Are Broccoli Stalks Bad for Dogs?

by Rob Harris
    Broccoli is one of many vegetables your dog might enjoy.

    Broccoli is one of many vegetables your dog might enjoy.

    Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Broccoli, either as stalks or florets, can help provide balanced nutrition for your pooch. It's also an excellent source of fiber, helping his digestion continue to flow smoothly. There can be too much of a good thing, however; keep your dog's broccoli consumption low to help prevent stomach upset or other health issues.

    Benefits

    Broccoli is as good for your pup as it is for you. It's full of vitamins, such as A and C, as well as fiber, calcium and beta carotene. According to Animal Planet, broccoli can help prevent cancer and keep your dog's blood sugar at a healthy level. It's an excellent way to add nutrient-rich food to your dog's diet without adding empty calories.

    The Downside

    On the flip side, eating too much broccoli can be bad for Fido. Broccoli contains isothiocynate, a toxic substance that can lead to stomach upset in your pooch. Broccoli has also been tied to reduced thyroid function, which can wreak havoc with your dog's weight and hormone production. Washing the broccoli thoroughly is vital; commercially grown broccoli is often treated with pesticides that can be toxic to your dog if he eats too much over time.

    Safe Quantities

    Broccoli should be safe if it makes up 10 percent or less of your dog's daily diet. For most dogs, this means one or two large florets with stalks attached per day. You can serve this by itself, mixed with other vegetables, or mixed into Fido's regular dog food. If you feed your dog more than once a day, portion the broccoli so he gets no more than one to two florets total each day -- not one to two florets with each feeding.

    How to Serve

    There's no bad way to serve broccoli stalks to your pooch. If he'll eat them raw, there's no reason not to give him a bite as a treat or with his food. Most dogs prefer steamed broccoli for the softer texture. Chopping broccoli into small pieces or running it through a food processor helps hesitant dogs learn to like the taste. You can also juice or puree the broccoli and mix it in with his regular food.

    Photo Credits

    • Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    While studying journalism in the Army and at the University of Missouri, Rob Harris developed a lifelong love of physical fitness and nutrition, contributing often to a dairy industry newsletter. He has also worked with and created blogs for several family businesses including a professional dog kennel and a flower shop, where he used his experience as an avid gardener to grow plants for sale.

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