Your mother probably told you to eat your broccoli when you were a kid, but can dogs eat broccoli, too? The Internet is full of mixed information about this green vegetable. We asked the AKC's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein to weigh in on the broccoli debate to help dog owners make an informed decision about feeding broccoli to their dogs.
Broccoli Is Safe in Small Amounts, But It Can Be Harmful
Unlike humans, dogs don't need large amounts of fruits and vegetables to live healthy lives. Certain fruits and vegetables do make suitable treats on occasion, and can even provide health benefits. Find out what fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs.
Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. On the surface, this makes it an appealing choice for dog owners looking for a healthy dog treat, but broccoli also contains a potentially harmful ingredient. According to Dr. Klein, broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. He also states, "broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10 percent of their daily intake. Over 25 percent is considered toxic."
Ten percent of a dog's diet means very different things for different breeds of dogs. A Labrador Retriever could eat quite a few broccoli stalks before she consumed 10 percent of her daily food intake. A Chihuahua or a Yorkshire Terrier, on the other hand, might need only a few florets to exceed his limit. Dr. Klein also reminds dog owners that every dog is unique. Some dogs might react more strongly to broccoli than others, so it is very important to monitor individual dogs to see how they react to broccoli or any new food item.
Broccoli Is A Choking Hazard
Broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus, especially in small dogs, Dr. Klein says, so make sure you cut up the broccoli into bite-size chunks, and keep an eye on your dog as he eats. Small bites also make it easier to measure the amount of broccoli your dog consumes, which gives you another reason to moderate the broccoli servings. As with any new food, start with a very small piece of broccoli to make sure your dog has no negative reactions to the vegetable before feeding more.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Broccoli?
Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat, rather than a regular addition to their diet, unless otherwise specified by your veterinarian. Dogs can eat both cooked and raw broccoli as long as there are no seasonings or oils added, as these ingredients are not good for dogs. Ask your vet if you have any questions about how much broccoli is safe for your dog, or if broccoli is the right choice of treat for your dog's health.