In short, yes, dogs can eat broccoli. If you give your dog broccoli, however, do so sparingly and with no added oils or seasonings.
Broccoli and other safe veggies that dogs can eat are packed with nutritious components that are beneficial to their overall health. You know it can never hurt a human to eat more vegetables. The same applies to your pet. Plus, vegetables like broccoli are healthy alternative treats for your pup — rather than fatty or heavily dyed and processed foods.
Keep reading to learn how to safely feed your dog broccoli, what vegetables to avoid feeding your dog, and the various health benefits that can come from feeding your dog some extra greens in addition to their regular dog food.
Benefits of Vegetables for Dogs
In moderation, small pieces of vegetables like broccoli are healthy and nutritious treats for dogs. Small bite-sized pieces of broccoli florets and broccoli stalks are safe occasional treats in addition to your dog’s diet because they are low in fat yet high in fiber and vitamin C.
According to one of PetMD’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Lorie Huston, “Broccoli is a good source of vitamins C and K as well as vitamin A, folate, manganese, and fiber. It is another low calorie food that is a safe choice for most dogs.”
What do these nutrients do for your dog, exactly? The fiber content in broccoli promotes digestive health. The vitamin K that broccoli contains is essential for protein function in order to prevent blood clotting, and is known to improve bone density in your dog for stronger bones. Vitamin C is also extremely important as an antioxidant that protects the body from harmful free radicals.
Broccoli even has anti-inflammatory properties, and as with humans, eating broccoli can lower your dog’s cholesterol.
Some dog owners need to watch their dog’s cholesterol intake. High cholesterol in dogs is referred to as hyperlipidemia — where excessive amounts of fat or fatty substances are found in the blood. According to PetMD, dogs with hyperlipidemia require a diet that contains less than 10% fat. Broccoli is a perfect low-fat snack to aid in the process of lowering cholesterol levels for dogs with hyperlipidemia.
Broccoli is also packed with nutritious components like:
- pantothenic acid
- vitamin B6
- vitamin E
- vitamin B1
- omega-3 fatty acids
While vegetables like broccoli are safe and healthy for dogs to eat, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean your dog can eat just any vegetable under the sun. Foods like onions, garlic, and grapes are off limits as they are highly toxic to dogs. Always do your research before feeding your dog a new food.
Onions are especially dangerous because they cause oxidative hemolysis of a dog’s red blood cells. This damage to your dog’s red blood cells can result in anemia. So, if you want to share a piece of broccoli with your dog from the sauté pan, don’t do it if that broccoli was sharing space with onion slices.
How to Prepare Broccoli for Your Dog
There is a chance your dog might not be a fan of eating broccoli, and that’s perfectly okay. In addition to broccoli, other vegetables that are safe and healthy for dogs include sweet potatoes, green beans, cucumbers, brussels sprouts, carrots, and spinach, to name a few. Dog owners can give these veggies (sans olive oil for sensitive tummies) to their pup raw, cooked, or even puréed.
If you purée broccoli, or something like spinach or sweet potatoes, you can freeze the liquid in an ice tray or Kong to use later as a tasty, long-lasting treat for hot summer months. Broccoli can also be steamed, boiled, or sautéed with coconut oil.
A little bit of coconut oil is beneficial for your dog. It has natural antiviral and antibacterial properties that prevent infection and disease as well as promote normal thyroid function, so coconut oil can be a nice addition to your pup’s broccoli snack.
Don’t forget to allow the cooked broccoli to cool before feeding it to your pup. Also be sure to rinse the vegetables before preparing and feeding them to your dog (or yourself, for that matter).
If you’re going to let your dog eat raw broccoli, cooked broccoli, or a blended combination of broccoli and another vegetable, you must remember to only give them small pieces of florets and stems. Large chunks of broccoli can present a choking hazard, especially with small breed dogs, so it’s important to only feed them small bites.
Broccoli for Dogs and Isothiocyanates
Isothio-what? It’s a mouthful of a word, but if you’re going to feed your pup broccoli, it’s important to know what it’s made up of that could be harmful.
Isothiocyanates are chemical compounds found in cruciferous vegetables — vegetables of the family Brassicaceae, also known as the cabbage family — like broccoli, bok choy, kale, and cauliflower. Most of this chemical compound is found in broccoli florets. While broccoli is a healthy snack, this group of chemicals can give them an upset stomach or result in vomiting or diarrhea if you feed them large amounts.
Dogs who get an overload of isothiocyanates from broccoli florets or another vegetable high in the compound can get gastric irritation. In other words, too much broccoli gives your pup the potential to clear a room with their rear end.
The American Kennel Club’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein reiterates the fact that moderation is key: “Broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10% of their daily intake. More than 25% is considered toxic.”
If you are still unsure about feeding your dog human food like broccoli, go ahead and talk to your vet. They will help you make the most educated decision when it comes to introducing new foods to your dog.
Is Broccoli Safe for Dogs? Go Ahead and Share Those Greens
All in all, broccoli is safe for dogs when given in moderation and in small, bite-sized pieces. Though broccoli is okay to feed them, remember that too much of a good thing can wreak havoc on your pooch’s digestive system. Be mindful of how much you’re feeding them and how large the pieces are.
If your dog is a picky eater but you still want to add vegetables into your dog’s diet from time to time, try another vegetable like carrots, brussels sprouts, or spinach.
It’s okay to feed your dog broccoli, and it even has benefits. This vegetable is low calorie, low fat, and low risk. As always, consult your veterinarian before adding a new food into your dog’s regular eating routine for the first time.
Don’t have broccoli? No problem. You can give your dog the same nutrients as the curly green vegetable by giving them a daily health supplement. To learn more about how you can supplement your dog’s diet with healthy, no-fuss dog treats for everything from digestion to joint care, visit PetHonesty.com.