Broccoli is a delicious vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. The top bits of the broccoli plant are known as florets and are actually flower buds. While this beautiful bit of produce is part of a healthy diet for humans, is it safe for your dog?
The simple answer is yes, in moderation. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they benefit from a diet that includes both plants and meat. Vegetables are high in fiber and nutrients, and low in fat, so they can be very healthy for dogs as long as there is no added oil or seasoning. Some veggies, including broccoli, contain compounds that can cause gastrointestinal issues. As with all human foods, be sure to check with your veterinarian before feeding broccoli to your pet.
Benefits of Broccoli for Dogs
- Rich in Nutrients. Broccoli is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. These vitamins and minerals help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and low blood pressure. All of these nutrients are essential to keeping your pup healthy.
- High in Fiber. Broccoli is a fiber-rich food, boasting almost 4g per cup. Fiber aids in digestion and helps give a full-belly feeling, so your pet won’t overeat.
- Low in Calories. As a low-calorie snack, broccoli is a great choice. One cup of broccoli only has 50 calories.
Dangers of Broccoli for Dogs
- Gastrointestinal Distress. Cruciferous vegetables, like arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and watercress (to name a few), all contain a compound called isothiocyanate. Isothiocyanate protects growing plants from insects and bacteria and gives the vegetables their characteristic flavor. In small doses, it is not harmful to dogs, but larger amounts can cause gastrointestinal distress. Eating excessive amounts of isothiocyanate can lead to diarrhea, gas, and vomiting.
- Choking Risk. Be careful when feeding broccoli to your pet. It is a hard, crunchy vegetable, which is part of what makes it appealing to dogs, but feeding large chunks could be a choking risk. Instead, give small pieces that are easily swallowed, in case your dog gets so excited that they forget to chew. Broccoli can also be very fibrous, so test the veggie to make sure it is easy to chew. You can also lightly steam or roast broccoli to make it softer, as long as you don’t add any extra seasoning.
How Much Is Too Much?
Dogs shouldn’t get more than 10% of their daily calories from fruits, vegetables, or treats. If you do decide to feed your dog broccoli, start with one or two small pieces to ensure that they are able to digest it with no problems. If your pet likes broccoli, they can have it as a treat whenever you feel like sharing. If you see any signs of GI distress, discontinue feeding broccoli and call your veterinarian.
Broccoli can be a healthy and filling snack for your dog. If you pay close attention to the amount you give your pet, they can happily munch on a little broccoli now and then.