Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?
Yes, dogs can eat broccoli—in moderate amounts. While many people think dogs are carnivores, they are omnivores. Wild canines often get a dose of vegetables from the stomach contents of their prey or eat vegetation such as grass and fruits like berries. Because of the way canines traditionally consume vegetables, you should limit broccoli and any other treats to 10% of your dog’s total daily calories.
While you should always consult your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet, broccoli is generally good for most dogs, no matter how it is cooked or what part of the plant you feed them. Can dogs eat raw broccoli? Can dogs eat steamed broccoli? What about the stalks? Yes, yes and yes. But before you add this delicious and nutritious vegetable to your dog’s dinner bowl, make sure you have all the information you need.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
The answer to “Can dogs eat broccoli?” isn’t just “yes”—broccoli is actually good for them. Broccoli is considered a cruciferous vegetable—a group that is chock-full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, phosphorous and other nutrients. It also has plenty of vitamin C—which is vital to the immune system and skin—and vitamin K1—important for the blood and bones. All these nutrients mean broccoli has the following benefits.
- Antioxidant benefits Antioxidants help stabilize free radicals, which are damaging molecules created during metabolism. The antioxidants in broccoli are vitamin C—which fights free radicals directly—and sulforaphane, which helps activate other systems in the body that then fight these molecules.
- Anti-inflammatory properties Sulforaphane is also an anti-inflammatory. It activates certain pathways that then release enzymes that help to reduce inflammation. Inflammation plays a role in everything from skin conditions to gastrointestinal problems, which is an especially beneficial property.
- Eye and brain benefits Broccoli can help with eye health. It’s full of carotenoids—which help with retina health—and vitamin A—which helps protect cells in the eye.
- High-fiber Broccoli is one of the best high-fiber foods to feed your dog. Fiber can help with stomach and digestion problems, keeping stool firm and regular defecation. If you’ve heard raw veggies have more fiber, you might be wondering, “Can dogs eat raw broccoli?” They sure can—but boiling or steaming it can actually bring out more nutrients.
How to Feed Broccoli to Your Dog
Often, dogs can only eat certain parts of foods. Dogs can eat all pieces of broccoli and in any form. But before you go crazy with this green treat, there are a few precautions to take.
- Don’t feed too much Broccoli florets—the top, flowery part of the vegetable—contain isothiocyanates, which can be harmful in large amounts. Broccoli and other treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet—25% or more can cause severe gastric issues.
- Keep bites small Pet parents wondering, “Can dogs eat raw broccoli?” will be glad to know they can—but it can also be a choking hazard, especially for puppies and small dogs. Make sure you chop it up small enough—about the same size as their kibble—and supervise eating.
- Make it interesting Getting a daily dose of veggies doesn’t have to be boring. Feed your dog different parts of broccoli or switch up how you prepare it. Combine it with other veggies like carrots and cauliflower. You can even make your pup a nutritious smoothie. Plus, the answer to “Can dogs eat eggs?” is also a resounding yes, so go ahead and cook your dog an omelet with broccoli or other veggies added. Just make sure you don’t use milk, salt or other seasonings and make sure that this treat doesn’t make up more than 10% of their daily caloric diet.