Can Dogs Eat Cabbage? Cabbage’s Nutritional Value as a Dog Food

Yes, dogs can eat cabbage. This vegetable offers many nutritional benefits that can contribute to your canine’s overall health.

Cabbage is low in calories but is packed with antioxidants that support immunity.

However, as with everything, this vegetable should be served only in moderation as it also has downsides if served incorrectly.

A puppy eating cabbage
A puppy eating red cabbage

This guide not only explains the benefits of and possible health risks of feeding cabbage to your dog.

This will also discuss the varieties of cabbage and the best ways to prepare them for your pet.

What are the Benefits of Cabbage for Dogs?

A dog at a cabbage plantation
Belle, the smiley doggo, poses among cabbage plants – Image source

Cabbage is a nutrient-rich, low-calorie veggie that provides numerous benefits to dogs. Let us walk you through a list of some of the benefits your pooch can receive from cabbage.

  1. Antioxidants in cabbage can strengthen your dog’s immunity: Cabbage is high in antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. As a result, antioxidants shield your pup from health conditions that are linked to damage caused by free radicals, such as cancer and heart disease. 
  2. Fiber in cabbage supports gut health and weight management: 100 grams of cabbage contains about 2.5 g of fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, keeping your dog’s gastrointestinal tract healthy. It also assists in weight management as fiber makes dogs feel more fulfilled after eating fewer calories. 

What nutrients in cabbage are beneficial for dogs?

Two halves of cabbage on a white background
The healthy and nutritious cabbage

Cabbage is a great source of many nutrients, including vitamins and minerals for dogs. Here are some of the nutrients that cabbage can provide for your pet.

1. Manganese

There’s 0.21 mg of manganese in 100grams of cabbage. Manganese is necessary for your dog’s bone formation and bone health.

It’s also essential for the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and prevents free radical damage.

2. Potassium

There is 170 mg of potassium in 100 grams of cabbage. Potassium helps in regulating nerves and muscles, as well as in balancing the fluid levels in your dog’s body.

A lack of potassium can lead to lethargy, muscle pain, and loss of appetite. 

3. Copper

100 grams of cooked cabbage contains between 0.017 mg and 0.096 mg of copper.

Copper has a range of health benefits for your dog, including assisting with bone formation and proper connective tissue, and collagen growth. 

It also helps form myelin, which is the protective covering of nerves, and assists with the absorption of iron and red blood cell function.

4. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for dogs. Thanks to it as it plays a role in blood clotting, which is important for preventing excessive bleeding after an injury.

5. Vitamin C

100 grams of cabbage contains about 36.6 mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost your pet’s immune system.

This powerful antioxidant also helps reduce cognitive aging in senior dogs.

6. Fiber

As mentioned, 100 grams of cabbage contains about 2.5 g of fiber.

While fiber from cabbage is not an essential nutrient for dogs, and canines do not derive energy from fiber, it’s included in most dog foods as it helps to improve colon health and reduces diarrhea and constipation. 

Fiber also promotes good bacteria in the gut and helps in bulking up your dog’s stool.

7. Phytonutrients

Cabbage contains plenty of potent antioxidant compounds known as phytonutrients.

These unique flavonoids are called anthocyanins, and along with having a host of health benefits, they also give cabbage its red and purple color.

Phytonutrients can help protect your dog from illness by fighting harmful free radicals while lowering inflammation and preventing oxidative damage.

What are the Health Risks of Cabbage for Dogs?

A Pomeranian dog in bed
A cute, sick Pomeranian dog in bed

While cabbage is a healthy vegetable, it can still pose some health risks for dogs. Here are some downsides of incorrectly serving cabbage to your pooch.

  1. Gas: It is safe to give your dog cabbage in moderation. However, too much cabbage can cause gas and stomach upset. The reason for this is that cabbage contains raffinose, a type of sugar molecule that may be difficult for dogs to digest.
  2. Hypothyroidism: Dogs that eat a lot of raw cabbage are at an increased risk for developing hypothyroidism. This is because cabbage contains thiocyanate, a natural compound that can impact the thyroid gland. Cooking cabbage before serving it to your dog will help to get rid of this compound.
  3. Choking: Feeding your dog raw cabbage and cabbage stalks is not recommended. Such a form and part of the vegetable are hard, difficult to digest, and may cause your dog to choke. While cooked cabbage is a safer option, it’s still important to cut it in manageable sizes so your dog can digest it more easily.

