If you’re trying to make stir fry for your family and your dog is eyeing the broccoli, you might be a little confused — you can hardly get your kids to eat the stuff, what in the world would the dog want with it?
Don’t ask too many questions. Just be thankful that your dog is curious about a healthy snack instead of begging for the pizza crust.
If your dog is interested in broccoli, you can give them a little piece. As long as there is no oil, butter, seasonings, or cheese on the broccoli, your pup can enjoy a bite or two. It doesn’t matter if the broccoli is raw or cooked, as long as it’s plain.
Even though broccoli is a far cry from junk food, it’s important to remember that anything that isn’t daily dog food should be regarded as a treat. While people can eat as much broccoli as they want (or turn their noses up at it), vegetables like broccoli are more of a special occasional snack for dogs.
How Broccoli Can Be a Good Treat for Dogs
Dogs need many of the same vitamins and minerals that humans need, but they don’t need them in the same amounts. Your dog’s food should be perfectly balanced to meet your dog’s daily nutrition requirements without the need to supplement with treats or vegetables like broccoli.
Even still, your dog might enjoy something to break up the monotony of his everyday food. These little treats are fun and exciting for animals who would otherwise eat the same thing for every meal.
Broccoli provides a boost of vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and fiber to your dog’s diet. Both vitamin C and fiber are beneficial for your dog’s health, but they should only be given in small amounts. A few small florets for a large dog or a single floret for a small dog is a safe treat-sized serving that your dog can enjoy while they’re helping you prepare dinner for your human family members.
Beware the Potential Side Effects
If you’ve ever been in a small space with a gassy dog, you know exactly how unpleasant that situation can be. A family car ride can quickly turn into a panicked “roll down the windows” moment when your dog picks an inopportune moment to pass gas.
Broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and similar vegetables are very high in healthy fiber. Gut bacteria love to nourish themselves with these foods, and the end result is a higher than normal production of gas. Your dog doesn’t need a wealth of added fiber. Their regular dog food should be supplying them with an amount sufficient enough that supplementation won’t be necessary.
Broccoli is also high in sulfur compounds, which contribute to a foul odor. When your dog eats broccoli and passes gas, this combination is extremely unpleasant for everyone in the vicinity.
This is why it’s important to carefully monitor the amount of broccoli you’re feeding your dog. A little bit of gas is the course of nature. Animals will pass gas just like people do. Feeding them foods that cause excess gas can be painful for the animal or lead to digestive upset.
In addition to fiber and sulfur compounds, broccoli florets (the part that looks like a tree) contain high levels of compounds called isothiocyanates. While isothiocyanates are generally safe for most people, they’re known to cause gastrointestinal irritation in dogs.
These compounds are only dangerous to dogs in very high amounts. The isothiocyanates in broccoli only become problematic if they exceed 10% of your dog’s total daily diet. Unless your dog has an obsession with broccoli, it’s not likely that he’ll consume enough to cause concern.
How To Feed Your Dog Broccoli
Your dog can have plain broccoli florets without the stalk. You can give them to your dog raw or you can steam them. If you’ve already popped a steamer bag of broccoli in the microwave, you can give your dog a bite or two after they cool down. You can hand your dog the broccoli florets the same way you’d hand them a treat, or you can drop it in their food dish.
If your dog is on a whole food diet, you can combine small amounts of carrots, peas, eggs, brown rice, and broccoli with meat to create a more nutritionally complete offering for your dog. If you want to use a raw diet for your dog, you should first seek advice from your dog’s veterinarian. Never abruptly switch your dog’s diet without the advice of her health professional.
If you’re looking to pawn the stalks off on your dog, you might want to reconsider. Broccoli stalks are hard to digest and may cause bowel discomfort or obstruction for your dog, so they should never be used as dog treats. The stalks can be tossed away or used as garden compost.
Other Vegetables Your Dog Can Enjoy
If you’re looking to give your dog some healthy green treats, there is a decent amount of vegetables that canines can enjoy in moderation. If you give your dog refrigerated fresh food, you might even see some of these vegetables in the ingredients list or as whole visible pieces in the pate.
- Brussels sprouts
- Corn (off the cob)
- Green beans
Dogs can also enjoy many fruits, unsweetened peanut butter, small amounts of cheese, cashews, eggs, fish, honey, quinoa, poultry, plain unsweetened unflavored yogurt, whole grains, homemade bread, and even unbuttered, unsalted air popped popcorn are all on the menu.
If your family happens to be indulging in some of these foods and you want your dog to feel like they’re part of the family gathering, a few bites of one of these foods can serve as the day’s treat.
Promoting Your Dog’s Wellness
If your dog is a full-fledged member of your family, it might feel disappointing to fill their bowl with little brown nuggets and expect them to be happy. You can’t blame them for wanting a taste of your home cooked meals. You might even feel like they’re entitled to a better dinner.
Safely incorporating small amounts of healthy plain vegetables, grains, meats, fruits, and eggs is harmless as long as your dog doesn’t have any allergies or intolerances to them and isn’t overindulging. Give her the broccoli before you roast it with the lemons, garlic, and olive oil.
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If you’re looking to supplement your pet’s diet with more of what they need to feel happy and healthy, broccoli is a good choice. CBD is an even better choice, and you can get pet-formulated CBD right here at VETCBD Hemp.
Isothiocyanates | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can't Eat | American Kennel Club