Can Dogs Eat Coleslaw?

Last Update:
This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
can dogs eat coleslaw

I remember a time when cabbage was just a cabbage. Thankfully, not anymore. Yes, I’m one of those people that can’t eat a salad without a proper dressing.

Coleslaw has always been one of my favorites, and not only because of all the mayo. Cabbage is definitely healthy, but can dogs eat coleslaw and get the same benefits?

Let’s find out if you should feed your furry friend this delicious dish.

Can Dogs Eat Coleslaw?

No, dogs should not eat coleslaw. While cabbage is alright for dogs in moderation, coleslaw contains many harmful ingredients that can be dangerous and toxic for dogs.

There are some variations of coleslaw, but most recipes include shredded raw cabbage, onions, mayonnaise, and salt. All of these ingredients are potentially harmful to dogs.

That being said, if dogs eat coleslaw in small amounts, there’s likely no need to worry. However, do not give your dog coleslaw regularly, as it could cause health problems and even be fatal.

Can Dogs Eat KFC Coleslaw?

KFC coleslaw contains all the typical ingredients. Meaning it also has loads of salt and added onions. Both of these ingredients are dangerous for dogs and can cause health problems.

So, can dogs eat coleslaw from KFC and similar chains? If your dog eats a small piece of KFC coleslaw, they should be ok. However, if your dog ate a lot of it, you may need to take them to the vet.

While it is true that KFC coleslaw is somewhat lower in calories than most store-bought coleslaw, it’s not good to feed it to your dog.

Why Is Coleslaw Bad for Dogs?

Coleslaw is not a good choice for a dog’s diet because it contains many ingredients that can be harmful.

For example, coleslaw often has mayonnaise, which is high in fat and can cause digestive problems in dogs. It also usually contains onions, which are extremely toxic to dogs.

Let’s look at the typical coleslaw ingredients one by one and the overall calories to see their effects on dogs.


Onions are often used in coleslaw. Why is this bad for dogs? Dogs are particularly sensitive to onion toxicity because it affects their red blood cells.

According to the ASPCA, onion toxicity can cause Heinz bodfy hemolytic anemia. Symptoms of toxicity include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and pale gums.

Onions are also found in some other common foods, like pepperoni and salami. Feeding these to your dog could be fatal.

Raw Cabbage

Raw cabbage is another ingredient found in coleslaw that can be harmful to dogs. Raw cabbage can be a choking hazard and upset a dog’s digestive system.

Raw cabbage also contains thiocyanate, which can interfere with the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism. This condition causes hair loss on the back of the dog’s tail and rear legs, as well as weight gain and a slower heart rate.

While feeding your dog raw cabbage may not be deadly, it’s still not a good idea to give it to your pet. There are healthier foods you can feed your dog that won’t have these adverse effects. For example, if your dog ate sauerkraut in moderation, they could obtain some health benefits.


Mayonnaise is often used as dressing in coleslaw and can be harmful to dogs.

Mayonnaise is high in fat and sugar. Short-term consumption of fat could result in an upset stomach and digestive issues. If dogs consume fat and sugar regularly, they could become overweight and develop health issues such as diabetes, pancreatitis, and arthritis.

Diabetic and overweight dogs should not be eating coleslaw with mayonnaise.


Some people may think that cream is beneficial for their dog’s diet, but this is not the case. Canned cream contains high sugar and fat content. These lead to obesity, diabetes, pancreatitis, and arthritis.

The cream is a dairy product, and as such, lactose intolerant dogs should not eat it. Dairy products can upset a dog’s digestive system and lead to stomach problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in lactose intolerant canines.

For more information on dogs and dairy products, see the article on sour cream.

Salt and Sugar

Salt and sugar are two ingredients found in coleslaw that can be harmful to dogs.

Dogs eating too much sugar can develop weight problems, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Salt can also cause weight problems, high blood pressure, and salt toxicity.

Salt toxicity happens when the dog eats too much salt. Symptoms of this condition include excessive thirst, urination, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, coma, or even death.


Preservatives in coleslaw are also very harmful to dogs. Prolonged exposure to these can cause liver problems and potentially cancer.


