The Perfect Plant Based Treat for Fido

My regular grocery list always includes broccoli.  There is so much one can do with it.  You can eat it raw, steamed, make cream of broccoli soup and salads.  I even use the steamed broccoli water for vegetable soup base as it's chalked full of goodness.  


My dogs, Amber and Riley, seem to know when dinner time is.  They wait patiently by the kitchen door watching me prepare dinner and wait ever so patiently for their evening treats.


Dogs in the wild eat a combination of meat and plant proteins.  I like to think of the later as their “salad” along with their main dish of meat.  They don’t need a lot of plant-based proteins like we do yet there are some benefits of adding some as treats.  Broccoli is one of them.   Yet, like any treat, it must be in moderation.  10% plant-based to 90% meat is a good ratio and seems to work for my two golden retrievers. 


We know from the article, The Perfect Veggie, broccoli contains lots of goodness in minerals and vitamins C & K and is low on calories, plus it’s high in fibre to keep those bowels moving.    Vitamin K helps improve bone density and helps keep them active longer as they age.   Vitamin C boosts the immune system and provides anti-inflammatory properties. 

Along with magnesium, sodium, chromium potassium that work like a team to strengthen your dog’s immune system and nervous system.


My two love a piece of raw broccoli.  I make for sure there are no seasonings on it – like onions or extra ingredients that would upset their tummies. 


How do you feed broccoli to your dog?

There are two parts of the broccoli – the flower and the stem.  While both are safe to eat we need to do it in moderation as the isothiocynates in the florets can cause a gassy upset.  Too much and your pooch can become nauseous, bloated and develop gas that will certainly clear the room or have diarrhea.   It is important to know your pets as individuals.  One may love broccoli and be able to eat it, whereas the other may not.  


The broccoli stalks are very fibrous.  If your dog loves to ‘wolf’ down their food, a piece could get lodged in their throat so be sure to cut the stalks into tiny pieces or even better serve them steamed or roasted.  These stalks are not a throw chew toy for teething puppies or a bone for a mature dog as they could chew a piece off and it can potentially cause a blocked intestine requiring expensive, emergency surgery. 


The key here is to cut all parts of the broccoli into small pieces and serve them to your dog without any seasonings, cream sauces, or onion based seasonings that are sure to cause tummy upsets. 


Amber and Riley’s Favorite Broccoli Dishes:


  • 2-3 small, cut up raw flowerets fed as a treat OR added like a cherry on top of their evening meal.  
  • Use the steamed broccoli water in their evening meal - pour, stir and slurp! 
  • Cooked frozen or fresh broccoli that has been steamed.  We don’t add seasonings when steaming the broccoli so it’s safe for their tummies.  We don’t give them roasted broccoli as my recipes usually call for seasoning as the broccoli is roasting.
  • Smoothies – the leftovers are great for this.  Broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes.    Add the veggie water you cooked with or even plain yogurt for a treat on those hot summer days for a little pick-me-up.  I’ll even add some Ningxia Red to it and freeze them in ice-cube trays for a treat when we come back from a walk on the trails.


Yes, you can feed your pooch broccoli.  Start by introducing the broccoli to a mature dog slowly. Puppies have different nutritional needs for their fast-growing bodies, and they tend to have more sensitive digestive systems.  Broccoli is healthy for your fur-baby and a good thing to use as the occasional treat when motivating your pooch in their training program. 


 Just remember – like any treat – don’t overdo it.   Just like us, if we eat too many treats, we’ll have an upset stomach, our dogs are no different.    



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