We all love to share food with our animals, and while preparing a meal, it can be quite tempting to share a small piece of what you’ll be having for dinner with your dog. It’s important that we know which foods are safe for dogs to eat and which ones are not. Fortunately, broccoli is one of the healthy vegetables that you can share with your dog. Read on to learn more about the benefits of broccoli for dogs and how much is safe for them to consume.
Many people believe that dogs are carnivores but in actuality, they are facultative carnivores. This means that their diets should be comprised mostly of meat, but they can also eat and digest plant protein. The plant protein comes from fruits and vegetables, but it can’t make up their complete diet if they want to stay healthy. Dogs don’t require as many fruits and vegetables as humans do in order for them to thrive. However, there are still notable benefits to feeding plant proteins to your dog occasionally as treats or when it comes included in their commercial dog food. Broccoli is one of the safe vegetables that your dog can consume and receive benefits from. Let’s take a closer look at why broccoli could be a great addition to your dog’s diet when given in moderation.
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What Are the Health Benefits of Broccoli for My Dog?
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is full of healthy vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. Broccoli is also high in fiber and helps work to keep the digestive system moving very well. Dogs are able to safely eat all forms of broccoli. If you want to offer a piece of broccoli to your dog, just be sure to do it prior to adding any extra seasonings or ingredients like onions or oils that may upset his stomach. Also avoid giving your dog the stem part of broccoli as this can be a bit harder on their digestion.
There are many health benefits of broccoli that make it an excellent choice as an occasional treat for your dog. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits below:
- Fiber: Broccoli is known for having a lot of fiber and being great for your digestion. This also applies to dogs when given in moderation.
- Vitamin K: This is a vitamin that works to improve bone density and provides a whole host of other health benefits. If you have an active dog, it is important that he has strong bones in order to keep him active even longer. Just like in humans, bone density can decrease with age for dogs and reduce their mobility. Vitamin K can help keep your dog’s bones stronger even as they age. Broccoli has the highest amount of vitamin K out of all vegetables.
- Folic Acid: This helps to produce and maintain healthy cells throughout the body, which is especially important for pregnant dogs.
- Vitamin C: Boosts your dog’s immune system and provides anti-inflammatory properties which are great for maintaining long-term health. Although Vitamin C is naturally produced in a dog’s body, its ability to produce enough of it decreases with age. It is also a water-soluble vitamin which means that it is able to pass through your dog’s urine if it receives too much of it.
- Minerals: Broccoli contains many different minerals that are important for your dog’s body including magnesium, sodium, chromium, potassium, and several others that all work together to help strengthen your dog’s immune system as well as their nervous system.
While all of the above are great reasons why you might want to give your dog broccoli, there are a few precautions you want to consider before you do. Let’s take a look at some of them down below:
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Which Parts of Broccoli Are Safe for My Dog to Eat?
Broccoli is comprised of two main parts—the florets and the stalks. Both of these parts are safe to eat either cooked or raw in small pieces. However, the broccoli florets contain small molecules that are called Isothiocyanate. These molecules are present in all cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. The problem is that these molecules can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal system. It is for this reason that you want to make sure that you give your dog the right portion size.
If your dog has had too much of the Isothiocyanate from the broccoli florets, you will notice symptoms like nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If your dog eats a significant amount, the symptoms will be more severe and can lead to significant health problems or even death in some cases.
Broccoli stalks are also very fibrous and can pose as a choking hazard if you give your dog pieces that are too large. It is better to cut them up into smaller pieces or even better to serve them to your dog steamed or roasted to avoid the problem altogether.
Can My Dog Eat Cooked Broccoli?
As we touched on earlier, yes, your dog can eat cooked broccoli. It is probably the preferred method of feeding broccoli to your dog, as it poses less of a choking hazard. It also lessens the risk of intestinal blockages if you cut the cooked broccoli up into smaller pieces before serving it. You can also add the small, cooked pieces to your dog’s food bowl during its regular meal time to go along with its regular dog food if you want to give your dog’s food an extra boost of nutrients.
Just be sure that your dog’s portion is without any added fats like processed cheese, or any seasonings and additional ingredients. These things add extra calories and could cause your dog to have an upset stomach.
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Can My Dog Eat Frozen Broccoli?
Frozen broccoli is fine for your dog as well, just be sure to let it thaw some before giving it to him. This reduces any risk of choking. You also want to cut it up into smaller pieces as well if the pieces are not already small. Just like with the cooked broccoli, avoid adding any extras to the broccoli that you plan to feed your dog—no extra oils, cheese, or seasonings.
How Much Broccoli Can My Dog Eat?
Portion control is very important when it comes to your dog’s diet. It can be tempting to want to feed your dog pieces of food each time you cook, but as with anything, certain foods are safest for your dog when given in moderation—including broccoli.
Broccoli should be considered a treat just like any other fruit or vegetable you might give your dog. It should only compose 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Anything more than that and you risk increasing your dog’s chances of obesity or having an upset stomach. Also, due to the Isothiocyanate found in broccoli florets, if your dog were to consume broccoli near the 25% ratio, it would be considered toxic to your dog.
Keep in mind that all dogs are different and that what works for another, may not necessarily work for yours. The safest thing you can do is to start out with a small piece of broccoli and if you don’t notice any side effects in your dogs like the ones we mentioned earlier, then you can consider offering more.
Puppies have different nutritional needs than mature dogs do, so it can be easy to feed too much broccoli to your puppy. In the case of puppies, it is best to hold off on giving them any form or amount of broccoli until they are older and their bodies more mature. That way it is easier for them to digest it without such a high risk of side effects or discomfort.
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What Do I Do If My Dog Has Eaten Too Much Broccoli?
As we mentioned before, some of the signs to look out for to know if your dog has consumed too much broccoli include; nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. If you notice any of these signs or your dog appears ill after eating broccoli you should contact your vet immediately and seek help.
If you are unable to get to your vet but you have consulted them over the phone, you may be advised to induce vomiting in your dog so that it can get some of the access broccoli out of its system. Only induce vomiting if you have been advised to by a veterinarian as in some cases it can do more harm to your dog than good.
If your dog consumed the broccoli within 2 hours, you can induce vomiting by feeding your dog 1 teaspoon of a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution per 5 pounds of its body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons only for dogs that weigh more than 45 pounds. Your veterinarian will know the best dosage for your specific dog’s needs, so always be sure to get their opinion before inducing vomiting.
You can administer the dosage with a feeding syringe and squirt the solution into your dog’s mouth by aiming for the back of your dog’s tongue or mouth. Be careful not to let your dog inhale the mixture as this can lead to aspiration. You also want to make sure that you do not use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than 3 percent as high concentrations are toxic and can cause serious damage.
Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable that can make a great treat for your dog when given in moderation. Always be sure to start with small quantities until you see how your specific dog handles it. It can be a worthwhile addition to your dog’s occasional treat list while being a healthier choice than some commercial treats.
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