Cabbage isn’t a popular choice among most people because of its taste and texture. Unless it’s cooked, coated in mayo and turned into coleslaw, or served in a crisp salad, its bitter, woody taste can be hard to stomach. Its unique taste is unfortunate, though, because cabbage is one of the healthiest veggies out there. From protecting to the immune system to clearing the skin, it’s ripe with good stuff for your body. If you’re looking to add cabbage into your diet, consider tossing some your pup’s way, too. It’s good for dogs!
Is Cabbage Safe for Dogs?
Cabbage is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. It’s naturally abundant with antioxidants, a necessary substance for a strong immune system. Antioxidants primarily protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. Free radicals are basically atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons needs neutrons to make the atom stable, and unstable atoms can be quite damaging to cells. Free radicals are formed after atoms are exposed to heat, light, or environmental toxins.
Sometimes the body creates free radicals to kill invading viruses and bacteria and prevent illnesses and infections. Antioxidants prevent the free radicals from “oxidizing” (or killing) healthy cells. The body needs healthy cells to form a strong immune system, and antioxidants allow the dog’s immune system to function without free radicals getting in its way.
Cabbage is high in fiber, so it’s also great for digestion. And did you know that cabbage is great for your dog’s skin, too? It is naturally high in sulfur, which is good for drying up oily skin. It promotes the production of healthy keratin, essential for strong hair, nails, and skin.
Research has shown that cabbage has proven cancer-fighting properties, as well. Components of cabbage increases enzyme production and prevents the growth of cancerous tumors.
How to Feed Your Dog Cabbage
Dogs eat the same thing every day, so introducing new foods to them will often cause stomach upset. Cabbage is notorious for causing gas, so it should be introduced slowly. Start by giving them a small amount of cabbage chopped up over their food once a day. You should stick to small amounts at all times. Even when their digestive systems get used to cabbage, it can still cause gas.
When Feeding Cabbage, Use Moderation!
Dogs are natural carnivores, so too many vegetables can actually have a negative effect on their body. Cabbage has a compound called thiocyanate that naturally suppresses the thyroid gland if too much cabbage is consumed. It does take a huge amount to create a problem with the thyroid, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever feed them that much. Cooking it will deactivate the thiocyanate, but don’t use any seasonings or oil; cooked with just a bit of water is the healthiest way to prepare it for your dog.
If your dog ends up liking the taste of cabbage, go ahead and feed it! With so many health benefits, there’s really not any harm in giving it to your dog unless you make it a major part of his daily nutrition. If your dog has any preexisting health conditions, especially a thyroid problem, make sure you discuss any diet changes with your vet before implementing anything new.