I’d like to introduce a new installment to the blog. Schipalong was, first and foremost, a dog food blog and I’d like to start highlighting some dog-friendly foods. There won’t be any set posting schedule for these, sometimes there might be one a week and sometimes there might be one a month, but I felt like it needed a name to sort everything under. If you’ve ever looked at something and wondered, “can dogs eat that?” then chances are it will show up here eventually.
So, sauerkraut, that weird fermented cabbage stuff. First of all I’m talking about the traditional lacto-fermented ‘kraut, not the pickled-in-vinegar stuff. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference, if the ingredients are just cabbage, salt, and water then it’s fermented. If it contains vinegar then it’s pickled.
But can dogs eat it? The answer is a resounding yes! If (if!) it doesn’t contain any spices that are harmful to dogs, such as mustard seeds. If you’re picking up some sauerkraut for your pup stick with a plain variety. Sauerkraut can also be quite high in sodium, so don’t overfeed it, especially if your dog is sensitive to salt. About a teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight is sufficient.
Why would you feed it to your dog though? Just like us, our dogs’ digestive flora can get thrown off. When there is too much bad bacteria in the gut it increases the chances of getting sick. Fermented foods reintroduce the good bacteria into the system, helping to balance things out, improve digestion, and keep the immune system working. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut are also a good alternative to yogurt because they don’t contain lactose.
I like red cabbage sauerkraut. In addition to the probiotics it also contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant. Red cabbage also turns a vibrant fuchsia when it’s fermented, so it’s pretty in addition to being healthy.
So, your dog can eat sauerkraut. Now whether they will eat it is an entirely different question. Dogs that are used to consuming a variety of different foods will be more likely to try sauerkraut. For dogs that are picky about vegetables, you can try chopping it up into very tiny pieces and mixing it into your dog’s food or with a small amount of smelly fish (such as sardines) to make it more palatable. Given time most dogs will learn to eat vegetables, and their palates will expand as they try new foods. I’ve found holding a new vegetable makes it it more interesting to Suki, rather than just plunking it down into her bowl.