There is a belief that dogs should not be fed cauliflower because it may increase their chances of having hypothyroidism. What if your dog just gobbled down some? Or what if he actually likes it and begs you to have some while you’re eating it? Read this first if you’re quite confused about giving cauliflower to your pet.
Cauliflower Increases Chances of Hypothyroidism: Truth or Myth?
Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland has an abnormally low activity. The thyroid gland plays an important role in canines because it helps maintain the normal activity levels of many different organs.
In dogs, this condition often results in alopecia or hair loss. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs include inactivity, lethargy, mental dullness, and unexplained weight gain.
One of the causes of hypothyroidism is a deficiency in iodine. This is where cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts have an effect.
These types of vegetables can limit the thyroid’s intake of iodine because of their goitrogenic content. The said substances can affect the thyroid’s uptake of iodine. The cyanogenic glucosides found in cauliflower blocks iodine absorption when it’s digested.
If there is not enough iodine in the body, the thyroid cannot produce the hormones Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine. When your dog’s thyroid gland can’t make enough of these hormones, his overall health suffers. This is because the thyroxine is very important for controlling metabolism. It has an impact on his metabolism, as well as his physical appearance.
It’s true that crucifers can increase the risk of hypothyroidism but that can only happen if you or your dog ate lots of cauliflower or any vegetable from the Brassicaceae family. A few florets of cauliflower only have a very low amount of goitrogenic chemicals, which is not enough to put your pup at risk.
Take note that hypothyroidism is not only caused by iodine deficiency. There are many other possible causes of it, including congenital diseases and cancer. In some cases, it occurs as an after-effect of a medical treatment.
Can Dogs Have Cauliflower?
Yes, your pet can enjoy a serving of cauliflower from time to time. Around 2-3 florets are enough for doggies. Again, it will take very large amounts of cauliflower for it to have an effect on their thyroid.
The best way to serve cauliflower to your dog is by keeping it plain and in small amounts. Avoid cooking it with garlic and onion. Don’t add salt or any type of seasoning. For dogs, it’s best to keep anything simple. There is no need to add butter or any other flavorings because these can only upset your pet’s stomach especially if he has a sensitive tummy. Remove the stem and leaves before cooking before these parts are hard to digest.
Make sure to limit your dog’s cauliflower consumption not just because of its effect on the iodine absorption but also because too much of it can make him gassy or have an upset stomach. Bloating and gas are the common after-effects of eating cruciferous vegetables.
How to Prepare Cauliflower for Dogs
Chop the head of the cauliflower into florets by quartering the head through the stem end. Place the florets in a colander and rinse them to get rid of the residual dirt.
Cooking cauliflower for your pet is easy because it only takes a few minutes and you don’t need to add anything. You have to be careful not to overcook your cauliflower because it may end too bitter if you do. Here are a few ways of cooking this vegetable for your pet:
- Steamed – fill a large saucepan with enough water. Put the steamer basket in the saucepan. Place the head of the cauliflower in an upright position once the water is boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until it’s tender.
- Boiled – place the cauliflower in boiling water. If you’re just cooking florets, five minutes will be enough to boil them. For a whole cauliflower, you will need to wait around 10 minutes for it to be done.
- Roasted – put the vegetable in a large bowl, keeping it uncovered while it roasts. Cook for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 375ºF, flipping it occasionally while it cooks.
- Grilled- marinate it in olive oil for half an hour. After 30 minutes of marinating, grill the cauliflower for 5 minutes or until it is a bit crispy.
Steamed or boiled cauliflower can also be mixed with other veggies such as cabbage, kale, and spinach. You can add it to green beans for a healthier twist. It’s also good to feed these veggies along with brown or white rice.
Can dogs eat raw cauliflower? Yes, they can. However, it’s not advisable to give pets raw veggies because they are quite hard to digest. Other than steaming, roasting, and boiling it, you can also add cauliflower to your pet’s treats. We listed two of the best dog-friendly cauliflower recipes below.
