Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?
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It's green, it's healthy and you were probably encouraged to eat a lot of it when you were a child. Do you enjoy eating broccoli now? This green vegetable is praised for its benefits for us humans, but there is a lot of speculation around whether it's suitable for our dogs. Some think dogs can eat raw broccoli but not cooked broccoli, or vice versa. Some think broccoli is perfectly safe as one of their pet's occasional snacks but unsure how much they can give them. We at AnimalWised wanted to settle the confusion and finally answer: can dogs eat broccoli?
Dog eating broccoli - is this safe?
First thing's first. Yes, dogs can eat broccoli in very small quantities. It is best to be given to them as a treat on occasion, rather than part of their regular diet. We'll get into this in a little bit. Now, let's elaborate on two of the biggest concerns with dogs eating broccoli.
Is raw broccoli good for you and your dog?
For us humans, eating raw broccoli is actually recommended by some nutritionists, due to its high nutritional value. Consuming broccoli raw can be a bit hard on our stomachs though, or make us a little gassy, but it is fantastic for our health. As for dogs, they can eat both cooked and raw broccoli as long as there is no salt, oil or seasonings added - these are no good for your dog's digestion and make a great treat for your dog!
Dog eating broccoli - potential choking hazard?
Broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstructions in the esophagus, especially in small breeds. Be sure to cut the broccoli into bite-size chunks, and monitor your pet as they eat. A benefit of cutting the broccoli up into small bites is that it will be much easier for you to measure how much your dog is consuming. They are better used as occasional snacks or treats.
TIP: Remember to give your dog a little bit of broccoli the first time they try it, to ensure they have no adverse reaction to it.
What are the benefits of broccoli for dogs?
Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. However, it also contains a potentially harmful ingredient to dogs. The ingredient is isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. Dr Jerry Klein of the American Kennel Club says that broccoli is safe if the total amount ingested is less than 10% of their daily intake. Over 25 percent is considered toxic.
Of course, 10 percent of a dog's daily intake can mean a range of different things depending on the breed of dog, and their health condition. Always consult your vet when you are unsure of food quantities.
Things you shouldn't feed your dog
On AnimalWised you will discover extensive information on forbidden foods for dogs, as well as more specifically forbidden fruits and vegetables for dogs. Here we have listed some of the main ones so you don't accidentally put your pet at risk!
Fruits and vegetables forbidden for dogs
- Avocado: By far, the most poisonous fruit that you can give to your dog. Avocado contains persin, which is a fungicidal substance found in the leaves, seeds and flesh of the fruit itself. Additionally, avocados have high content of vegetable fat and toxins. If your dog consumes avocado, you can expect for them to experience vomiting, stomach pain and even pancreatitis. Furthermore, if this forbidden fruit is regularly or excessively consumed, it can cause pulmonary system deficiencies or affect the heart.
- Grapes and raisins: Grapes are another harmful and toxic fruit for your dogs. Even though the component that makes them intolerable for the dog's body is not yet clear, we can confirm that they cause liver and/or kidney damage. Eating lots of grapes can cause your pet to suffer kidney failure. They contain a high cyanide content which the dog will be unable to digest.
- Mushrooms: Wild mushrooms in particular can be toxic for dogs. Washed mushrooms from the supermarket might be fine, but it's not worth the risk. Only 50 to 100 of the 50,000 mushroom species worldwide are known to be toxic, the ones that are can really hurt your dog or even lead to death.
- Onions: Giving dogs these vegetables on a daily basis, or an excessive amount in one go, can cause serious problems. This is because they contain trisulfides, which can destroy red blood cells and thus heighten the risk of anemia.
- Tomatoes: Never give the green parts of a tomato to a dog, they contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount for it to make them-self sick, and the fleshy part may be okay, it’s better to avoid them completely.
Check out our fun and informative video Foods dogs can't eat on our YouTube channel.
Dog friendly vegetables
Dogs don't need huge amounts of fruits and vegetables to live healthy lives, unlike humans. However, some fruits and vegetables can make great treats or snacks on occasion, and provide an array of health benefits. Moreso, more and more people are feeding their dogs plantbased diets and finding their pets thriving.
- Apples: Both for its digestive and astringent properties, treating diarrhea in dogs and other stomach problems, its high vitamin A and C content, calcium and anti-inflammatory properties, make apple a great fruit for dogs. Before giving it, remember to wash it well and remove the core and seeds. If you want to give your dog an apple to treat diarrhea, it is best to remove the skin, but if you want to combat constipation, give your dog pieces of apple skin.
- Bananas: In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. This fruit contains a high amount of insoluble fiber, so an excess of it can cause serious consequences to our dog. In very small amounts, it can be beneficial to them and help them defecate if you notice that they have constipation. If your dog is in perfect condition and you see that after providing a bite of banana they have diarrhea, remove this fruit from their diet.
- Oranges: they are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and in small quantities can serve as tasty treats for your dog. Do not give them the peel but just orange segments, minus seeds, as the peel is much more rough on their digestive systems.
- Watermelon: They are composed mainly of water (92%), so giving our dog small portions without seeds can help combat overheating and hydrate them well. Of course, we must give watermelon in moderation because of its high amounts of fructose.
- Carrots: High in fiber and beta-carotene, they are one of the best vegetables for dogs. Not only for their antioxidant properties, purifying and digestive, but also for their ability to strengthen teeth. We will provide a good piece of peeled carrot to chew and help remove bacterial plaque.
- Spinach This vegetable helps our dog to regulate their bowel movements thanks to its fiber content. In addition, it is rich in vitamins A, C, E, B and F. We must provide this vegetable to our dog raw, well-washed and chopped. Otherwise it could get stuck in their throat and cause significant damage.
- Blueberries: They are a superfood rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike. They’re packed with fiber and phytochemicals as well. They are one of the best fruits to prevent the appearance of diseases related to the heart in our dog. They are also rich in vitamin C and fiber. Of course, do not forget to remove the seeds that are inside before providing this food to your dog, as this can cause serious damage.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, including fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C. Just like with regular potatoes, only give your dog washed, peeled, cooked, and unseasoned sweet potatoes as one of their treats. Make sure they have well cooled down before you feed them too!
What to do if your dog eats too much broccoli
The consumption of broccoli in dogs is an area in animal nutrition that is not widely researched nor studied, and there is no one size fits all formula for you to use on your dog. For some dogs, consuming any amount of broccoli may potentially lead to gastric distress or worse. But your dog may be able to consume a considerable amount of broccoli and maintain perfect health.
Remember it is highly important to consider that the amount of broccoli one dog may be able to handle can differ greatly from that of your pet. Portion size depends on many factors: age, weight, health conditions and more.
In general, broccoli can be safely eaten by dogs as long as what is consumed is less than 10% of their diet, as we mentioned previously.
You may notice some of these symptoms if your dog eats too much broccoli:
- Lack of appetite
- Whimpering or curling into a ball
- Other unsual behavior (your dog is trying to tell you they are sick)
If your dog has bad diarrhea or vomiting, they will usually recover quite quickly. If however, you notice any other unusual symptoms or your dog has been sick for a few days or more, consult your vet immediately.
If you want to read similar articles to Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.
- Dr. Jerry Klein, The American Kennel Club, 2016.