The billion-dollar question every pet owner is asking this season is, “Can dogs eat broccoli?”
Broccoli is a healthy dog snack containing vitamins K and C and fiber. Dogs can eat cooked, raw, steamed, or frozen broccoli. However, be careful with the quantity. An excessive amount of broccoli could cause stomach upset.
According to the American Kennel Club, broccoli contains isothiocyanates, which can cause gastric irritation in dogs. This naturally occurring compound in broccoli’s florets is responsible for the upset stomach in dogs.
Additionally, seasoned or flavored broccoli is dangerous for dogs. Also, broccoli stalks could be a choking hazard.
Due to its high fiber content, broccoli is only safe for adult dogs, not puppies, as their digestive system is still developing.
So, read on to learn about the servings, the health benefits, and the risks of giving your dog broccoli.
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?
Yes, dogs can eat broccoli. Though it’s a healthy dog treat, it should only make up to 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. Whether you cook, steam, freeze, or give broccoli to dogs in its raw form, your dog should be OK with it when given in moderation as it doesn’t cause gastric problems.
Therefore, as your guinea pig can eat broccoli safely, so can your dog.
However, seasoned or flavored broccoli is unsafe for adult and senior dogs. Puppies shouldn’t eat broccoli in any form as their digestive system is still growing. Hence, digesting broccoli is difficult for puppies.
Broccoli contains vitamins and fiber and is low in fat. Hence, though fruits and vegetables aren’t necessary in a dog’s diet as their food has all the key nutrients, occasionally feeding them vegetables such as cucumber and broccoli is safe and healthy.
What Does Broccoli Do for Your Dog?
Broccoli provides your dog with many beneficial nutrients. For example, broccoli contains vitamin C. Hence, your dog’s immune system becomes stronger when he eats broccoli.
Thankfully, broccoli is low in sugar, unlike oranges, which could hurt dogs due to their high sugar content. Therefore, it’s a better and healthier alternative source of vitamin C.
Though, according to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, dogs and cats can make their own vitamin C, giving him a little from broccoli is not bad.
The minerals, such as chromium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium, strengthen the dog’s nervous and immune systems.
Vitamin K strengthens your dog’s bones and keeps them healthy. The antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin improve your dog's eye health. On the other hand, Folic acid helps maintain and produce healthy cells.
Kaempferol is another antioxidant found in broccoli that helps prevent inflammation, heart disease, allergies, and cancer.
Broccoli is also rich in fiber; hence, it could be a good treat for your diabetic dog or weight management purposes. However, since fiber can be challenging to digest when ingested in large quantities, you should give it to dogs in small quantities.
How Much Broccoli Can I Give My Dog?
Yes, broccoli is a great dog treat. It’s one of the cruciferous vegetables that dogs can eat safely.
Since this four-legged pet is an omnivore, broccoli, according to The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, could cause gastrointestinal irritation in dogs when ingested in large amounts.
In addition, due to fiber and isothiocyanate in broccoli, your dog could have diarrhea, digestive distress, stomach upset, and blockages if he ingests a large amount of broccoli. Therefore, avoid feeding your dog more than the recommended amount.
However, even the 10% dairy calorie limit could be more based on your dog’s health condition. Other factors that come into play when considering how much broccoli is enough for your dog include his size, weight, and the recommended diet by the vet.
Related Article: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Broccoli?
Therefore, always introduce new foods, fruits, and vegetables to dogs in small amounts until you’re sure they have no adverse effects. This means you should consider the pet’s needs, not wants.
Is Cooked Broccoli Good for Dogs?
Yes, dogs eat cooked broccoli. However, to ensure that the dog benefits from all the nutrients in broccoli, don’t overcook; simply steam it. It’s easier for your dog to digest when steamed, but that isn't to say you shouldn’t chop it into small sizes to prevent choking issues or intestinal blockages.
A rule of thumb is never to add oil, butter, seasonings, or other additives when cooking broccoli for your pup. Garlic and onions are particularly toxic; you should never use them when cooking broccoli or mushrooms for your dog.
Also, let the broccoli cool down lest you burn your pup’s tongue.
Why Can't Dogs Eat Broccoli?
Dogs can’t broccoli if it is seasoned or has additives. Puppies can also not eat broccoli because of their high fiber content, which might be impossible to digest.
Broccoli may also be a choking hazard. Dogs can eat broccoli stems and stalks, but may obstruct their esophagus. Thankfully, you can avoid this by cutting this veggie into bite-size pieces.
When you chop broccoli into small pieces, measuring the safest amount for him to ingest daily becomes easier. Hence, dogs don’t need large amounts of broccoli as they could cause severe adverse reactions.
Broccoli may also contain harmful bacteria called salmonella. Hence, if your dogs eat raw broccoli, thoroughly wash it. Though cats and dogs may be more resistant to this bacteria, they may still fall ill.
Signs of infection in dogs include;
- Increased heart rate
- Low appetite
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice salmonella symptoms. However, always wash broccoli thoroughly before feeding your dog.
What Vegetables Can Dogs Not Eat?
Some of the most toxic vegetables dogs cannot eat are garlic, onions, wild mushrooms, and asparagus.
When ingested, these vegetables could cause mild or severe adverse effects based on how much your dog eats. Dogs with sensitive stomachs or on special diets could severely suffer if they ingest even a tiny amount of these vegetables.
What’s my verdict, therefore? Can dogs eat broccoli? Yes, dogs can eat broccoli without exceeding the daily 10% calorie intake. Broccoli stems and stalks may be hard to digest and choke your dog. So, cut it into small pieces before feeding them to dogs.
Generally, you should chop the entire broccoli into small portions to make it easy for your dog to chew and digest.
Puppies need to mature before eating broccoli because it is hard to digest.
Whether you want to feed your dog cooked or raw broccoli, it will still benefit nutritional-wise. However, only steam broccoli once it overcooks; it will lose its nutritional benefits for your pup. The best way is to feed your dog raw broccoli to reap all its health benefits.
Before feeding your dog broccoli, thoroughly wash it to protect it from salmonella infection.