Can I Give My Dog Broccoli?

Can I Give My Dog Broccoli?We all know that Broccoli is a healthy food that’s loaded up with many vitamins and nutrients. What’s less certain is if dogs can also benefit from eating it. Can broccoli actually be part of a well-balanced canine diet? Let’s see if giving this super food to dogs makes any sense.

Sometimes, out of love for our pets, we make diet assumptions which are true in theory only! It turns out that dogs don’t need vegetables, or broccoli, nearly as much we do. That isn’t to say that feeding your dog some broccoli, on occasion, is a bad thing.

While this healthy plant isn’t required eating, you can sometimes allow your best buddy to chow down on small amounts of broccoli. You just shouldn’t make it part of their regular meals. While broccoli itself isn’t poisonous, some dogs may develop gastrointestinal symptoms from eating this vegetable and we will explain why.

Can My Dog Eat Broccoli? Answer: On Occasion

Feeding some broccoli is fine when given to a dog occasionally and in moderation.

In fact, this cruciferous vegetable can be a great source of fiber and vitamin C for your pet. But a similar benefit can be obtained from a well-formulated dog food. Better yet, if you have a small dog, there’s a fantastic broccoli-flavored wet food with beef and brown rice. It’s a quality formulated snack made just for dogs and a more balanced way to introduce some broccoli to them. On the other hand, one surprising benefit of serving the pure vegetable is that it can naturally help to clean their teeth.

Important Broccoli Info

The head of broccoli contains an potentially toxic ingredient called Isothiocyanate which can be a gastric irritant. That’s the main reason why you should limit your dog’s consumption of this vegetable. The stems are probably the safest part for dogs since only the top flowery head contains that harmful chemical. There’s a chance that gastrointestinal problems may develop as a result of your dog eating too much broccoli.

Your four-legged friend’s size plays an important factor in just how much of this vegetable you should provide. In general, a single piece is probably fine. The smaller your dog is, the more cautious and conservative you should be. As a general rule, a broccoli portion should never exceed 5% of your dog’s daily food intake. Any more than that can possibly cause stomach and bowel problems. That’s why we recommend the broccoli-flavored wet food tray.

The Potential Benefits

Many people are tempted to give broccoli, or kale, to their dogs. As long as you can responsibly limit your dog’s intake, they too could possibly benefit from the high levels of cancer fighting antioxidants. Other important properties may include anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory agents. Broccoli, the famous flowering green super plant, is also said to offer protection against harmful bacteria and viruses as well as boost the immune system.

According to some research, broccoli can even help to repair DNA in the cells so perhaps it has beneficial anti-aging properties. No doubt it is healthy and probably on the same level as carrots.

Weighing Pros & Cons

All these wonderful properties found in broccoli would seem to help lessen the chances of your dog developing many common health problems. Of course, this is all theory. More dogs have probably gotten sick from eating too much broccoli than have been helped by it. You know how dogs like to overindulge! This is why we always attempt to bring out all the facts so that you can make an informed decision regarding your own dog.

Conclusion on Broccoli

Broccoli is a very healthy bioflavonoid which can potentially benefit your dog if you limit their servings of it. As with most human foods, this green plant definitely applies as well, moderation is very important. It shouldn’t really be part of your pup’s regular diet. Further, this vegetable’s stems are better suited for canines rather than the head portion due to the presence of Isothiocyanate. If your dog develops any stomach pains or diarrhea from eating broccoli, you should take note and stop feeding it to them at once.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom August, 2015

I feed my dogs broccoli almost daily and some days they get a lot of it. I never noticed any problem and they really like it. Aside from green beans and peas, it’s the only vegetable they like. Sometimes I put some in the freezer and give them broccoli pops on a hot day. I never considered that I was giving too much.

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Sally August, 2015

I have a 15 month old Aussie that’s had gastrointestinal problems since he’s been a puppy. It’s still difficult regulating his diet. I feed him a mixture of Blue Buffalo kibble and BB wet food, broccoli, carrots, liver, chicken, gizzards, rice, noodles and broth. Of course it’s in moderation, or at least that’s what I thought! For the past week he’s been having very loose stools again. It drives me crazy trying to figure out what’s wrong.

