Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?

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We are now up to the letter K in our second pass through the A to Z Dog Food Ingredient series. Today’s dog food ingredient is the “superfood” Kale.
Slimdoggy Kale

What is Kale?

Kale, sometimes classified as a “superfood”, is a leafy green vegetable. It is found in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

Common names for Kale

Kale is sometimes referred to by the specific type of kale such as curly-leaf (aka scots kale), plain-leaf kale. A popular variety is known as dinosaur kale.

Why is Kale in Dog Food?

Kale is added to dog food because of it is a great source of Vitamins A, C, and K as well as the minerals copper, potassium and iron to name a few.

Is Kale Commonly Used in Dog Food?

Kale is becoming increasingly popular as a dog food ingredient, but it is still not found on most recipes. It is included in about 2.5% of all dog foods.

Common Benefits or Risks of Kale

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and phytonutrients. Some research has shown that Kale can be effective in helping prevent some forms of cancer, including colon and bladder cancer.

Kale is also rich in lutein which supports eye-health.

Kale contains oxalates that interfere with the absorption of calcium. Make sure your dog has enough calcium if they are on a diet rich in kale.

slimdoggy smiley

Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level

Kale is a healthy food ingredient and an abundant source of vitamins and minerals. We give the ingredient a Smiley Face rating.

Miscellaneous facts about Kale:

One cup of kale contains 33 calories and almost 3 grams of protein

According to Wikipedia, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe until the end of the Middle Ages.

Sources and further reading

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  1. I find that many people aren’t aware of the amount of protein found in vegetables. As a vegetarian, I tend to be much more aware of other protein sources, like the dark green vegetables.

    Love this series!

    Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats
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    • That is true. That said, dogs (and cats) are not able to digest protein sourced from vegetables as efficiently as they do from protein sourced from meat and fish.
      steve recently posted…Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?My Profile

  2. We unfortunately see a number of dogs with bladder cancer. I think they should really stuff a lot of Kale in the foods to give the dogs that cancer stopping effect.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tuesday’s Tails With a Book ReviewMy Profile

    • The studies seem to indicate that kale can help prevent the occurrence of bladder cancer. Certainly worth including it as part of a pet’s diet. If not for the preventative properties, than for the vitamins and minerals.
      steve recently posted…Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?My Profile

    • Tynan’s fatal cancers was bladder cancer and he loved kale; he ate a large raw leaf after each meal and it was also chopped up in his food. I think kale is incredibly healthy and wonderful, for humans and pets, but I wouldn’t put stock in it’s cancer preventing abilities.
      Bethany recently posted…Cats Of London Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

      • Honestly, I don’t put much stock in the ‘fighting’ aspect. But preventative assistance…yes.
        mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy | Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  3. Kale and collard greens are common vegetables in our home. Would the preferred method be cooked or raw when it comes to dogs? I ask because I could mince it very fine while it’s raw and add occasionally (providing he likes it) or should I blanch it first? I know, you think I’m crazy for asking – but I need to know Slim, a Doodle Mom’s interested….
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…BED HOPPING | MONDAY MISCHIEFMy Profile

    • If your dogs will eat it, try it raw first. If they won’t eat kale raw, you can try cooking it and see if that makes a difference.
      steve recently posted…Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?My Profile

    • Kale is a favourite here at Casa de Kolchak and both my dogs absolutely adore it. Luckily, they adore a lot of thing, so they get a healthy amount of everything instead of too much of one thing and I don’t worry too much about the calcium uptake issues it can cause in high doses.

      Anytime I’m adding a veggie for the nutritional value and not just as a “healthy treat”, I recommend pureeing it. I’m sure Steve and Kate know all this, but I find this stuff fascinating, so I’m going to yak on about it. Dogs produce amylase (the enzyme that breaks down the outer cellulose walls of veggies) in their intestines, instead of in their mouths, like humans do. Purreeing veggies allows their bodies to start breaking them down faster and use them more efficiently. In some (but not all dogs) if you feed them a leaf of raw kale, it will come out the other end in much the same form, if somewhat slimier. (Sorry for the visual. I even grossed myself out there.)
      Jodi, Kolchak & Felix recently posted…Recipe FlashbacksMy Profile

  4. We love kale over here. It’s full of so many good things!
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…Bravo! Crunchy DelightsMy Profile

  5. Mom has kale every morning in her drink, we had no idea how good it was for dogs! Thanks for sharing!
    Miley recently posted…Back to School Ice PupsMy Profile

  6. Oh good to know! I put kale into Ace’s food every now and then because I know dark, leafy greens are generally healthy for dogs and people. Well, I guess some people disagree and say dogs don’t need veggies at all. We all have to do what we think is best, but I don’t think adding a little kale here and there can hurt any of us, dogs or people.
    Lindsay recently posted…This may horrify you, but at least you’ll know when the mess is goneMy Profile

    • Dogs are much better off getting their vitamins and minerals from real meats, veggies, and fruits. It is true that dog’s bodies are meant to eat high protein and fat diets, they can benefit from whole food sources of the vitamins and minerals that are so abundant in things like kale.
      steve recently posted…Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?My Profile

  7. Kale is something I haven’t tried with the dogs. We used to consume it as humans, but it’s not Hashimoto’s friendly. 🙁
    Flea recently posted…Chew for All the DogsMy Profile

  8. Kale is something we hear more and more about. Thanks for all the good information on it.
    jan recently posted…I have a theory that the entire universe is speeding upMy Profile

    • You bet. Our dogs actually seem to enjoy kale when we share ours with them. When it is part of a food recipe, the dogs don’t even know they are eating it.
      steve recently posted…Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?My Profile

  9. Many thanks for a great review. I currently have a lite food where Kale is included, think it’s really a good thingy.
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

    • Thanks. It is much better for your pet to obtain their vitamins and minerals from real meats,vegetables, and fruits first and then added supplements as a secondary source. Kale is one ingredient that helps achieve this.
      steve recently posted…Is the Latest Superfood, Kale Good for Dogs?My Profile

  10. I have bought the dogs some Kale treats before, although they weren’t very fond of them :/
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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  11. I will need to visit Gramma and break into her refrig. She always has Kale in there, I don’t think we have any at our house. It is supposed to be super healthy stuff we hear.
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  12. I may be the only person not on the kale bandwagon…for me not the boys. They have had some treats and dog food with kale as an ingredient. Now, if someone can please tell me how to make kale taste good to a human, I’d appreciate it. I’ve only eaten it raw in salad and in a smoothie. Ugh. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…How to Celebrate National Dog DayMy Profile

  13. We like all of our veggies, but wont eat raw greens! Thanks for sharing….now Mom is going to cut up kale in our food all the time! BOL!
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  14. I’ve been meaning to add kale to my own diet, maybe knowing it’s good for the dogs will motivate me more. I’ve heard it’s very easy to grow, and I love easy to grow things for my garden. The problem is I don’t like a lot of greens like spinach. Does kale taste like spinach? 🙂
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  15. I like rotating kale with Brussels sprouts and Savoy cabbage.
    Jana Rade recently posted…Gretel’s Brush With Scary BloatMy Profile

  16. We blend up kale and mix it into our dogs food several times a month. I had no idea about it interfering with calcium absorption. Our dogs get a calcium supplement as part of their joint care regime. It’s nice having this extra bit of information.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Furry Friends Club Box – September 2014 #GiveawayMy Profile

  17. I think I have even seen kale as an ingredient in treats.
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