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Dog holding broccoli in mouth

The essentials

  • Can dogs eat broccoli? — Yes! However, give broccoli only in moderation and steer clear of giving it to puppies still developing.
  • There are a lot of benefits — From vitamins and minerals to fiber, broccoli offers some benefits to adult dogs of all sizes.
  • But, there are risks, too — Broccoli can pose a choking hazard, and too much broccoli can be bad for dogs.

Like many other fruits, vegetables, and foods our pets inevitably get hold of, broccoli is fine if dogs don’t eat much of it. However, keep in mind that the plant compounds known as isothiocyanates in the florets aren’t good for pups, and neither are the seasoning humans like, like garlic salt, for example. But, there are a few notable benefits for dogs who eat their greens (sparingly!)

Nutritional benefits of broccoli for dogs 

Broccoli is a healthy choice for people, and it’s beneficial for pups, too! So, there’s likely no need to panic when Fido cleans up fallen broccoli florets at dinner. Here are some of the benefits of broccoli.

  • Vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is a veritable alphabet soup of vitamins and minerals essential for your dog’s health.
  • Antioxidants. High levels of an antioxidant called sulforaphane are in broccoli. Some studies indicate that it offers numerous health benefits for pups and people.
  • Fiber. Fiber is helpful when it comes to regulating digestion, and typically, dogs get enough with high-quality commercial dog food. Broccoli can be beneficial to supplement when needed.

👉 Before adding broccoli to your dog’s diet as a supplement, consult your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Potential health risks of feeding broccoli to dogs 

Broccoli has some great health benefits for dogs, but there are still risks associated with giving your dog broccoli stems, florets, or any other part of this green.

  • Choking hazard. While less of an issue in larger breeds, broccoli can pose a choking hazard for small dogs due to their smaller esophagus. Be sure to chop broccoli into small bites to avoid choking and for portion control.
  • Bacteria. When giving your pup raw broccoli, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned. Bacteria can linger on the surface of broccoli, and while generally resistant, dogs can still get ill from contaminated food.
  • Isothiocyanates. Pups can have too much of a good thing. Sulforaphane, the primary  isothiocyanate in broccoli, is toxic in large quantities. While broccoli is good for pups, too much of it can cause GI upset, such as gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, and in extreme cases, blockages.

How to safely serve broccoli to your dog

While dogs can eat unseasoned broccoli in pretty much any form, it’s best to prepare and cook it. Here are a few ways to cook broccoli for your dog.

Consider the cooking method

  • Steaming. Steamed broccoli is a great choice for dogs that love the texture and crunch of broccoli while removing any bacteria, making it safer for dogs.
  • Boiling. Like steaming, boiling is a great way to ensure the vegetable is safe for your dog. Additionally, it softens up the broccoli stem and florets for dogs that may have a tougher time chewing raw broccoli.
  • Roasting. Roasted broccoli (without seasoning) is an option as well. Higher temperatures require less time — we recommend a small pan with a few unseasoned florets while you roast your own!

Be mindful of the portion size

One of the biggest concerns with giving your dog broccoli is portion control. Too much broccoli can cause problems for your dog ranging from gas to an intestinal blockage that requires immediate veterinary attention. Vegetables for dogs shouldn’t be more than 10% of their diet, so it’s important to remember that this is only an occasional treat.

Sometimes dogs require surgical intervention due to the location of blockages, but if the obstructing substance is a big wad of fiber wedged in the colon, constipation can show. In most of these circumstances, a surgery probably isn’t needed and professionally administered, pet-safe enemas and cleansing colonics can solve the problem.

Dr. Bruce Armstrong

Introduce broccoli slowly

When giving your dog broccoli, it’s best to start slowly and with a small piece. Some dogs are more sensitive to broccoli than others, so a smaller piece without any other new treats or food can help you determine how well your dog will do with it.

If you don’t notice any ill effects, give your dog a slightly larger portion. Remember that this shouldn’t be too frequent due to the isothiocyanates in broccoli. Monitor your dog’s potty breaks for signs that bowel movements have normalized, and watch out for signs that they don’t tolerate it well, like vomiting.

Alternatives to broccoli 

If broccoli isn’t for your dog, some alternatives might be a good choice for your pup. From other people foods to foods designed especially for Rover, here are some alternatives to broccoli.

  • Dog-safe human foods. If you want to feed your pup human food, knowing which ones are safe for your dog to eat and what to avoid is important.
  • Supplements. The best probiotics for dogs are a good starting point to help promote healthy digestion in dogs.
  • Sensitive dog food. Your vet can provide guidance on this, but you can also consider dog food for sensitive stomachs to help regulate your dog’s digestion.

For diabetic dogs, remember that they have additional dietary restrictions that other dogs may not. Consult with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, such as treats or adding new foods, to avoid jeopardizing their health.

As with all things, it’s important to take a balanced approach to your dog’s health. Yes, you can give your dog broccoli, but in moderation. Just like playtime, baths, treats, and snuggles, moderation is important to maintain their health. Consult with your vet before changing your dog’s diet, and be mindful of how much your dog is cleaning up around you in the kitchen while preparing dinner!

Frequently asked questions

Is cooked broccoli good for dogs?

Cooked and raw broccoli are good for your dog. Broccoli packs essential vitamins and nutrients like vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin K. However, excessive amounts of broccoli can have adverse effects.

What vegetables can dogs eat?

In addition to broccoli, dogs can also enjoy raw asparagus, carrots, broccoli sprouts, leafy greens, and numerous other veggies that humans enjoy. It’s important to consult with your vet, watch for negative side effects, and only feed your dog smaller portions.

What part of broccoli can dogs eat?

Dogs can eat every part of broccoli, but it’s important to cut it into bite-sized pieces to reduce the risk of your dog choking. Supervise your dog when they eat broccoli or any other vegetable.

Can my dog eat broccoli stalks?

Yes, dogs can eat broccoli stalks, provided that they are in small enough pieces. Avoid feeding your dog large amounts of broccoli and monitor them for symptoms of GI issues, such as stomach upset.

Can dogs be allergic to broccoli?

Some dogs can be allergic to broccoli. Because of this, it’s best to monitor your dog closely when they eat broccoli and watch for signs of GI upset, itchy skin, or trouble breathing. If your dog has breathing problems, take them to the vet immediately. Additionally, puppies are still developing, so certain vegetables, like broccoli, can do more harm than good with their still-forming digestive system.