Broccoli is not everybody’s favorite vegetable. At some point in your life it made its way to your plate, and you might have been tempted to feed it to your dog.
But, did you ever wonder if dogs can eat broccoli?
Just because certain food is safe for humans does not mean that it is safe for dogs too.
Don’t worry too much if you have fed your dog broccoli before. Dogs can eat broccoli, but only in small portions.
There are actually many health benefits to feeding this vegetable to a dog. Keep reading to learn how much is safe to feed, and some tasty broccoli dog-safe treat recipes.
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Can Dogs Have Broccoli?
The simple answer is yes; dogs can eat broccoli safely. Cooked and raw broccoli is safe for dogs, as long as it is not seasoned, has no added oils, and is fed in small portion sizes. So while you cannot give your dog a meal of broccoli, it does make an excellent, healthy treat.
Even just a few pieces of broccoli can help with slowing down joint damage in dogs. This is especially important for working dogs like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies who run all day!
However, there are a few things you should know about this vegetable before you start feeding it to your dog.
Even good things in excess can be bad, and for dogs a small portion of broccoli is enough. Dogs can fully breakdown and absorb the nutrients in broccoli, but if they eat too much in a single serving they could become sick.
Dogs should only eat small amounts of broccoli because it contains compounds that can cause mild to severe stomach upset. Overfeeding broccoli can cause gastric irritation.
So, you might be wondering should you give your dog broccoli?
The answer is yes. There are many health benefits dogs can get, as long as they eat the appropriate amount for their size. You should not be giving lots of broccoli to a dog.
Is Broccoli Good For Dogs?
Broccoli is a good source of many important nutrients for dogs. It contains nutrients like fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium. These nutrients are good to give your dog for a number of reasons.
Fiber can lower cholesterol levels in dogs. It helps to control cholesterol by collecting lipids and excreting them. This is why too much fiber can cause diarrhea in dogs. High cholesterol is quite common in dogs, especially in types of Labs.
Potassium is required, among many things, for regulating the functioning of muscles. It is especially important for maintaining a normal heart. Low potassium levels have been associated with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats). Feeding potassium can help slow down the heart’s degeneration.
Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant that is important for joint health. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Dogs can naturally produce vitamin C in their liver, so it might not be as important for them to have a daily dose of it like humans would. But it is a good supplement for older dogs that cannot efficiently or effectively produce it on their own.
Vitamin K can improve bone density in dogs. It helps to produce thicker and stronger bones which is especially good for aging dogs who are susceptible to breaking their bones.
Vitamin B6 is involved in red blood cell production, protein synthesis and hormone management. Having enough B6 in a dog’s system will help it maintain optimal health.
Calcium is needed for growth and maintaining bone density and oral health. It is also an important mineral for the nervous system. Low levels of calcium can cause muscle weakness, bone deterioration and neurologic issues.
Magnesium is a macro-mineral that is needed in significant quantities in dogs. It supports over 300 biochemical reactions that are used for regulating blood glucose and the immune system.
Which Parts Are Safe To Eat?
Broccoli is a large edible plant that has two main parts: a green head and thick stalk. Broccoli florets are smaller pieces of the head that have been cut into pieces. Each floret has a head and a stem that can be fed raw or cooked.
|Stem||Only for big dog breeds|
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli Stems?
Broccoli stems are edible, but they can be a choking hazard, especially for small dogs. They can also obstruct and block the intestinal tract since its fiber is hard to digest. It is recommended to not feed small dogs the stems whole.
Cutting stems into small pieces will help prevent choking and blockages. It will also help to control the amount of broccoli you are feeding your dog. Start slowly with one piece to make sure that your dog does not have any adverse reactions
One benefit to feeding the stem is that it contains less isothiocyanate than the floret. So it is less likely to cause stomach upset.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Broccoli?
Raw broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in small bite-sized pieces. As broccoli is high in fiber, it is hard for dogs to digest large pieces. Smaller pieces are easier to eat and less likely to get stuck in their digestive tract.
By feeding raw broccoli you are ensuring that your dog is getting the most amount of nutrients it can get from this vegetable. In some cases cooked broccoli can lose some nutrients.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Broccoli?
Cooked broccoli is safe for dogs to eat as long as you do not season it or add cooking oils. There are many ways that you can cook broccoli for a dog: steaming, grilling, boiling, roasting and microwaving.
The best way to cook broccoli is to steam it. This way it will keep most of its nutrients and will be soft. Steamed broccoli poses less of a choking hazard than raw. This is especially important for dogs that eat without chewing!
Boiling broccoli can cause some of the nutrients to be lost in the water.
How Much Broccoli Can Dogs Eat?
The amount of broccoli that is considered safe for dogs to eat is less than 10% of their daily intake. Anything more than 25% is considered toxic and dangerous. This is because when eating large amounts of broccoli dogs might experience isothiocyanate poisoning, which can be fatal.
How much broccoli dogs can safely eat depends mostly on their size.
Bigger dogs are able to eat more broccoli than smaller dogs, so a portion that is not toxic for a large dog may be for a small one.
Other factors such as breed, age, activity levels, and environment can also contribute. This means that dogs of the same size can also react differently to the same amount of broccoli.
It is important that you slowly start feeding broccoli to your dog. If their stomach is not upset by a few pieces of broccoli, then you can increase the amount you feed to no more than 10% of their daily diet. Just make sure never to feed beyond that, and to keep all the pieces small.
