Yes, dogs can eat broccoli. Dogs can eat the vegetable both cooked and raw, as long as there are no seasonings or oils added. However, this vegetable should always be given in very small quantities, especially because the florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause gastric irritation in dogs.
Benefits of Broccoli for Dogs
While dogs don’t actually need large amounts of fruits and vegetables to live healthy lives, certain ones do make suitable treats on occasion and can even provide health benefits.
Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. It is safe for dogs to eat, raw or cooked, as long as no seasonings are added.
Hazards of Broccoli for Dogs
However, AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, warns that broccoli also contains a potentially harmful ingredient. The florets of this vegetable contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs.
Dr. Klein also states, “Broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10 percent of their daily intake; more than 25 percent is considered toxic.”
In terms of the 10 percent rule (that treats should make up no more than that percentage of a dog’s diet), we have to remember that the actual amount differs depending on the size of your dog. Furthermore, every animal is unique. Some pets might react more strongly to broccoli than others, so it’s very important to monitor individual dogs to see how they react to broccoli or any new food item, and also to talk to your vet.
Choking Hazard for Dogs
Also, broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus, especially in small dogs, says Dr. Klein. Therefore, make sure you cut up the broccoli into bite-size chunks to avoid choking; keep an eye on your dog as they eat.
Small bites also make it easier to measure the amount of broccoli your dog consumes. As with any new food, start with a very small piece of broccoli to make sure your dog has no negative reactions before feeding them more. Ask your vet if you have any questions about how much broccoli is safe for your dog or if broccoli is the right treat for your dog’s health.
Learn more about which fruits and vegetables that dogs can and can’t eat here.
Here at the AKC, we field many queries from anxious dog owners about what is and isn’t safe for their canine companions to eat. Questions range from the obvious (“Can dogs eat steak bones?”) to the trendy (“Can dogs eat quinoa?”) Check out more “Can dogs eat…” articles on AKC.org to see what foods could be harmful to your dog, including cherries, avocados, and onions.