Can dogs eat broccoli? Yes, they can! In small quantities, this cruciferous vegetable is not only safe for dogs, but also is a yummy superfood with lots of health benefits.
We spoke with Dr. Alex Crow, MRCVS, a veterinary surgeon at Buttercross Veterinary Centre in Nottinghamshire, U.K., and a writer for SeniorTailWaggers.com, to learn everything you need to know about feeding your dog broccoli, including how much they can eat and how to know if your dog is allergic to broccoli.
Benefits of Broccoli for Dogs
Is broccoli good for dogs? Yes! When eaten in moderation, broccoli provides a whole host of benefits for your dog, like:
- Rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are all vital for a healthy metabolism.
- Potassium and sodium help to regulate nerve and muscle function, while magnesium plays a role in your dog’s hormonal system.
- Packed with vitamins K and C, which helps keep your dog’s bones strong and boosts their immune system.
High in fiber, which helps with digestion and keeps your pup feeling fuller for longer. (Broccoli is great for pups on a diet!)
- Contains lutein and antioxidants, which support eye health, heart health, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Chewing on raw broccoli stalks is great for your dog’s teeth, too, as it helps to break away plaque and tartar.
Risks of Feeding Broccoli to Your Dog
Whether raw or cooked, broccoli can be a yummy treat when fed in moderation.
- Stick to small quantities and in moderation. Broccoli, like other cruciferous vegetables, contains a substance called isothiocyanate, which can cause irritation to your dog’s digestive system if eaten in excessive amounts. If you pup experiences diarrhea or gas call your vet.
- Avoid feeding broccoli to puppies. A puppy’s digestive system is not fully developed, so cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can cause more harm than good.
- Some dogs are allergic to broccoli. As with any food, your dog may have an allergy to broccoli. Common reactions include diarrhea, vomiting, itchy skin and difficulty breathing. If your dog starts to have any of these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately:
- Too much is not a good thing. Recommended daily intake of of treats is no more than 10% of your dog's daily calories. Adjust your pet's daily food to compensate for any treats you provide.
How to Feed Broccoli to Your Dog
You should always consult with your vet before serving broccoli to determine the right portion size for your dog. Even a healthy treat like broccoli should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet.
- Washed well to avoid your dog ingesting any harmful bacteria or pesticide residue.
- Cut raw broccoli into bite-sized pieces to avoid any choking hazards. (Smaller dogs should get smaller pieces.)
- Fed raw or cooked as a treat or mixed in with your dog’s usual food.
Frozen broccoli is also safe for dogs and, for those with healthy teeth, frozen broccoli can be very beneficial in helping to get rid of plaque and tartar. However, if your dog has any form of dental disease, avoid frozen broccoli, as the hard stems may cause more damage to already vulnerable teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Can dogs eat raw broccoli?
A:Yes! Just be sure to thoroughly wash it first. However, raw broccoli is harder than cooked broccoli, so if your dog has dental disease and experiences pain when chewing harder food, it’s best to cook the broccoli first.
Q:Can dogs eat cooked broccoli?
A:Yes! Dogs can also eat broccoli cooked, and it is a great option for dogs with dental issues given the softer stems. Cooking also ensures that any harmful bacteria are killed, making it a safer option if your dog has a sensitive stomach. If you opt to cook your dog’s broccoli, avoid adding any salt or other seasoning that could be unsafe for your pup.
Q:Can dogs eat broccoli stalks?
A:Yes, dogs can eat the harder stalks from broccoli, but as we have mentioned, for dogs with severe dental issues and pain when chewing harder food, these may not be suitable. The stalks can also pose a choking hazard, so be sure to cut them into smaller, manageable chunks.
Top Dog Food & Treats with Broccoli
Aside from feeding your dog raw, cooked, or frozen broccoli, you can also try one of these prepared options that incorporate broccoli into their food and treats.
Before incorporating any new foods into your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a safe addition to your pet’s diet given their health, diet needs, and current medications. Your vet will tell you if your dog can eat broccoli and the appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)
Expert input provided by Dr. Alex Crow, MRCVS, a veterinary surgeon at Buttercross Veterinary Centre in Nottinghamshire, U.K., and a writer for SeniorTailWaggers.com.