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Broccoli is one of those love it or hate it foods for humans, and some pet owners would say that it is just the same with dogs.
The question posed by many concerned dog owners, however, is can dogs eat broccoli? Is this vegetable really safe for them to consume and, if so, what restrictions should owners be aware of?
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Broccoli is seen as a superfood in human culture, but that doesn’t necessary mean that the same can be said for animals.
There are different viewpoints on broccoli for dogs, often depending on the dog it is being fed to, or perhaps through ignorance of the potential dangers.
It is no surprise that some owners are confused by the issue when popular culture skews the image and does not always cover the facts.
There are two different images in modern culture: there is the image of the dog turning his nose up to a plate of broccoli and the video of a pug loving a little floret.
While these files are create viral images for social media, it is important to remember the serious side here. There is a lot of confusion over whether or not dogs should ever eat broccoli.
The dog eating broccoli video may be cute, but it could hide an important issue.
Different blogs from different dog owners will tell different stories: some will focus on the positives of eating broccoli, some will focus on the dangers and others will provide a balanced look at the issue.
That is what this guide intends to provide. It should be remembered that there are different angles to the broccoli issue and different variables to consider. This is not a black and white issue where you either avoid the food or let your dog eat as much as you want.
This introduction to the question of can my dog eat broccoli will look at the health benefits and risks that are associated with this vegetable. From there it will discuss the issue of portion size and the different methods of feeding broccoli to your pet.
There is a lot to think about, but it should all help you decide whether you want to include broccoli in your dog’s diet and how to go about doing so.
Further Reading: A Guide To Choosing The Best Multivitamin For Dogs
The best place to start here is to look at the potential dangers of feeding broccoli to a dog, as this is the primary concern.
There are risks attached to adding this vegetable to a dog’s diet, but perhaps not to the extent that you first imagined. If you understand these two issues and work to avoid them, broccoli could still be used as part of your pet’s diet.
The biggest issue to deal with here is that of Isothiocyanate poisoning. This chemical is found in the head of the broccoli, as well as in other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, kale, turnips, sprouts, cabbage, radish, turnip and watercress.
This chemical will do us no harm, but it can be a big problem in some dogs as it can act as a gastric irritant. This should not be an issue in small doses, but it is important to look for the signs when feeding broccoli to your dog for the first time. These includes stomach upsets, pain, gas and diarrhoea.
Another issue that you may have overlooked is that of pesticides. This can all depend on where the broccoli has come from.
You may not think that washing the broccoli is as important for dogs as it is for humans, because they don’t mind a bit of dirt and will eat off the floor, but washing the broccoli thoroughly is vital.
These dangers are important to remember because they can put the health of your dog at risk, but that does not mean that you should eliminate broccoli from the diet all together.
With the right approach, dogs can benefit from a lot of the same properties as we do.
We see this green vegetable as a superfood, with the potential to aid us greatly in our search for a healthy diet, and some of the same health effect can be seen in dogs too.
The first place to start is with the vitamins and minerals that can be found in broccoli. This plant is packed full of these much needed nutrients and while dogs don’t need the same amounts as us, a bit of broccoli can really give a healthy kick to meal.
Broccoli is also very high in antioxidants. This is something that we think of as a new fad in human health, now that we know more about these substances and their ability to fight cancer-causing cells, but their influence is a lot wider.
Cancer can strike our pets too so some antioxidants can help to protect their vulnerable bodies against carcinogens and generally promote health and well-being.
The important nutrients within broccoli do not stop there as this vegetable also contains bioflavonoids. This vitamin is well regarded in human health for its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy and anti-cancerous properties, and there is the chance that these properties can translate to dog health care too. This means that you could help to prevent major disease or even prolong their life.
Finally, it is easy to overlook the fact that broccoli is seen as a great source of fibre.
Fibre is important for digestion and regularity of bowel movements, but it can be difficult to add natural, healthy sources to a diet. Broccoli is therefore a great option because of its high content and these other health benefits.
When pet owners read these sorts of lists about the multiple health benefits that are associated with broccoli, it almost becomes instinctive to add lots more of it to a diet to ensure that our pets are healthy and can fight off disease more easily.
The problem is that strong warning against over-consumption.
Clearly we need to be very careful when adding broccoli to a dog’s diet, so is it worth simply avoiding it all-together and looking at alternatives that don’t include this gastric irritant?
Your dog can get by on a broccoli free diet, but there is no harm giving him, or, her, vegetables like this in the appropriate amount.
Dogs need a balanced diet full of the right nutrients and vitamins and broccoli is clearly a good source when handled correctly.
If you are keen to use broccoli but are unsure of the best way to do so, there are different approaches that you can take.
First, you can talk to a vet to get their professional opinion on the effects that broccoli consumption may have on your dog.
Second, you can look into different methods of preparation to limit any risk.
Third, you can use this trusted guide on portion size.
Portion size is crucial if you are going to let dogs eat broccoli.
The obvious question that is generated from reading all of this is how much broccoli can you feed to your dog?
It is clearly beneficial in small amounts, but how do you ensure that you don’t feed them too much and make them sick.
There is a ratio that has been determined to help dog owners with this dilemma. It has been calculated that a dog can have broccoli as part of its diet, as long as it accounts for less than 5% of their daily food intake.
If this reaches as high as 10% of your dog’s daily diet, you could find that those dangerous chemicals start to get to work and cause stomach problems. If consumption goes beyond 25%, it could be fatal.
This guideline a good way of approaching the issue, but there are variable to consider.
The most important here is the size of the dog because bigger dogs are obviously going to be able to eat much more than smaller dogs.
Adding broccoli to the diet of a small dog, like that cute pug puppy in the video, can be tricky and a little floret should be no more than an occasional treat.
Bigger dogs like labs can comfortably eat larger portions, but again not too often.
This is why it comes down to percentages as this can be related to the portion size for your breed.
The only problem is that even then, determining that 5% may be tricky for more cautious owners.
With all this emphasis on the chemicals in the head of the broccoli, some dog owners may consider simply feeding he stalks to their pets to eliminate this problem.
There is no problem with this, and it does reduce the risk of toxicity, but success with this method can depend on portion, uses and dog preference.
Owners may say that there is no bad way to serve broccoli stalks to your pet, but your dog may disagree. The only way to be sure is to switch from florets to stalks and see what your pet thinks.
Now that you have the confidence to give you dog broccoli in their diet, wither as small pieces of the floret or through chopped up stalks, there is another question to consider regarding its preparation.
Some dog owners will prefer to give dogs cooked broccoli during a meal while others will feed the leftover raw florets that haven’t been used.
The best approach again comes down to the preference of the dog. If he is used to you cooking the broccoli, he may turn his nose up to a raw stalk. On the other hand, a dog that is used to the crunchy raw stalks may not like the change in texture of a cooked piece. It should also be noted that cooking the vegetable may affect the amount of nutrients within.
For many dog owners, the idea of providing a bit of this vegetable during a meal stops at simply taking a little floret of the plate and feeding it as a treat under the table.
This is fine in moderation, but it is not the only way to add broccoli to a dog’s diet.
If you are serious about adding more of this superfood to a dog’s dinner, there are other ways of doing so.
Chopping broccoli into small pieces and mixing it in with dog food is a start, but you can also try blitzing it with a food processor to help dogs learn to like the taste.
The method you choose will largely depend on your dog’s opinion of the food. If they are happy to eat it then it can be added to meals as small pieces. If you feel the need to disguise it to add the nutrients, but less of the flavour, a puree with other ingredients may be a better option.
If you want to ensure that your dog enjoys all the nutritional benefits of broccoli, but are scared about dealing with portions and raw materials, you may want to look into pet food with broccoli as an ingredient.
One of the big concerns for dog owners is pet food that uses unhealthy filler content to bulk it out.
Some use empty carbs and grains that can be problematic, while other look to use more vegetables for a more balanced approach.
There are many formulas out there that will use broccoli as a key ingredient to provide vitamins and a different taste, and the more responsible brands should provide safe amounts per portion, for greater peace of mind. I
f you are unsure about the best options to try in broccoli pet food, talk to your vet.
There are many companies that make dog treats of all different flavours and it is not impossible to find some that are broccoli flavoured.
This can be a great way of giving a dog a broccoli treat if they seem to be keen on the taste, but also of making sure that you are not feeding them to much.
Some dog owners also like to make their own dog treats as a hobby, and this can be a great way of adding natural flavours and vitamins into a diet while still treating the animal.
Broccoli can be mixed with other flavours to create treats that pets love, again as long as they are not given too many.
Keen dog treat bakers are quick to post their suggestions and photos online for others to see and a quick look through Pinterest can provide some great ideas.
The idea of a broccoli and banana option may sound horrible to us, but apparently some pups are going mad for them. Take your time to look at the options and test out some ideas on your dog, he will quickly tell you if they are no good.
There is clearly a lot to consider when determining whether or not it is a good idea to feed broccoli to your dog.
The first thing to do is to ignore all those that say that it is completely toxic and must be avoided, as well as those that happily feed it to their pets with no restrictions.
Every dog will have their own opinion on the taste of broccoli, which can determine the method of preparation, but it is crucial that you remember to stick to these dog broccoli rules.
Can dogs have broccoli? Under certain circumstances and with the right methods, yes they can. There is nothing wrong with feeding small amounts of florets or stalks to dogs in appropriate portion sizes and there are plenty of brilliant dog food solutions and treats out there that use this superfood to great effect.
Too much can be dangerous but, in the right amount, broccoli can be a tasty, nutritious treat that your pet may come to love.
All you can do is follow the guidelines on portion size, try different approaches and see what your dog likes.
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