Is it true that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, well yes, and even more so if we are referring to certain foods or vegetables that our pets are allowed to eat. For example, giving chocolate to your dog is highly frowned upon, and as much as the kids want to share this is a no-go, but talking about vegetables is not that bad.
To learn more about what is or isn’t allowed take a quick look here https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat to be sure that you are staying safe while feeding your pet.
Certainly, the type and volume of the vegetable play a large role in the diet and the safety as well as the efficacy of the ingredient, but broccoli has both sides of the coin to consider.
The good and the bad.
Let’s start by taking a look at the positive vitamins that broccoli has to offer, like with most foods and vegetables it is packed with essential nutrients and minerals each offering a function needed by the body.
- Fiber. Broccoli is wonderfully rich in fiber which is important in regulating and maintaining the digestive system in your pup’s body, this ensures the foods are broken down and digested properly.
- Vitamin K. Along with the other vitamins this one is important for maintaining the density of the bone structure keeping them strong as your dog grows.
- Folic Acid. Keeps the cells healthy and functioning and more so if your furry family member is expecting little ones sometime soon.
- Vitamin C. This boosts the immune system to keep it strong and fighting off potential germs and illnesses. The great thing is it can be found in multiple foods to keep meals interesting.
The only downside of this vibrant colored vegetable is that the top of the broccoli, the florets, contain a chemical that when ingested too much of can be toxic for animals and in particular dogs.
It has severe and extremely negative effects and in some cases has been known to cause death. This is an important factor to keep an eye on when making and preparing your dogs’ meals, some signs and symptoms to look out for (in this link) can help if you are unsure or just want to be extra cautious. As the old saying goes, it is always better to be safe than sorry, the last thing we want is for a dog to be ill because we got excited trying out new recipes over the weekend.
The broccoli menu.
This part is the exciting bit, you get to be creative, and you allow yourself the excuses of ‘needing’ those new cookie cutter shapes to make those veggie-filled biscuit treats for your dog, and all the while giving him essential vitamins and nutrients.
So if you have just gotten a new puppy and wondering how best to implement the vegetables into his diet then there are a few beginner options that will help get the ball rolling for you and get you started on the right track.
The easiest and quickest method is simply chopping it up into small bite-sized pieces to stir into his food while you’re cooking, or if you are a baking fundi then bone-shaped cookies are always a welcomed treat. You could press the broccoli pieces into the ready-mixed dough and then cut out the desired shapes, or once the molds have been cut you could simply place the broccoli on top before popping them into the oven.
Another great way is if it is blended up till smooth with other vegetables and frozen down, then on a hot day you simply pop a cube or two out for them to wrestle with, not only are they getting good food into them but it will entertain and cool them down at the same time. Win-win.
When it comes to broccoli and all mentions of nutrition just note that although some caution is necessary (not that you will be feeding them bowls of broccoli every evening) the main objective is that you are looking for healthier and alternative food options as opposed to the mass-produced off-the-shelf varieties.
Does broccoli help?
Besides the genetic makeup of the florets, there are internal functions that are optimized with the intake of the green vegetable, it helps to significantly reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles which can lead to increased pain and arthritis in older dogs.
What was interesting to discover is that broccoli contains a lot of carotenoids which are responsible for proper eye functioning and color visioning, not only are the vitamins necessary for producing the cells that protect the eye but if there are any deficiencies, especially Vitamin A, it can cause severe eye issues and could lead to blindness.
Lastly, when dogs go through a stressful period or a moment of high anxiety they produce stress hormones that diminish minerals like zinc, a small dose of broccoli can help manage moods and maintain homeostasis as best as possible. If your pup doesn’t seem like himself, or a bit ‘down’ then he may require a nutrient-full dinner just to boost his morale and bring his zest for life back.
At the end of the day, you are giving your pet a well-balanced meal needed for proper growth and development, and if it means a bit of research and homework on your part then we get on with it and give them a quality life.