification.
- This cruciferous vegetable is great for the heart. The natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of kale support heart health.
- Kale is good for vision. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are both present in kale and they can prevent or delay the progression of common vision problems.
- It can prevent cancer. Once digested, the glucosinolates in kale turn into biologically active compounds that can avert the development of cancer cells.
- Kale is an anti-inflammatory. With a great balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, kale can naturally reduce levels of inflammation.
With so many health benefits to offer, there’s no doubt kale is a superfood and it’s worth the hype. But take note, not everything that’s wholesome for you is also wholesome for Fido. Let’s get to the juicier part – is kale good for dogs?
Can Dogs Have Kale?
There is an ongoing debate whether kale is safe for dogs or not. We carefully researched this part and found out that kale is actually safe for dogs BUT it should only be offered in reasonable amounts and with precaution.
Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, said crucifers like kale can be fed to dogs in moderation. Becker, an integrative wellness veterinarian, believes in the power of crucifers to knock out cancer. She recommends buying the veggies grown in organic soil. This avoids thallium contamination from hazardous waste.
Steve Brown, an expert on canine nutrition, supported the idea of giving kale to dogs by saying that it is rich in some minerals that cannot be found in many meat-based diets. As we all know, dogs thrive on meat but if that means getting less of the minerals then it would not hurt to add some veggies to their diets.
When Not To Give Kale To A Dog
Don’t give kale or any cruciferous vegetable to a dog with hypothyroidism as these vegetables contain the goitrogen substance that can disrupt the creation of thyroid hormones by impeding the iodine uptake in the thyroid gland.
If your dog is perfectly healthy but you’re still worried about the goitrogen, avoid giving the vegetable raw. The goitrogenic activity in kale is reduced once this is cooked.
How to Serve Kale to Dogs
Kale is best served to dogs lightly steamed. Cooking this crucifer enhances its digestibility. Avoid giving it raw because raw crucifers tend to have high goitrogen levels that lower a canine’s thyroid activity.
If you like making broth for your pup, you may add kale along with other crucifers to it. Making a broth out of veggies is the simplest way to give kale to a dog with a sensitive stomach.
Kale Recipes for Canines
These homemade dog treats are 100% safe for doggies! Express your love to your pet by cooking any of these nutritious treats in the future.
When you want a simple kale recipe but still want a tasty one, you will never go wrong with kale chips. The splash of olive oil makes them more wholesome. Like kale, olive oil boasts a healthy amount of antioxidants. And just like our veggie, olive oil also has impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s how to make this easy kale chips for doggies:
- Using a salad spinner, wash and finely dry the kale.
- Slice the kale into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
- Place the kale on a prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.
Wheat-free Carrot and Kale Roll
Most dogs enjoy eating a carrot in its simplest form. But just to level things up, we’re adding this canine-favorite in this yummy kale roll. Carrot, like kale, is rich in beta-carotene. You can make a large quantity of this roll and store it in the freezer for up to a month. Just allow it to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing. If you can’t wait to get busy in the kitchen, here’s the recipe:
- Grate a large carrot.
- Put the grated carrot in a large bowl.
- Add a cup of chopped kale, one egg, 1 tablespoon of honey, a cup of spelt flour, and ¼ cup of water.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Form a roll using the dough.
- Wrap each roll using kitchen foil.
- Place in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 hours.
- Slice in ¼ inches pieces.
- Place on a baking sheet.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Kale and Cheese Sticks
Even you will find it hard to resist these kale and cheese sticks! If your dog enjoys eating cheese, you can safely give it to him in small amounts. It’s best to use low-lactose cheeses like Swiss, Parmesan, and Cheddar. In general, consider lactose-free milk for your dog. There are types of dog milk being sold especially for canines. If you never incorporated milk in your dog’s food before, consider checking with your vet first.
- Create your dough by mixing a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of chopped kale, ½ cup of shredded cheese, and ½ cup of milk.
- Keep mixing until all the ingredients are well-combined.
- Shape it into small sticks.
- Place on a silicone mat.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Kale, Apple, and Oat Dog Treats
These three super healthy foods are satisfying on their own but they have a lot of things in common. Aside from being nutrient-dense, these three boast impressive amounts of fiber. It’s the perfect snack for doggies with bowel movement issues.
- Finely crush 2 cups of oats in a food processor. Transfer in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Slice 2 medium apples and place in a food processor. Grind the apples until you get a sauce-like consistency.
