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.

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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