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Can Dogs Eat Collard Greens? Everything You Need To Know


Yes, dogs can eat collard greens with some precautions and in moderation. It is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. However, remember to cook the collard greens before feeding them to your canines. So, why are collard greens good for dogs? How to safely introduce them to your dog’s diet? Let us scroll through the article to understand dogs and collard greens.


Image Courtesy: healthline.com

What Are Collard Greens?

Collard is a type of loose-leafed variety, a staple green of the South that shares the same species of cabbage, kale, or broccoliBrassica oleracea. Raw collard green is bitter, and they taste mellowy when cooked. 

Collard greens are available around the year while you would get the best during cooler months. These leafy greens bring out a subtle earthiness and also are low in calories and high in fiber and protein. Technically, these greens are richly loaded with nutrients and vitamins. Finally, to get the most from this green, it is vital to select the right ones. Choose only those collard greens whose leaves are tender. A harder leaf may not cook well and give a bitter taste.

Are Collard Greens Safe for Dogs?

Yes, collard greens are safe for dogs only if fed in moderation. Feed only the collard green that is natural, organic, cooked, and prepared with dog-safe ingredients. 

Pro Tips

  • Collard greens may be high in calcium oxalate and isothiocyanates. So do not feed these leafy greens to your canines as they are susceptible to kidney/bladder stones.
  • Some collard greens that contain spices, seasonings, garlic, onions, and salt, are canned, or are made by adding preservatives. Such foods are strictly prohibited to your dogs.

Why Are Collard Greens Good for Dogs?

Collard greens are good for dogs and contain some minerals and vitamins that benefit dogs’ health. They are discussed below:

Magnesium: At the cellular level, magnesium is involved in energy generation. It is required to allow the passage of energy whenever your pet moves a muscle, has a heartbeat or does any other activity.

Phosphorus: In dogs, phosphorus is necessary for maintaining healthy kidney function. Your puppy’s kidneys must efficiently drain toxins from his body. As a result, he can stay in the most significant physical form possible. In addition, phosphorus aids motor function by assisting muscle contractions. This allows your dog to perform typical duties such as walking, chewing, and following you on morning runs. Phosphorus also aids your dog in maintaining a regular heart rate, which is especially important during activity.

Iron: Iron is a mineral that your dog’s body needs to accomplish critical processes, including transporting oxygen throughout the body in the hemoglobin of red blood cells so that his cells can generate energy. Iron is also required to metabolize various enzymes in the body.

Potassium is an electrolyte that is essential for your dog’s health. Potassium helps electrical charges in the heart, nerves, and muscles work. If your dog lacks this vital mineral, you may notice that they are constantly fatigued, which is not normal, or have no desire to eat. Potassium also helps in: 

  • Regulating muscle contractions and heartbeats 
  • Optimizing cognitive functions 
  • Boosting metabolism 
  • Aiding normal blood flow
  • Increasing bone density

Folate: Folate ensures fast cell development during puppyhood, adulthood, and pregnancy. It regulates homocysteine levels in the blood and employs amino acids to construct new proteins. Vitamin B9 or folate has a role in regular blood production, immunological function, cell division, and tissue development. In addition, folate generates red blood and white blood cells, transforms carbohydrates into energy, and enhances the cells’ capacity to fix their DNA.

Vitamin A helps to keep a dog’s eyesight healthy. It aids in bone growth and reproduction. In addition, it supports the dog’s cellular formation and immune system.

Vitamin C serves as a powerful antioxidant. It can help prevent inflammation and cognitive aging by scavenging free radicals that damage the body’s functioning. Although dogs’ livers can generate vitamin C independently, supplementation may provide health advantages in some situations. 

Vitamin B-6: Though Vitamin B6 for dogs can help with a range of tasks, one of its key advantages is that it helps with amino acid metabolism. It may also assist in reinforcing optimal bladder health.

Vitamin E: One of your dog’s defenses against oxidative damage is vitamin E. Cell function and fat metabolism depends on this fat-soluble vitamin. Deficiencies can cause vision and muscle degeneration, as well as reproductive issues.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient required to create coagulation proteins, which are vital for blood clotting.

Niacin: Niacin has been found to lower VLDL production in obese dogs and help alleviate hypercholesterolemia in dogs.

Riboflavin is one of the complex B vitamins that work to repair and boost your dog’s metabolic system. It helps to cure:

  • Obesity 
  • Underweight dogs
  • Indigestion problems
  • Stomach bloating
  • GI issues
  • Digestive problems 

Insoluble Fiber is an excellent source of nutrients for a dog’s digestive system. The healthy bacteria in your dog’s colon digest fiber into fatty acids. This fatty acid then aids in the recovery of the colon by preventing the expansion of harmful bacteria.

Soluble fiber nourishes the gut bacteria that produce Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). This lowers your risk of developing a gastrointestinal issue such as the leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease, or colitis. 

Antioxidants: Collard greens are filled with antioxidants that help fight the free radicals. It helps slow the aging process and also aids in keeping the cells from damaging. Zucchinis also contain carotenoids, one of the most important antioxidants that help maintain blood sugar and insulin levels.

Why Are Collard Greens Bad for Dogs?

Some cooking or serving methods make collard greens bad for dogs. The cons of feeding them in these ways are lethal to dogs:

Seasoned collard greens: Seasoned collard greens contain onion, garlic, chives, pepper, and other whole spices, which are bad for dogs. If your dog consumes any of these ingredients, he will face:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • GI Issues
  • Kidney issues
  • Liver issues
  • Tremors
  • Muscle cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Restlessness
  • High temperatures
  • Weight gain
  • Arthritis
  • Bloating
  • Fits
  • Coma
  • Death

Further, do not add oil or butter as an ingredient while cooking collard greens. Oil or butter is not recommended for dogs in any amount. The consequences of consuming oil or butter are:

  • Fat
  • Obesity
  • Weight gain
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Joint issues
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney problems

Raw collard greens: Raw collard greens are hard to digest. They are compact and sturdy, making it difficult for dogs to break them down into tiny particles. They will rather swallow the entire piece. The issues which the dog will face are:

  • Choking
  • Bleeding in lips and throat
  • Blockage of esophagus
  • Intestine injury
  • Surgery

Salt is one of the main components in cooking, and dogs should not consume above 100 mg of salt a day. Dogs consuming excessive salt can face sodium ion poisoning. The symptoms of sodium ion poisoning are:

  • Dehydration
  • Disorientation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Kidney issues
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood-thinning
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Coma
  • Muscle tremors

Canned collard greens: Canned collard greens have preservatives, salt, and other ingredients that might harm your dog. The consequences of feeding canned collard greens are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Convulsions
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness

Pesticides: Collard greens may have pesticides to protect them from rotting and increase their shelf life. Pesticides are harmful to dogs and may trigger:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • GI infections

Collard green stem: The stem is hard to digest and can choke your dog, causing internal injuries.

Oxalate is a compound that affects the dog gravely. Oxalic acids prevent the body from absorbing calcium. In the blood, soluble oxalates, including oxalic acid, bind with magnesium and calcium, limiting the availability of these electrolytes. It causes a drop in blood calcium levels, inducing a metabolic imbalance. The kidneys eliminate calcium oxalate, and an excessive quantity can damage or even affect the kidneys. Oxalate buildup in a dog’s body leads to:

  • Kidney stone formation
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain during urinating
  • Kidney failure
  • Oxalate nephropathy

How Much Collard Greens to Feed Your Dog?

After knowing the pros and cons of feeding collard greens, you must be waiting to share this with your dog. Before feeding, check for dog-safe ingredients. Remember, you should provide them in moderation. Being a pet parent, you know that greens should not take more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie count owing to their high fiber content. Therefore, depending upon your dog’s age and size, feed him collard greens accordingly. For example, if your dog is medium to large-sized, a half cup will be sufficient once a day. 

One or two teaspoons of collard greens as a treat is fine to feed your small dog. While if you are a beginner, provide a small amount and feed him gradually. Do not introduce other new food to rule out allergies when introducing collard greens. It is best to take a prior confirmation from your veterinarian before adding any food to your dog’s diet for the first time.

How to Serve Collard Greens to Your Dog?

Although natural collard greens are good alternatives to canned ones, they cannot be served raw as they may cause choking hazards or indigestion in dogs. However, here are some step-wise serving methods that make collard greens dog-friendly:

  • Wash the collard greens and remove the stiff stems by chopping them on both sides with the help of the knife.
  • Chop them into small pieces or ribbons by cutting them crosswise.
  • Cook the collard pieces by adding them to water in a large vessel. Remember, do not add spices, seasonings, oil, butter, sauces, or salt during the cooking process.
  • Drain the excess water in a colander once the chopped collard is cooked well.
  • Serve it once it reaches average temperature. Add finely cooked and chopped collard greens to kibbles or homemade dog foods.

What if My Dog Ate Collard Greens?

If your dog has accidentally consumed raw collard greens or cooked collard greens excessively, check your dog for choking hazards. Suppose your dog shows these symptoms. In which case, it is best to visit the veterinarian to solve the issue immediately:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Retching
  • Bloating
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Upset Stomach
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach soreness

Further, contact poison control as soon as possible. The Animal Poison Control Center phone number is
(888) 426-4435.

Alternatives to Collard Greens

Some leafy greens that are healthy without any potential harm to dogs and are recommended as dog safe by AKC are:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can puppies eat raw greens?

No. Dogs should not eat raw greens. Their stomach may be sensitive and will be hard to digest.

Can dogs eat greens?

Yes, dogs can eat greens in small quantities. However, check with your veterinarian before feeding them to dogs.

Can dogs eat collard green leaves?

Yes. Dogs can eat collard green leaves. However, cook the greens well before feeding them to dogs.

Can dogs eat collard green flowers?

Yes, dogs can eat collard green flowers. However, pluck the collard green flowers before they start reproduction.

Can dogs eat collard greens when they turn yellow?

Although collard greens taste bitter when they turn yellow, they can be offered to dogs. However, collard greens taste best when they are tender and dark green.

Can collard greens help dogs in losing weight?

Yes, collard greens can help dogs lose weight as they are low in calories.

Do collard greens aid dogs in losing weight?

Collard greens are low in calories and fat. Hence, you can use them in the weight loss plan for your pet.

Final Thoughts

Collard greens are safe, and healthy food for dogs. They are heavily loaded with vitamins and minerals. You can consider feeding them these leafy greens apart from other dog-safe vegetables with their commercial kibbles or homemade dog foods. Further, it is always best to consult your veterinarian before offering any food for the first time.

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