With the rise in healthy eating, many of us find ourselves wondering if Fido can eat more greens too. The short answer is, yes, dogs can eat collard greens. But there is much more to it than this. Collard greens in the right quantities can do wonders for Fido’s diet.
What are they? Why are they nutritionally beneficial for our dogs? And how should he eat them? Let’s find out all the answers to these questions and more.
Are Collard Greens Safe for Dogs?
Yes, Collard greens are safe for dogs. But like everything in life, they should be eaten in moderation. Although there is only one type of collard green, they come in different forms, such as raw, cooked, and canned. But Fido cannot eat all of them…
What Are Collard Greens?
Collard greens belong to the brassica oleracea family. Put more simply, they find themselves in the loose-leaf family, the same as many other common vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli. In particular, they are part of the acephala group, the same as spring greens and kale.
Collard greens are the darkest green leafy vegetables. Which means that they are even more nutrient-dense compared to other lighter leafy greens. So, collard greens really are the super green food.
They hit peak season in January through to April, and are available fresh in almost all grocery stores during these months.
The Health Benefits of Collard Greens
Collard greens have a variety of health benefits for both us humans and our pooches. So, if you are cooking them for yourself, why not chuck a little into his bowl, too.
So, in no particular order, here are the main health benefits that Fido can get from eating his collard greens.
1. Packed Full of Nutrition
Just like all green vegetables, they are packed full of nutrients. One cup of boiled collard greens contains the following nutritional benefits:
2. Aids Digestion
Collard greens are a prebiotic fiber that helps to keep his digestive system regular. They are also full of water, which helps to keep him hydrated and prevents constipation.
The compound, glucoraphanin that is found in collard greens, helps to ward off unwanted gut bacteria and promote the friendly ones. When fed in moderation, this could mean less gas and less odorous stools.
3. Prevents Heart Disease
Collard greens are also known to lower blood cholesterol levels, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. It can also help to reverse blood vessel damage, which is often the leading factor for heart diseases.
Collard greens are also rich in B vitamins, which are known for their role in controlling cardiovascular diseases.
4. Lowers Risk of Cancer
Collard greens are known to lower the risk of cancer because they help to fight free radicals in his body and prevent cell damage. Collard greens are also rich in vitamin C, and this helps to fight oxidative damage.
Collard greens contain a compound called glucoraphanin, and research shows that this reduces the risk of developing cancer. Although they will not cure cancer, they can certainly go a long way to scare it away.
5. Anemia Prevention
As you can see from the nutritional benefits above, collard greens are rich in iron, as well as folate. Both of these nutrients are important to prevent anemia and work together to balance his hemoglobin levels.
Vitamin C also helps his stomach to absorb iron. Because collard greens are rich in vitamin C, they are great for his blood health and overall oxidative state.
Because collard greens help to fight free radicals in his body, which keeps his body youthful and fighting fit. In turn, this delays the aging process. And, the younger he feels, the happier he is.
7. Nourishes Skin and Coat
Vitamin C is known to enhance collagen production, which in turn helps to nourish his skin and keep his coat healthy. Vitamin K helps to fight cell inflammation, and vitamin A helps to keep his hair shiny and strong.
8. Strong Bones
Collard greens are one of the best sources of vitamin K, which helps to keep bones strong and healthy. This will help to lower the rate of fractures, as well as reduce the risk of bone diseases and arthritis.
This is important for dogs as they are bouncy creatures whose bones take a lot of weight and crashing around.
Collard greens are rich in sulfur compounds, which in turn synthesize glutathione. Glutathione also helps to fight free radicals, and it also assists his liver in eliminating toxins. This helps his body to stay healthy and youthful.
10. Low in Calories
Like almost all vegetables, collard greens are low in calories. Therefore they make a great meal topper or snack for those forever-hungry pups who choose quantity over quality (but thankfully collard greens are both!)
How to Feed Your Dog Collard Greens
Now you know that Fido can eat collard greens and just how nutritious and beneficial they are, you are probably wondering how to add them to his bowl.
Leafy greens should not be eaten raw because they can be challenging to digest and cause a slight tummy upset.
Ideally, you should feed him freshly cooked collard greens, rather than canned. Canned collard greens are likely to be preserved in salty water or seasoned with spice, and neither are good for Fido. In fact, too much sodium is very harmful, so canned collards should be avoided.
Simply steam fresh collard greens for 10 minutes, or boil them for 5 minutes, and you are good to add them to his bowl.
A medium-sized dog can eat half a cup full of collard greens once a day. If he is smaller, feed him less, and if he is larger, you can feed him more.
Some dogs will not appreciate you dumping a load of greenery into his bowl without any warning. So, you might find it useful to build him up gradually. Start by adding one leaf and increase it if he likes it.
No matter how hard you try, remember that not all dogs will like all vegetables. So, if you cannot convince him that collard greens are the nutritional way to go, you could always try other plants that are good for him.
When Not To Feed Collard Greens
Although collard greens are super healthy, they are not the best option for every pooch. Collard greens contain calcium oxalate, which, over time, can lead to kidney and bladder stones. If your pooch suffers from these problems, do not feed him collard greens.
The Wrap Up
So, now you know that Fido can eat collard greens, as well as all the reasons why you should try to add them to his diet in moderation. They are packed full of nutrients and other benefits for his body and health.
And remember that rule that grandma taught us at mealtime – those who eat their greens get pudding? Well, if Fido’s a good boy and eats his collard greens, he might just get a treat for being a good boy.
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Featured Image: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock