With a ton of nutritional benefits, broccoli is a great vegetable option for humans — though whether or not it’s well-liked is another story — but what about for dogs? Let’s consider the best ways to feed your dog broccoli and when it can become dangerous.
Yes — not only can dogs have broccoli, but it can actually improve your dog’s health when given in moderation. In fact, researchers found that you can maximize nutrient density if you let the broccoli sit for 40 to 90 minutes after chopping.2 But make sure the broccoli doesn’t have any extra oils, cheeses, spices, or seasonings if you feed it to your dog because they could cause an upset stomach.
Broccoli has innate properties that can improve dogs’:
● Digestion: Broccoli is high in fiber, which helps regulate digestion and weight management.
● Eye health: High in vitamin A, lutein, and beta-carotene, broccoli is one of the best vegetables you can feed your dog for their eye health.
● Inflammation: Broccoli is high in vitamin C, lutein, and sulforaphane, which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation and combat diseases caused by free radicals.
● Bone density: Rich in vitamin K, broccoli can be especially valuable for aging dogs that are feeling the effects of decreasing bone density.
Broccoli is especially known for its potency of an antioxidant known as sulforaphane, a type of isothiocyanate. Scientists have confirmed the cancer-fighting properties of sulforaphane in human studies. The sulforaphane found in broccoli suppresses tumor growth and reduces cancer risk overall.2
Like many good things, broccoli should be fed to dogs in moderation. You should talk to your veterinarian before making changes in your dog’s daily diet. In order to maximize the benefits of broccoli without exposing your dog to the harmful effects, make sure you do the following:
Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. veggies in the cabbage family) are known for causing gas, but the real culprit is isothiocyanates, organic compounds found in herbs. Dog owners should know that broccoli florets, the dark green cluster of small flowers atop the broccoli stem, contain isothiocyanates. It’s this property that limits how much broccoli a dog can eat.
When broccoli florets make up 25% or more of your dog’s daily calories, broccoli can be toxic to dogs.4 A good rule of thumb is to limit the amount of broccoli to less than 10% of your dog’s daily diet. Check your dog’s food to make sure you’re accounting for any broccoli that may already be in their diet.
Broccoli can present choking hazards for dogs, especially small dogs, when not cut up into bite-sized pieces. Not sure what’s bite-sized for your dog? Use their kibble as a reference point and keep an eye on your dog when introducing new foods.
Steamed broccoli does tend to be easier for dogs to digest. If you know your dog is a fast eater who may view chewing as optional, consider cooking the broccoli first or else chopping any raw broccoli snacks even smaller.