Coleslaw has absolutely no nutritional value for dogs. There are much healthier foods you can feed your dog that will provide them with the nutrition they need without the accompanying harmful side effects.

As for the calories, 3.53 oz of coleslaw contains roughly 165 calories. For bigger dog breeds, this is not an issue. But for smaller breeds, this could be a lot of extra calories that they don’t need.

The problem is that most of these calories come from fat and sugar, leading to weight gain and various diseases.

coleslaw salad

What to Do if Your Dog Ate Coleslaw?

A small amount of coleslaw won’t hurt your dog. However, if you find that they have eaten a significant amount of the slaw, then you should take them to a veterinarian, especially if they have symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.

The veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not the coleslaw has caused any damage and will be able to provide treatment if necessary.

The biggest concern with coleslaw is onion, which is toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of Onion Poisoning

While coleslaw doesn’t contain huge amounts of onions, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the symptoms of onion poisoning in dogs.

If your dog eats coleslaw with onions, you should watch for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Wobbly posture
  • Fainting
  • Red urine

Onion toxicity affects red blood cells and can cause anemia. Sadly, therapy consists mostly of supportive care and this condition is often fatal.

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms above, take them to a veterinarian immediately. Treatment can be more difficult if it’s caught too late, so try to get them help as soon as possible.

Steps to Take

If a dog eats coleslaw in copious amounts, there are a few steps you need to take:

Step 1 — Contact your veterinarian and gather a sample.

Step 2 — Don’t induce vomiting unless told so by a veterinarian.

Step 3 — Monitor your dog for the next 24-48 hours for any signs of illness or poisoning, especially onion toxicity.

Step 4 — Make sure they have plenty of clean water available at all times.

Step 5 — If the dog ate a lot of onions with the coleslaw, take them to a vet clinic immediately.

It’s always better to be safe when it comes to our furry friends. So if you have any suspicions that they may have eaten something harmful, contact your veterinarian right away.


Prevention is key for any unwanted food and harmful ingredients.

That’s why it’s essential to keep an eye on what your dog is eating and know what ingredients to avoid. Some of the harmful ingredients found in coleslaw are onions, sugar, and salt.

Teach your dog not to eat just any food they come across and to look for you if they feel sick or want something to eat. Furthermore, any human food and the leftovers from the dinner table should be kept out of your dog’s reach to avoid any potential problems. This will help keep them safe and healthy.

Alternatives to Coleslaw

There are many alternatives to coleslaw that are much healthier for both you and your dog.

Some of these include:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach

Plain foods are always better and safer than foods with lots of unhealthy ingredients. So if you’re looking for a healthier option for your dog, try one of these alternatives.

Additionally, you can check out this list with many foods your dog can safely eat.

Avoid Coleslaw

So, can dogs eat coleslaw? Coleslaw may seem innocent enough to dog owners. Cabbage can be ok for dogs in moderation. Still, other coleslaw ingredients like mayo, onions, and salt are dangerous and toxic.

It’s best not to let your dog eat coleslaw. Otherwise, you are putting your canine at risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes, pancreatitis, salt toxicity, and onion poisoning.

Vegetables are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet but choose plain and healthy options.


Will cooked cabbage hurt my dog?

No, cooked cabbage won’t hurt your dog. It’s pretty good for them! Cabbage is an amazing source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. So feel free to cook up some cabbage for your pup! As with most foods, don’t overfeed them to avoid digestive issues. Cooked  cabbage is a much better option than raw one.

Can dogs have spinach?

Yes, dogs can eat spinach. However, spinach contains oxalates, so you should feed dog spinach only in moderation. Too much spinach can cause kidney damage and restrict the body’s calcium absorption.

Can dogs have lettuce?

Yes, lettuce is perfectly safe for dogs in small amounts. As with most foods, too much lettuce can cause digestive issues, vomiting, and diarrhea. Feed your dog lettuce only in moderation.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author
As a dog breeder's daughter, I've always been surrounded by many dogs of many breeds. I've made it my job to learn about our furry best friends and share my findings with other conscious dog owners. My Bichon is called Piper by the way :)

Save 30% on your next dog food order!

We have partnered with to offer the best deal on high-quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.