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Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? A Closer Look

Do you feed your dogs broccoli? Or maybe now you’re asking yourself, “Can dogs eat broccoli?” Most dog owners put vegetables, especially the greens at the bottom of their list of food to feed Fido. Dogs love meat more and can synthesize minerals like Iron without vegetables. But sometimes, dogs need supplementation especially when they are sick or stressed. They can greatly benefit from the nutrients present in vegetables like squash and carrots.broccoli

Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients and is low in calories and fats so it’s a favorite among those who want to stay fit. For this reason, it is a great addition to your dog’s diet. But first, a good look at Broccoli.

Broccoli is a cool-weather cruciferous vegetable that is a member of the cabbage family. Broccoli resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.

This crop has a large flower head that is usually green in color. Broccolis are arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves.

The deeper the green color of the broccoli, the more carotenoids they contain according to a study. When left to mature in the stalks though, the florets or the broccoli heads will bloom and turn to yellow.

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Can dogs eat broccoli?

Now the million dollar question: can dogs eat broccoli? The answer is absolutely yes, BUT only if given in minimal amount. Depending on your dog’s size, you need to adjust their broccoli consumption.

Small dogs like Shih Tzu can eat a small portion of the broccoli head while big dogs like German Shepherd can consume a bigger size. It is also best to consider their age, weight and overall health condition.

The general rule is that broccoli should not be more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

Are broccoli safe for dogs?

dogs_broccoli

Broccoli are safe in moderate amount because the head of broccoli contains Isothiocyanate---a naturally occurring sulfur-based plant compounds that are potentially toxic and can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs.

According to American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein, "Broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10 per cent of their daily intake. Over 25 per cent is considered toxic.” Give your dogs broccoli as an occasional treat to avoid over-feeding them with it.

To be on the safe side, don’t feed your dog, especially the small ones, with broccoli stalks although it is edible. This is to avoid choking incidents and to ensure a better digestion.

Do not feed your puppies with broccoli as their digestive system is not well developed yet.

Nutritional content of broccoli

Broccoli is packed with nutrients. The mixture of vitamins, minerals, and vitamins found in broccolis make it a good detoxifier and antioxidant.

Here are some important vitamins and minerals found in broccolis that might convince you to start including it in your dog’s treats:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Fiber
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus

The presence of these nutrients in broccoli helps in giving dogs:

  • Stronger immune system
  • Healthier skin and bones
  • Heart disease prevention
  • Healthier digestion
  • (Possible) Cancer prevention

A closer look to what each of these nutrients can do for your dogs:

Vitamin C

Like other vegetables, broccoli is a great source of Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C. It is an important antioxidant that fights toxins and helps in the growth and development of skin, teeth, bones, and supports optical health.

Vitamin A

As mentioned earlier, broccolis contain carotenoid, a pigment present in plants like carrots that’s responsible for their coloration, and is also converted by the body into Vitamin A. This vitamin helps prevent eyesight degeneration. It also helps promoted healthier skin and also plays a part in the bone development.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is another vitamin that helps build strong bones and prevents heart diseases.

Folate

Folate deficiency is commonly seen in dogs with pancreatic exocrine insufficiency and chronic renal disease. It helps prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy and fetal development.

Fiber

Presence of fiber in the body means better and healthier digestion. They are like sweepers that cleanse the body from toxins that causes many diseases and complications.

Minerals

Selenium, copper, zinc, chromium, manganese and phosphorus are some of the minerals found in broccoli. Each has a unique and complementing action in the body. Together with the vitamins found in broccoli, they increase the body’s immunity, help build stronger bones, fight against allergies, anemia and infections. It can also potentially help prevent heart disease.

They also help promote healthier skin, eyes, teeth, and blood. Some studies have found that they naturally help fight certain types of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and cancer affecting the internal organs like liver, intestine, colon, and kidney.

Broccolis are low in calories and fats, so your dog can enjoy all these health benefits without gaining an extra pound. This is of another importance because obesity is the number health problem of dogs in America.

How to serve broccoli to dogs

Cook broccolis before feeding your dog. Unseasoned and steamed broccoli is your best option. This can keep the crunchiness of the vegetable which your dog will enjoy munching on, and will make it easier to digest.

Do not add spices, oil, or butter. Be sure to cut your vegetables into small, bite-sized parts to avoid blockage in the oesophagus. Again, excessive feeding of broccoli can be harmful to your pet so give it to them only occasionally.

Crockpot Chicken with broccoli recipe

Here’s an easy Crockpot Chicken with broccoli recipe that your pooch will surely love:

Ingredients:
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (optional)
  • 4 cups of water

Throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker and set it at low temperature for 6-8 hours. It is worth the long wait because your dogs will get all the fantastic nutrients broccoli contains. (Source: Pet Helpful)

For dog owners, it is only but normal to be cautious and picky about what to give our pets. We want what’s best for them and we don’t want to also overdo it. Broccoli may be good for humans but too much of it could do more harm than good to man’s best friend.

Always do your due research, observe your pet closely for any signs of discomfort and untoward reaction especially with the food you give them. You may find the following symptoms if your dog had too much broccoli:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Whimpering
  • Generally, unusual behavior where the dog is trying to express his belly ache
  • Off his food
  • The white of the eyes turns yellow
  • Pale gums
  • Sudden hyperactivity
  • Disorientation
  • Collapsing, seizures, coma

Consult your vet if you have doubts about including broccoli in your dog’s diet. Can dogs eat broccoli? Yes, they can. But the most important question to ask is how much is safe and how little is needed. Now that you know this information, will you give broccoli to your dogs?

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