- Scoop in the mixing bowl where you transferred the crushed oats.
- Add another cup of whole oats, 2 cups of chopped kale, and 2 tablespoons of honey.
- Mix until all the ingredients are combined nicely.
- Scoop the dough using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop. Place the scooped dough on a silicone pad or a pan lined with parchment paper. Spread some flour beforehand to avoid it from sticking to the pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.
A frittata is so easy to do. Remember, both milk and cheese are safe for dogs as long as the pets are lactose tolerant. Mini frittatas are perfect for smaller dogs. Fill your muffin tins about a quarter and bake for only 8 minutes. Once your frittatas are ready, they will have a nice golden color. If you have no problems feeding Fido some dairy, don’t hesitate to make this delish treat for him:
- In a skillet, sauté around 8 leaves of chopped kale.
- Add in a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt to taste.
- Keep stirring until your kale is tender but still dark green. Set aside your sautéed veggie.
- In a bowl, mix around 6 eggs with 1/3 cup of milk. Whisk in half a cup of shredded Cheddar cheese and your sautéed kale.
- Scoop out in muffin tins lightly greased with cooking spray.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 18 minutes.
Kale Kibble Topper
Using kale as a kibble topper is the most convenient way to introduce this veggie to your doggie. If you hate complicated dog food dishes and your pup cannot live without his kibble, simply follow this one:
- In a small pot, add a couple of inches of water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Place half a cup of shredded kale in the steamer basket.
- Steam for around 10 minutes or until the kale is tender.
- Mix the steamed kale in your dog’s kibble.
Beef, Potato, and Kale Treat
This dish can be served with your pet’s nutritional supplements. Only add the supplement once the beef, kale, and potatoes have completely cooled as the heat can damage the digestive enzymes and vitamins. Follow these simple steps:
- Boil 1 kg of cubed or ground beef in a skillet. Allow to simmer for around 30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Remove the extra liquid.
- Add in around 10 stalks of kale.
- In a separate pot, boil around 5 medium potatoes. Allow to cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Add in 7 teaspoons of sunflower oil.
Ground Beef and Kale
As the name suggests, this dish only has two ingredients. It is the best dish to make when you run out of your dog’s food. As long as you have ground beef in the fridge, you can still create one tasty treat for your fur baby. This one’s good for you too, especially when you are trying to shed some weight. Here it is:
- In a skillet with around 100 ml water, boil 450 grams of ground beef.
- Allow to cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
- Add in 6 leaves of fresh kale.
- Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool before serving to your dog.
Salmon, Quinoa, and Kale Loaf for Dogs
This recipe uses canned salmon that has been precooked. Always pick the no-sodium variety when choosing canned salmon for your dog. Here’s the step-by-step guide to this recipe:
- Cook a cup of quinoa by placing it in boiling water. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting on your stove. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t add salt or any seasoning.
- Mix the cooked quinoa with 5 ounces of canned salmon and 3 ounces of boiled and drained kale.
- Bind the ingredients together using 2 hard-boiled eggs. Add a bit of water to create a loaf-like consistency.
- Bake at 350°F for 17 minutes or until the color of salmon has changed to medium-light pink.
Chicken Sausage Kale Quiche for Dogs
Quiche is a savory open tart usually filled with eggs and milk. This is the best dish for your pet’s birthday! Try making some of these during those special occasions:
- Dice 1 chicken sausage link and half of a red bell pepper.
- Finely chopped around ¼ cup of kale.
- Shred 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese.
- Divide all the ingredients into muffin tins lightly greased with cooking spray.
- Whisk together 8 eggs and ½ cup of milk in a bowl.
- Pour in the mixture evenly on the muffin tins with chicken sausage, red bell pepper, kale, and cheese.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer on wire racks.
Safety Reminders For Dog Owners
All these dishes are made with your pet’s wellness in mind. Still, we recommend that you consult your veterinarian before feeding any new food to Fido.
Also, keep in mind that these recipes are just snacks and should only be given occasionally. Continue giving your dog a balanced diet and only offer these treats once in a while and in moderate amounts.
Kale is non-toxic for dogs, but it should not be given to hypothyroid canines due to its natural goitrogenic properties. Vets approve kale for dogs although all of them would agree that it should only be given in small amounts.
As a tip for choosing kale, look for moist and crisp leaves. The color will depend on the variety of kale. If you are buying the green ones, look for leaves with a vibrant bright to deep green color. Kale should not have a yellow color. For the red variety, it should look more purplish.