Whether you like to eat broccoli or not, you are aware that this green veggie packs a nutritional punch. Full of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is extremely healthy for you, but is it safe for your dog?
So, can dogs eat broccoli? Dogs can eat broccoli as a treat. Broccoli is low in fat and calories, but high in fiber and full of vitamins and minerals. Note, broccoli florets contain a toxic compound called isothiocyanate that causes gastric irritation. So, feed small amounts of broccoli to your dog as an occasional treat.
In this article, we’ll explore all the pros and cons of feeding broccoli to dogs and tell you how much broccoli dogs can eat. Keep on reading to find out more!
Is Broccoli Good for Dogs?
Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients, and can offer many health benefits to you and your dog. This green vegetable is safe for dogs to eat as long as there is no olive oil or seasoning added.
Low in calories and fat, but full of fiber, broccoli can improve your dog’s digestive health and give him a sense of being full for longer. Feeding your dog broccoli can promote his overall health and immune system since this verdant veggie contains beneficial vitamins and minerals.
A small amount of raw, cooked, or frozen broccoli is completely safe for dogs and can be an amazing option as an occasional treat. While all parts of broccoli are nontoxic in small amounts, you should be careful when feeding broccoli stems since they can cause intestinal blockage.
Benefits of Broccoli for Dogs
Fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and broccoli are full of antioxidants and vitamins that can improve your dog’s health and complete his diet. Let’s see what are the biggest health benefits of broccoli for dogs:
1. Supports A Strong Immune System
Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin C which supports a strong immune system and also has anti-inflammatory properties. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is involved in many functions within the body and is necessary for tissue repair.
Although dogs have the ability to produce vitamin C naturally, the production lessens as they get older (source). Thus, senior dogs can especially benefit from eating broccoli as a healthy snack once in a while.
2. Improves Digestive Health
Broccoli is also high in fiber which supports a healthy digestive system and is essential for proper bowel movement. Fiber-rich foods, such as broccoli, can make your dog feel fuller longer which can help with weight loss.
Besides helping food pass through the digestive system, fiber can also prevent and treat diarrhea and constipation.
3. Improves Bone Density
This green veggie is an excellent source of vitamin K which has many benefits for your dog. Vitamin K improves bone density and supports strong bones, thus reducing the risk of fractures and other musculoskeletal diseases.
Like people, dogs lose bone density as they get older and start to experience mobility issues. If you have a very active or senior dog, including broccoli in his diet can have many benefits for his bones and mobility.
4. Reduces The Risk Of Heart Disease
Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B6, which promotes brain health, prevents anemia and supports a strong heart. Research has shown that vitamin B6 may prevent clogged arteries thus reducing the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Side Effect of Broccoli for Dogs
Although broccoli has numerous health benefits, feeding it to your dog comes with certain risks. When fed in small amounts, broccoli is perfectly safe, but if your dog eats too much he may experience side effects.
Downsides of broccoli for dogs are:
1. Gastric Irritation
While it’s beneficial for dogs to eat broccoli once in a while as a treat, eating too much may result in digestive problems. Like all other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains a potentially harmful compound called isothiocyanate (source).
Broccoli florets contain small amounts of isothiocyanate that can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal system. To avoid this, you must practice portion control when feeding your dog broccoli.
Dogs can eat broccoli safely if the total amount ingested isn’t over 10 percent of their daily calorie intake. Eating too much broccoli can cause gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.
Bear in mind, eating more than 25 percent of broccoli can cause poisoning and a severe stomach upset which can lead to other life-threatening problems.
While broccoli stems are edible, they can pose a choking hazard, especially in small dogs. To prevent choking or intestinal blockages, cut up broccoli into bite-sized pieces and keep an eye on your dog while he eats.
Cutting up broccoli into smaller chunks will help you keep track of the amount your dog eats, thus lowering the risk of isothiocyanate poisoning.
How Much Broccoli Can a Dog Eat?
Broccoli is extremely healthy for dogs, but it should make up only 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. The exact amount will vary from one dog to the next and won’t be the same for a tiny Chihuahua and a giant Great Dane.
As long as you follow a 10 percent rule that applies to all dog treats, everything will be fine, and your pooch can safely eat broccoli (source).
How to Feed Broccoli to Your Dog?
Dogs can eat raw, cooked, or frozen broccoli as long as it’s prepared without seasonings and oils. And while broccoli stems are also edible, you should err on the side of caution and avoid feeding them to your dog without supervision.
Popular ways to feed broccoli to dogs are:
- Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces and offer as a treat
- Mix raw broccoli chunks with dog food
- Steam, cook, or roast broccoli for your dog
- Make a broccoli smoothie with blueberries and bananas
- Make homemade dog treats with broccoli, cheddar cheese, and flour
Crunchy and nutritious broccoli is completely safe for dogs to eat and can be a healthy snack. Low in calories and fat but full of valuable vitamins and minerals, this green vegetable can spice up your dog’s diet and boost his overall health.
Please note, large amounts of broccoli can cause digestive upset and more serious health problems in dogs. Therefore, feed your dog broccoli as an occasional treat making sure that it doesn’t comprise more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake.