Are you the type of dog owner that when they are preparing their vegetables for the evening meal has two containers for any waste or off cuts.
One is the compost bin, the other is your dog’s bowl.
Raw broccoli is a great example of this for me.
After all, what do you do with that stalk and the few spare florets which always seem to be left over?
The kids are just going to turn their noses up at the stalk- because it is green.
Whilst your wife will roll her eyes and mutter “weirdo” under her breath if you tried to smuggle it onto the table.
So their loss is your dog’s gain.
Or is it? How nutritious is raw broccoli and should you feed it to your dog.
Read on to find out.
What nutrients are in raw broccoli?
On the right hand side is the nutrition label for raw broccoli.
Off the bat, it’s important to say that there are no toxins in broccoli.
It doesn’t contain anything which will hurt your dog in any way.
As you can see, it has a lot of fibre- over 2.5% of broccoli is fibre.
The rest of the magic and power within broccoli is to be found amongst its vitamins and minerals.
It is very high in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin A and lastly vitamin B5.
Mineral- wise some of the “big hitters” within broccoli include Phosphorus, Manganese and Potassium.
All of this sounds great, doesn’t it- but what does it mean for our dog?
Well let’s start with fibre.
Fibre is an incredibly important nutrient in a dog’s digestive system.
It does a few really important things such as providing stool with a good consistency and it also encourages a healthy intestine by killing any harmful bacteria.
Like humans, fibre helps dogs feel fuller because high fibre foods take longer to digest.
Vitamin C is an interesting vitamin to start with because dogs make their own vitamin C.
However, that is not to say that they couldn’t benefit from a top up.
Vitamin C can potentially protect a dog’s cells from damage arising from the metabolism of oxygen.
The damage is linked to diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
The amount of vitamin K in broccoli is astronomical.
There is enough in a 100g serving of it to provide a human with 85% of their daily needs.
But what about dogs?
Dogs manufacture some vitamin K in their intestines and in day to day life they shouldn’t need any boosters.
But don’t worry the vitamin K in broccoli won’t harm your dog in any way.
Dogs who do need a booster of vitamin K are ones who have eaten a rat killed with a certain poison.
The poison interferes with how a dog’s blood clots and so these dogs need a vitamin K supplement.
Vitamin B5 and B6, like all the B vitamins are crucial in the process of turning food into energy.
Dogs need B vitamins in their diets and so broccoli provides B6 in the right concentration to meet a dog’s needs, the amount of vitamin B5 is about half what a dog needs.
But remember, this shouldn’t be an issue because hopefully your dog is eating a well balanced and complete diet.
Potassium, phosphorus and manganese are the biggest minerals locked inside broccoli.
Dogs need lots of potassium and phosphorus in their diet- far,far more than a serving of broccoli can provide.
Dogs need less manganese and so raw broccoli provides it in about half the concentration that is necessary.
Is cooked broccoli better for my dog?
Nutrition wise, lightly steaming broccoli doesn’t change an awful lot.
Calories, fat, dietary fibres and protein see tiny differences.
If you are worried that by eating raw vegetables the smell of your dog’s farts will smell, then I don’t think there is any evidence of that with raw broccoli.
Strong odours are normally linked to fibre content and the content is almost identical between raw broccoli or cooked broccoli.
Looking at the vitamins and minerals again shows minimal changes apart from vitamin C which loses about 10% of its potency during the cooking process.
How cooking does change broccoli is in the texture and taste of it.
Cooking makes it softer and less bitter.
Your dog might appreciate a decrease in bitterness but I bet that they will miss that crunch!
Should dogs eat raw broccoli stalks?
Whenever we eat broccoli for dinner, the stalk is the thing that I give to my dogs. I just cut it in half and throw it to them and they happily chomp away on it for a few minutes.
It is one of their favourite “incidental” snack and they seem very happy with both the taste and the texture.
As far as nutrition goes, eating the stalk is almost the same as eating florets- which isn’t that surprising when you consider that each floret has a “stalk”.
The stalk has less vitamin A than the florets but it has more vitamin C.
Interestingly, raw broccoli contains some vitamin E whereas the stalks have none.
And vitamin E is important in a dog’s body because it forms a protection against so called free radicals as well as boosting their immune system.
Should dogs eat broccoli leaves?
I can honestly say that not only have I never bought broccoli with leaves still on it and I have never eaten any.
Let alone prepare them for my dog!
But if you do regularly buy a head of broccoli that comes with some leaves then please don’t waste them.
They can be fed to your dog.
They are packed full of vitamin A with an incredibly high value that I have rarely seen anywhere else.
A 100 g serving of these leaves would provide a person with three times the amount of vitamin A that they need everyday and thirty two times the amount that a dog needs.
Remember that vitamin A plays a very important role in keeping your dog’s eyesight in tip top condition.
And with that amount of vitamin A, they will be trying to spot rabbits from a few miles away!
They are also high in vitamin C but it rather pales into insignificance when compared to vitamin A!
Can dogs eat raw broccoli and carrots?
Feeding your dogs combinations of raw vegetables is a really good idea.
It provides your dogs with different tastes and textures and importantly they get a more varied vitamin and mineral boost.
And feeding broccoli and carrots together would give a great boost of vitamin A (which carrots are high in) and vitamin C which broccoli is high in.
Seeing how rich carrots are in vitamin A, I wouldn’t recommend feeding them in combination with broccoli leaves otherwise your dog might burst with all the vitamin A that it had consumed.
I’m only joking, of course.
Your dog can’t overdose or be poisoned from consuming too many vitamins from vegetables.
All I’m saying is that you might want to spread the vitamin and mineral love when you serve up two raw vegetables together.
How much raw broccoli should I feed my dog?
There is no hard and fast rule here.
Most of us would feed our dogs raw broccoli at the same time as we are preparing it for ourselves.
And so this would kind of limit the amount that they got anyhow.
Some people would place any raw vegetable in a dog treat category and as such would say that the amount you feed your dog should not exceed 10% of the total amount of their diet.
But most of us wouldn’t even come close to that amount.
But, as has already been discussed, we all should be aiming for variety in the range of vegetables that are added to our dog’s diet.
Broccoli is a great vegetable but it is only one of many.
The other great thing about vegetables is that we can use our dogs as healthy waste buckets.
In this article we have looked at how nutritious parts of the broccoli, such as the leaves and stalks, are.
And most of the time we just discard them.
There are lots of vegetables with nutritious waste parts that can easily be added to our dog’s diet.
Or indeed our own- but that is a different story.
One such example is cauliflower leaves.
What raw vegetables should I not feed my dog?
Although it is very short, there is a vegetable dog blacklist.
This is a list of vegetables that should never go near your dog or their food bowl because there is a danger of them potentially poisoning your dog.
The blacklisted vegetables are; onions, garlic, asparagus and tomatoes.
Can dogs eat raw broccoli?
This is a section that will be full of simple and positive advice.
Raw broccoli will make an excellent addition to your dog’s diet and it is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and it has a satisfying crunch to it.
I don’t really need to tell you to be careful when it comes to cutting it up as it break up into bite sized chunks.
And your dog will feel an even more important member of your family when he realises that he is eating some of the same things as you.