It’s always tempting to share human food with your dogs while you’re making meals – especially when they’re giving you those big, hopeful puppy eyes! But not all fruits and vegetables are safe to give your dogs due to toxicity or choking hazard. So can dogs eat broccoli safely, or is it a vegetable no-no for them? We take a look at this popular superfood vegetable and whether it’s okay to feed it to your dog.
Plant proteins are a great addition to your dog’s diet, giving them an extra boost of nutrients. Many commercial dog foods now contain a healthy serving of vegetables, and even fruits, in their formulas to ensure your dog is getting plenty of vitamins and minerals.
While meat proteins should make up the bulk of your dog’s diet, plant protein can give them an extra source of nutrition.
Can dogs eat broccoli as a snack or in meals?
Yes – dogs can safely eat broccoli. It’s a vegetable that’s totally fine for your dog to munch on as a snack or as an addition to their existing diets. And if you’re wondering “is broccoli good for dogs?” – that’s a yes as well.
However, you should only feed broccoli to your dog in moderation to avoid stomach upsets. Gastric irritation can be caused by the sothiocyanate compounds contained in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and kale.
Can dogs eat broccoli raw?
It’s totally safe for your dog to eat crunchy, fresh, raw broccoli, as long as you don’t add any flavoring or seasoning to it. Make sure it’s cut up into small pieces that are suitable for your dog’s size to reduce the risk of your them choking on large florets.
Can dogs eat broccoli cooked?
Cooked broccoli is fine to give your dog. And there’s less chance of your dog choking or getting an upset stomach when you serve the broccoli cooked.
Steamed, grilled, boiled, poached, or fried broccoli are all okay as long as you don’t add any oil, fat, salt, or other seasonings. Simply cook it and serve it plain, or mix it in with your dog’s usual dinner.
Can dogs eat broccoli frozen?
Frozen broccoli is safe too. Again, make sure it’s cut into manageable pieces for your dog, and don’t add any extra oils or seasoning to it. Your dog will enjoy this crunchy treat just as it is.
Can dogs eat broccoli stems?
Broccoli stems (or stalks) are safe for your dog – but they’re very fibrous and tough for your dog to chew – so they can pose a choking hazard if large pieces are given to your dog.
If you want to give broccoli stems to your dog to gnaw on, it’s best to cut them up into manageable pieces. Even better, steam or boil the stalks before feeding them to your pup.
The fiber content in broccoli stalks might be too difficult for young puppies to digest, so they’re not recommended chews for younger dogs. In addition, pups might swallow unchewed stalk which can potentially cause a blockage in their intestines.
What are the health benefits of broccoli for dogs?
Broccoli is one of nature’s superfoods, which makes it a great vegetable for us and our dogs. It contains lots of nutritional elements which can promote a long, active, and healthy life for your pup.
Potential benefits of broccoli for dogs:
- Promotes heart health
- Maintains bone density and strength
- Boosts immunity
Broccoli densely packed with important vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C – for immunity
- Vitamin K – the highest levels found in any vegetable
- Potassium – promotes heart, nerve, and muscle health
- Chromium – improves blood sugar metabolism and reduces body fat
- Folic acid – helps maintain healthy cells, and especially important for pregnant dogs
- Magnesium – improves energy levels
- Sodium – for healthy nerve and muscle cell function
This is the nutritional content for 100 grams of broccoli florets:
- 24 kilocalories of energy
- 2.35 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
- 1.18 grams of sugar
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 3.5 grams of fiber
- 82 milligrams of iron
- 59 milligrams of calcium
- 212 milligrams of potassium
- 24 milligrams of sodium
- 56.5 milligrams of vitamin C
As you can see, broccoli is low in calories and packed with fiber to assist your dog’s digestion. The added vitamins make it a fantastic addition (in moderation) to your dog’s regular diet.
But while broccoli has many positive benefits for your dog’s health, there can also be some potential risks to giving your dog broccoli in any form.
Is broccoli bad for dogs in any way?
Can dogs eat broccoli with zero risk? This is all dependent on your dog’s individual tolerance to the vegetable.
You should always feed your dog broccoli in moderation. It contains trace amounts of compounds called “isothiocyanates” in the florets (or head of the broccoli), which can cause uncomfortable indigestion problems for your pup.
While these trace elements are small, they can build up if your dog is being fed too much broccoli in their diet – making it harmful for your pup.
Broccoli can give your dog an upset stomach
Too much broccoli can cause mild to severe gastric distress in dogs. The symptoms are generally nausea, gas, diarrhea, and bloating – so keep an eye out for any of these issues after your dog eats broccoli, especially if it’s a new food for them.
If your dog eats a large amount of broccoli, these gastric upsets could be severe and dangerous for their health.
Too much broccoli can be toxic for your dog
Beyond digestive problems, if your dog eats a lot of broccoli, it can be toxic for them.
It’s important to monitor your dog if you’re giving them broccoli regularly, as all dogs have different food tolerances. And make sure broccoli is never more than 10% of their daily diet.
Broccoli can be a choking hazard for your dog
Broccoli stems can be a choking hazard, as the fibrous stalks can cause obstructions in your dog’s throat. This is especially problematic in small dogs (and dogs that don’t chew their food!)
Always make sure that any piece of broccoli you feed your dog is cut up into appropriately sized pieces that your dog can chew and eat easily.
If in doubt – ask your vet!
Even though broccoli is both safe and healthy for most dogs, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet before you add any new vegetable or fruit to your dog’s regular diet.
How much broccoli can I feed my dog?
It’s important to give your dog portions of broccoli that will improve their health, and avoid harming them in any way.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association recommends that daily intake of broccoli for dogs should never exceed 10% of their diet to avoid digestive irritation and more serious issues. As a guide, you should treat broccoli as an occasional treat rather than a meal.
What are the best ways to feed my dog broccoli?
Here are a few ways to safely feed your dog broccoli so they get the most out of this delicious and nutritious vegetable:
Fresh and raw
Cut washed, pesticide-free broccoli into small chunks and feed it as a snack or reward to your dog. You can also chop it small or puree it and add it to your dog’s regular food mix for some variation. The florets are the parts of the broccoli that are the most beneficial for your dog.
Whether you steam, grill, boil, poach, or roast the broccoli – these are all fine for your dog. Just make sure you serve the broccoli plain, without any added oils, salts, fats, or seasonings.
Broccoli smoothies anyone? While they’re not top of our list as humans, broccoli smoothies are a great way to get some fruit and veggies into your dog’s diet.
Perfect for hot days, simply throw a few florets into a blender with natural yogurt or water, and some other dog-safe natural foods such as blueberries, bananas, and watermelon. Blend until smooth and let your dog lap it up, or pop the smoothie mix into ice cube molds and freeze for a tasty pupsicle treat.
In summary – can dogs eat broccoli?
So – can dogs eat broccoli? Yep, it’s considered totally safe for dogs, and is very high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being low in calories.
Treat broccoli pieces as snacks instead of meals, to avoid overfeeding your dog on this vegetable – which can lead to moderate to severe digestive issues for them. And always ensure that broccoli florets and stems are cut into manageable pieces for your dog to avoid any choking hazards or obstructions.
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