The following feeding chart is a good rule of thumb for how much you can feed an adult dog.
|Dog Size||Safe Amount|
|Miniature (3 to 12 pounds)||1/8 cup|
|Small (12 to 20 pounds)||1/2 cup|
|Medium (20 to 55 pounds)||3/4 cup|
|Large (55 to 100 pounds)||1 cup|
|Giant (100+ pounds)||2 cups|
If you suspect that your dog has eaten too much broccoli, carefully monitor them. The signs to watch out for before you call the vet are those of an upset stomach, such as gas or diarrhea plus any changes in behavior like being less alert or laying down more.
|Dog Size||Unsafe Amount|
|Miniature (3 to 12 pounds)||1/4 cup|
|Small (12 to 20 pounds)||3/4 cup|
|Medium (20 to 55 pounds)||1 cup|
|Large (55 to 100 pounds)||2 cups|
|Giant (100+ pounds)||4 cups|
- Just like you do not eat unwashed vegetables from the grocery store, your dog should not eat unwashed vegetables too. Wash the broccoli before cutting and feeding it.
- Monitor your dog after feeding broccoli for at least 12 hours, especially if it is the first time. Watch if there are any changes in their stool or behavior. If you think your dog is uncomfortable or has an upset stomach, call your veterinarian immediately.
- Serve your dog the right amount of broccoli for their weight. Each dog is different and has different tolerances.
- Cut the broccoli into small pieces that are easy to chew. These can be cooked or uncooked, but the important things are that your dog should be able to swallow the broccoli and the pieces can safely pass through the digestive tract.
- Do not season or cook the broccoli with oil.
- If you see your dog appearing sick or changing its behavior after eating broccoli, do not wait to see if they will get better with time. Call your veterinarian as soon as you suspect that something is wrong.
- Do not give the entire broccoli to your dog. This could be a choking hazard, especially for small breeds. If you drop a floret to the floor, make sure to pick it up before your dog can gulp it down. Always cut the broccoli before feeding it to your dog.
- Do not give broccoli to puppies. Puppy foods are specifically made to properly support a puppy’s growth and dietary needs.
5 Ways To Cook Broccoli For Dogs
There are a few ways you can feed broccoli to dogs, though some are better than others. In this section we’ll give you five ways in which you can make this veggie a bit tastier and more interesting.
1. Steamed Broccoli
First cut your broccoli into small, dog-friendly pieces. Then place them in a steamer basket. In a pot add about an inch of water from the bottom and bring the water to a boil. Put the steamer basket into the pot and cover for five minutes. If you do not have a steamer basket, you can microwave the broccoli for 2-3 minutes.
2. Broccoli and Chicken
If dogs can be fooled into eating their pills with just some meat, then why can’t it be the same for broccoli? Just wrap the broccoli with the meat and let them eat this tasty “meaty treat.” If you cook chicken for your dog, remember to not season it. If you give them deli meat, consider getting turkey or ham slices that are low in fat and sodium.
3. Cheesy Broccoli Biscuits
Try making biscuits filled with shredded cheese and broccoli!
All you need to make the biscuits are ½ cup of butter, ½ cup of milk, and 2½ cups of whole wheat flour. Combine all of these ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Then just add to the batter 14 ounces of broccoli florets and 1 cup of shredded cheeses.
Bake the biscuit balls in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Then let them cool for a while before letting your dog eat these tasty biscuits.
4. Broccoli, Carrot, Chicken and Oats Rolls
For this recipe you will need 1 chicken breast cooked and chopped, 1 cup finely grated carrots, ½ cup chopped broccoli, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoon softened butter, 1 egg, and 2 cups oat flour. Mix all of these ingredients in a big bowl.
To make the rolls, divide the dough into four parts and place them on wax paper. Mold the balls into long rolls that are 1 ½ inches in diameter and wrap each individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store them in your refrigerator for at least 3 hours to chill.
After this time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Slice the rolls into ¼ inch pieces and bake them for 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate them again after baking to cool them.
5. Beef and Broccoli Jello
You only need four ingredients for this recipe: ¼ pound steak with excess fat trimmed, 2-3 small broccoli florets chopped, water, and 0.25 oz of gelatin powder (unsweetened and unflavored).
Steam the steak and broccoli in a saucepan with water for 15 minutes. After the steak is fully cooked, transfer everything into a blender to make a puree. Add the gelatin powder once the mix is smooth.
To make this treat into fun shapes, use a silicone mold and transfer the filled mold into the refrigerator. Allow it to cool for 1-2 hours or until the jello is completely set. After the treats are set, they are ready to eat.
Dogs can eat broccoli and it is a tasty treat for them. They can eat broccoli stems and florets, just make sure to not overfeed it and chop it into small pieces.
There are many health benefits of broccoli for dogs. It is packed with nutrients such as fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin C. These nutrients make broccoli a superfood.
The amount of broccoli a dog can eat will mostly depend on their size. As long as it does not make up more than 10% of their daily food allowance, it is safe for them to eat. It can become toxic for dogs in large quantities.
This vegetable is best served to dogs as an occasional treat. Try one of our five recipes above and let us know which one your dog likes.
Want to feed your dog more vegetables? Try reading can dogs eat carrots.