A leafy cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is a common ingredient added to many recipes and stews, and one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s low-cost and easy to make, while also being rich in vitamins and nutrients. But is it okay to serve cabbage to your puppy? The answer is yes.
Health Benefits of Cabbage for Dogs
If you want to start adding more vegetables to supplement your dog’s diet, leafy greens are a great place to start. Not only is cabbage safe for dogs to eat, it can be prepared in a number of ways. Whether served alone as a green treat, chopped and eaten with kibble, or baked and stuffed with other pet-friendly ingredients (or even their own), dogs can enjoy cabbage with their pet parents.
Even better, cabbage can also provide your dog with a range of health benefits. Cabbage is rich in important vitamins such as vitamins K, C, B6, B1. It’s also rich in healthy fiber and essential minerals, including manganese, copper, and potassium. Red cabbage, in particular, is thought to have strong cancer-fighting properties. Although dogs get most of the nutrients they need from their daily food, it’s okay to occasionally offer healthy human foods like cabbage (unless your veterinarian advises against it).
Additionally, cabbage happens to contain high levels of powerful antioxidant compounds called phytonutrients. Cabbage’s polyphenols make it the cruciferous vegetable with the most antioxidants, helping to support human and canine health. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals in the blood, which can help prevent diseases such as cancer. They can also help your four-legged friend naturally boost their immune system and even lower your dog’s risk of certain diseases or health conditions, such as heart disease.
Another benefit is that cabbage has been shown to promote a healthy gastrointestinal system in dogs and aid in proper digestion due to its high fiber content. It can even have a positive effect on the skin by helping prevent skin irritation; eating cabbage can promote healthier skin from the inside out in both humans and dogs, making it a great treat for pets with dry or rough skin.
Of course, dogs are carnivorous by nature, so while the occasional veggie is healthy for them, meat should still make up the majority of their diet.
Dangers of Cabbage to Dogs
One of the main hazards of cabbage for dogs is the same for dogs as it is for humans – if we eat too much of this leafy green vegetable, it can cause stomach upset and symptoms such as excessive gas and flatulence.
That’s why even though something is healthy for dogs, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to have whatever they want. Always consult your veterinarian before offering cabbage or any other “human food” to your dog, as he or she can provide guidance based on your dog’s personal health. As a general rule, always only offer your dog a small amount of new food, such as cabbage, and monitor for about 24 hours if your dog may disagree with his symptoms, such as watery stools.
One serious danger of letting your dog eat too much cabbage is that it can actually lead to hypothyroidism—though your dog will eat a lot of raw cabbage for a few days for that to happen. Cabbage contains thiocyanate, a natural compound that affects the thyroid. However, thoroughly cooking (such as boiling or steaming) cabbage before serving it to your four-legged friend is one way to effectively remove this compound from cabbage.
While dogs can eat cabbage of any color or form in moderation, it’s best to cook cabbage because it’s easier for your dog to chew and digest, and it protects you from the slightest risk of causing hypothyroidism. And, of course, whether you’re preparing purple, napa, savoy, red, or any other type of cabbage, be sure to skip any spices, seasonings, or other additives that might be dog-unfriendly – trust us, yours Dogs probably won’t mind the natural “bland” taste of cabbage or any other vegetable.