Can Dogs Eat Kale Safely?

Read this before giving your dog kale 🥬

If you love having kale as a healthy snack, you might be wondering if you can share some with your pup.

The Dodo reached out to Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian at Paramount Pet Health, and Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinary consultant with DogLab, to find the answer to the question: Can dogs eat kale?

Is kale healthy for dogs?

Kale is a healthy leafy green vegetable for humans, but it doesn’t agree with all dogs.

While a small amount of kale isn’t going to cause any real issues, it doesn’t seem to be worth it to give to your pup due to the problems it can cause.

Benefits of kale

Kale is a vegetable packed with valuable vitamins and minerals, high in fiber and low in calories. Vitamins found in kale include A, K and C, with nutrients including iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and potassium.

With that said, there are other safer vegetables to feed to your dog that have similar nutritional benefits.

Potential risks of kale

Although kale is a superfood for humans, some dogs may develop vomiting or diarrhea with as little as one teaspoon of kale ingested.

Some other potential issues that can arise from consuming kale include:

Kidney stones

Due to the calcium oxalate present in kale, it could cause a flare-up of kidney stones in pups who’ve experienced them in the past.

“Kale should not be fed to dogs with a history of calcium oxalate bladder stones,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo. “This vegetable has a high calcium oxalate and isothiocyanate level, leading to an increased chance of redevelopment of stones.”

Urinary tract infection

Your dog can also develop many urinary tract infections as a result of the bladder crystals and bladder stones that kale can trigger.

Gastrointestinal issues

Isothiocyanates, which are phytochemicals found in kale (and other cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli), can irritate your pup’s stomach if consumed in large amounts.

“Isothiocyanates can cause [gastrointestinal] irritation and … issues like vomiting and diarrhea,” Dr. Ochoa told The Dodo.

Can dogs eat kale if it's raw?

Dogs can technically eat raw kale, but it may be too tough for your dog and can cause even more gastrointestinal problems.

“It is best to steam them since raw kale can cause issues with your dog's thyroid,” Dr. Ochoa said.

How to feed your dog kale

If you want to feed your pup kale, Dr. Burch recommends contacting your veterinarian to determine if it’s safe for your dog to include kale in their diet. “If your dog is approved to eat kale by their veterinarian, I recommend cooking or steaming it before feeding,” Dr. Burch said. “I do not recommend adding seasonings, spices or oils to the kale.”

When feeding it to your dog, it’s best to also cut the kale into small, bite-size pieces so it’s easier to chew.

Additionally, Dr. Burch only recommends feeding kale as a treat, and treats should comprise no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

So while kale isn’t toxic for your dog, it shouldn’t be on your pup’s plate most of the time. There are plenty of other nutritious and healthy snacks your pup can enjoy.