3 min read

Can Dogs Eat Kale?


By Kevin Hughes

Published: 04/23/2024, edited: 05/11/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Kale doesn’t seem the most obvious type of food to give to a dog to eat — it divides opinion enough among people, and it’s definitely an acquired taste. But, as all pet parents know, if you’re eating kale, your dog is probably going to show a strong interest in it. Usually, whatever you’re eating, your dog is going to want to get involved and at least try some of it.

So, should you give into those pleading eyes and give your dog kale? Can dogs eat kale and, if so, is kale good for dogs, giving canines the same benefits as humans? 

How should I feed kale to my dog?

Making a meal for yourself with kale as an ingredient, and wondering whether you can give some to your dog? Can dogs have kale? Well, yes — dogs can have kale but as with so many foods, you’ve got to be careful how much of it you give to your pup, and how often. Not to mention, how you prepare it.

It’s best to give your dog a very small amount of kale, suitable to its size — this might be as little as a teaspoon’s worth for small breeds — that’s been boiled or steamed, which makes it easier for your pup to digest. It has to be plain. While we might choose to flavor kale with salt, pepper or spices, all of these ingredients can upset a dog’s more delicate and sensitive stomach.

Cooking kale with onions and/or garlic? Definitely don’t pass some of that to your dog! Both onions and garlic are toxic to canines.

Can my dog eat raw kale?

So, if plain kale is fine to give to your dog, can dogs eat raw kale? Technically, yes, though again in small amounts. But, again, there are a few things to be aware of. Make sure the kale has been prepared properly — washed thoroughly to remove any potential dirt or pesticides. Chop off the stalks — these can be problematic for dogs and difficult to swallow and digest.

As kale makes a great base ingredient for salads, you might be tempted to whip some of it from your bowl to give to your dog. Be careful here. Salad dressings typically include ingredients that can upset your pup. We can’t stress this enough — plain kale with nothing at all added to it is the safest version to give your dog!

kale chopped up on cutting board - can dogs eat kale

Is kale good for dogs?

We know kale is a really healthy type of food. It’s packed with antioxidants, calcium, potassium and a range of vitamins including Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K — which is why it’s become so popular as a superfood ingredient in soups, salads, stir fries and even smoothies.

But, is kale good for dogs as well as humans?

It can be, if fed in moderation. Kale contains lots of fiber, so it can have a positive or negative effect on your dog’s digestive system. Occasional small amounts of kale can have a benefit; if your dog is suffering with constipation, it could alleviate the condition. On the other hand, feed too much kale to your dog and it could easily have the opposite effect. 

Can kale cause diarrhea? Yes, it can, if your dog has eaten too much of it it’s likely to trigger those kinds of digestive issues. Unpleasant — for you, and your dog.

Not only that, like spinach, kale is a source of something called calcium oxalate. Why is this a potential problem? Well, if your dog already has kidney issues, don’t feed it kale at all — it can lead to kidney stones or bladder stones.

Small amounts given to your dog now and again probably won’t cause any issues. But, speak to your vet if you have any concerns and observe your dog after it’s eaten kale. If there’s any adverse reaction, then you know to avoid feeding your pup any kale again in the future.

To sum up, a little plain, boiled kale every so often is likely to be harmless to your dog. Try giving your dog a very small amount, if you’re preparing kale for a meal for yourself. However, it’s not a food dogs need in their diet and there’s a good chance yours won’t even like it anyway. It’s not high up in the list of tastiest food for dogs, compared to meat!

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.