We know how much dogs love to eat meat, but how often do we think about whether our dogs can eat vegetables? Standing at the kitchen counter preparing dinner, we can often wonder if it’s safe to slip our pet a couple of slices of cabbage or a piece of carrot. Or, if some falls to the floor and they rush to gobble it up, we might be concerned that they’ll become ill.
So, it’s always good to know exactly what foods are safe for a dog. In this case specifically, can dogs eat cabbage and if so, is it not only safe but good for them to eat?
Can Dogs Eat Cabbage Safely?
Dogs can eat cabbage and not only that, many of them love cabbage, particularly if it’s served raw to them, as they love the cool, crunchy texture. They can eat both white and red cabbage, both cooked and raw, and it’s not only safe for dogs to eat but it’s good for them, too.
Cabbage is safe but you should be forewarned: it should only be served to them in small quantities, not just because too much of anything will do them harm, but because you might come to regret it! Cabbage can cause gas in all mammals, both people and dogs, and we all know how lethal dog gas can be.
Why is Cabbage Healthy?
Cabbage is a healthy source of fiber and contains many antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, including vitamins C and K. Vitamin C helps build up a healthy immune system and is an important antioxidant, and vitamin K helps blood clot better and prevent internal bleeding.
Not just that, but cabbage is known to help fight illnesses caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can cause depletion of electrons in bodies of mammals, including both humans and dogs, and this can lead to serious diseases. Cabbage contains antioxidants that go toward fighting these free radicals, so that these diseases don’t get chance to develop.
Red cabbage is also known to contain cancer fighting compounds so as you can see, cabbage provides many health benefits to both you and your dog!
Will Cooked Cabbage Hurt My Dog?
You’re more likely to find that your canine friend will enjoy raw cabbage more than he will cooked cabbage, but this is more to do with the texture than anything else.
Raw cabbage is more likely to be what gives him gas, so many owners prefer to feed their pet cooked cabbage so that they get the nutrients and yet don’t get the noxious flatulence that causes their humans to pass out. But there’s another reason that cooked cabbage can actually be better for your dog to eat.
Raw cabbage contains a natural compound called thiocyanate which isn’t harmful in moderation, but if you feed a dog too much raw cabbage the thiocyanate can cause their thyroid gland to stop working properly. If you cook the cabbage, the thiocyanate becomes deactivated, so the thyroid gland won’t be affected, and so it’s safer for the dog to eat the cabbage part of its meal.
Remember that if you’re cooking cabbage for your dog, there’s no need to use oil or add any kind of seasoning. This will likely upset their stomach even more. Simply boiling the cabbage in unsalted water will work fine. We don’t like to eat our cabbage unseasoned but when it comes to vegetables dogs aren’t wondering why there’s no salt on them!
How Often Should I Serve Cabbage to My Dog?
It’s always a good idea to feed your dog the kinds of foods that will give them the most health benefits and vegetables are an important part of a dog’s diet. However, it’s not simply a case of feeding your dog table scraps and giving them cabbage because it’s part of the family’s leftover dinner.
When you introduce vegetables to a dog’s diet you should always start with a small amount. Try giving your dog a couple of cabbage leaves and seeing if they like it to begin with. After all, you might be reading all this advice on giving your dog too much cabbage when it turns out they can’t stomach a single leaf!
But if it turns out that he enjoyed it, then you can make cabbage part of your dog s diet. Naturally you wouldn’t pile it into his bowl as though he were a rabbit, but chopping up some raw cabbage and sprinkling it on top of his food a couple of times a week will provide him with plenty of immune system boosting antioxidants. Stirring in cooked cabbage with his biscuits will also do the trick.
Feeding your dog cabbage or any other leafy green vegetable should always be done in moderation so be sure to include other important things in their diet too, such as a good quality kibble and the occasional meaty treat.
If you’ve noticed that since you’ve begun feeding your dog cabbage he seems to have developed stomach problems such as bloating, excess gas, and diarrhea, then don’t feed him any more. Some dogs have more sensitive stomachs and cabbage can irritate them, so consider a different vegetable to cabbage to get them their vitamins. It might be that red cabbage is fine but green or white cabbage causes a gassy reaction, but every dog is different.
If you’re still unsure how much cabbage to feed your dog, guidelines suggest around 1/8 of a cup a couple of times a week, added to your dog s diet. Be sure to chop it up so there’s less risk of your dog choking, then cook it, leave it to cool, and stir it into the dog food.
What Vegetables are Bad for Dogs?
Just because cabbage is safe for dogs, it doesn’t mean that all vegetables are. Some vegetables are known to be bad for them and can make your dog sick.
For example, you might love a creamy avocado but it’s bad for your dog to eat them because they contain a chemical called persin that can make them vomit. Tomatoes are also bad because they contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs. Onions, a vegetable we eat in cooked food and salads all the time without thinking about it, can be absolutely lethal for dogs as they can rupture their red blood cells. So make sure you check before serving any vegetable to your canine companion.
Other vegetables, though, are safe and healthy to include in your dog’s diet. They can eat green beans, celery, carrots, peas, spinach, and broccoli. They’re packed full of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that can be added to their food in the same way you’d add cabbage.
As always, these should be in moderation and part of a healthy diet. A large amount of any vegetable can cause health problems so reduce the risk of this by always being mindful of what your pet eats.
Some dogs eat whatever they can find, so if your pup is a bit of a scavenger, keep him on the leash when he goes for a walk so that he won’t go rooting around in trash cans, looking to grab a snack that will do him harm. It’s also important that dog owners don’t feed dogs their own food from the table as this can contain high levels of salt.
If you’re still unsure, it’s always best to get expert information on how best to feed your canine friend. The American Kennel Club has an article on their website here on choosing the best food for your dog, and don’t forget to take your pup for his annual check up with the vet, too.
Can Dogs Eat Other Foods?
While we’re talking about vegetables, it’s natural to wonder if your dog can eat fruit, too. Fruit also contains nutrients that are great for boosting the immune system of your pet but these too should be fed in moderation and with caution.
Apples, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, and mangoes are all safe for dogs and yet grapes and cherries should never be fed to your dog. Rhubarb, too, can be lethal as it contains oxalic acid, which is toxic to dogs.
You can also use beans in a dog’s diet, too, but more as a treat than as part of their regular meal plan. Beans are high in protein and fiber, but they should never make up more than 10 percent of their daily calorie count. When a dog eats beans, they must be cooked first, otherwise they can be indigestible.
Kidney beans, black beans, Lima beans, and soybeans are all safe for your pet dog, but beans should never be used as a meat substitute. A dog needs a very different diet to that of a human. Even though we might choose to be vegetarian, a dog wouldn’t do well on such a diet as he simply needs more protein and beans won’t be enough for him.
By giving your dog a healthy diet, you’ll keep him fighting fit for many years!