What’s in cabbage that is harmful to dogs?

While cabbage is packed with nutrients your dogs may benefit from, it also contains substances that can pose health risks to your pet if consumed in large amounts.

  1. Thiocyanate: As mentioned, cabbage contains the compound thiocyanate, which can be potentially dangerous for dogs. Dogs with an underactive thyroid can develop hypothyroidism, an endocrine disorder in which bodily functions start to slow down. Symptoms of the disease include lethargy, weight gain, and changes to the skin and coat.
  2. Goitrogens: These substances can interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to produce hormones. Fortunately, cooking cabbage can reduce the goitrogen levels in plants.

Is There Any Dog Breed that is Allergic to Cabbage?

While there are no known dog breeds that are allergic to cabbage and that it’s not a common allergen, it is possible for individual dogs to be allergic to this vegetable.

The most common symptoms of food allergy in dogs are gastrointestinal distress and skin irritation. 

If your dog shows any signs of discomfort after eating cabbage, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out an allergy.

In most cases, eliminating cabbage from your dog’s diet will be enough to relieve the symptoms. However, in severe cases, your dog may require medication or other treatment. 

With proper care, most dogs with cabbage allergies can lead happy and healthy lives.

What Happens If My Dog Eats Too Much Cabbage?

Dogs may react differently to cabbage. Typically, a canine who eats too much of this veggie may experience digestive issues like gas or digestive upset.

This is because cabbage has fiber and raffinose, which some dogs may have trouble digesting. 

In addition, cabbage contains a substance called thiocyanate and goitrogens which can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland.

If your dog eats a lot of cabbage, he may develop thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism.

Some symptoms of hypothyroidism in canines include hair loss, weight gain, lethargy, and a slow heart rate.

Also, your pet could face certain health complications due to the high thiocyanate content in the vegetable. 

How Should Dogs Eat Cabbage?

A black dog eating cabbage
Meet Coal, the doggo who likes munching on cabbage – Image source

You can serve cabbage raw or cooked to your dog. Give it to him as a standalone snack, add it to his kibble, or bake it with other pet-friendly ingredients.

Before sharing cabbage with your dog, make sure it’s washed thoroughly to remove any dirt or pesticides that may be present.

Additionally, chop it into small pieces to prevent the risk of choking.

Avoid mixing spices and ingredients that are toxic to dogs, to avoid the possibility of stomach upset or food poisoning.

Finally, remember that all forms of cabbage – raw or cooked – should only be fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Is Cabbage a Good Treat for Dogs?

Although cabbage is not a common treat for dogs, some owners do choose to give their pets raw or cooked cabbage as an occasional snack.

Raw cabbage is safe for dogs to eat as long as it’s washed and chopped into small pieces.

Similarly, cooked cabbage that has been boiled or steamed is also safe for dogs, as long as it’s not seasoned with any spices or oils. 

However, cabbage is also a gas-producing food, so it should be introduced into your dog’s diet slowly to avoid stomach upset.

When feeding cabbage to your dog, make sure he does not overdo it.

When should dogs eat cabbage?

Your dog can eat cabbage anytime they want as long as he’s not allergic to it and it’s served in moderation.

If it’s your dog’s first encounter with the vegetable, it’s a good idea to share it on 17 February, which is National Cabbage Day!

When should dogs not eat cabbage?

Cabbage allergy can still occur in canines. If your dog is allergic to this vegetable, it’s best to remove it from his diet.

In a similar way, if your pooch is prone to gas or hypothyroidism, do not serve him cabbage as this may worsen his health condition.

What are the Food Recipes Made with Cabbage for Dogs?

While cabbage is not a primary ingredient in most dog food recipes, it can be a healthy and tasty addition to your dog’s diet.

You can then add cooked cabbage to your dog’s food bowl along with their regular kibble or wet food. 

If you’re looking for a fun way to add some variety to your dog’s diet, try making homemade dog treats with cooked cabbage.

Additionally, you can bake him some cabbage rolls or cakes. 

There are many recipes available online that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Just make sure to omit any ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onions or garlic.

What are the Parts and Foods of Cabbage?

A Corgi with cabbage pieces
Meet Pory, a Corgi who likes cabbage in his diet – Image source

You might want to give your dog some freshly cut cabbage the next time you’re preparing a stir fry.

However, you might also wonder if it’s okay to let your dog taste the dish you’re preparing or if every part of the cabbage is safe for him.

