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Food & Diet

Cabbage For Dogs? Why Not!

At A Glance

Cabbage is a wonderful source of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, though not all dogs respond favorably to it. Some experience gas or diarrhea. Before feeding your dog this crisp veggie, check first whether they have any food allergies or sensitivities.

  • Introduce the vegetable to your pet in chopped, small quantities.
  • Raw and cooked cabbage are both okay for dogs to eat, but don’t use oil or seasonings when cooking.

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Is green cabbage good for dogs? What about the red variety?

Cabbage loves dogs, and the feeling is mutual.

And yes, I’m referring to both Queen Elizabeth—whom her late husband Prince Philip fondly called Cabbage—and the vegetable!

This cruciferous veggie is packed with essential nutrients. So, you need not panic when you walk in on your pet tearing away at a cabbage head.

Most dogs will eat anything, even vegetables, as we dog parents know so well.
But with cabbage, some precautionary measures are in order.

Be careful about the kind, the amount, and the way you feed it to them. Every dog digests food differently, depending on their breed and age.

Ready for the details? Here goes…

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Why Is Cabbage Good For Dogs?

You may still be in doubt and wondering, can dogs eat cabbage?

Perhaps its nutritional value and health benefits will convince you.

Cabbage is a fiber-rich, low-calorie vegetable high in vitamins, minerals, and a host of other nutrients including amino acids.

One and a half cups of shredded cooked cabbage contains only 17 calories, while one raw leaf holds about 6 calories. Not bad!

As per the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of cabbage carries the following nutrients:

So what exactly do these nourishing things do for your dog? Let’s see…

Vitamins

Cabbage is a powerhouse of vitamins like:

Vitamin B1, a.k.a. Thiamine is used to break down carbs, making it essential to your dog’s health. It’s also required for the proper function of the brain and other high-energy organs.

Vitamin C helps fight against disease. Additionally, it improves your dog’s immune response and digestion with its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory features.

Vitamin K (Potassium) regulates hormones and supports immunological response, gene activation, neurological system, and red blood cells.

Minerals

Cabbage supplies manganese, which is necessary for dogs to produce energy, synthesize fatty acids, and preserve its cartilage and bone health.

It also includes copper, an important component in the production of red blood cells and iron absorption.

Calcium, the mineral that almost all living things with teeth and bones need, is likewise abundant in this veggie.

can dogs eat cabbage infographic

Fiber

At 2.2 grams of fiber per cup, cabbage supports a balanced gastrointestinal system in dogs and aids in their proper digestion. Fibers feed the good bacteria in a dog’s gut which fight off the bad ones.

Not only that. They boost the colon’s health as well by helping eliminate waste more quickly. This limits your dog’s exposure to any carcinogens they might have absorbed.

Unfortunately, fiber can also cause gas and diarrhea in some breeds. More on that later.

Antioxidants

Cabbage is a good source of antioxidants (phytonutrients) which help neutralize free radicals like pollution and pesticides. Without those good guys, your pet is at risk of developing skin allergies, respiratory disorders, and lower immunity.

Don’t you get that wonderful feeling each time you discover a food item that’s as healthy for your dog as it is for you?

So unless your vet advises against it, go ahead and give them cabbage. Adding it to their kibble is a great way to supplement their diet.

Also, if your dog needs to lose extra fat, eating cabbage for a snack will fill them up without adding to their pounds. “It makes a great treat for overweight and diabetic dogs”, agrees Veterinary consultant Dr. Claudine Sievert.

However, I cannot overemphasize this: While that crunchy, leafy vegetable may be healthy dog food, it’s important to ensure first that your pet doesn’t have any sensitivities to it.

Retriever Lying On The Floor

Dangers of Cabbage for Dogs

Now that we have an answer to can dogs eat cabbage, the next question is, do they want to?

Most dogs will be tempted to follow your lead, sometimes even beat you to the bowl.

Interestingly, though, we received a message from one reader, saying her dog had the opposite reaction.

“I didn’t really give him the cabbage. It’s just that every time I ate salad, he would look at me like I was the weird human in the room. One time, he tentatively tasted, and eventually ate a piece that fell out from my bowl. It was the first and last time he ever put a leaf in his mouth.”

