Can I Give My Dog Brussels Sprouts?
>Though you would be hard pressed to find a Kindergartener who will eagerly eat Brussels sprouts, many of us come to love them once we reach adulthood. This is especially the case for the growing number of American adults who pay close attention to the nutritional value of their food. Along with spinach and kale, Brussels sprouts have won the leafy green hearts of health food fans all over the country. This is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable, and proponents of Brussels sprouts are eager to enjoy them as often as possible once they come into season. Whether you like them steamed, grilled, sautéed, boiled, oven roasted, or stir fried, you enjoy the health benefits that come along with this delicious vegetable.
So, we know Brussels sprouts are healthy for us, but there is one more important question to answer: are they good for our dogs? The foods that come into our kitchens often wind up in our dog’s mouths at some point, so it’s important for pet parents to know what foods are safe and in what quantities. So, how careful should we be with the little green vegetables that have won our hearts? Can dogs have Brussels sprouts? Would they benefit?
Brussels sprouts lovers rejoice: the answer is yes, the little green cabbages we love so much are perfectly safe for dogs in moderation. While some of our favorite superfoods, such as grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, and macadamia nuts, are extremely poisonous to dogs, Brussels sprouts appear to be relatively harmless. Even if your dog gets a little carried away and gobbles up more sprouts than they should, they probably will not suffer from any serious or long-term health effects. Just remember that dogs are omnivores who can’t tolerate as much fiber as we can—if your furry friend eats too many Brussels sprouts, they may suffer from digestive problems.
Not only are Brussels sprouts safe for dogs, but they are healthy, too! As cruciferous vegetables, these little guys are chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which can protect your dog’s health in the long term. This vegetable is rich in manganese, potassium, and Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a key role in bone development, which can help keep your dog’s skeleton strong and healthy into old age. Manganese is an important part of protein and carbohydrate metabolism, which will help your dog utilize the macronutrients their body needs to run smoothly.
Like most leafy greens, they also have a ton of dietary fiber. Fiber has been linked to many health benefits in humans and other animals, including a decreased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. The most noticeable impact fiber will have on your dog’s health, however, shows up in the gut.
While dogs do not have the same daily fiber needs that humans do, they can benefit from eating moderate amounts of fiber every day. Fiber is a powerful digestive aid that can combat both constipation and diarrhea, keeping your dog’s bowels healthy and comfortable. The fiber in Brussels sprouts can both bring fluids into the colon and add bulk to stool, keeping bowel movements soft, full, and regular.
Brussels sprouts also contain powerful antioxidants that can protect your dog’s body against several chronic diseases. Antioxidants work by defending body cells against highly charged metabolic waste products known as free radicals, which are thought to cause cell damage that often results in disease. Free radical activity can cause the mutations which lead to serious and life-threatening diseases like arthritis and many types of cancer.
There is even some thought that free radical activity may be solely responsible for the physical and psychological decline associated with aging, but this theory needs far more support than it currently has. Brussels sprouts (and their antioxidants) are great, but they will not prevent or cure any disease. They are a healthy food, not a miracle drug.
Things to Consider
As with most things, moderation is the key to feeding your dog Brussels sprouts in a healthy manner. This vegetable has large amounts of compounds called isothiocyanites, which cause bloating and gas. If your dog eats too many Brussels sprouts, they may suffer from severe indigestion, gas, bloating, and even diarrhea. If your dog seems to be in pain, make sure to stop feeding them roughage and take them to see a veterinarian. It is possible that their stomach problems can become serious or even life-threatening.
If you decide to give your dog Brussels sprouts, remove the stem and wash thoroughly. They can be boiled, microwaved, or steamed, but avoid adding any spices or oils.
Brussels sprouts, like many other leafy greens, can be great for dogs in moderation. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that can boost immunity and fight disease. Just make sure to feed them to your furry friend in moderation, because too many cruciferous veggies can cause serious gas!