Can Dogs Eat Broccoli

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Yes. Dogs can eat broccoli. In fact, broccoli is an extremely nutritious vegetable for both dogs and humans alike, providing plenty of minerals along with vitamins C and K. Broccoli is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which extend to canines and well beyond humans. Additionally, broccoli is loaded with fiber, which can be useful for dogs who require an increase in fiber in their daily diet. Broccoli is one of the healthiest and most nutritious of the cruciferous vegetables, which is why it is prominently used in organic dog foods as well as fresh food diets recommended for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Nutritional benefits of broccoli

Can Dogs Eat Raw Broccoli?

Yes, it is possible for dogs to eat raw broccoli without boiling or steaming the broccoli to first cook it. However, it is important to ensure all vegetables (including broccoli) that are used in your dog's diet have been fully washed and cleaned to prevent potential infections from microorganisms. 

While it is possible for your dog to eat and stomach broccoli without issue, there is a chance that your dog may experience issues digesting or passing the broccoli. Your dog may also experience an increase in gas and bloating, which can be uncomfortable to your dog, especially if your dog is highly sensitive or has other health ailments. The best way to go about preparing broccoli (florets and stems alike) for any dog, is to ensure that the broccoli is properly prepared and thoroughly cooked. 

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli Stems?

Yes, dogs can eat broccoli stems. In fact, broccoli stems are often recommended for canines over broccoli florets, which are commonly eaten and preferred among people. Broccoli stems are typically better for dogs as they do not contain isothiocyanates, also known as an organic compound that is typically found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli itself. 

Because broccoli stems do not contain isothiocyanates, they are less likely to cause disruptions in the stomach lining or digestive upset. It is important to keep in mind that although broccoli stems do not contain isothiocyanates, they can still trigger digestive or tummy troubles when eaten in large quantities.

As with any type of cruciferous vegetable or green vegetable such as broccoli, it is always best to feed stems to your dog in smaller and measured quantities. This is also to prevent a potential choking hazard from occurring. Always cut and chop your broccoli stems before serving them to any dog, even if your dog is familiar with larger bites and can typically stomach food that is larger in size. Due to the fibrous nature of broccoli, it will become increasingly difficult for your dog to properly chew it over time. 

Types of broccoli dogs can eat

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Broccoli? 

Yes, preparing and serving cooked broccoli is possible for any dog, regardless of size and age. Before you begin dishing out florets and stalks of broccoli to your pup, it is important to note that boiling or cooking the broccoli ahead of time is always recommended. Cooked broccoli is much easier on a dog's stomach, which can aid in digestion, preventing the buildup of gas or a disruption in your dog's typical bowel movements. Cooking your dog's broccoli ahead of time is possible with simple boiled water.

Note: If you intend to boil water for the broccoli you intend to cook for your dog, it is important to do so without any additions such as salt. Do not add salt, pepper, or even salt-free seasoning to the broccoli you are serving, even when boiling the broccoli. 

If you are looking for other unique ways to offer your dog a fresh meal with cooked broccoli, you can also consider preparing them an organic omelet with eggs and other suitable ingredients, such as broccoli. Avoid cooking with oils, butters, fats, and other seasonings that may cause upset in your dog's stomach. 

How Much Broccoli Can You Give Your Dog?

While it is healthy to give your dog broccoli and other alternative vegetables, it is important not to overfeed your dog with any cruciferous or green vegetable. Broccoli should not be a main staple of your dog's diet, and instead, it should be less than 10% of your dog's overall ingested diet, according to AKC. Giving your dog a few pieces of broccoli or a measured amount of broccoli stems regularly is okay, so long as your dog is eating additional proteins and other canine-friendly foods for the remaining 90% of their diet. 

If you are unsure of how much broccoli you should give your dog each day, calculate how much food he or she typically eats on a daily basis. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many meals is my dog typically used to eating each day?
  • What does a typical meal for my dog consist of? What ingredients are used to create each of my dog's meals?
  • How much broccoli should I incorporate into my dog's current diet?
  • What food(s) or ingredients am I removing in place of the broccoli in my dog's diet? 
  • How do I know if the broccoli I am serving my dog is agreeing with his stomach and digestive system?
  • Is there a way I can keep track of how my dog is responding to the raw or cooked broccoli I am serving?
  • Is raw or cooked broccoli better for my dog's stomach? 

Calculate the food you are already providing for your dog in order to determine how much broccoli is appropriate for your pup. Whether you choose to give your dog broccoli as a snack or as a part of a main meal, having a well-rounded understanding of your dog's entire diet is extremely helpful when it comes time to portion out various vegetables, including broccoli. 

Is Broccoli A Choking Hazard?

Yes, broccoli can be a choking hazard, but not just to canines. Broccoli is a choking hazard to both humans and dogs alike, which is why it is imperative to properly prepare broccoli anytime you are feeding it to your dog, regardless of how you cook or prepare the broccoli. Always chop or cut any pieces of broccoli you intend to serve to your dog into bite size pieces. Avoid leaving long stems of broccoli florets for your dog to attempt to chew on, as this can increase the choking hazard risk. 

Other vegetables dogs can eat

What Vegetables Can You Feed Your Dog?

Knowing which vegetables are healthy for dogs can help you along your journey to feed your pet a much healthier and more nutritious diet. Although vegetables, as we know them, are extremely beneficial to humans in many ways, they can interact drastically differently when animals, such as dogs, consume them. Understanding which vegetables are suitable for dogs and which ones you should steer clear of will also prevent potential digestion issues and preventable stomach upset. The most popular vegetables that are healthy for dogs include:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Cauliflower

What Vegetables Should You Avoid Feeding Your Dog?

In contrast, there are also vegetables that you should avoid feeding your dog at all times, especially if your dog has a special diet or has a sensitive stomach. Some vegetables that should not be given to dogs include:

  • Asparagus
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Garlic

Most of the time, these vegetables have a tendency to cause stomach upset and issues with digestion, which can result in bloating, gas, and in some instances, even diarrhea or uncontrolled bowels. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or does not tolerate seasoning and foods that may trigger gas, it is best to always avoid these foods under all circumstances. 

Feeding your dog healthy and nutritious food should not feel complicated or stressful, especially once you are familiar with canine-friendly foods and vegetables that work for your entire household. Knowing if your dog can eat broccoli and whether or not they can enjoy broccoli raw or cooked can help you on your journey to providing your pup with a healthy and nutritious way of life.

If your dog experiences a negative reaction or response to eating broccoli, contact your vet or your local emergency veterinarian's office as quickly as possible. 

Dog paws reaching for a plate of broccoli on a table setting

Final Notes

Want more information on what your dog can’t and can eat? Dutch can help. Our network of 100% licensed vets can help answer questions regarding your dog’s diet and nutrition and even prescribe special diets for specific health conditions. The best part? It’s all possible from the comfort of home.

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References

  1. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Can Dogs Have Broccoli? Is Broccoli Good for Dogs?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 18 Oct. 2018, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-broccoli/.

  2. ASPCA. “Sharing Is Caring: Foods You Can Safely Share with Your Pet.” ASPCA, 28 Jan. 2021, https://www.aspca.org/news/sharing-caring-foods-you-can-safely-share-your-pet.

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