Crunchy, Canine Snacks: Broccoli
Your dog is your best friend, and you want to make sure they get the best of the best in terms of the food they eat.
You know vegetables are good for you, and if broccoli is one of your faves, you might wonder if your BFF can partake. After all, dogs and humans go way back, so you only want the best for your little (or big) one.
Broccoli is chock-full of both Vitamin C and Vitamin K, as well as potassium and fiber, so can dogs eat broccoli? We cover this topic in more detail in our recent Can Dogs Eat Broccoli article.
In this post, we’ll discuss this question, as well as talk about which vegetables dogs can also eat.
Should You Give Dogs Broccoli?
But what about broccoli?
The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. The answer amongst most canine health professionals is yes, but with limits.
What Is It About Broccoli That Makes It a “Limited” Food?
All leafy greens, including broccoli, contain something called isothiocyanate. In large quantities, this can become toxic to a dog, and it can harm their digestion.
For people, this ingredient may help protect them from things like tumors and cancer. But for dogs, it’s a bit of a different story.
If more than 10% of a dog’s daily intake is broccoli or any other leafy green, it can make them sick. Eating more than 25% of their daily intake means that it can become poisonous.
Therefore, if you’re giving your dog broccoli, make sure it is a “sometimes” treat, and not something you give your dog in large amounts.
How Sick Does a Dog Become If They Eat Too Much Broccoli?
How much broccoli is too much, isn’t something that has been well-researched. However, we do know that if a dog eats more than 10% of broccoli in their diets, it can contribute to a lot of issues, including gastrointestinal problems. Depending on the dog’s tolerance and the amount of broccoli consumed, the GI issues can range from a mild upset tummy to severe vomiting and diarrhea.
As such, it is a good idea to limit your dog’s broccoli intake, and not to give it to them every day. Your dog’s everyday food should not, for example, have broccoli in it. If it does, the broccoli should only be a tiny bit, so as not to cause GI issues.
What is Healthy About Broccoli?
Knowing that broccoli can be toxic to dogs in large quantities, it can be good for your dog in some bits.
Broccoli itself contains a few things that are very healthy for dogs. This includes Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin K and fiber. Let’s take a closer look at how those things help benefit dogs.
As with humans, Vitamin C is a great antioxidant and works as a way to help reduce free radicals in the body. This can potentially help reduce the chance of having cancer, or other deadly diseases in the future.
Additionally, Vitamin C helps reduce inflammation, which is great for aging dogs. As dogs get older, many of them suffer from arthritis and general inflammation, just as their human counterparts do. As such, having a daily dose of Vitamin C can help reduce this without the need for stronger medication.
As dogs age, they’re also prone to declining cognitive ability, and may even suffer from dementia. As such, Vitamin C can help combat that and keep their minds sharper the older they get.
Dogs are able to produce Vitamin C in their livers; however, supplementation can be helpful for them, as it can help improve the benefits.
Broccoli is chock-full of Vitamin K, which is excellent for dogs.
Vitamin K helps your dog’s blood continue to clot, which is very important. Without the ability to do so, your dog would bleed out if they cut themselves on something very minor, so ensuring your dog can continue to do this is key.
Vitamin K is fat-soluble, meaning that the dog will absorb any extra Vitamin K they get. They can then use it later when needed, unlike water-soluble vitamins, which they will eliminate through their urine.
Just like humans, you guessed it, your dog must have enough potassium in their daily diet.
Potassium is vital for a dog, because it helps may key bodily functions keep going. For example, it helps control a dog’s nerve impulses, which are vital for life.
The electrolyte is also important for heart function, without which, your dog could not survive.
It also helps your dog’s brain function, which is obviously a crucial component of your dog’s life. Without brain function, your dog would not be able to continue to live.
Lastly, it helps keep their muscles supple and able to perform their tasks. Without which, muscles would be impossible to move. This would become deadly, as the heart is also a muscle.
Potassium is so important for a dog that if they do not have enough of it, they can develop a condition known as hypokalemia. It will affect the muscles of the dog, mostly their heart, skeletal and neurological muscles.
This condition mostly occurs when your dog is eliminating too much potassium through urinating or fecal matter. That is usually a symptom of another problem, which can often be quite significant. However, not getting enough potassium can be a problem that needs to be addressed, and can have devastating consequences for your dog.
Well-rounded dog food will have a healthy dose of potassium, but a little bit of broccoli every now and then can give it a boost.
However, you shouldn’t rely on broccoli to be your dog’s main source of potassium. Instead, you’ll want to make sure they get it elsewhere to avoid the toxic overload of broccoli.
As you likely know, fiber helps keep your digestive tract moving, and it is no different for a dog. It also helps prevent “bad” bacteria from overloading your dog’s colon, which can lead to bad gut health.
A healthy intake of fiber can help reduce the chance of your dog having colon cancer, as fiber will help your dog regularly clear things out from their bowels.
If your dog doesn’t get enough fiber, they will suffer from constipation, whereas giving your dog more fiber will help relieve them of this.
While broccoli can provide some fiber for your dog, it is best to rely on your dog’s fiber intake elsewhere. This is because, as you may have guessed, broccoli can cause severe digestion issues and even death. Relying on broccoli as a fiber source might make your dog a candidate for this unfortunate event.
Solid dog food will have enough fiber to keep your dog going, but of course, supplementing with a few vegetables here and there is fine.
All the Vegetables, No Hassles
Ultimately, we want to do what is best for our dog. At Wild Earth we’ve made food that has everything they need and nothing they don’t. Want to make sure your dog is getting fiber for digestive health, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium without worrying about the negatives of isothiocyanate? Try Wild Earth. We’re a vet developed, science-backed food that is high in protein.
Our food also contains superfoods like chickpeas, blueberries, sweet potato and oats to ensure your pup will thrive.
So What Veggies Can My Dog Eat?
Well, your dog can eat broccoli, but of course, you need to be prudent about the amount you give them. Not every dog will like broccoli, so if your dog doesn’t, don’t push it on them. Instead, only give it to them if they genuinely want it as a treat.
Other vegetables your dog can eat include corn, green beans and carrots. These are safe for your dogs at almost any quantity, though you should avoid allowing your dog to eat corn on the cob. The cob itself is very dangerous to your dog and can tear up their digestive tract.
Corn that has been taken off the cob is fine for your dog to eat. Popcorn, is fine too, as long as it is not coated in chocolate.