A much under-valued member of the cruciferous family, broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, stir-fried, roasted, boiled and even hidden in a smoothie.
So, while you may not naturally think of broccoli as a treat for you or your dog, it’ worth giving it a second look, for all the health benefits it provides.
The benefits of Broccoli
These nutrient-packed florets are as good for our dogs as they are for us. Broccoli is a valuable source of the following nutrients that are essential for good health.
- Vitamin K; Essential for normal blood clotting and it plays a role in bone health too
- Vitamin C; A powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from free radicals and it also builds collagen which promotes and forms bone and tissue
- Fibre; Great for digestive health and for lowering cholesterol
- Potassium; Contributes to the healthy function of nerves
- Folate; Helps develop and maintain new cells in the body
Not only that but broccoli also contains copper, zinc, manganese and phosphorus all of which support the healthy functioning of the body.
Low in calories and fat broccoli can provide a healthy alternative to commercial dog treats, in moderation.
The Risks of Broccoli
While broccoli isn’t toxic in small amounts, too much can cause stomach upsets in dogs. Broccoli contains a naturally occurring sulphur-based phytochemical called Isothiocyanate.
Although Isothiocyanates have shown to help fight some cancers in people, it is also a stomach irritant. Moderation is the key to getting a healthy balance between the benefits and risks of feeding broccoli to your dog.
No more than ten percent of your dog’s daily intake of food should be broccoli. Anything over twenty-five percent is dangerous.
So, if you notice any of the following signs stop giving broccoli to your dog immediately and contact your vet;
How do I give my dog Broccoli?
Broccoli is a versatile vegetable and can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be added directly to your dog’s food or fresh florets offered to your dog as a treat.
If your dog inhales food, it’s better to chop broccoli into small pieces as it presents a risk, if small of choking.
If you want to add broccoli to your dog’s diet, but they aren’t keen on the taste, why not have a go at making some homemade treats that disguise the flavour.
These tasty recipes are from the Doggy Dessert Chef
Cheesy Broccoli Dog Treats
1 cup shredded Cheese
1 (14 ounce) bag frozen Broccoli Florets, thawed and pureed
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl mix all ingredients one at a time, stirring well after each addition
3. Knead dough into ball and roll onto a heavily floured surface 1/2 inch thick and cut with your shot glass.
4. Place on your prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen small Rounds.
Broccoli Carrot Chicken Treats
1 Chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 cup finely grated Carrots
1/2 cup chopped Broccoli
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
3 tablespoons Butter, softened
2 cups Oat Flour
1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients one at a time, stirring well after each addition
2. Divide the dough into fourths and place each ball of dough on to a piece of wax paper.
3. Shape the dough into rolls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and wrap each in plastic wrap or foil and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
6. To bake, slice rolls about 1/4 inch and bake on a prepared baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
The rolls can be frozen for about four weeks, if working with frozen rolls it is best to let them stand at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli
In moderation, dogs can eat broccoli. There is a risk when consumed in large amounts (over ten per cent of your dog’s daily food intake), but broccoli is full of goodness and can be a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet.