Can Dogs Eat Sauerkraut? Everything You Need To Know

Yes, dogs can eat Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is a nutritious food that dogs can safely consume. It is a promising superfood to enhance your pup’s gut and immune health.

What is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut consists of a layer of finely shredded fermented raw cabbage. The process of fermentation of cabbage makes it more digestible and creates a probiotic effect for the gut. Additionally, sauerkraut is a source of beneficial nutrients such as: 

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K1
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Enzymes
  • Lactic Acid

Nutritive value of Sauerkraut

A half-cup serving of canned sauerkraut contains:

SODIUM219 mg

Although the Germans didn’t invent the Sauerkraut recipe, the term originates from the German words Sauer (sour) and kraut (cabbage). The origin of Sauerkraut dates back 2,000 years ago to ancient China. The enslaved people building the Great Wall of China sustained themselves with cabbage and rice during the summer. While in winter, they preserved the cabbage in rice wine which soured it and helped the laborers remain healthy. This recipe was further improved when the Tartars brought this version to Europe. The Europeans packed the cabbage in salt, which fermented the dish with the help of lactic acid bacteria present in it, thus creating the sauerkraut we know today.

The health benefits of sauerkraut have been widely used in various historical situations. 

  • During the 18th century, when sea exploration was at its peak, explorers like Captain Cook used sauerkraut to cure scurvy during long sea voyages.
  • During the American Civil War, many prisoners died due to the prevalence of smallpox. Physician John Jay Terrell successfully reduced death by feeding his patients raw sauerkraut.
  • The German immigrants of New York in the 1860s began selling Sauerkraut with sausage and milk rolls to make a living. Following this, the New-York style hot dogs are served along with sauerkraut, even today.

Is Sauerkraut Safe for Dogs? 

You can safely feed your dog sauerkraut devoid of additives and preservatives. However, as sauerkrauts contain a high sodium content, limiting their serving to your dogs is better. Also, ensure the Sauerkraut is not seasoned with onion, garlic, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, and other condiments that are deadly for your dogs.

Why is Sauerkraut Good for Dogs?

Sauerkraut provides the below-mentioned nutrients which improve your dog’s health: 

IronRegulates your dog’s metabolism Improves blood circulation helps fight anemia.
ProbioticsImprove and maintain gut health improving enzymatic activity in the gut reduces the risk of gastric ulcers and chronic diarrhea attributed to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Lowers cholesterol levels in older, heavier dogs assist overweight dogs in losing weight and Improve heart health. Supports detoxification of harmful chemicals and heavy metals.
FiberPrevents constipation, bloating, and flatulence
Vitamin A and carotene (source of antioxidants)It Enhances a dog’s eye health and reduces the risk of cataract formation in older dogs. Promotes tissue growth.
Vitamin C (Immune System Functioning)Promotes white blood cell production and stimulates cellular regeneration. Collagen formation promotes the growth of organs, muscles, blood vessels, and bones
Phytonutrients (Anti-Inflammatory)Reduces muscle and joint pain Reduces incidences of infection Supports the dog’s overall health and wellbeing.
Vitamin K2 (Bone Health)Strengthens bones in puppies and maintains bone health in adult dogs. Maintains dog’s bone density
CopperAssists in the growth of red blood cells.
MagnesiumMagnesium is involved in energy generation. Magnesium is required to allow the passage of energy whenever your pet moves a muscle, has a heartbeat or thinks.
PotassiumIt is an electrolyte vital for your dog’s health. Potassium aids electrical charges in the heart, nerves, and muscles to work correctly. If your dog lacks this essential mineral, you may notice that they are constantly fatigued and have no appetite-regulating muscle contractions and heartbeats Optimizing cognitive functions Boosting metabolism Aiding normal blood flow increasing bone density
ManganeseManganese is required to produce energy, metabolize protein and carbs, and form fatty acids in dogs. Manganese is a component of many enzymes and aids in the health and preservation of bone and cartilage in joints. 

In addition to the nutrient mentioned earlier, sauerkraut acts as a natural probiotic. Probiotics refer to a group of microorganisms that promote your canine’s immune cell activity. They strengthen your pet’s immune system and help him fight pathogens. Hence, they help maintain the good and bacteria balance in your canine’s gut. However, cooking destroys these beneficial bacteria, leaving the canned and cooked form of sauerkraut devoid of probiotics. 

Here are the benefits of probiotics in sauerkraut for dogs:

  • The presence of isothiocyanates or anti-carcinogenic compounds in sauerkraut reduces the risk of cancer in dogs. 
  • Sauerkrauts contain zeaxanthin and lutein, enhancing your dog’s vision health and mitigating the risk of cataract formation in older dogs. 
  • It may alleviate nervousness and anxiety in stressed dogs. 
  • Generates production of omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain development and functioning
  • Decreases the sensitivity to foods and reduces episodes of seasonal allergies. 
  • It enhances the growth of good bacteria in the gut while destroying harmful bacteria. 
  • Sauerkrauts inhibit the multiplication of microbes and protect your canine from gastrointestinal diseases. 
  • It checks cholesterol levels and supports your canine’s cardiac health. 
  • Sauerkraut reduces obesity through fat absorption.
  • Aids in expelling toxins and pollutants out of your canine’s body. 
  • It enhances immunity and promotes quick healing. 
  • Sauerkrauts are known for their phytonutrient contents that act as an anti-inflammatory property. Therefore, it helps reduce inflammation in your dog’s joints, alleviating his muscle and joint pain.

Why Is Sauerkraut Bad for Dogs?

Once your canine consumes this superfood, he may be gassy, which will eventually settle on its own. However, it is better to limit your dog’s sauerkraut portions due to the following reasons:

High Sodium Content

Sauerkrauts are prepared by mixing salt with thinly shredded pieces of cabbage. This process makes sauerkraut very salty leading to a high sodium content. This can cause excessive urination, dehydration, hypertension, and sodium poisoning in dogs. 

Symptoms of Sodium Poisoning in dogs: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Tremors
  • Disturbing seizures might occur

Presence of Caraway or mustard seeds

Traditional sauerkraut recipes are made with the inclusion of caraway seeds. These thin and dark-colored seeds are known to be lethal to your canine’s health. They are alternatively called fennel, black jeera, or cumin. Depending on the number of seeds consumed, your canine experiences the following symptoms: 

Symptoms of Caraway seeds poisoning: 

  • Decreased blood sugar
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Shivering
  • Disorientation
  • Breathing problems

Apart from this, long-term consumption of the same can significantly damage the liver and kidney and lead to cancer in dogs. 

Spicy or Seasoned Sauerkraut

Spicy or seasoned sauerkrauts contain onion or garlic as their ingredients, which are dangerous to your canine’s health. 

Symptoms of onion/ garlic poisoning in dogs

  • Vomiting 
  • Anemia is caused by rupturing of the red blood cells 
  • Blood in the urine (red or brown colored urine) 
  • Weakness 
  • Pale gums 
  • Panting 
  • Rapid heart rate 

How Much Sauerkraut To Feed Your Dog?

You can add a few sauerkraut to your canine’s favorite meals daily while feeding them. Your canines can resist these super foods initially due to their strong sour taste. However, add it to your canine’s daily meals considering its nutritional benefits. 

How To Serve Sauerkraut To Your Dog?

If you are starting your dog with sauerkraut, follow the steps below:

  • Rinse the cabbage thoroughly.
  • Start with cooked cabbage or fermented cabbage. The process of cooking or fermenting neutralizes the presence of thiocyanate, which causes thyroid disorders in dogs. 
  • Slowly add 1-3 teaspoons of simple kraut to their favorite meal for every 20 pounds of body weight.
  • You may add a small portion of sardines or other smelly fish to make the food more palatable.
  • Increase the number of krauts slowly, as the initial reaction could result in some bacterial die-off.  

If your buddy still finds it challenging to gobble down, then you may try the following ways:

  • You could add sauerkraut in a bowl and soak it in apple juice or water for about 30 minutes to reduce its powerful smell and flavor.
  • You may even cook it with sliced apples, which makes it sweeter. This process will not reduce the nutrients your buddy gets, as it was already fermented. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Store-Bought Sauerkraut?

No, dogs cannot eat store-bought sauerkraut as they contain a high amount of sodium which can potentially cause sodium poisoning in dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Homemade Sauerkraut?

Yes, dogs can eat homemade sauerkraut. It is the best way to serve as you gain the autonomy of the ingredients. You can even use red cabbage to make sauerkraut. It enhances your canine’s digestive capabilities and keeps diseases at bay. Hence, homemade sauerkraut is a fantastic food supplement for your dog in its unpasteurized, raw form and if fed properly.

Can I Serve Warm Homemade Sauerkraut For My Dogs?

No, you cannot warm sauerkraut before serving it to your dogs. This is because nutrients and probiotic contents are sensitive to heat and will be destroyed. 

What Are Other Fermented Foods Good For Dogs?

Here are some fermented foods that nutritionally benefit your dogs:

  • Cooked Cabbage
  • Kefir
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Bok choy
  • Chickpeas
  • Greek Yogurt

Can Dogs Eat Canned Sauerkraut?

Yes, dogs can eat canned Sauerkraut provided they are low in sodium and devoid of toxic seasonings.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Sauerkraut?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked Sauerkraut. However, the process of cooking neutralizes the nutritional benefits of sauerkraut. Hence, you can feed them raw sauerkraut to gain optimum health benefits. 

Can Dogs Eat Uncooked Sauerkraut?

Yes, dogs can eat uncooked Sauerkraut. Uncooked Sauerkraut is packed with vital nutrients and probiotics and is very healthy for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Sauerkraut with Caraway Seeds?

No, dogs cannot eat sauerkraut with caraway seeds as it leads to caraway poisoning in dogs. 

Final Thoughts

Sauerkraut is a rich source of essential nutrients, so you may add this condiment more often to your dog’s regular food. But do remember to prefer homemade Sauerkraut or buy one of good quality. This will ensure your canine doesn’t miss out on the valuable nutrient from this fermented condiment. 

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