You've just sat down to enjoy your dinner, and your dog catches a whiff. Excitedly wagging his tail about, he is intrigued by the smell and the look of those vibrant green balls. You'll either love them or hate them, but they can be quite tasty when prepared correctly.
He so badly wants to try a bite of one of your Brussels sprouts… should you be a bit skeptical and do a quick search to see if it's ok? Or, do you just toss it over and let him gobble up a piece without any thought to it. Is it safe – can dogs eat Brussels sprouts?
Can Dogs Eat Brussels Sprouts?
Yes, dogs can eat Brussels sprouts, although canines may suffer from stomach upset, gas, and diarrhea if they eat too much. Brussels sprouts are not harmful to your dog, but you should follow the recommendations with the serving size to prevent any health issues.
Health Benefits: Are Brussels Sprouts Good for Dogs?
Brussels sprouts are not just healthy for us humans; your pooch can get many beneficial nutrients from them too! Here are a few examples of the health benefits of these miniature cabbages.
Nutrients like vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants are abundant in this cruciferous vegetable and are good for both humans and canines.
Helps to clot blood properly
Vitamin K, found in Brussels sprouts, helps to clot blood properly, provides protection to the heart, and builds bones.
Other vitamins, including C, A, B1, and B6, as well as manganese, potassium, and folate, have health benefits as well. Inflammation is reduced, and blood circulation is improved, thanks to these antioxidants.
Provide protection against free radicals
Healthy Brussels sprouts also provide protection against free radicals by containing antioxidants. Free radicals originate from metabolic processes within the body or as a result of exposure to external sources like X-rays, ozone, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals.
Packed with vitamin C
Brussels sprouts also pack a vitamin C punch. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant supporting immunity, vision, and iron absorption. Dogs are able to synthesize vitamin C on their own in their livers, but supplementation may offer benefits in some cases. So why not supplement naturally, with two or three Brussels sprouts?
High in fiber
Brussels sprouts are also considerably high in fiber, which is essential to prevent constipation in our canine friends and promote a healthy digestive system. Unbelievably, the gas created by these cabbages is healthy! It actually helps the body move along bowel movements and, therefore, supports colon health in both humans and dogs.
As you can see, dogs can eat Brussels sprouts, and they can even be beneficial for their health. But are there reasons not to feed your doggo with these little round vegetables?
Health Risks: Are Brussels Sprouts bad for Dogs?
While Brussels sprouts can be of benefit to your doggy pet pal, overfeeding him these vibrant, green balls may cause some discomfort. It will not be pleasant having to watch your pet friend in pain, so be careful to exercise moderation.
Brussels sprouts are renowned for causing gas... lots of gas!
Brussel sprouts, even in small and modest amounts, will cause flatulence. Granted, the smells may have you waving your hands back and forth in front of your nose to ward off the stench; you can be assured that the Brussels sprouts are not harmful to your dog.
The gas that builds up can even have positive effects on your dog's intestinal health as it gets things moving quicker and cleanses the bowel.
Just remember that too much gas in the stomach can cause discomfort, which is why moderation is key when it comes to Brussels sprouts.
However, Brussels sprouts do contain a chemical called allyl isothiocyanate, which sends the brain a signal to speed up the bowel movements. Therefore, consuming too much of this cabbage can lead lead to diarrhea and stomach pains.
If you want to introduce this vegetable to your dog's diet, start with very small amounts added to his normal food. Gradually increase the amount, but remember that it should never be a major part of a healthy dog diet. Always stop feeding your dog Brussels sprouts if you notice stomach issues.
Whenever feeding your dog new foods, it is crucial to monitor whether they react badly. Side effects usually present themselves after a day or two, so continue to keep an eye on your dog after feeding. Definitely contact your vet if symptoms continue to last longer than a few days.
Although toxins are not found in Brussels sprouts, they could contain toxic pesticides that may be harmful to your pooch. Be mindful of thoroughly washing Brussels sprouts before feeding them to your dog.
Considering purchasing organic produce is also beneficial if your dog loves their vegetables. Organic vegetables are much better for you and your dog's health as they do not contain any harmful chemicals or pesticides!
Alternatively, growing your own vegetables are also a good option if you don't want to spend lots on stocking up your veggie selection.
Serving Size and How to Feed?
Dogs can become gassed up from eating Brussels sprouts, but it may actually have a positive effect! The colon gets a cleansing, and their digestive health is improved.
Up to three at a time should be sufficient. Dogs may eat them raw, but cooking will reduce the unwanted side effects.