1. Raw Cabbage

While it’s perfectly fine for your pooch to eat raw cabbage, it might be difficult for him to digest.

Hence, be sure to cut up raw cabbage into manageable pieces to make it less challenging for him to eat. Also, wash the cabbage properly to clear out any pesticides. 

Dogs should avoid eating large amounts of raw cabbage due to the thiocyanate compound, so offer it moderately.

2. Cooked Cabbage

Unfortunately, cooking cabbage destroys some of its nutrients.

On the brighter side, cooking cabbage makes them softer and easier to chew and helps minimize the risk of choking. 

Cooking cabbage will also help to kill the thiocyanate compound that can be dangerous to dogs. That said, boiling or steaming cabbage for your dog is recommended.

3. Red Cabbage

While all types of cabbage provide plenty of health benefits for your dog, red cabbage, in particular, is full of antioxidants and has superb cancer-fighting properties.

Compared with green cabbage, red cabbage has ten times more vitamins and is an excellent source of immune-boosting Vitamin C, so it’s a great option to feed your dog. 

4. Purple Cabbage

Purple cabbage is another form of antioxidant-rich cabbage that is great for dogs.

It has a variety of compounds that will help protect your dog against inflammation and cancer while building stronger bones and a healthy heart.

However, this type of cabbage can contain higher levels of the dangerous thiocyanate compound. 

5. Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage is a type of Chinese cabbage that’s commonly used in Asian cuisine. It has a milder flavor than other types of cabbage, and its leaves are thinner and more delicate.

This vegetable is packed with nutrients like antioxidants and fiber.

Is Cooked or Raw Cabbage Better for Dogs?

As discussed, cooked cabbage is easier for dogs to digest. This is because the cooking process breaks down some of the tough fibers.

This can be especially beneficial for senior dogs or those with digestive issues. However, cooking cabbage may also compromise its several nutrients.

On the plus side, this helps to get rid of its harmful substances.

Raw cabbage, on the other hand, still has all of its nutrients intact, but the tough fibers can be hard for some dogs to digest.

If your pooch digests food well and you prefer that he gets most of the cabbage’s benefits, it’s a good idea to give it raw but in moderation. 

What Foods Can or Cannot Be Mixed with Cabbage for Dogs?

A Labrador Retriever mix dog with broccoli
Kona, a Lab mix dog, loves some homegrown broccoli – Image source

Cabbage goes well with other vegetables. Hence, why don’t you consider mixing it with other veggies to make meals more interesting for your pup? Let us give you some examples.

1. Carrots

Carrots make a healthy and crunchy treat and offer a number of benefits for your four-legged friend.

Aside from supplying your dog with fiber, carrots are low in calories, making them an excellent choice for dogs who need to lose some pounds. 

In addition, carrots are packed with nutrients, including beta-carotene. This is converted into vitamin A, which can support dogs’ eyesight.

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is a low-calorie, low-fat veggie that’s also packed with nutrients like vitamins C and K as well as potassium and fiber.

That said, it helps with dogs’ digestion, weight management, and overall health. Plus, most dogs love the taste of broccoli, so adding it to cabbage is a win-win!

3. Kale

Kale is good for your dog, and a kale and cabbage mixture can make an excellent topper for your dog’s meal.

Kale is a rich source of Vitamins K and A as well as iron. It will help support your dog’s immune system, vision, and metabolism.

4. Potatoes

Cooked potatoes are usually fine for your dog, but you should avoid feeding them raw potatoes.

Certain types of potatoes, such as sweet potatoes, are better for your dog’s diet. 

Potatoes can have a range of benefits for your dog, including being a rich source of antioxidants, helping with immune system functioning, and supplying your dog with essential nutrients to support your dog’s full-body health.

5. Sprouts

Bean sprouts and Brussel sprouts are both fine for your dog to eat and are quite a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, as it is packed with various nutrients and vitamins.

Sprouts can help boost your dog’s immune system, prevent certain illnesses and promote cell growth. 

As with all vegetables, see to it that you feed sprouts to your dog in moderation, and don’t add any ingredients like garlic, onions, and spices which your dog shouldn’t consume.

6. Lettuce

Lettuce is rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, which support immunity and vitality. It’s also a great source of hydration.

Lettuce is approximately 90% water, making it an ideal ingredient in dog food, especially during hot summer months. 

7. Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms can be toxic to dogs just as they are to humans; however, the store-bought varieties we eat ourselves can also be fed to your dog.

As with cabbage, only serve plain mushrooms to your dog free of any oils, seasonings, and sauces that can be harmful to your dog.

Are foods made with cabbage safe for dogs?

Cabbage is safe for dogs to eat and can even offer some health benefits. Hence, it is no wonder why it makes a good veggie in your pooch’s food.

Just make sure cabbage is prepared well and all other ingredients of his meal are dog-friendly.

What is the Amount of Cabbage that Dogs Can Consume a Day?

A Shiba Inu with a cabbage leaf
Mio, a Shiba Inu, finds creative ways to take pictures with a cabbage – Image source

While cabbage is not toxic to dogs and offers several health benefits, it should not make up a large part of their diet.

The ideal amount of green cabbage that you can feed to your dog can be around an eighth of a cup for every 20 pounds of his body weight.

If you’re beginning to introduce cabbage into your dog’s diet, you can start with a small amount. Be sure to monitor his reaction so risks don’t arise.

What are the Dog Food Recipes that Contain Cabbage?

You can try making a variety of delicious cabbage-inclusive dog snacks and treats for your pet at home.

For an appealing meal or snack that features cabbage, take a look at these recipes:

  1. Homemade dog food cabbage and squash
  2. Cabbage rolls for dogs
  3. Easy Healthy Homemade Dog Food

Can Dogs Eat Derivatives of Cabbage?

A Dachshund with a cabbage
Silva, a Dachshund, won’t let go of his cabbage – Image source

There are cabbage derivatives that dogs can and cannot eat. For example, sauerkraut is generally safe for dogs to eat in moderation.

Kimchi, on the other hand, might be best for him to skip. This is because kimchi is usually heavily seasoned with spices and contains garlic, which is toxic to canines. 

As always, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian before making a decision if you’re adding cabbage derivatives, such as sauerkraut, as your pooch’s food choices.

What Diseases in Dogs Can Cabbage Help?

As discussed, cabbage is loaded with antioxidants, which can help protect your dog from a number of diseases by fighting free radicals.

Some of these conditions include cancer and heart disease.

While there is no cure for cancer, adding cabbage to your dog’s diet may help to improve his overall health and quality of life.

In addition, cabbage has fiber and is a low-calorie veggie. These features can help dogs maintain a healthy weight. 

What Other Foods That Dogs Can Eat are Similar to Cabbage?

You might try some other nutritious vegetables if your dog doesn’t like cabbage.

If you want to make training fun and interesting for your dog, you can also try alternating cabbage with these veggies.

Here are some of our top picks for dogs.

  • Spinach: Spinach is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals such as iron. It also contains antioxidants that can help to protect against cellular damage. When fed in moderation, spinach can help to improve digestive health and support a healthy immune system.
  • Celery: Celery is a low-calorie food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, and iron. It also contains antioxidants that may promote good health and fiber, which can help with digestion.
  • Cucumber: Cucumbers provide your dog with vitamins C and K and minerals, such as potassium. In addition, they are low in calories and fat, making them an ideal treat for dogs who are trying to lose weight.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Cooked, skinless sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body and is essential for healthy eyesight. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, iron, and calcium. The fiber in sweet potatoes can help to regulate digestion and prevent constipation.
  • Pumpkin: Aside from being a good source of fiber, pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene. This can help in boosting dogs’ immune systems. 
  • Zucchini: Zucchini is a nutrient-rich vegetable that’s a great option for dogs who are looking for a healthy, low-calorie treat. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamins C, folate, and potassium. You can offer zucchini raw or cooked, and it can be served as a standalone treat or mixed into your dog’s food.

Conclusion: So, Can My Dog Eat Cabbage?

Cabbage makes a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet. This veggie can supply your dog with various vitamins and minerals as well as ward off diseases by strengthening his immunity.

Nevertheless, before sprinkling cabbage on your dog’s kibble, make sure to consult with your vet first.

The professional can give a guide on how much cabbage to serve your dog based on his individual needs.

If the professional approves, slowly introduce the veggie to your pooch and watch out for any signs of allergies.

If everything is well, that means you can keep serving him cabbage, but see to it that he does not overdo it.

Cabbage still has substances, which can pose health disadvantages, especially in large quantities.

Does your dog like munching on cabbage? Does he like it cooked or raw? Do you add it to his meals or treats? Give us ideas in the comments below!

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