Benefits of Cauliflower to Dogs
It is a decent source of potassium. Half a cup of cauliflower comes with 150 mg potassium, a mineral necessary for many body functions. One of its many functions is regulating the fluids in and out of the body. The amount is just right for dogs with kidney disease that need to have a low-potassium diet.
It is an excellent source of B-vitamins. Cauliflower is a decent source of many B-vitamins, such as Vitamins B1, B2, and B3. Apart from its B-vitamins, cauliflower is an excellent source of choline which is essential for brain development.
It’s a low-calorie addition to your pet’s diet. A 100-gram serving of cauliflower only has 25 calories. If your dog is overweight, you can help him lose weight without having to reduce his portions of food by giving him veggies. A cauliflower is just one of the vegetables you can safely offer to Fido. Besides being low-calorie, a cauliflower floret does not contain any fat.
It contains a very good amount of calcium. A head of small cauliflower contains around 58.3 mg calcium. An adult dog in a perfectly healthy condition needs to consume around 50 mg of calcium for every kilogram of body weight.
It has phytonutrients that can protect your pet against cancer. Apart from being rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, cauliflower can also prevent the formation of cancer cells in the body.
Homemade Dog Treat Recipes with Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse but there’s more to it than its health benefits. Your pet will surely like this cruciferous veggie because it has a mild taste with a bit nutty flavor. Here are two ways you can incorporate cauliflower in your dog’s meal:
Cheesy Cauliflower Muffin Bites
The richness of the cheeses and eggs make a wonderful pairing with the mild astringent taste of cauliflower. We suggest you use cheddar or cottage cheese since these types of cheeses have a low lactose content. Learn how to make this dish for your dog:
- Chop a head of cauliflower in small pieces.
- Transfer the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl along with ¼ cup of water.
- Cover and put in the microwave for around 5 minutes.
- Drain the water. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and blend until there are no longer large chunks left.
- Put the processed cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.
- Add ½ cup of cottage cheese. Mix it well.
- Crack in 2 large eggs. This is optional but if your pet can handle dairy very well, you can add around ¼ cup of cheddar cheese.
- Pour the mixture in a lightly greased muffin pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400ºF for 25 minutes.
- Serve it to your dog completely cooled.
Turkey, Rice, and Vegetable Dog Food
This meal is a complete dish your dog will love. It already comes with meat and vegetables and the added rice will keep him satisfied. You can use either brown or white rice for this one. If you can’t wait to offer this to your pet, learn how to do it by following these steps:
- In a large pot with 6 cups of water, put 1 lb. of ground turkey, 2 cups of brown rice, and a teaspoon of dried rosemary.
- Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed, bringing to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add half a package of frozen mixed vegetables that consist of broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.
- Simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow cooling before serving it to your dog.
How to Buy Fresh Cauliflower for Your Pet
- As with any veggie with a floret, your cauliflower’s floret should be tightly closed and compact. If it is already sprouting, that means the veggie is a little older.
- Select the purple over the white ones because they are less bitter. You can’t easily find them in local supermarkets but they can be bought in whole food markets offering unusual fruits and veggies. If you are buying purple ones or other colors, they should all have the same color.
- Avoid cauliflowers with blemishes. The fresh ones should not have brown and wet spots.
Go ahead and share some cauliflower with your buddy! Just remember two things when offering cauliflower (or any veggie) to your pet: it should be cooked and unseasoned. Although most dogs can actually gobble down raw cauliflower without a problem, some dogs can have difficulty digesting it.
In the right quantity, cauliflower can be a wholesome treat for dogs. Again, don’t give it in large amounts to avoid bloating and gassiness and, most importantly, your dog’s chances of having hypothyroidism.
Cauliflower is just mostly water, it contains a lot of nutrients, and it only has a tiny amount of sugar so you don’t have to worry about giving it once in a while.