Most dog owners know that feeding dogs is not as demanding as it is with other pets because dogs can eat almost everything that humans eat. Nonetheless, not every food is good for dogs. One of such foods that has always caused controversy among dog owners is sauerkraut.
Dogs can eat sauerkraut. Apart from the fact that sauerkraut tastes good to dogs, it is also the perfect meal for young dogs because of the numerous nutritional benefits it contains. However, you might want to feed it in moderate quantities or risk exposing your dog to side effects.
There are different types of sauerkraut, and each one has its unique features and nutritional benefits. Here, we’ll review everything you should know about sauerkraut, including how much of it is too much for dogs.
Feeding sauerkraut to dogs is entirely safe because it has a lot of nutritional benefits, making it one of the best human foods for dogs.
Sauerkraut is rich in antioxidant contents, as well as several beneficial vitamins. Also, sauerkraut is a probiotic food, which means it contains the same microorganisms present in the digestive tract to aid digestion.
Part of the reason why dog owners feed sauerkraut to their dogs is its rich nutritional composition. One cup of this nourishing meal contains:
- Carbohydrates – 6g (0.212 oz)
- Protein – 1.3g (0.046 oz)
- Potassium – 241 mg (0.009 oz)
- Vitamins A, C, B-6, and K
In addition to these nutrients, sauerkraut contains probiotics which make it suitable for the digestive tract. Veterinarians often recommend it as an ideal meal choice for animals suffering from digestive tract infections, difficulty passing feces, or food intolerance.
It also stimulates the production of omega-3 fatty acids, which your dog needs for the development and proper functioning of its brain.
Sauerkraut is made of two main ingredients: cabbage and kosher salt.
- Cabbage: Cabbage is the primary ingredient in sauerkraut, which is fermented. It is high in fiber and healthy nutrients, but you must be cautious of its strong effect on the guts. Its impact on the gut is why experts often advise that you feed it to your dog in moderate quantities to avoid upsetting its stomach.
- Kosher Salt: This is a different type of salt from the regular cooking salt. One of its most significant differences from regular cooking salt is the absence of ions. However, it contains other valuable minerals like zinc, potassium, and iron, and a good dose of sodium chloride. The impact of this sodium on the body’s electrolyte balance makes it necessary to provide enough water for your dog when eating it.
- Additional Ingredients: Some store-bought sauerkraut might contain a variety of other minor ingredients. You must check the label to ensure that no additive may cause your dog to react or develop an allergy.
As you would have already guessed, the high nutritional content of sauerkraut means that it is stocked with a wide range of health benefits. Let’s review some of these benefits and how they’ll impact your dog.
- Protects the eyes. The vitamin A content of sauerkraut helps provide clear vision for your pet. In addition to improved eyesight, the presence of this vitamin helps minimize the chances of cataracts developing in older dogs.
- Healthy coat and skin. Sauerkraut also contains a significant level of carotene, known for its ability to prevent dry skin and pale coats in dogs, especially older dogs. However, the excess consumption of carotene can have adverse effects, so it’s crucial to use moderation when feeding sauerkraut to your dog.
- Weight loss/ healthy Heart. Obesity is the primary cause of heart disease in dogs, and it can be prevented or controlled with a sauerkraut diet. The beneficial bacteria present in sauerkraut directly affects the rate of fat absorption in dogs, so you can expect that it’ll reduce your dog’s cholesterol levels.
- Digestion/ digestive tract health. You probably already know how beneficial sauerkraut is to your dog’s digestive health. As stated earlier, it helps to multiply the enzymes that break foods during digestion. The fibers present in it can also help to stop bloating and constipation.
- Anti-Inflammation. Sauerkraut has several anti-inflammatory oxidants. One of these helpful oxidants is the phytonutrients, a popular chemical for its role in preventing inflammation. Inflammation can cause your dog to suffer joints and muscle pains. However, an adequate intake of sauerkraut will keep your dog’s joints in top shape. They also allow for the prevention of allergies and infection.
- Enhanced immunity. Sauerkruat’s Vitamin C content fosters better immunity, white blood cell production, and cellular regeneration. These positive effects will help your pet live longer with fewer reports of illnesses.
- Detoxification. At a time where environmental toxicity is on the increase, your dog needs the detoxifying effect of sauerkraut to protect it from harmful chemicals.
- Healthy Bones. The presence of vitamin K and minerals in sauerkraut provides nutrients to create healthy bones for your young dog and helps remineralize the semi-tired bones of older ones.
