Can dogs eat broccoli? Although dogs are omnivores, not all vegetables are safe for your canine pal.
Broccoli is safe for your dog to eat, albeit in limited quantities. There’s lots of everyday foods that aren’t quite so kind to your dog though, so be sure to discover what human foods dogs can eat in our guide.
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Some vegetables can easily be used as an alternative to commercially available dog treats, especially if you’ve got a stock of veg to use up, or you want your dog to join in with your own meal times.
Is broccoli good for dogs?
Like humans, dogs are omnivores. That means that they benefit from a mixed and varied diet which includes meat, fruit and vegetables.
Broccoli is one of the vegetables that you can feed to your dog and it will bring them plenty of benefits. This green vegetable is low in calories, full of fibre and contains other important nutrients such as calcium, potassium and Vitamins C and K. Pregnant dogs can also benefit from the folic acid which is present in broccoli.
Including broccoli in your dog’s diet is a good way to promote strong bones and help them to develop good bone density. However, thanks to a substance called isothiocyanate, too much broccoli can also be dangerous if consumed in vast quantities.
For that reason, reserving broccoli as an occasional treat is advised. When you do give it to your dog, make sure it represents no more than around 10% of their total food intake, to be on the safe side.
Although raw broccoli is not poisonous, it is harder and tougher for your dog to digest. For that reason, it’s best to cook the broccoli first to avoid any intestinal blockages. The stalk should be avoided altogether. Always chop broccoli up finely when serving, too.
When/why is broccoli bad for dogs?
Don’t panic if you think your dog might have eaten more broccoli than they should have. An upset tummy is likely to be the worst that can happen if they have eaten a little bit too much.
However, since vast quantities can be toxic, if you suspect your dog has eaten a very large amount, it’s always worth double checking with your vet. Always keep an eye on your dog after they’ve eaten broccoli - especially if it’s for the first time, keeping an eye out for any adverse reactions.
For that reason, although broccoli is a great addition to your dog’s diet in small quantities, you might also want to consider other vegetables for a good variety. Spinach is a fantastic alternative, while if you’re looking for something hard and chewy, raw carrots work well.
When feeding broccoli to your dog for the first time, it’s worth introducing a very small amount to check they don't have a reaction. If they are okay with it, you can introduce a little more.
When serving your dog broccoli, make sure to prepare it without seasoning, salt or oils. Simply boiling or steaming it is the best way to keep it simple and healthy.
Tips on feeding your dog broccoli
Just like humans, dogs like variety. If your pooch is getting fed up of the best dog treats you’ll typically find in the pet store, then broccoli - in moderation - can be a good alternative. You could try some of the recipes in our homemade dog treats article, but the tips below will work well for this green snack.
Suggestion 1: Finely chop some cooked broccoli and mix it in with your dog’s normal dog food for a good vitamin and nutrient boost.
Suggestion 2: For a special treat, try creating a “human” dinner for your pooch. Some boiled or roasted chicken and a few veggies, such as broccoli, will make them feel part of the family. Avoid salt, gravy and seasoning.
Suggestion 3: Try mixing some finely chopped broccoli with dog-friendly peanut butter, and freezing in an ice-cube tray to make some bite-sized treats.
Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat, and not only that, it can be a healthy and satisfying snack for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Make sure to feed it sparingly and prepare it well to avoid problems and it can be a fantastic treat packed with lots of vitamins and nutrients that your dog needs.
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Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.