When I was a kid, I loved broccoli and cauliflower. I think what intrigued me the most (and one of the ways my parents managed to convince us to ‘eat our greens’) was by calling them tiny trees. We thought that was great, and gobbled them up. But it wasn’t just myself and my sister who loved them – so did our family dog! She’d munch away happily whenever we shared with her.
But can dogs eat cauliflower and broccoli? Is it safe to feed these ‘tiny trees’ to our canine companions?
We’re huge proponents of adding fresh to the bowl. No matter what makes up the majority of your dog’s food, there are so many healthy foods you can add for a boost. Are these two on that list?
Let’s jump in.
Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower and Broccoli?
So, can dogs eat cauliflower and broccoli?
Yes to both. A resounding yes in fact.
Both broccoli and cauliflower are great additions to a dog’s diet. Whether you feed kibble, home cooked, raw, or a combination, these two veggies add a ton of nutritional value to the plate, including:
- vitamins K, C, A, B6
These vitamins support the health of your dog’s eyes, blood, liver, muscles, immune system, and more. Fiber is good for your dog’s colon health, weight issues, and bowel issues.
Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, both broccoli and cauliflower are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that wreak havoc on the body, causing cell damage. That damage has been linked to numerous health concerns, including cancer. Your dog encounters antioxidants every day, from things like air pollution, processed food, pesticides, and stress. Without antioxidants, those free radicals run wild.
Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that give them their color, flavor, and smell. But that’s not all they do. Research shows that they have numerous healthful benefits. Phytochemicals in broccoli are good for the immune system. They include glucobrassicin; carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene; and kaempferol, a flavonoid. They also help balance free radicals and antioxidants.
What About Isothiocyanates?
Some pet parents shy away from broccoli because of the isothiocyanate, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs.
But your dog needs to eat a lot of broccoli for this to be an issue. For most dogs though, eating it doesn’t cause any sort of trouble.
And they’re definitely not a good reason to keep these from the diet.
If you’re at all worried about them, just stick to the rule of 10% of your dog’s diet being fruits and vegetables. And since most of us would switch up those fruits and veg, giving your dog too much broccoli won’t be an issue.
How to Feed Broccoli and Cauliflower to Your Pup
So we know that the answer to “can dogs eat cauliflower and broccoli” is yes and yes. Now what?
Thankfully, there are so many different ways to feed both!
- Raw – chop up either one into small pieces, or puree them even, and mix them into your dog’s bowl. You can also feed them on your own if your dog’s a fan. We use pieces of both for treats and puzzle games for a low calorie snack.
- Steamed – when you’re making broccoli or cauliflower for your own dinner, steam some for your pup as well. Light steaming is best – they don’t need a lot. Again, feed them on their own or mix them into the regular food bowl.
- Frozen – keep a bag of frozen broccoli or cauliflower in the freezer and give a floret as a treat. This is great if your dog likes them like this.
If your pet is picky, or you just feel like making them a nice treat, try a “Doggie Quiche.”
Easy Broccoli and Cauliflower ‘Quiche’ Recipe
- 2 eggs
- 1 tin of sardines (in water) – here’s why we love sardines so much!
- 1/4 cup chopped broccoli and cauliflower
Mix up the eggs and put them in a pan with some water. Add the veggies and lightly cook. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, mix in the sardines and let your dog enjoy!
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