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Can Dogs Eat Kale? Vet-Reviewed Facts to Know

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat_kale

Can Dogs Eat Kale? Vet-Reviewed Facts to Know


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Kale is a popular health food in America and around the world, so it’s natural to wonder if dogs can also eat kale and get the same health benefits. The short answer is yes, dogs can eat kale in small amounts. However, there are potential risks to consider.

Here, we take a closer look at kale to learn more about the benefits and risks of feeding it to your dog. We also discuss the best way to serve it and how often in order to keep your pet healthy and happy.

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Is Kale Bad for My Dog?


Thallium is a heavy metal found in the soil that can accumulate in many greens, especially those of the Brassica genus, including kale. If your dog eats too much, it can lead to thallium poisoning, which can cause digestive distress, trembling, seizures, elevated body temperature, and even death.

While most experts agree that a dog would need to ingest a large amount of kale to lead to poisoning, thallium is a heavy metal similar to lead that stays in the body for a long time, so toxicity can build up. It is worth noting that most cases of thallium poisoning in dogs are acute due to the ingestion of rodenticides, rather than chronic accumulation. You can prevent issues by serving kale only sparingly, on occasion, and rotating it with other leafy greens.

Thyroid Impact

Raw kale can prevent your dog’s thyroid gland from absorbing iodine, causing it to operate incorrectly. While it’s unlikely to be an issue for healthy dogs, those suffering from hypothyroidism will need to avoid foods like kale.

Female vet examining sick and sad Rhodesian ridgeback dog
Image Credit; Zontica, Shutterstock

Calcium Oxalate

Kale contains calcium oxalates that can bind to other minerals, preventing their absorption, or can clump together to form stones that might affect the urinary tract. A small amount of kale here and there is unlikely to be a problem, but dogs that have previously suffered from bladder stones should probably avoid this food.

Is Kale Good for My Dog?

Vitamins and Minerals

Kale has plenty of vitamins and minerals that are essential for a dog’s health. It provides your pet with a good amount of vitamins A, C, and K, all of which help boost the immune system and help your pet heal faster. It also contains iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, and other minerals that your pet needs to build strong bones and develop properly.

Low Calories

There are almost no calories in kale, so you will not need to worry about your dog putting on weight by giving them kale as a treat. It’s also low in sugar and has no fat that might contribute to obesity.

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Kale is high in fiber, which can help balance your pet’s digestive system by feeding the good bacteria in their gut and regulating the water in the intestines. A dog with a diet high in fiber is less likely to be constipated or have diarrhea. Fiber may also reduce the risk of colon cancer by expelling toxic waste faster.


Kale is moisture-rich, so eating it will help your dog stay hydrated. It can be particularly beneficial if your pet hasn’t been drinking enough water or is constipated.

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How Should I Feed Kale to My Dog?

  • To feed kale to your dog, the first thing that you will need to do is wash it. The large surface area of kale can harbor potentially dangerous pesticides. Wash both sides of the leaves with water before giving them to your pet.
  • You can feed a small amount of raw kale whole or diced, but we recommend cooking or steaming it first to make it easier for your dog to digest, even though that robs it of some of the healthy nutrients.
  • Only serve a few leaves once a week as treats to avoid any health risks.

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Final Thoughts

If your dog ate plain kale when you weren’t looking, there is no reason to be concerned. Your pet will simply have gotten a few healthy nutrients. In fact, you can find kale listed in the ingredients of many dog foods. However, we recommend avoiding adding it to your pet’s diet every day because health problems can develop over time. The amount of kale in dog food is tiny, and there are plenty of other healthy vegetables that you can feed your pet instead, like peas, green beans, spinach, and cucumbers.

Other Foods Your Dog Might Eat:

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