Can Dogs Eat Brussel Sprouts? Everything You Need To Know

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can dogs eat brussel sprouts

While Brussel sprouts aren’t everyone’s favorite food, they are incredibly nutritious.  Given how healthy they are for us, it’s tempting to want to feed this superfood vegetable to your dog as well. 

But can dogs eat Brussel sprouts? The answer is yes! Dogs can eat Brussel sprouts.

 Served properly and in moderation, they can provide your dog with a host of nutritional benefits.  

Let’s examine the pros and cons of feeding your dog Brussel sprouts to help you make an informed decision.

Health benefits of Brussel sprouts

There are extensive health benefits from eating Brussel sprouts for both humans and dogs.  They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, which are all necessary components of your dog’s diet.

As a cruciferous vegetable, Brussel sprouts belong to the same food group as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and collard greens.

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A:  Adequate levels of vitamin A promote healthy vision, proper functioning of the nervous system, and maintain your dog’s heart and lungs.
  • Vitamin B:  B1 and B6 are contained in Brussel sprouts.  These vitamins support heart health and blood circulation.
  • Vitamin C and Vitamin K:  Bone health and the immune system are influenced by vitamins C and K.
  • Vitamin E:  Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant to rid your dog’s system of free radicals that are released when food is converted to energy.

Minerals

There are two minerals that are prominent in Brussel sprouts:

  • Manganese, which helps your dog digest amino acids and proteins more efficiently
  • Potassium, which is essential for the functioning of your dog’s muscles and nerves.  Adequate levels of potassium also help promote proper hydration.

Antioxidants

Brussel sprouts contain an antioxidant called kaempferol.[1]  This compound has many health benefits, including the ability to lower inflammation levels and prevent oxidative cell damage.

Fiber

Fiber intake is important for the long-term health of your dog’s colon and digestive system.  As a green vegetable, Brussel sprouts are packed with fiber. 

There are some negative effects of feeding your dog too much fiber, however, which we will discuss further below.

Low calorie treats

If your dog is prone to weight gain, you’ll need treats that are low in calories.  Brussel sprouts are a great option as they are naturally fat-free, nutrient-dense, and promote maintenance of a healthy weight. 

For more tips on helping you maintain a healthy weight, see our article on dog weight loss.

The downsides to feeding your dog Brussel sprouts

It’s obvious that Brussel sprouts are packed full of vitamins and minerals, but there are some reasons you might want to avoid feeding them to your dog.

As discussed earlier, Brussel sprouts are packed with fiber.  In moderation, fiber is good for your dog as it promotes proper digestive function, colon health, and regular bowel movements.

In excess, too much fiber can cause gastrointestinal upset.  Brussel sprouts contain high levels of a substance called isothiocyanate. 

While this substance doesn’t cause gas by itself, the way your dog’s system breaks it down does.  The excess bacteria that build up in your dog’s gut can cause extreme levels of flatulence and bloat.

If you feed your dog too many Brussel sprouts, it can leave your dog uncomfortable and suffering from gas, diarrhea, and bloating.  This is particularly true for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Diarrhea that persists over several days can cause severe dehydration, so contact your veterinarian if this happens.  

How many Brussel sprouts should you feed your dog?

If you’re feeding your dog Brussel sprouts, it’s important to know how much to let them eat, as well as how to prepare the Brussel sprouts in a dog-friendly manner.

Many dogs will eat until you force them to stop, making themselves sick.  As an owner, you’ll have to monitor the amount your dog eats to avoid undesirable side effects.

Serving size depends on dog size

The amount of Brussel sprouts that are safe for your eat depends on the size of your dog.  Regardless of size, no dog should be fed more than three Brussel sprouts at a time.  Small dogs should be fed no more than one.

Brussel sprouts should only be fed as an occasional treat or snack to supplement your dog’s regular diet.

Any time you introduce a new food to your dog, you should do it slowly to ensure that your dog isn’t allergic to it and that it doesn’t upset his stomach.

If there are no side effects from introducing Brussel sprouts, you can regularly supplement him with this nutrient-packed vegetable.

Preparing dog-friendly Brussel sprouts

While we humans like our vegetables prepared with oils, butter, and spices, your dog won’t appreciate it.  The best way to feed Brussel sprouts to your dog is cooked. 

Raw Brussel sprouts will cause digestive upset.  To help you, here are some tips on choosing, prepping, and cooking Brussel sprouts for your dog.

  • Buy the greenest Brussel sprouts available and wash them thoroughly before feeding.  Leave the leaves intact and slice the sprout in half to make it easier for your dog to eat.
  • There are three ways you can cook Brussel sprouts:
    • Steam – Add Brussel sprouts and water to a pot and cover.  Cook over heat until the sprouts are tender.
    • Microwave – Place Brussel sprouts and water in a microwave-safe dish.  Cover and cook on high for six to eight minutes, stirring every two minutes, until the Brussel sprouts are the desired tenderness.
    • Boil – Add Brussel sprouts to water, cover, and gently boil until tender for 15-20 minutes.

It’s important not to overcook Brussel sprouts as doing so will cause them to lose their nutritional value.

Are other vegetables safe for your dog?

There are many vegetables that are safe for your dog, in addition to Brussel sprouts, including broccoli and green beans

There are also several vegetables that aren’t safe for your dog to eat, so it’s important to know which ones to stay away from.

  • Onion and garlic are both toxic to dogs.  Dogs who eat these foods can experience severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.  In large amounts, these foods can cause a dog’s red blood cells to rupture, leading to anemia.  Symptoms of onion and garlic toxicity are virtually identical and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Mushrooms can be dangerous as well.  There are serious complications and even death for your dog if he eats wild mushrooms.  While some varieties are safe for consumption, the risk far outweighs any possible benefits.  Since mushrooms don’t have any nutritional value anyway, it’s best to just stay away.

Final thoughts

The bottom line is that Brussel sprouts are safe to feed your dog in moderation. 

They have several nutritional benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. When prepared and served properly, they can make a healthy, low-calorie treat for your dog to enjoy.

Don’t forget to call your vet immediately after you noticed strange symptoms in your dog.

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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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