Broccoli is just one of those vegetables you have a hard time getting your children to eat. As a small 7 year old kid, i absolutely hated eating broccoli. My solution? I snuck it under the table for my dog to eat. Don’t tell me you didn’t do the same thing with your dog as a kid. The thing was, I never stopped to wonder, can dogs eat broccoli?
Much older and (hopefully) much wiser, I understand the importance of asking these questions. Just because you can eat a specific food, doesn’t mean your dog can. Just read here about what grapes would do to your dog. So, is broccoli safe for dogs to eat?
Yes, Dogs Can Safely Eat Broccoli
Dogs can absolutely eat broccoli, but only in moderation. If your dog consumes too much broccoli in a single serving, they may risk experiencing a few negative side effects. Most commonly, they may experience an upset stomach to a certain degree.
But don’t let the potential side effects deter you from giving them a reasonable serving of broccoli. As long as you keep the feeding to a moderation, dogs may reap the amazing health benefits. And trust me, there are health benefits to eating broccoli.
Health Benefits: Broccoli and Dogs
As kids, most of us were always told to eat our broccoli. But why? It’s not like broccoli is the best tasting vegetable we can find. Maybe far from it. But the reason is because of all the great vitamins and nutrients in these veggies. Broccoli is considered by some to even be a superfood.
Before we dive into the health benefits that your dog may receive from eating broccoli, let’s examine the nutrients.
In One Cup of Broccoli (156 grams):
- Vitamin K – 245% Daily Value
- Vitamin C – 135% DV
- Chromium – 53% DV
- Folate – 42% DV
- Fiber – 21% DV
- Pantothenic Acid – 19% DV
- B6 Vitamin – 18% DV
- Vitamin E – 15% DV
- B2 Vitamin – 15% DV
- B2 Vitamin – 15% DV
- B1 Vitamin – 8% DV
- B3 Vitamin – 5% DV
- Vitamin A – 13% DV
- Potassium – 13% DV
- Manganese – 15% DV
- Choline – 15% DV
- Calcium – 6% DV
- Omega 3 Fats – 8% DV
Broccoli For Strong Bones in Dog
Looking at the nutritional numbers of broccoli, you may notice that Vitamin K sticks out. One cup of broccoli can provide your dog with an unreal amount of this vitamin. But what exactly can Vitamin K do for you and your dog?
Vitamin K has been known to improve bone density in your dog, thus promoting stronger bones. This means that a little boost of this vitamin can help older dogs that need a little help in that department. But broccoli and Vitamin K isn’t just for old dogs. A young energetic or working dog breed can benefit from stronger bones due to their active lifestyle.
Fortunately, you can find this vitamin in many dog safe human foods. But they probably won’t have as much per serving as broccoli. Other vegetables with a sizeable amount of Vitamin K include cucumbers, kale, and celery.
Broccoli Helps Battle Diseases in Dogs
These dark green vegetables are loaded with Vitamin C. Some people have made the argument that dogs don’t necessarily need extra Vitamin C in their diets. Although there is some merit to the argument, it is not completely true for all situations.
Yes, dogs naturally produce Vitamin C, unlike humans. This is why humans are recommended to get their daily dose of Vitamin C for a healthy lifestyle. However, an aging dog may not be as efficient or effective at naturally producing this vitamin.
This means that an aging dog may actually benefit from broccoli’s powerful vitamin. Older dogs are also more prone to diseases and cancers, which Vitamin C has been known to battle. Too much C in their system won’t likely hurt them because they will urinate the excess vitamin.
Broccoli For a Healthy Dog Heart
Yes, bananas are known to have a ton of Potassium. But with 13% of the human’s recommended daily value, broccoli has a pretty respectable amount too. But the question is, how does Potassium benefit your dog?
Potassium is an electrolyte mineral that serves a purpose for a lot of bodily functions. But perhaps the most notable is its ability to promote a healthy heart in both humans and dogs. In fact, low Potassium levels have been linked to irregular heartbeats – a condition called Arrhythmia.
The occasional serving of broccoli may actually be a great idea for an aging dog that may encounter Arrhythmia. However, don’t use broccoli as a main treatment for the medical condition. If your dog has been diagnosed with Arrhythmia, consult with your veterinarian about feeding them broccoli.
Broccoli Will Reduce Cholesterol in Dogs
Cholesterol is something that can slowly build up in your dog’s system very silently. It’s something that vets don’t test for or diagnose as often as they should. The medical condition Hyperlipidemia is often overlooked, but could cause damage as your dog ages.
Hyperlipidemia occurs when there is an elevation of blood lipids (cholesterol) in dogs. This is actually quite a common phenomenon with dogs and could cause other health problems later on in life.
The good news is that broccoli is able to lower cholesterol in both humans and dogs. It’s true, broccoli contains a high amount of soluble fiber, which will draw out the cholesterol from your dog’s body. A few pieces of broccoli every now and then should combat the slow buildup of cholesterol over time.
There are many other fruits and vegetables with high soluble fiber to battle high cholesterol in dogs. Just to name a few, there are apples, strawberries, pineapples, oranges, beans and several types of nuts.
Anti-inflammatory Properties of Broccoli
Among all the health benefits that broccoli provide your dog, this may be the most useful for them. An old dog may have some joint damage after being active for so many years. The same goes for an active dog or working dog breed that is continuously on the move.
