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Say your prayers and eat your vegetables. Now, where have I heard that before? I know a lot of people, especially kids detest vegetables, but they’re very good for you, and the same goes for your dogs. Your dog’s digestive system is quite different from yours though so today we’re going to have to answer the very important question, can dogs eat broccoli?
Well, the answer is yes, dogs can eat broccoli and it’s safe for them whether cooked or raw as long as no seasonings or oils are used while cooking.
Broccoli is especially notorious for being one of the most disliked vegetables so I can’t guarantee that your dogs will love it anymore than the average person and though a lot of us dislike them they have a lot of vitamins and minerals that are good for you and your dogs and I’m sure you’d love for your dogs to keep being healthy.
Benefits of Broccoli for Dogs
Dogs need a much lower amount of vegetables to stay healthy than humans. They’re so lucky. But a helping of vegetables from time to time is good for them. Broccoli is low in fat and high in fiber.
It has a lot of Vitamin K which helps to improve bone density which in turn leads to stronger bones. This can really help older dogs who need extra bone strength. It’s not just for old dogs too, bone strength is a plus for dogs of all ages.
They are also very rich in Vitamin C which has a host of benefits. They act as antioxidants in their bodies which protect the cells from being altered or destroyed by oxidation and defend against harmful free radicals (atoms that have an unpaired electron). It also works with other vitamins and minerals to inhibit tissue and collagen degeneration.
It contains potassium which promotes a healthy heart and healthy kidneys in humans and dogs. It also helps to regulate fluid levels, promote healthy bone density, and aid muscle development.
High cholesterol levels in your dog’s system can lead to hyperlipidemia and the symptoms can range from white lipid deposits in their corneas to severe abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea. If this is not handled properly it can lead to worse, life-threatening problems like pancreatitis. You’ll be happy to know that broccoli helps to reduce cholesterol levels. It has high amounts of soluble fiber and these help to lower cholesterol levels.
Another major health benefit of broccoli is that the omega-3 fatty acids in them help with the regulation of inflammation and this makes it great for battling arthritis. They also contain a compound called sulforaphane which can block enzymes that cause joint destruction and slow down the progression of arthritis. However, these should not be used in place of proper medical care. Always seek advice from your veterinarian.
It also contains vitamin A which helps in the proper functioning and overall quality of the skin, nerves, and muscles.
It contains Vitamin B1 which is highly needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates and the high energy organs including the brain require it to function properly and it contains pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), which also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
It contains Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) which helps in the metabolism of amino acids and carbohydrates too and it also contains Vitamin B3 (Niacin) which has a role to play in the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. Niacin also helps in maintaining good digestion.
It is also very rich in Vitamin B6 which is an important coenzyme (a substance that enhances the function of an enzyme) for proper brain and body functions. It also helps in amino acid metabolism, helps to regulate hormones, supports neurotransmitters, and helps to improve bladder health.
As healthy as broccoli is though, there are some things you need to consider.
Can Broccoli Be Bad for Your Dog?
Broccoli is generally good for your dog as long as the total amount is less than 10% of their daily calorie intake. This is known as the 90/10 rule and extends to anything that isn’t meant primarily for dogs.
Broccoli also contains isothiocyanates in its florets which, in some dogs can cause severe gastric irritation. If this makes up more than 25% of your dogs’ daily diet it can become toxic and may lead to health problems. Whenever feeding your dogs human food you should always do it in moderation.
Some dogs might react differently from others so you should monitor their behavior over a 24 hour period after giving them broccoli and start with very little amounts and make sure they have no negative reactions before giving them more. If you notice symptoms like abdominal discomfort or diarrhea or any other form of gastrointestinal discomfort then you should seek advice from a veterinarian.
They can also be choking hazards. Most dogs won’t be patient enough to chew pieces of broccoli properly and the florets have broad heads which can get stuck while they’re trying to swallow them. This is especially dangerous in smaller dogs or puppies. The broccoli should be cut into small chunks and you should keep an eye on your dog as they eat. Cutting it into smaller bits also makes monitoring the amount of broccoli they’re consuming easier.
You should also make sure your dogs can’t get into your trash cans to look for food because they can come across broccoli that you’ve thrown away and there’s the chance that they’ll end up eating all sorts of spoilt food and things they’re not supposed to eat. If you ever notice that your dog is choking, check inside their mouth and see if you can find any food or any other foreign object in their mouth or throat. If you can see anything, you can try to remove it with your hand but if you can’t see anything or you can’t remove the object, you can try performing the Heimlich.
To do this, for smaller dogs or puppies, lay them on their back on your lap and with your palm, apply pressure just below the rib cage and push firmly, inwards, and upwards 5 times. After this, roll your dog over and check if the food is still lodged in their throat.
For larger dogs, if they’re standing, put both your arms around them and join your hands at their abdomen, as you would do for a human. Make fists with both hands and then push upwards and forwards firmly five times. After this place them on their side and check if the food is still lodged in their throat.
If they’re lying down, place one hand on their back and with your other hand placed on the abdomen just below the rib cage, squeeze in an upward and forward motion toward the spine 5 times. After this also place them on their site and check to see if you can remove the food particles.
When you perform this maneuver the pieces of food won’t just fly out of their mouths and go across the room. It will get dislodged so you can remove it. And be sure to check properly and remove all pieces of food so they don’t end up trying to swallow them again.
Even after you have removed the object, you should go and see your veterinarian immediately so they can check to make sure your dog is ok because their throat may have been damaged.
Can Puppies Eat Broccoli?
Puppies have more specific nutritional needs than their mature counterparts. Their diets are specifically tailored to meet the needs of their bodies as they grow so it’s best to not deviate too much from it. Also, the fiber content in the stem may be too high for them making it hard to digest and there’s the major risk of blockages so it’s best to keep them away from broccoli until they’re older.
How Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?
First, they should be washed thoroughly to remove all forms of bacteria or things like pesticides. Dog’s have more resilience to bacteria than humans but the traces of pesticides or other chemicals could be very harmful to them.
The stem can be a choking hazard or cause blockages for large dogs and not just small ones so they should be removed.
Remember to monitor the amounts that your dog will eat and monitor them after they’ve eaten to make sure they don’t have any negative reactions.
Cooked broccoli is less likely to cause choking but it should also be cut into small chunks and it should be prepared without any added ingredients like oils or seasoning.
Broccoli has a host of health benefits for your dog but makes sure you take all the precautions listed above. I’m sure you want your dog to stay healthy because you’re definitely not trying to feed them with broccoli because it tastes good, so be sure to do it properly. Remember, if you ever run into any issues, contact your veterinarian immediately.