Our dogs are a big part of our lives. We share our homes with our pets and want to share every piece of our lives, including our plates, with our dogs. Taking care of our dogs is not easy, but it is rewarding when done right.
Part of taking great care of your dogs is knowing how what you are feeding them will affect them. Dogs’ biology and bodies are much different from ours, so not all human foods are created equal when it comes to sharing a treat with your pup.
However, some human foods are safe and yummy treats for your pooch. Cabbage is a common veggie you might have in your fridge right now, and it’s an acceptable snack for your pup, too.
The Benefits of Feeding a Dog Cabbage
If you want to add more nutritious food groups to your dog’s diet, leafy greens like cabbage are a great option. Cabbage is jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients and can be fed to your dog in a variety of ways.
Cabbage is a rich source of essential nutrients your dog needs to lead a healthy life. A head of cabbage offers lots of Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B1. All these lead to lowered inflammation, better immune health, and better overall well-being.
Furthermore, cabbage also provides a good source of fiber. Fiber helps regulate the digestive system and promote healthy stool, so leafy greens like cabbage are a great snack for dogs who might struggle with constipation. Cabbage also features essential minerals like potassium, copper, and manganese.
Cabbage also features a unique antioxidant compound, called phytonutrients. These antioxidants help clear free radicals in the blood, leading to lower instances of cancer. These antioxidants provide powerful immune system support as well as are effective in fighting off certain diseases, such as heart disease.
These essential vitamins and minerals are added to kibble; however, it never hurts to add a natural snack to your dog’s diet which can provide this nutrition in a healthy and low-fat way. 1 ½ cups of shredded, cooked lettuce only has 17 calories. One leaf of raw cabbage only has 6 calories. So, this snack is much more low-calorie than a lot of dog biscuits out there.
Risks of Feeding a Dog Cabbage
Cabbage is a generally safe and healthy snack for your pup. However, there are some precautions you should take before feeding your pup cabbage. Cabbage is high in fiber, which is great in small quantities, but large quantities can cause issues. Too much fiber can cause stomach upset and loose stool.
This is the reason why you should always feed cabbage in very small amounts. You should always feed a very small portion of cabbage at first to watch for any adverse reactions. Even if your dog shows no adverse reactions after the first try, you should always ensure the portions are small to prevent your dog from getting too much fiber.
Another adverse effect of feeding your dog cabbage can be hypothyroidism. In order for cabbage to cause hypothyroidism, they have to eat a lot of raw cabbage over days to be at risk for developing hypothyroidism. Assuming you are monitoring your dog and controlling their portions, this should not be a concern.
The reason too much cabbage can cause hypothyroidism is that it contains thiocyanate, a natural component that has a negative effect on thyroid function. Thoroughly cooking cabbage (i.e. boiling or steaming it) before feeding it to your pup destroys these compounds.
Can Puppies Eat Cabbage?
Just like human babies, puppies have different dietary needs than full-grown dogs. Puppies tend to have a more sensitive stomach and GI tract. So, feeding a unique human treat like cabbage could disturb a young dog’s GI tract.
Cabbage can result in adverse effects in puppies like diarrhea or vomiting. It’s not recommended to feed puppies veggies like cabbage until they are a little older and more able to handle a new food type.
How to Prepare Cabbage for a Dog
There are several ways to serve this nutritious snack to your dog at home. Dogs can have raw cabbage – in small slices and small overall portions. Too much raw cabbage can cause adverse effects on your dog’s thyroid.
So, raw cabbage should be sliced thinly and served in moderation. Make sure to avoid giving your dog any part of the cabbage stem, as it can be a choking hazard. Or you can choose to cook cabbage for your pup. You can easily steam or boil cabbage for your dog. Cooking cabbage makes it easier for your dog to digest and eat. Plus, cooking cabbage burns off the thiocyanate that can cause thyroid issues.
You can also include chopped cabbage in homemade dog treats or biscuits. When cooking cabbage for your dog, the most important thing is making sure you are not putting in extra seasonings, oil, or butter. Any oils, butter, or seasonings can really upset your dog’s stomach.
If it’s your first time feeding your dog cabbage, make sure to introduce it in small amounts and watch for any adverse reactions in your dog. Some dogs’ stomachs may not agree with cabbage.
What Other Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
Apart from cabbage, there are plenty of other veggies that can be safely enjoyed by humans and dogs alike. Vegetables can provide an array of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can boost your dog’s health when fed in moderation.
If you’ve tried feeding your dog beets and/or radishes, and they just aren’t a fan, you have other options you can try. There are several veggies that are non-toxic to canines and provide beneficial nutrients, too. Some examples of dog-friendly veggies include sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers, onion and asparagus.
In short, cabbage is a great option for a healthy snack for your pup. Cabbage offers tons of vitamins and minerals in a small package. Cabbage is very high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and other essential vitamins for good health. Cabbage also provides lots of fiber, which is great for regulating the digestive tract and bowel movements.
Cabbage also provides antioxidants that are great compounds for fighting cancer and inflammation. As great as cabbage is, it does have some risks. Feeding your dog cabbage (which is super high in fiber) can push their GI tract over the edge and cause loose stools. Plus, raw cabbage can cause problems with thyroid functions in extremely large portions. Thankfully, cooking cabbage for your dog can make it easier to digest and break down the compounds that cause harmful effects on the thyroid. Dogs can be fed raw, boiled, or steamed cabbage.
All in all, if you are looking for an all-around healthy veggie to feed fido, cabbage is a great choice, as long as it is fed in moderation. Apart from cabbage, there are many other veggies that are safe for dogs, too. So try out all of the dog-approved veggie types and see which is your dogs favorite!