Sauerkraut exists in different forms, which may cause you to wonder whether or not your dog can eat any of the different types of sauerkraut. To help, this section will review everything you should know regarding the types of sauerkrauts available.
It is safe for your dog to eat canned sauerkraut. Canning is one of the most common ways to preserve sauerkraut, but you’ll want to avoid brands with high sodium content for your dog. Dogs do not need too much salt, so you’ll want to limit how much salt your dog consumes on a regular basis.
A 33-pound (14.97-kg) dog needs only 200 mg (0.007 oz) of sodium daily. Unfortunately, some canned sauerkraut contains more than this quality of sodium, so it’s essential to look at a brand’s label before buying it for your dog.
You can always discuss this topic with a trained veterinarian if you are unsure about the correct quantity.
Cooked sauerkraut is good for dogs, but some dogs may not want to eat it because of its strong smell. They easily get turned off by the smell and may not even want to taste it. However, if you slip some of the cooked with the raw, it might be easier to get your dog to eat it.
Caraway, also known as meridian fennel or Persian Cumin, is not suitable for your dog. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns against giving it to dogs. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid feeding it to your dog or adding it to your dog’s meal.
Keep in mind that the Perisian Cumin is not the same as the powdered Cumin you buy from supermarkets. Even though they belong to the same parsley family, they are from different plants.
Generally, sauerkraut is safe for your dog, irrespective of how it is sourced. However, there is a difference between mass-produced food and what you make from your home’s convenience.
Homemade sauerkraut rules out the chance of exposing your dog to harmful additives and preservatives, and it puts you in a better position to decide what quantity of salt your dog will be consuming.
Like most other dog treats and foods, you can find sauerkraut in supermarkets.
However, not all types of sauerkrauts are the same, and you must be careful to get the right one. Let’s review some of the simple tips you should keep in mind to get the best store-bought sauerkraut:
- Avoid pasteurized varieties. Most off-the-shelf sauerkraut is pasteurized, which kills beneficial probiotics and reduces the nutrients that you will get from sauerkraut. Instead, opt for refrigerated varieties because they are less likely to be pasteurized. We recommend checking the label to be sure.
- Avoid preservatives. Watch out for sauerkraut brands that contain preservatives. Preservative chemicals typically lower the probiotic content of the meal.
- Avoid added sugars. As stated earlier, sauerkraut should contain two primary ingredients: salt and cabbage. However, some varieties have extra vegetables. Read labels to be sure the type you’ll pick does not contain added sugar, or you can try making it by yourself to get the maximum health benefits from your sauerkraut.
Because of its pungent smell, some dogs may not want to eat sauerkraut. Also, if your dog has not eaten it before, it may resist eating it for the first time.
Start by giving it to them in small quantities. Mix it with some of your dog’s favorite foods to allow him to get used to the food gradually so that your dog cannot quickly tell that there is sauerkraut in the food. You can start with one or two spoons and gradually increase the quantity with time.
As stated earlier, sauerkraut is very healthy for your dog when you feed it to him in moderate quantities. However, providing your dog with excessive sauerkraut at the beginning can cause a die-off of beneficial bacteria present in the digestive tract.
Therefore, it’s essential to start very slowly and pick up speed as your dog’s system adjusts to the new food.
Also, the high quantity of sodium present in canned sauerkraut makes it necessary to moderate the amount that you feed your dog, which will help to protect your pet from sodium-related diseases.
If you are concerned about the amount of sodium present in sauerkraut, you can address that by draining it, which can help reduce the amount of sodium present by up to fifty percent. You can also rinse the content in clean water after draining to further reduce its sodium content.
Again, gradual feeding is the best way to introduce your dog to sauerkraut. Feed it a little quantity at a time, and miss days between feeding, which will allow your pet to adjust slowly and safely to its new diet.
It is safe to say that there is nothing wrong with feeding your dog sauerkraut. However, this should be done as cautiously as possible to maximize the nutritional benefits. Remember to always observe your pet for unusual symptoms when introducing it to this diet.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.
Despite the relatively safe nature of sauerkraut, experts still often recommend homemade sauerkraut over their canned counterparts. Making your dog’s meal at home helps you regulate each ingredient’s quantity in the way you think is best for your dog.
- Medical News Today: Which People’s Food Are Safe For Dogs
- Wikipedia: Sauerkraut
- PetMD: Probiotics for Dogs: Do They Work
- WebMD: Why is Sauerkraut Good For You?
- Basic Health Publications: Probiotic Foods For Good Health
- Wikipedia: Cataract
- Wikipedia: Carotene
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