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. 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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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Clint May, 2016

Our Collie loves broccoli along with a lot of other vegetables and fruits. Last spring she got into our garden and ate the florets and stems off a dozen plants while leaving the leafy parts untouched. It was a lot of broccoli, but she showed no ill effects at all.

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Lexi April, 2016

I feed my dogs broccoli all the time and they love it. They eat almost every fruit and vegetable that I eat. You have never seen such silky shining coats. All are older and one dog even was diagnosed with deadly bladder cancer 6 months ago. I was told she had 3 weeks to live. So she went on a full vegetarian diet with non-GMO chicken.

Besides the vegetables, she is on cottage cheese, flax seed oil, Fenben, Reishi mushrooms and essiac tea. The cancerous tumors were reduced to 1/3 the size. So when people say dogs are carnivores, I will say you can save their lives by feeding them vegetables and fruits.

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Jordan April, 2016

I’m really glad your dog is doing so much better and I applaud you for making the effort to find a better diet for her. Dogs are carnivores, but not obligate carnivores, like cats are. I think that dogs can get at least some nutritional value out of fruits and vegetables.

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Lexi April, 2016

Thank you. So far so good, my little veggie girl is still doing well. She gets some non-GMO dog food mixed-in a few days a week as a treat. I do think the vegetable diet has saved her life so far.

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Lori January, 2016

We had Chinese food and there was some steamed broccoli. My dog got hold of it and now she has been vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. So now she has thick heavy saliva streaming from her mouth. She’s a 60 pound Pit and I can’t get her mouth open to try and give her some Pepcid. Any suggestions for this?

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Spoiled Rotten Rottie Mom December, 2015

My Rottie girl is crazy about broccoli, but she prefers the stem sections to the flower section. Our vet told us that as long as she isn’t eating pounds of it a day, she is perfectly fine. I have never seen a dog that loves broccoli as much as she does. Every time we cook it for dinner, she is sitting waiting and drooling, a lot.

She gets about a half of one stem cut into smallish bites. She also loves cauliflower, cabbage, but hates lettuce. She is just a weird foodie. But our vet did say that it was good for her so as long as it makes her happy to get green veggies, then I will give it to her (in moderation of course). I’m just happy my fuzz butt likes veggies.

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Evie December, 2015

I am dog sitting my son’s 6 month old Siberian Husky. We have discovered she loves vegetables. Finally something that may cause my son to eat healthy! I’m giving her the stalk of some broccoli I am making and she’s in heaven.

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Sadie December, 2015

I have a Terrier/Weenie mix and he hasn’t been acting right. We give him broccoli and fresh fruits and veggies normally as treats but my husband gave him a good bit of cooked broccoli the night before. Could he have an upset tummy from the broccoli and the new treats? Please let me know! I’m worried. I would be more worried if he were tender to the touch and if he weren’t playing. He is about 14 pounds (about 2.5 over weight) and the size of a Dachshund.

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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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Rob February, 2015

I give my dogs broccoli on occasion as I like eating it raw. I give them the stems from the florets. They certainly don’t get enough to give them gastrointestinal problems.

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Sherry April, 2015

How much broccoli is considered 5% of a dog’s diet? 5 florets or 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup?

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Denise May, 2015

It depends on the size and weight of your dog in order to arrive at the 5 percent figure.

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Chris February, 2015

If your dog has Hypothyroidism, avoid raw broccoli. Unless cooked, it may affect thyroid function due to iodine uptake issues.
(Source: Dr. Barbara Royal, page 91 of her book The Royal Treatment)

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Dee December, 2014

I’m panicking about broccoli as my dog had a lot last night. I didn’t realize it could be harmful. How soon would you notice the effects?

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James December, 2014

Hi Dee. It’s likely you would have noticed something wrong by now. Keep a close eye on them for another 24-hours or so but your dog is probably fine.

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Nikki November, 2014

My dogs are on a raw food diet. They have raw vegetables and minced turkey. What additional vitamins and minerals can I add to balance this out?

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Taz December, 2014

A steak! Dogs are carnivores not omnivores.

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WendLBurg January, 2015

Taz, you are actually wrong in this regard. Dogs and wolves are omnivores. Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. You may want to do some reading up.

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Al September, 2014

My dog ate broccoli and declared herself a vegetarian.

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Eve March, 2015

My 11 year old dog is a vegetarian, not by choice, but because of medical reasons. Her system cannot process meat or fats, not even chicken. We nearly lost her a couple of times before she was properly diagnosed. She’s been on a vegetarian diet for more than 6 years and she’s healthy, happy and oh so energetic!

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Chip April, 2014

One piece of broccoli will certainly not kill a dog. I had some leftover steamed broccoli from dinner last night and gave at least 10 pieces to my 15 pound Cairn Terrier and, though probably a bit gassy today, is perfectly fine. I even called the vet after reading this article and they said there is nothing to worry about. Every dog is different, so if you see drastic changes to your pooch after a bit of broccoli, call your vet or a pet emergency hotline.

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Richard March, 2015

I had to look this up about broccoli after my long coat Chihuahua gobbled up a piece that flew off my plate. The broccoli didn’t stand a chance.

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