A few pieces of broccoli can actually provide amazing anti-inflammatory by slowing down the damage to joints. A property in broccoli called sulforaphane can potentially help your dog that suffers from arthritis by blocking the enzymes that cause the joint destruction.
In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in broccoli have been known to help with the regulation of inflammation. This makes broccoli a great vegetable for battling arthritis and reducing inflammation.
However, don’t start using broccoli as a method for treating this medical condition in your dog this instant. Always consult with your veterinarian before using broccoli as a means to battle these medical conditions.
Risks of Feeding Dogs Broccoli
Inherently, broccoli is not poisonous or toxic to dogs. However, this doesn’t mean that we should feed our dogs broccoli without any precautions. There are potential side effects and risks that your dog may experience from eating broccoli. The risks are higher if you feed them more broccoli than they should be eating.
Broccoli May Cause Upset Stomach in Dogs
The reason why there’s a high risk when overfeeding broccoli to your dog is because of the substance called Isothiocyanate. This substance found in broccoli can lead to more serious health problems such as gastrointestinal irritation. Or in other words, severe upset stomach.
It’s recommended that no more than 5% to 10% of the dog’s diet can be made up of broccoli, otherwise they may experience Isothiocyanate poisoning. Depending on the size of the dog, 5 to 10 percent of their diet isn’t that much. A small dog may experience stomach pains with just a few pieces of broccoli per day.
Regardless, it’s important to monitor closely how much broccoli a dog is given. In addition, you should closely observe your dog after consumption for any behavior changes. If your dog is feeling lethargic (lack of energy), he may be experiencing an upset stomach.
Extreme Broccoli Consumption Can Be Fatal in Dogs
Isothiocyanate poisoning in dogs should not be taken lightly. There comes a point when the excess in the substance can potentially become fatal. If your dog consumes broccoli at 25% of their daily diet, they may be at serious risk. The toxicity from Isothiocyanate could indeed be fatal at that point.
If your dog accidentally consumes a large quantity of broccoli, it’s important to get them immediate professional help. Waiting for your dog to show symptoms of poisoning may be too late. Consult with your local veterinarian right away in this situation.
Broccoli May Cause Diarrhea in Dogs
A single cup of broccoli contains an amazing 21% of a human’s daily value recommendation. Humans need fiber for proper bowel functioning, but dogs don’t need as much fiber as we do. There’s a reason why a dog’s diet consists mostly of protein.
This is not to say that dogs can’t benefit from fiber. A little fiber can be good for them as it’ll loosen up their stool a bit. However, too much fiber can cause drastic changes in your dog’s stool habits, such as diarrhea.
Always inspect your dog’s bowel habits immediately after the consumption of broccoli. If you see unusual habits like diarrhea (or constipation), stop the broccoli feeding.
How Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?
Wash Broccoli Thoroughly
It’s important to thoroughly wash the broccoli before giving them to your dog. There can be a lot of bacteria and pesticide on the vegetable straight from the grocery store. Although a dog’s stomach can handle bacteria much better than ours, the pesticide can be very detrimental.
I have heard of cases where dogs go into seizures after accidentally consuming raw fruits and veggies with pesticide. It may not be very common, but it could happen. Better to be safe than sorry.
Remove the Broccoli Stem
Most of the Isothiocyanate is contained in the head of the broccoli and not the stem. However, it’s recommended that dogs only eat the head of broccoli. Many parts of fruits and vegetables pose a choking hazard for dogs, including the stem of broccoli. In addition, the hard stem may cause blockage in your dog’s intestinal tract.
Observe Your Dog
If this is the first time your dog is eating broccoli, it’s especially important to monitor them for at least 24 hours after consumption. Look out for changes in both stool habits and behavior. If they’re not feeling like themselves, cease the broccoli feeding. If symptoms persist throughout the day, consult with your vet right away.
Limit the Broccoli
Remember that too much broccoli can become a real threat to your dog. Broccoli itself is not poisonous to them but can become lethal without moderation. You can start off with just a few broccoli heads for your dog. A larger dog can consume more, but keep in mind that consumption should not exceed 10% of their diet. Anywhere around 25% and it could potentially put their life in jeopardy.
Broccoli Dog Treat Recipe
How do you make broccoli delicious for your dog to eat? Easy! Make some of these wonderful cheesy broccoli biscuits for your dog to enjoy. Here’s a good way for your dog to reap the health benefits if they don’t like the taste of broccoli. This recipe is courtesy of the Doggy Dessert Chef.
- 1 cup of Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan, Mozarella)
- ½ cup of Butter (Softened)
- 14 ounce bag of frozen Broccoli Florets (thawed/pureed)
- ½ cup of Milk
- 2 ½ cup of Whole Wheat Flour
- Shot Glass
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line with a baking sheet and paper.
- Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir thoroughly.
- Knead the dough into a ball and use a roller to flatten onto floured surface.
- Use the shot glass to carve dog treat cookies.
- Place the small rounds onto the sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Refrigerate after to cool down the dog treats.
- Enjoy the treats with your dog!
The Smart Canine is a dog owner’s resource dedicated to providing the most accurate information out there. Our staff has researched thoroughly on the consumption of broccoli by dogs. However, we cannot guarantee that a dog will or will not experience a health benefit or risk presented. It’s impossible to make a claim for every individual dog. We still recommend consulting with your local vet if you want to feed your dog broccoli.