Sauerkraut is a flavorful fermentation that’s healthy for us humans, but can dogs eat sauerkraut? We’re breaking down all the benefits and risks of serving sauerkraut to your dog!
Sauerkraut, a German superfood that directly translates to “sour cabbage,” is a dish made from fermented, finely cut raw cabbage. It has a distinctly sour taste that goes well with meat, salmon, and stews.
Since the 1600s, sauerkraut has been a household staple in Germany. This is primarily because it’s immensely healthy and nutritious. It boasts a number of probiotics and vitamins, including vitamins C and K, as well as potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.
But can our furry friends reap the same benefits? Can dogs eat sauerkraut? Let’s find out!
Can Dogs Have Sauerkraut?
Yes, dogs can eat sauerkraut, but only if served without additives and preservatives. Believe it or not, sauerkraut is actually way healthier than regular cabbage for dogs!
To those who aren’t aware, the fermentation process of sauerkraut creates live bacteria (similar to dog-friendly kefir!). These bacteria help keep the dog’s digestive system healthy, as it assists in the growth of beneficial bowel flora. Moreover, since it’s fermented, it’s loaded with cancer-fighting probiotics and antioxidants.
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Sauerkraut for Dogs?
The nutritional benefits of sauerkraut are too long to list. It’s no wonder it’s a staple in most German households. For dogs, some of the most notable health benefits are as follows:
- Keeps cataracts in older dogs at bay
- Enhances heart health
- Reduces joint pain
- Improves and maintains gut health
- Prevents bloating and constipation
- Helps lower cholesterol levels
- Improves skin and coat health
- Helps develop strong bones and teeth
- Boosts immunity system
Most dogs turn their noses up at the strong acidic taste and odor of sauerkraut. Therefore, the best way to feed dogs sauerkraut is to mix it with other foods. This makes it more palatable. About a tablespoon will do. Serve it raw and unpasteurized to reap its full benefits.
Some dogs have no problems eating sauerkraut, but others simply can’t stomach it. If your dog is the latter, try draining and rinsing the sauerkraut with cold water to reduce its powerful smell and flavor. You can also mix it with apple juice or water for about 30 minutes to mellow out the taste.
Generally speaking, sauerkraut isn’t bad for dogs. However, as with most human food, it should be fed in moderation. If you overfeed your dog, he may experience a range of health issues. This includes diarrhea, gas, vomiting, and polydipsia (increased thirst).
Sauerkraut contains lots of sodium. One cup of sauerkraut carries over 900 milligrams of sodium, almost five times the recommended sodium intake for dogs.
You probably won’t feed your dog an entire jar of sauerkraut. At least, we hope not! Considering your dog will likely receive sodium from other food sources, don’t feed your dog more than one tablespoon of sauerkraut per day.
Also, make sure your sauerkraut doesn’t contain caraway seeds. Caraway seeds, also known as Perisian cumin, Kala jeera, or Meridian fennel, are extremely toxic to dogs. The symptoms associated with caraway poisoning include the following:
- Respiratory arrest
- Muscle tremors
- Skin irritation
- Difficulty breathing
- Phototoxic effects
If your dog experiences any of the mentioned symptoms after eating sauerkraut, contact your veterinarian straight away.
Whether served with hotdogs or barbecue, sauerkraut is enjoyed by many. It’s healthy for both dogs and humans, and while it’s a bit of an acquired taste, your dog will find it quite flavorful once he gives it a chance. The fact that it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and probiotics is a plus, too!