Could it have been intuition on the part of the dog? We have no way to tell, but one thing’s for sure—there are certain risks associated with cabbage consumption.

It’s possible to have too much of it, and your dog could suffer certain side effects when that happens.

Take a look:

Gas

Michele Camera, a dog mom from Texas, says that cabbages make her dogs produce nasty farts, so they try to avoid it as much as possible.

“Note that cabbage can cause gas production“, warns Albert Ahn, DVM. It turns out that the veggie contains raffinose, a sugar that goes through a fermentation process when digested by your dog.

To make matters worse, dogs tend to bolt their food, and cabbage arriving virtually whole in the stomach is no good.

If your dog experiences flatulence from eating it, ask your veterinarian for alternatives they can recommend. “There’s a veritable cornucopia of healthy vegetables and fruits that you can add for variety”, suggests Dr. Ahn.

Hypothyroidism

Cabbage may also cause a dog’s body to produce insufficient thyroid hormones when eaten too often or too much. This condition leads to lower metabolism, weight gain, lethargy, and hair loss around the tail area.

You must protect your dog from hypothyroidism at all costs. The disease isn’t curable even if the symptoms can be treated.

Diarrhea

If your dog isn’t used to eating cabbage, the high fiber content could give it gastrointestinal distress, resulting in loose, smelly stools.

Dr. Sievert explains, “Just like in humans, if your dog overeats cabbage, it can cause them to have an upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.”

To keep your dog in perfect health, “it’s crucial to remember that while veggies are a great addition to your dog’s diet, they should never replace meat”, she adds.

Allergy

Cabbage is generally safe to feed to your pets in small doses, but some dogs may have or develop allergies because of it.

Common allergy symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea, itching, and fever. Contact your vet immediately if your dog exhibits any of these after eating cabbage.

 

How to Feed Cabbage Safely to Your Dog?

When you’re unsure how your dogs will respond to cabbage, begin by giving them only 1 teaspoon of the veggie, chopped or shredded. Make sure to wash each leaf thoroughly before preparation.

After 24 hours, if they don’t display any adverse reactions, you may continue to gradually increase the amount they consume.

That’s the safe way of feeding raw cabbage to your dog. But is cooked cabbage ok for dogs to eat?

Yes! In fact, it is the best way to give this vegetable to your pet. Ensure proper cooking with no oil and seasonings so your dog can chew and digest it more easily.

You can also sprinkle the chopped or shredded pieces, either raw or steamed, on top of their kibble. Better yet, stuff and bake it for a treat that both of you can share. Yummm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Red Cabbage?

Dr. Ahn says, “Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy are all very popular varieties that are fed to dogs.”

Even chopped raw red cabbage is safe for dogs to eat. Should you choose to cook it, leave out the oil or any seasonings. You can then serve it on its own or as topping on their food.

Can Dogs Eat Green Cabbage?

Your pet can consume green cabbage as long as it’s prepared safely and served in moderation. It’s great in soups, especially for dogs, because it doesn’t taste as peppery as the red variety.

Can Dogs Eat Purple Cabbage?

While purple cabbage is a bit sweeter in taste and softer in texture than its green counterpart, their natural structure and nutritional content are the same. So, just like green cabbage, purple is a safe dog fare.

How Much Cabbage Is Good For A Dog?

Generally, dogs can consume one-eighth of a cup for every 20 pounds they weigh. If you own a small breed, 1/8 cup of shredded cabbage leaves will do.

Can Puppies Eat Cabbage?

Yes, they can, but in smaller amounts than you would serve an adult dog. About 1/8 cup of shredded cabbage should suffice.

Dog Eating From Bowl

So… can dogs eat cabbage?

As I’ve demonstrated, cabbage is indeed a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.

Emphasis on “addition” as it shouldn’t replace meat or be treated as a meal.

Keep in mind that dogs are like humans when it comes to food—they love variety! That explains their tendency to put just about any novel edible item they see.

Take advantage of the flexible cabbage. You can feed it to your pet raw, cooked, chopped, shredded, as a topping on their kibble, in soup, or stuffed and baked.

Enjoy!

 

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Paul Andrews
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-andrews-172490189/

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.