Science tells us that dogs are not obligate carnivores. They don’t rely on meat all the time to survive. This is the reason why many dog owners give a variety of plant-based foods to their dogs. Dogs can munch on veggies too but not all vegetables are safe for them. Is broccoli one of the safe choices for our pets?
Broccoli is one of the unpopular options out there for dogs. Strange enough, there are actually dogs that enjoy snacking on these “little trees.” If you are thinking of giving broccoli as a snack to your pet, you better read this first.
Can Dogs Have Broccoli?
Yes, broccoli is one of the safe veggies out there that we can share with our pets. It is a healthier choice compared to processed foods that may contain unsafe ingredients. Many vets believe broccoli is okay for dogs in moderation since it does not contain synthetic vitamins that are usually contained in ready to eat snacks.
If this is the first time you are sharing it with your fur baby, make sure to offer it sparingly. Broccoli can leave your pet bloated if he eats too many of it. Stomach bloating is something we should not take lightly because it could cause breathing problems when left untreated.
Bloating happens because broccoli contains raffinose, a sugar that contains glucose, galactose, and fructose. It induces gas because it stays undigested until the bacteria in the gut ferment it. It is recommended that you give your pet only the stems of the broccoli. The head contains a gastric irritant called isothiocyanate.
What Are the Risks of Feeding Broccoli to Dogs?
Aside from bloating, eating too much broccoli and other cruciferous veggies has been associated with hypothyroidism. If your dog has a goiter, you should avoid giving it at all costs. Otherwise, always feed your pet broccoli in moderation. Introduce it slowly especially if your pet has never tried cruciferous veggies before. By offering it in small amounts, you could prevent incidents of throwing up and your pet having loose stools.
If your pet just ate a lot of broccoli and looks sick afterward, consider giving his stomach a rest for several hours. You don’t have to worry that much because bowel irritation is the only major side effect of consuming broccoli. Don’t give him anything to eat and make sure he is well-hydrated while he is fasting. Call your vet if your pet is already vomiting and has diarrhea.
In case the pet did not throw up, you can safely administer an antacid drug to help settle his stomach. You can give him Zantac or Pepcid half an hour prior to offering any food. This is recommended for maximum absorption of the medication.
Aside from this, broccoli also has the tendency to be a choking hazard because of its crunchiness. Supervision is very important when giving broccoli to your pet. Only offer it in bite-sized pieces to avoid incidents of choking.
Is Broccoli Good For Dogs?
Broccoli is indeed a safe treat for dogs. But that does not automatically mean that it’s the best option for them. Broccoli may not be a good choice for dogs that have problems with chewing hard food. Broccoli is a bit crunchy and may be extremely hard to chew for a small or an old dog.
If your pet will not eat his broccoli, it is not just because he could not chew it enough. Some dogs will not eat something if they find a type of food completely boring or if they don’t like it. When your pet is not used to eating crucifers, he may not find broccoli interesting enough.
On the other hand, some dogs seem to enjoy veggies as much as if they were predisposed to eat them. If your pet is one of these dogs, you should be glad. Broccoli is a better option compared to processed foods being marketed to dogs.
What Are the Benefits of Broccoli to Canines?
- It can fight cancer and a wide range of diseases. Broccoli is loaded with antioxidants. Aside from that, it also has aggregates with sulfur that gives it the ability to fight certain types of cancer. In humans, several studies already linked broccoli to the prevention of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.
- It is good for your dog’s gut. Broccoli is packed with fiber, which promotes a healthier digestion. While it’s true that dogs don’t require a high-fiber diet to survive, they still need some of it in their diet.
- It is best for dental health. Broccoli is considered one of the foods that boost dental health. It contains impressive amounts of nutrients, particularly Vitamin A, magnesium, and phosphorus that are all needed for a healthier pearly white.
- It lowers cholesterol. In people who are trying to reduce their cholesterol levels, steamed broccoli is perhaps one of the best foods to eat. In dogs with the same issue, broccoli can also be a friendly option.
- It supports healthy aging. Broccoli has enzymes that help in repairing the DNA. Studies suggest that these enzymes can slow some of the chronic conditions that come with aging.
- It is a low-calorie treat. When you have a dog with special dietary needs, such as a low-calorie diet, broccoli can be a healthy choice. Half a cup of boiled broccoli only contains around 27 calories.
How to Serve Broccoli to Your Pet
Before serving broccoli to your dog, you have to first carefully wash it. Place it in a colander then wash under running water. You can rub it gently using your hands or a vegetable scrubber. After washing, pat it dry with a clean towel.
