Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? The Benefits And Drawbacks

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can dogs eat broccoli

The answer is: yes, your dog can eat broccoli. Not only that they like it, but broccoli has a lot of minerals and vitamins. Read further to learn how to serve it and how dangerous could it be. 

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Is It Good For My Dog?

Here are some reasons why this chewy, green veggie is a great option for a dog treat:

  • Fiber: Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in the dog’s digestive system, but the stem, on the other hand, might be problematic since they are more challenging to digest.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K has been known to improve bone density in your dog, thus promoting stronger bones. String bones will help your dog stay active for longer. Unfortunately, as our dogs age, their bone density declines, limiting their mobility. Broccoli has the highest amount of Vitamin K found in vegetables.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin boosts the immune system of your dog and has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Vitamin C is naturally produced inside the dog’s body, but this ability weakens as they age.
  • Minerals: Broccoli is packed with different minerals. It contains magnesium, sodium, chromium, potassium, and several others, and they all work together to strengthen your dog’s immune and nervous systems.
  • Folic Acid:  It aids in the production and maintenance of healthy cells, which is especially beneficial for pregnant dogs.

While broccoli has many health benefits, some precautions still need to be considered while feeding it to your dog.

How Much Broccoli Is Too Much?

The fiber in broccoli is fantastic for digestion. However, too much fiber can induce gas and bloat in dogs that aren’t used to eating fibrous meals.

THE 10% RULE

With broccoli, it’s a good idea to follow the 10% rule, which means that a dog can eat 10% of his calories from fruits, veggies and the rest of 90% should be from a balanced diet (if you aren’t good with percentages then remember that it means ¼ cup to ½ cup of broccoli—per day for a medium-sized dog).

Yes, that means counting your dog’s calories. However, when these crunchy veggie treats remain within the 10 percent guideline, you don’t need to worry.

Keep in mind that each dog is unique, and what works for one dog may not work for another. Therefore, start with a small portion and increase if there are no negative effects.

Feeding your dog too much might lead to obesity. If you want to learn more about that, we invite you to read our article on How Much Should I Feed My Dog?

Can Broccoli Be Dangerous For My Dog?

Broccoli is not poisonous or toxic to dogs by nature. This does not, however, imply that we should feed broccoli to our dogs without any precautions.

Some potential hazards are as follows:

UPSET STOMACH

The amount of broccoli given to the dog should be monitored, and the behavior of the dog after consumption should be observed as well. If you notice a lack of energy in your dog, know that he might be experiencing an upset stomach.

GUT IRRITATION

If a dog consumes more than 10% of its calories from broccoli, it can cause gut irritation.

However, the real danger begins when a dog eats a large amount of broccoli, around 25% of his daily calories.

In that case, please don’t wait for your dog to show poisoning symptoms and consult with your local veterinarian and get them immediate help.

CHOKING HAZARD

Broccoli stems are edible, but they’re quite fibrous and might cause choking if given in big chunks.

So it would be best if you also kept an eye on them while they eat in order to make sure they aren’t in any distress.

FARTS

Broccoli is rich in fiber. High fiber meals can cause farts in dogs, just like they do in people.

Though this isn’t really dangerous, if you feel that the smell is getting unbearable, then do consult your vet just in case.

DIARRHEA

Too much fiber can cause your dog’s bowel patterns to shift dramatically, such as diarrhea.

Always check your dog’s bowel habits immediately after he or she has eaten broccoli. Stop feeding them broccoli if you notice anything unusual, such as diarrhea or constipation.

TOXIC BACTERIA

If you feed raw broccoli to your dog, make sure you properly wash it to avoid the risk of bacteria like Salmonella.

While cats and dogs may have a higher resistance to Salmonella than humans, they are not entirely immune.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in pups include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Increased heart rate

How To Serve Broccoli To My Dog?

You won’t believe how many dog-friendly broccoli recipes are there on the internet. Experiment with some and see how your dog likes their broccoli. Any recipe is fine; just take care of a few aspects:

  • Cooking, roasting, or steaming the broccoli instead of feeding it raw to your dog may be a preferable alternative because it decreases the risk of intestinal blockages or choking. 
  • Fresh is always better than frozen or bagged. If possible, always try to serve your little doggo fresh vegetables.
  • If you’re serving the broccoli raw, then make sure to wash the broccoli thoroughly and cut it into small bite pieces or cubes so they don’t become a choking hazard for them. The stem of broccoli can also make your dog choke, and it may cause blockage in your dog’s intestinal tract.

“Steaming broccoli makes it a little easier to chew and digest. Also, make sure you’re giving your dog plain broccoli, rather than broccoli casserole or anything like that, because the added cheese and sauces can provide too much in the way of fats.” 

– Kaci Angelone, DVM, MS, from Denver, Colorado.

Should My Dog Eat Broccoli Raw or Cooked?

This is more of a ‘will’ matter rather than a ‘can’. It depends on the personal preference of the dog. Some would prefer raw crunchy broccoli, while others would turn their nose away at the sight of it unless it is cooked or steamed. 

Cooking can strip vegetables of some nutrients; dog owners need to be careful about their cooking methods and avoid oil and seasonings.

In addition, refrain from using seasonings and other ingredients that may be harmful to your dogs, like onions or processed cheese.

However, when you serve the broccoli to your dog, make sure to clean the vegetable first.

You will also need to start with a small amount, monitor your dog for at least 24 hours, and see how they handle it before making broccoli a part of their regular diet.

Broccoli Is Good For Dogs, But What About Puppies?

As you have already read above, broccoli is suitable for your dog if you feed it to him in moderation and with proper care. Is it the same for puppies?

The answer is it depends on the age.

If your puppy is below eight weeks, then try not to give them broccoli or any solid food. Don’t give your puppy broccoli, as it is hard for their developing digestive system to process the high fiber. 

If they’re above eight weeks, then you may start to feed them small, boiled, and spongy pieces of broccoli. Just remember to start with small quantities to avoid any tummy or digestion issues.

If you want to learn more about dogs’ digestion, read our article on How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Digest Food.

The Bottom Line

So, can dogs eat broccoli? Broccoli in excess might be harmful, but in moderation, it can be a pleasant and healthy treat for your pets, and there are many excellent dog food and treat options that incorporate this superfood.

All you have to do is stick to the portion size requirements, experiment with different techniques, and see what your dog enjoys.

The best suggestion is to consider this vegetable as an occasional treat, and if you want to share it with your dog, keep an eye on him as he eats it.

If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, contact your veterinarian right away.

Photo of author
Author
Andrei Bratu
Andrei is the owner of Dog Food Camp and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He is passionate about helping dog lovers learn about canine nutrition.

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