People need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to make them healthy. But is it the same for canines? Veterinarians claim that giving healthy foods to your dog can help boost their health but not in the same way that it does for humans. So if you’re planning to give them lots of broccoli, then you might want to read this first.
Human Nutrition vs. Dog Nutrition
Pet owners want to give the best to their dogs. For some, dogs are already part of the family. However, what most pet owners forget is that dogs have different nutritional needs compared to theirs. Here are a few things to remember.
1. Dogs need a lot of meat
Have you ever wondered why dog teeth are sharp? It’s not only for them to be able to bite intruders in the house, but it’s also for them to chew their food – meat, properly. Meat should never be taken away from a dog’s diet. If you’re giving commercial dog food to them, make sure that the vitamins and minerals found in meat can be found there as well.
2. Vitamin C is produced in their liver
Unlike humans who need to get an external source for Vitamin C, dogs have their own. Vitamin C is produced in their liver, so you don’t have to feed them with a lot of citrus fruits or even let them drink some orange juice. Besides, Vitamin C is not necessary for a dog’s health.
3. Fiber-rich foods should be in moderation
Dogs have a hard time digesting fiber. Unlike humans who need more fiber in their diet, too much fiber in dogs can cause a number of digestive problems. For example, too much fiber can give them constipation which is a common problem in dogs. This means that if you want to give them a lot of green leafy vegetables, then make sure they are in small quantities.
4. Human milk should not be given to a newborn pup
Contrary to what other people think, baby milk should not be given to puppies. A dog’s milk has different minerals and nutrients compared to those of a human. In that sense, the dog’s milk is made specifically to give a puppy what it needs in order to have a stronger immune system. Giving a dog human milk can cause deficiencies.
5. Chocolates are a no-no
You have probably heard of this – chocolate can cause the death of a dog. In spite of how bad this sounds, this is a fact. This is because chocolate has a molecule called theobromine which increases the flow of blood in the brain. For humans, this is a good thing, but the effect on dogs is so great that they cannot cope with it.
Broccoli in a Dog’s Diet
Now that you know that dogs should not be given a lot of fiber-rich foods, you might be wondering, “can dogs eat broccoli?” The short answer is that dogs can. In fact, broccoli can be used as a snack or treat for when your dogs need something crunchy to munch on.
You can give broccoli cooked or raw just as long as it doesn’t have spices or oil in it. The ideal amount to give your dogs is just 10% of their daily food intake. It is a lot better to give them less broccoli than give them more of the prescribed amount. If your dog’s broccoli intake increases to 25% in a day, this can already give them digestive problems. This amount is even considered toxic for a lot of dogs.
When feeding broccoli to your dogs, it’s important to be mindful of the amount you give them. Too much broccoli can cause mild to severe gastric irritation. This is due to the compound isothiocyanates that are found in the florets.
Dogs can eat almost all parts of the broccoli except its leaves. You can give them the stalks and florets. However, when you give them broccoli, make sure that you slice them into smaller pieces. Even if dogs can bite into hard food, you don’t want them to have a hard time swallowing the broccoli. This is very important especially for smaller dogs who have smaller throats and stomachs. As much as possible, the sizes should be in bite-sized chunks. It’s also advisable that you watch them eat just to make sure that the broccoli isn’t too big for them to consume.
A Few Tips for Serving Broccoli for Your Pet
To make sure that your dog enjoys this nutritious treat, follow these tips in prepping the broccoli:
- Wash the broccoli. Even if you can serve it raw, you want to remove all the chemicals and dirt that have stuck on the vegetable. Rinse it well with cold water and make sure to cut out the rotten or damaged parts.
- When serving the stalks, make sure that they aren’t attached to the florets. In this way, your dog doesn’t choke on the food.
- The best way to cook broccoli is to steam it. Because you aren’t exactly making a dish, there’s no reason for you to fry it (besides, you can’t serve them oil). Simply place them on a steamer and let it cook for around 5-7 minutes.
- To make broccoli more appealing to your dog, you can introduce it with its usual dog food. Add a few pieces of broccoli and observe if they like it. If they don’t then you don’t have to force them to eat it.
Finally, not all dogs love broccoli. You will notice that some like it crunchy while some won’t eat it no matter what other food you serve it with. Nonetheless, there are many healthy alternatives to give to your dog if they don’t like broccoli. Those alternatives can be bananas, pears, celery, cucumber, and strawberries.
If you are worried about your dog’s diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember, different dogs also have different dietary needs.