Written by Pedro Mejia, PhD.
June 30, 2021.
Why do dogs eat grass and weeds?
That’s a decades-long mystery. Whatever the reason, it’s apparently normal dog behavior.
68% of dog owners report their dogs eat grass on a regular basis.
Even wolves eat plants. Plant material is found in most fecal samples from wild wolves.
Although the real reason for grass eating will be difficult to figure out, one possibility is that dogs lack fiber or chlorophyll in their diets.
However, grass in public places has a high risk of containing pesticides and other toxic substances.
A better alternative is to feed your dog fresh green veggies. Of these, kale should be one of your first choices.
Kale is packed with both fiber and chlorophyll. In fact, kale has more fiber than most veggies. Yes, even more than pumpkin.
Chlorophyll gives the green color to plants and algae, and it’s abundant in dark green veggies like kale and spinach.
Is chlorophyll good for your dog?
If your dog is of the kissing/licking type (like most dogs), you will appreciate the freshness chlorophyll produce in her/his breath during those close encounters.
More importantly, your dog can get a lot of additional benefits from chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll has the capacity to bind heavy metals and other toxins that produce cancer, helping the body get rid of them.
Aflatoxin, that can develop in grains used in kibble manufacturing and produce cancer, is one of these toxins neutralized by chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is thus a great natural detox agent for the liver and GI.
This green super molecule also helps your dog fight infections and replenish red blood cells.
That being said, chlorophyll is poorly absorbed by dogs. According to a study, only around 4% of the total chlorophyll consumed is found in dogs’ blood.
But every little helps.
And this is just part of the story.
What other benefits does kale have for your dog?
Kale is full of vitamins and minerals necessary for your dog’s health.
Kale is a great source of vitamin K and C, calcium and magnesium to name a few.
It also contains high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Among these, quercetin and kaempferol can fight viral infections and cancers.
In a study scientists showed that adding plant polyphenols like quercetin and kaempferol together with antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats, strongly reduced dermatitis in dogs.
Kale belongs to the cruciferous family of veggies. This means it also has high levels of the cancer-fighting molecule called sulforaphane, just like broccoli.
Cancer being unfortunately the main killer of pet dogs, adding veggies containing this nutrient can have incredibly positive effects on your dog’s health.
The list goes on, but I’ll finish with lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids present in large amounts in kale help protect your dog’s eyes and slow down the development of age-related cataracts.
How to prepare kale for your dog.
Serving it raw and fresh to your dog is the best way to preserve the chlorophyll and other nutrients present in kale.
Avoid heating as it destroys many nutrients including chlorophyll.
Remember to finely chop the kale to break the wall of the plant’s cell and release its content so your dog can absorb more of it.
Keep the amounts of kale at 10% or less of the total food your dog eats daily to avoid stomach discomfort.
Adding kale in combination with other veggies and fruits is a great way to preserve your dog’s health for the long-term.
If you want to simplify your life, try the Super Green Toppers from My Zone Blue, a perfect balance of veggies, fruits, and other superfoods.