Broccoli, especially the organic one, is normally infested with black or tiny gray bugs. It is recommended that you separate them first individually before soaking them in water for roughly 30 minutes. You can also add a small amount of white vinegar and salt to get rid of the bugs.
There are thee common ways of preparing cruciferous vegetables for dogs. The first one is by steaming them. Prepare the broccoli first by cleaning it and then trimming it. Then, allow the veggie to cook for around 8 minutes in a pot with boiling water. You can already have fully tender broccoli that your furry little friend would enjoy in this amount of time.
Another way is sautéing your veggies. Just don’t use any type of seasoning when doing so. A little bit of coconut oil will be enough to give the broccoli an added flavor. When cooking broccoli, it is advisable that you do it quick so it will not develop an unpleasant taste and a strong smell.
The last one and perhaps the easiest way to introduce broccoli is by adding it into your pet’s usual meal. Chop it into small pieces to make it a topping for your pet’s food. It is normal for the broccoli to have a slightly pungent or bitter flavor because it is part of the vegetable’s natural defense system.
It is recommended that you consume your broccoli right away. If you happened to buy a lot, you can keep it in the fridge for not more than three days. But make sure that you already mist it and wrap it in a damp paper towel. It is not advisable to keep it in a sealed bag.
Broccoli Recipes for Canines
Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Meal
This dinner for dogs is a complete meal because there is a nice balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. For this recipe, you can use brown rice if you want to make it more nutritious. If Fido has a problem digesting rice, you can use lentil or quinoa as an alternative. Here’s how to do this simple yet nutritious recipe for doggies:
- In a large pot, bring 5 cups of cooked rice and 5 lbs. of diced chicken to a boil. Allow to cook until the chicken is tender.
- Add 3 cups of finely chopped broccoli.
- Let it simmer until the meat is done cooking.
- Turn off the heat. Allow to cool before adding 5 whole eggs and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Serve to your pet. If there is anything left, you can keep in the fridge for no more than five days.
Salmon and Broccoli Homemade Dog Food
Salmon, the main ingredient in this dish, is recommended for dogs because it is good for their skin and coat. The addition of carrots, squash, and broccoli makes it more nutritious for canines. Squash and carrots are both excellent sources of dietary fiber and beta carotene. Here’s how to do this very wholesome and nutrient-dense dinner for dogs:
- In a pan, cook a pound of salmon with the skin. In able to prevent the fish from sticking to the pan, it helps if you use a tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Shred the cooked salmon in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a large pot, steam a piece of chopped squash, two carrots, and a head of broccoli. Allow to cook until all of them are tender enough.
- In a separate pot, boil 3 whole sweet potatoes.
- Mash the sweet potato. Put everything in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir until all the ingredients are well-combined.
- Wait for it to cool completely before serving to your dog.
Grain-free Broccoli Dinner for Dogs
For this recipe, you are free to use other types of oil other than sunflower oil. This oil is added because it has a lot of health benefits to canines. It is good for the skin because it is rich in omega-6. You can also use walnut or corn oil if you want to. Ground beef is a kind of high-quality meat for dogs, but you can use other types of ground meat if your dog is allergic to beef.
- Boil 3 pounds of ground beef for roughly 30 minutes or until it is tender enough. Remove the excess liquid once done. Set aside.
- Chop the broccoli in small pieces. Transfer in a pot then bring to a boil until you can pierce it using a fork.
- In another pot, boil 1 and ¾ pounds of quinoa.
- Transfer the ground beef, broccoli, and quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Stir everything until all of them are well-combined.
- Add 7 teaspoons of sunflower oil. Serve to your pet once it is completely cool.
How to Choose Fresh Broccoli for Your Dog
- Look for dark green florets. Fresh broccoli should have green florets and not a yellowish color. A deep bluish hue is still a good sign.
- Check if the stem is firm. Otherwise, don’t buy it. A stem that is too soft indicates that the vegetable has already gone bad.
- Don’t buy it if you see signs of mold. When there is mold on any part, even in the stalk, disregard it. It is an indication that the broccoli has gone bad.
- It should not have soft slippery parts. If the texture is somewhat slimy, it means the broccoli is no longer fresh.
The Bottom Line
Dogs can have some broccoli every once in a while. You can give it as a reward. Or, if your pet is not used to eating veggies, you can sprinkle it on top of your buddy’s home cooked meal. But the usual warning for cruciferous applies: don’t give too much of this vegetable to your pet or else they would have an upset stomach. The most common effect of broccoli is flatulence. In the right amount, broccoli can be a healthy treat or filler in his usual healthy meals.