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The love for these cruciferous vegetables might tempt dog owners in the latter group to share with pups, but the question is, can dogs eat brussels sprouts? The answer? Yes, but there are some precautions attached to it. Brussels sprouts might definitely bring up a fight if served to some people, while others help themselves to healthy servings of them.
Brussels sprouts are a nutritious meal for humans and dogs alike, but feeding them to dogs has to be in moderation and incorrect servings. Here we shall be discussing tips to understand the pros and cons of feeding brussels sprouts to your furry buddy.
Why Can dogs eat brussels sprouts
This leafy green vegetable packs a lot of nutritional advantages for both humans and dogs. Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, Brussels sprouts are a diverse group of vegetables under the mustard family that also include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and collards. Brussels sprouts are filled with lots of vitamins and minerals which are essential in a dog’s diet to help boost its immunity. Vitamins like:
● Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps to protect cells from free radical damage when your dog’s body converts food to energy.
● Vitamin A: necessary for the promotion of sharp vision, nervous system well-being, and ensuring all organs in your pup’s body are fully functional in addition to improving your dog’s skin and coat. Be aware, however, that consuming too much Vitamin A is bad for your dog.
● Vitamin C and K: essential for a healthy dog’s immune system and bone strength respectively. The latter also aids in healthy blood clotting, while the former helps reduce cognitive aging.
● Vitamin B: Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins B1 and B6 which are responsible for maintaining proper blood circulation and cardiac health. Vitamin B1 or thiamine also helps your dog metabolize fats and proteins and activates ion channels in neural tissues. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine helps improve your dog’s mood, promote healthy brain and mental function and produce red blood cells while also maintaining a sodium-potassium balance in your pup’s body. Some dog breeds are prone to Cushing disease, so vitamin B and all the variants help to curb and prevent this disease.
And Vital Minerals like:
● Potassium: a macromineral that is necessary for a healthy dog’s enzyme formation, muscle and nerve well-being, and adequate fluid balance in your dog’s body. Potassium works at a cellular level and thus keeps a healthy balance of pressure with sodium and generates energy in turn for your dog to utilize.
● Manganese: This helps in the efficient digestion and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and amino acids. This nutrient helps to maintain healthy bones and cartilages in joints.
With this array of vitamins and minerals, brussels sprouts are an amazing and nutritious contribution to your dog’s health.
Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants which protect against cell damage caused by cancer, diseases, and free radicals. Free radicals are molecules found in potentially dangerous situations or substances like pollution, cigarette smoke, or even in sunlight. Antioxidants also reduce the effects of chronic inflammation, and they can also be found in other plants like apples, berries, and carrots.
The most common antioxidants are selenium, beta carotene, and lycopene, however, the antioxidants found in Brussels sprouts is known as KAEMPFEROL, which also adds to the health benefits of this vegetable. Kaempferol has been proven to prevent oxidative damage to animals and help lower inflammation of organs and tissues.
Insoluble Dietary Fiber:
Brussels sprouts contain insoluble dietary fiber which is essential for the health of the colon and promotes regularities in bowel movement. All dogs and humans alike can benefit from moderate amounts of dietary fiber. These insoluble fibers attract water to your dog’s stool, making it softer and easier to pass out with less strain on the bowel.
Sprouts are relatively low in calories! Most dogs need to eat between 25-30 calories per pound they have in body weight, but brussels sprouts, both raw or steamed or boiled account for very little of your dog’s total calory intake. This means that your dog cannot gain weight by consuming them.
Can Brussels Sprouts Help Your Dog With Weight Loss?
Since Brussels sprouts are low in calories, can they help your dog lose weight?
Adding a few brussels sprouts as a supplement to their main dish can help them feel full and satisfied without an increment in calorie intake.
Fun fact: Did you know that Brussels Sprouts contain 9% carbohydrates, 3% proteins, 2% fat, and 86% water? I bet you didn’t!
downsides of brussels sprouts
As nutritious and healthy as these leafy greens may sound, there are lots of reasons why you shouldn’t feed your dog too much of them. Humans who regularly consume brussels sprouts know of the aftereffects, lots of gas.
As stated earlier, these vegetables contain lots of fiber which is advantageous in moderation, because it helps to promote healthy and regular bowel movements, but they also contain high levels of a substance called ISOTHIOCYANATE which is known to improve the ability of the intestinal muscles to push food and waste products down the gastrointestinal tract. This ends up building up excess bacteria which leaves the body as gas. A moderate amount of gas is safe and healthy, but too much of it can result in stomach upset and diarrhea in your pup.
Moderate amounts of brussels sprouts cause gas and flatulence normally which may send you running to the toilet but it is not harmful to your dog as long as it is kept in moderation. This vegetable does not contain any toxins or poisons, so no immediate cause for alarm is needed if you notice your dog experiencing a temporary stomach upset. However, you consult your veterinary doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.
preparation and serving of brussels sprouts for dogs
When serving dogs, the best way to prepare brussels sprouts is by boiling, steaming, or microwaving them. Steaming them helps retain the largest amount of nutrients in them. It is advisable you wash, and cut off most of the stem of green and firm sprouts leaving the leaves intact.
Microwave in water for up to eight minutes or steam directly for about five minutes. Boiling them takes a bit longer, about 10 minutes and many of the nutrients aren’t preserved. Do not serve them raw to your dog, for they can be too hard for your dog to digest. Do not add spices either, just steam them as they are;
● Steaming: In a pot, add the brussels sprouts into 3-4 quarts of water and cook over high heat or until tender
● Boiling: In a pan, add the brussels sprouts and water and boil gently for 15-20minutes or until they are tender.
● Microwaving: In a microwave-safe dish, add the brussels sprouts and water and cover the dish. Microwave on high for 6-8minutes and check occasionally to see if they are tender enough to your liking.
Note: Overcooking brussels sprouts makes them lose most of their nutritional value.
If your dog is hypoallergenic or has any dietary issues, consult your vet first before feeding it brussels sprouts. Start by feeding your pup small portions depending on its size. If that works out fine, you can go ahead to feed it more, but no more than three servings from time to time.
The serving size depends mainly on your dog’s size. For any dog, the maximum amount should not be more than three brussels sprouts, while smaller pups don’t need more than ¼ to 1 brussels sprout at a time.
additional feeding information
Depending on your dog’s breed, it is best to feed your dog as little as possible if they’re just starting to eat brussels sprouts to see how they’ll react to it.
While preparing the brussels sprouts, if your dog ends up eating a nubby, hard stem, it might be a choking hazard and might even go as far as getting lodged in their throat or intestinal tract.
In addition to not adding any spices like onion, garlic, ginger, vinegar, pepper, salt, butter, or oil, or any sort of herbs to the sprouts while preparing them for your dog, it is best to keep them clean and natural. Onions and garlic are toxic to dogs, while too much salt can cause sodium toxicity in your pup. Butter is also toxic to dogs that are lactose-intolerant and too many oils can lead to obesity in dogs.
While Brussels sprouts can’t kill dogs, it is not advisable to feed them more than the required daily servings. Remember that every dog is different and unique with specific nutritional needs.
This small Cabbage-like vegetable provides a lot of health benefits for your pup, so it’s only normal if they start craving it too to satisfy their mineral and vitamins intake, but be mindful of how much you feed it to them.
So in conclusion, dogs can eat brussels sprouts.