Take care to serve Brussel sprouts in moderation though, up to three at a time should be sufficient, depending on how big or small they are – and how big or small your pet is! Dogs may eat them raw, but cooking will reduce the unwanted side effects like flatulence and make them taste less pungent.
Start with a small amount and see how your dog reacts before increasing the serving size. All dogs react differently, so there really is no way to determine a healthy serving size to fit all dogs.
This is how to prepare Brussels sprouts for your dog:
1. Purchase organic if possible. Organic vegetables do not contain harmful chemicals or pesticides.
2. Remove the stems. Brussels sprouts have hard nubby stems that should be removed. Following that,
3. Slice each sprout in half and cook before serving as they may be a bit tough to eat. The nutritional benefits are lost if they are overcooked, so make sure you do not forget them on your stove.
4. Do not offer your dog seasoned Brussels sprouts you have prepared for yourself as dogs should not consume any onions, garlic, butter, salt, pepper, or vinegar. You may cook a few Brussels sprouts for your dog using a tiny bit of olive oil. Cooked plain and simple is best for your dog and the most healthy option.
We know Brussels sprouts are good for us, but let's take a look more in-depth look into exactly how beneficial they are.
Nutrients are abundant and beneficial to your dog.
The major nutrients in one-half cup of cooked Brussel sprouts (78 grams) are as follows:
- Calories: 28
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Carbohydrates: 5.5 grams
- Omega 3: 135 milligrams
- Omega 6: 61.6 milligrams
Brussels sprouts contain the following vitamins:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Pantothenic Acid
And the following minerals:
Please note that these nutritional values are for a half a cup of Brussels sprouts to get a sense of the nutrition content, although your dog will not consume half a cup of Brussels sprouts in one sitting.
Now, let's have a look at some of the major nutrients as well as how your dog can benefit from them:
Benefits of Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids for Dogs
- Brain development is supported
- Helps dogs with arthritis by reducing inflammation
- Helps to improve your dog's ability to fight cancer
- Heart and kidney health of dogs is boosted
- It helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity in dogs
Benefits of Vitamin A for Dogs
- Helps with maintaining good vision
- Responsible for growth and fetal development
- Promotes immune function and cell function
Benefits of B Vitamins for Dogs
- Thiamine assists with energy regulation and carbohydrate metabolism and activates ion channels in neural tissue.
- Riboflavin, B12, and niacin help facilitate enzyme function for their bodies to glean nutrients and energy.
- Vitamin B6 is especially vital for generating glucose, red blood cell, and nervous system function and regulating hormones, immune response, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
- Pantothenic acid helps with energy metabolism.
- Folate helps in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism and mitochondrial protein synthesis.
Benefits of Vitamin C for Dogs
- Scavenges free radicals
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces cognitive aging
Benefits of Vitamin K for Dogs
- Activates the ability of your dog's blood to clot
- Protects heart function
- Helps to build bones
Benefits of Choline for Dogs
- Necessary for the phospholipid cell membrane
- Supports healthy brain and liver function
Dogs can definitely eat Brussels sprouts! Nutrients are abundant in this mini cabbage and are beneficial to your dog in the same way they benefit humans. Just don't go overboard with offering them up to your pet dog as they may end up with bouts of diarrhea!
Always cook them first but be mindful of how long they have been cooking for, else they may be devoid of any nutrients you would want your pet friend to benefit from.
Can dogs eat brussels sprouts raw?
Yes, dogs can eat Brussels sprouts raw, but cooking them will make them easier to digest. It is unlikely that your dog will find raw Brussels sprouts appetizing, and when not cooked, this vegetable can cause bloating and gas. Cooking the Brussels sprouts before you feed them to your dog will reduce the risk of any gastrointestinal irritation.
Brussels sprouts are a wonderful treat that you can share with your dog. Sometimes dogs forget to chew and can easily choke on these, especially if they are not cooked.
Many dogs do not like their taste unless they are cooked in a lot of oil and butter. However, cooking them this way, it can lead to pancreatitis or gastroenteritis.
Always start off by offering your dog a small amount and see how it affects their stomach before giving them more of them. If they ever show signs of GI problems, cross these off your dog's approved list of treats.
- Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM
Sara Redding Ochoa, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, was raised in Calhoun, LA. She knew since she was a little girl that her dream was to become a veterinarian. Dr. Ochoa attended Louisiana Tech for her undergraduate school, and then attended St. George University to complete veterinary school. After graduating, Dr. Ochoa moved to east Texas and has been working as a small animal and exotic veterinarian.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your dog's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.