I just read about feeding excessive liver which is what I’ve been doing, plus feeding lots of broccoli during the last week. I had no idea too much could cause gastrointestinal problems which is what I’m trying to avoid. I hope I’ve found the solution to the problem this time. My other Aussie is also having the same issues with her bowel movements as the male, having more loose stools lately and occasional diarrhea.

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Kyle October, 2015

Have you spoken to your vet about Blue Buffalo? While it is a great dog food, it’s very high in protein and meant for hard working very active dogs. We were feeding it to our Chocolate Lab and noticed the same issues you speak of. We switched her to Nutro and her stomach has been much better since. Some dogs just can’t handle Blue Buffalo. Our vet told us it has caused a lot of issues with the dogs there.

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Sally October, 2015

Kyle, thank you for your comment. Awhile back my vet put my dog on Hill’s Prescription Diet. It was way too expensive for my budget to continue, plus my dog didn’t seem to like the food very much, so I looked for an alternative and gradually introduced him to Blue Buffalo. Seemed fine for awhile, but the diarrhea started up again.

I’m not certain if it was that food or something else, maybe treats, but now I am feeding Canidae chicken dry food and canned and Natural Balance canned. I stopped the broccoli and carrots. So both of my dogs’ diets consist of Canidae dry food, Natural Balance, white or brown rice, chicken without skin, beef liver, gizzards and broth.

For weeks there has been much improvement! The stools are much firmer. I’m quite satisfied with this diet and the dogs seem to love it! I’ve limited the liver and gizzards to two days a week and increased the amount of cooked rice that I mix in. Sometimes I substitute rice with noodles. Both dogs are very satisfied, active and healthy! My black one’s coat is so shiny. My vet told me that when that dulls, he may be lacking in nutrients. So I keep an eye out.

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Anton August, 2015

My 10 year old Cane Corso has been dealing with food allergies for over a year now. We’ve been following our veterinarian’s recommendations. We tried feeding kangaroo, rabbit and pork. He was doing okay with dry kangaroo plus we added sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower for about 3 months. Yogurt is also added to his diet. However, now his ear swells up after each meal. I’ve tried to separate the each item in his diet and gave him only sweet potato. Unfortunately, his ear got to tennis ball size!

Now, we are on a single food trial. For 3 days, he was on a garbanzo beans diet and he was doing great. Today we added broccoli to his diet and within couple of hours his ear was size of the tennis ball again. We don’t know what to do. We went to number of vets and they don’t have solution. He suffers so much. He’s on steroids, oral and ear drops, and he doesn’t feel good after taking them. So my question is can broccoli trigger the ear allergies?

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Darlene September, 2015

I’m not a vet. I’m a chiropractor that deals more with holistic health and not just adjusting the spine. I have seen people over my 20 years of practice that have been allergic to all sorts of things including broccoli. The more we eat a food the more likely we are to become allergic to it. Finding a new food, like the garbanzos, is the best plan of attack. Then, once you know he’s okay with that food, add in another doing so one at a time. Use foods he hasn’t eaten in abundance before. Find a holistic vet near you. I’ve know people with severely allergic pets that were greatly helped by their treatment.

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Arachnae Fae July, 2015

My vet suggested feeding my overweight Pit Bull some broccoli. I started by mixing 1 cup of broccoli with 2 tablespoons wet dog food about 5 times per week. After about 4 months it gave her loose stools. She has always had a sensitive stomach. About 3 years ago she also got a Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) stomach infection which was very bad, we almost lost her. I will try it with just the stems mixed with chopped spinach see if that helps.

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Pru July, 2015

My Aussie eats a lot of broccoli. It is his go to treat instead of milk bones. The switch was made because of weight issues and he has not shown any signs of problems since. He eats any vegetable I prepare for dinner and also loves fruit. No onions, mushrooms or garlic.

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