Dog Care

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Follow This One Rule

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Follow This One Rule

Written By Meredith Kavanagh

Jan 26, 2017

Yes, dogs can eat broccoli. Just don’t get carried away with sharing this veggie with your eager pup. Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals that are great for doggos, but broccoli florets (the “treetop”) contain an ingredient called isothiocyanates, which can cause gastric irritation in dogs.

Have no fear, broccoli lovers! If Bernie the Bernese finds that dropped bite of broccoli before you do, he’ll be just fine. The amount of isothiocyanates that a dog can handle is directly correlated to their size. But if you have a small dog breed, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the bowl of broccoli sitting in your 2-year-old’s lap. One bite won’t hurt, but a whole bunch can.

Remember that dogs don’t need tons of fruits and veggies for a balanced diet, so there’s no reason to feel bad when you only give them a slice of pineapple or one small broccoli floret. Also, come on … it’s just broccoli.

dogs eat broccoli
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Is Broccoli Good For Dogs?

When eaten in small doses and prepared correctly, broccoli is good for dogs! But as any vet will tell you, you need to take the portion and frequency rules seriously. (Unlike humans, who only eat eat ice cream in moderation … and that turns into a giant sundae every Monday through Sunday night.)

How Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?

First things first: do not feed your dog broccoli stems. Some sources say that the stems are A-OK for pups since the isothiocyanate is located in the head (treetop) of broccoli, but the stem is difficult to break down and digest, which could lead to obstruction.

If your dog routinely breaks down rawhides in a manner of minutes, then they might be able handle a broccoli stem. But when it comes to dog health, we’d always rather be safe than sorry!

You can feed your dog raw or cooked broccoli, but make sure it’s as natural as possible. That means the broccoli shouldn’t be salted, seasoned, or cooked in oil or butter — and definitely not the frozen kind with built-in Cheez Whiz on top.

How Much Broccoli Can Dogs Have?

There is no exact amount. Dogs can eat broccoli in doses that amount to 5-10% (or less) of their daily diet. Any more than 10% and your dog is at risk for severe gastrointestinal irritation from higher levels of isothiocyanate. 

Of course, 10% of a large dog’s diet is a much different amount than 10% of a small dog’s diet. Be sure to take their size, weight, and diet into account before calculating how much broccoli they can eat.

Just like  humans have food allergies or sensitivities, your pooch may be more sensitive to broccoli than others, so start by feeding them a small dose and monitor them for a few days. Look out for nausea, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea, which all could mean that broccoli + your pup = no good. Remember, just because your neighbor’s Golden Retriever can eat giant stalks all day doesn’t mean that yours can.

can dogs eat broccoli

Why Is Broccoli Good For Dogs?

This crisp and crunchy veggie has a boat-load of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that improve your pupper’s health. Broccoli is low in calories and fat content, but it’s packed with vitamins C, K, E, B1, B2, and A. It’s a  much smarter scrap to share with Fido than your potatoes or bread roll.

Here’s a few of the other health benefits your pooch can reap from the nutrients in broccoli.

  • Folate helps produce and maintain healthy cells.
  • Fiber helps promote healthy digestion and keeps your dog regular.
  • Antioxidants help ward off chronic diseases (like heart disease) and can even help slow the aging process.
  • Bioflavonoids can help fight allergies, inflammation, and cancer.
  • Minerals (magnesium, sodium, iron, chromium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese) help strengthen a dog’s immune system and neural system, and they promote healthy growth.

Your pooch will thank you for sharing the broccoli when they notice they have cleaner teeth and gums, silky smooth skin and fur, and more energy than ever before!

Does your pup enjoy this green superfood? Let us know in the comments!