Can Dogs Eat Cabbage? Is Cabbage Safe for Dogs?

Do you often find your dog staring at you as you eat your dinner? It can be hard to resist such an expression, so you may be tempted to save a little treat for your dog.

But is it safe to do so if you’re eating cabbage?

We’ll look at all the details in a moment, but the short answer is that cabbage is definitely fine for your dog to eat in moderation. It’s probably best to avoid giving them your leftovers, though, which can include things like oil and salt that aren’t so good for your pup.

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How is cabbage good for dogs?

There are different ways that cabbage adds nutritional benefits to your dog’s diet. Cabbage is full of fiber, which can help your dog’s digestive system function correctly. Cabbage contains 2 grams of fiber per cup and only 22 calories. This makes it a good choice if you have an overweight dog, and you’re looking to bulk out their meals and help them feel full without piling on the calories.

Cabbage is also packed full of vitamins and minerals, including high levels of vitamin K and C. It also contains antioxidants that can help keep your dog healthy. Some research suggests that vitamin C may help reduce the risks of developing certain types of cancer in humans. It’s not clear if this would also be the case for dogs, but it’s certainly a potential plus point for this vegetable!

But before you go off and prepare a huge batch of cabbage for your dog, let’s take a look at what’s not so good about cabbage and why you might decide not to feed it to your dog after all.

dog with veggies and grocery bag cabbage
Image credit: Aleksey Boyko, Shutterstock

What’s bad about cabbage?

Too much cabbage can cause a build-up of gas within your dog’s digestive system. This can leave them feeling bloated or with a sore tummy. The other unpleasant side effect is your dog might get a great deal of flatulence and end up leaving stink-bombs around your house!

Excessive gas is usually only a problem when you feed a large amount of cabbage in one go, so it’s best to stick to smaller portions of this vegetable.

What about leaving cabbage raw or cooking it up? 

Is cooked or raw cabbage best?

If your dog seems to have developed a liking for cabbage, you may decide that you’d like to feed it to them regularly. But what’s best, cooked or raw cabbage?

While a little raw cabbage isn’t going to do your dog any harm, if you’re going to feed it to your dog regularly, then cooked cabbage is the better option.

Raw cabbage contains something called thiocyanate. If your dog eats a large amount of raw cabbage over a long period, the thiocyanate can stop their thyroid gland from functioning correctly. Eventually, this can lead to hyperthyroidism, which will need veterinary attention.

The good news is that thiocyanate is deactivated when the cabbage is cooked, so you can feed your dog cooked cabbage safely.

Of course, any cabbage that’s been prepared as part of a dish for us humans is best kept away from your dog. That includes the cabbage in coleslaw or fermented versions like sauerkraut or kimchi.

Cabbage
Image: Pikrepo

How to feed your dog cabbage

If you’ve decided to feed your pup cabbage regularly, it’s best to include it as part of their standard meals. As mentioned, cabbage that’s been cooked and then left to cool is the best choice. Whether you want to steam or boil the cabbage is up to you, but don’t add any seasonings.

You can choose to feed your pup purple cabbage, green, savoy or any other type of cabbage! They all have similar levels of nutrients.

Cabbage leaves are best diced or sliced to make them easier for your dog to chew and swallow. Don’t feed your dog whole cooked cabbage leaves, as they can potentially cause a blockage if your dog doesn’t chew them first, and let’s be honest, most dogs love to gulp down their meals!

If you make your dog’s food at home, then you can simply mix the cabbage in or add it as a topper to your dog’s regular kibble or wet food.

As with any new feed, start by feeding only a small amount of cooked cabbage. Keep an eye on your dog after they’ve finished their meal and check that they seem comfortable and happy.

Your pup doesn’t need much cabbage every day, so it’s best to treat this as more of a supplement than part of their main meal.

White Dog Eating
Image Credit: manushot, Shutterstock

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Wrapping it up

Cabbage, fed in moderation, can be a beneficial supplement to your dog’s diet.

If your pup seems to love this leafy vegetable, then there’s no reason that you can’t feed it to them as a small percentage of their daily ration.

Just remember that the safest way to feed it is when it’s diced or chopped into small pieces before being cooked to deactivate the thiocyanate present in raw cabbage.

If you take the time to cook up cabbage and feed small quantities to your dog as the occasional treat alongside their regular food, we’re sure they’ll be grateful!


Featured Image: Pixabay, Pickpik