Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Is Broccoli Safe for Dogs?

Broccoli is a very common health food, and most people might wonder if it’s also healthy for dogs. The short answer is yes; your dog can eat broccoli. Your dog can eat it cooked or raw, and it will also receive some health benefits from doing so, but there is also a limit to how much you want to feed your pet.

Join us while we cover the proper amount of broccoli to feed your pet, as well as what benefits your pet will receive and any potential negative reactions from eating too much.

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Is broccoli harmful to my dog?

Even though it can be safe for your dog, there are a couple of potential side effects to feeding your dog broccoli, and we’ll discuss them here.

husky dog eating broccoli
Image credit: Ellina Balioz, Shutterstock

Isothiocyanates

Isothiocyanates are naturally occurring molecules that are in many vegetables. In broccoli, they are present in the florets. If your dog eats more than 10% of its diet of broccoli, the isothiocyanates can cause gastric irritation in your pets’ digestive system. Should they eat more than 25% of their diet in broccoli, they could get toxic poisoning. However, every dog is unique, and the amount that is safe for your pet may be slightly higher or lower than the values presented here. We recommend starting with small amounts and gradually adding more, not to exceed ten percent of its diet.

Choking Hazard

Eating broccoli can present a choking hazard to your pet, and there have been many cases where broccoli stalks have obstructed the esophagus. The choking danger is much more serious with small dogs, but even larger dogs can get a piece of broccoli lodged in their throat, causing a coughing fit and possibly requiring a trip to the vet. We recommend cutting the broccoli up into small pieces, no bigger than the size of their kibble, and always watch them while they eat.

An even better way to feed your dog broccoli than cutting it up is ground broccoli used in a DIY doggie treat.

Added Ingredients

When we talk about giving broccoli to your pet, we are strictly talking about plain broccoli, raw, boiled, or steamed without any spices, butter, or other seasonings. It’s not safe to give your dog butter or salt, and many other spices can upset your pet’s digestive system.

Broccoli
Image Credit: ExplorerBob, Pixabay

Is broccoli good for my dog?

There are health benefits to feeding your dog broccoli, and we’ll list them in this section.

Fiber

The primary benefit of feeding broccoli to your dog comes in the fiber that it adds to your pet’s diet. Fiber can help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation and prevent them from occurring. It can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer by removing carcinogenic waste faster. It helps with digestion and adds probiotics to the gastrointestinal tract, and it also keeps your pet feeling full for longer, so they eat less and don’t gain weight. Another benefit of feeding your pet fiber is that it helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking, which can help with diabetes symptoms, as well as prevent it from occurring.

Low Fat

Broccoli is a very low-fat food and does not contain many calories, so you won’t need to worry about weight gain feeding your dog broccoli.

Vitamin C

Another helpful nutrient that broccoli contains is vitamin C, which can help slow and even reverse the effects of degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia, and even spinal disorders. It boosts the immune system and helps puppies cope with the many shots and vaccinations they receive.

white dog eating broccoli
Image credit: Wild As Light, Shutterstock

How do I feed my dog broccoli?

You can feed your dog small pieces of broccoli either cooked or raw, but the best way we may be in the form of a DIY doggie treat like the one we found at Paw Print Pet Blog. This recipe doesn’t take long and only uses a few healthy ingredients.

Broccoli Bites Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 cup kefir or plain yogurt
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup cubed cheddar cheese
Broccoli Bites Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  • In a food processor, chop the broccoli and cheddar cheese.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix the broccoli and cheddar cheese with the kefir or yogurt and flour.
  • Form the dough into small balls and place them on a lightly floured cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes, or until cookies reach the desired consistency. Larger cookies will take longer.
  • Let cool and refrigerate

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Summary

Broccoli is fine to feed your dog in small amounts, and it can be quite beneficial to their health. Especially larger breed dogs that are susceptible to hip dysplasia and other joint problems.  If your dog is constipated or has diarrhea, a small amount of broccoli is a fat-free natural way to help get them regulated again. To avoid the choking hazard entirely, we recommend adding the broccoli to a DIY doggy treats like the one we’ve provided. Remember to limit the amount you give to under 10% of their total food intake.

We hope that we have answered any questions you may have had about the hazards, as well as the benefits of feeding your dog broccoli. If you have learned something new, please share this in-depth look at this helpful vegetable on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock