The quick answer: Proceed with caution. These vegetables are safe to feed occasionally in small quantities. Read on to find out why you should keep them to a minimum.
Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous vegetable family. Other vegetables in this group include kale, cabbage and bok choy. The good news is that there is no reason to worry if your pet scarfs up an accidentally dropped scrap of one of these vegetables.
Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and loaded with fiber which can aid in digestion. These vegetables also contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Though cruciferous vegetables are safe to feed your dog, you should stick to very small amounts. Unlike humans, dogs and cats don’t rely on large amounts of vegetables to get the nutrients they need, so it isn’t necessary to regularly feed these vegetables. If you’re giving your pet a bite, the leaves of bok choy, kale and cabbage can be eaten raw but may need to be cut into smaller pieces. Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are best served cooked; steaming these vegetables will preserve most of the nutrients. Be sure there are no seasonings or oils added to the veggies you give your pet.
Kale contains some potentially harmful compounds, including calcium oxalate and isothiocyanates. Calcium oxalate can cause kidney and bladder stones, so dogs that are prone to those health issues should not eat kale. Other foods that contain high amounts of calcium oxalate include spinach, beet roots, collards, parsley, leeks, okra, Swiss chard, and quinoa.
The other compound in kale, isothiocyanates, is also found in broccoli and cauliflower and can cause gastric irritation. Too much added fiber from any vegetable can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. Only allow your pet to eat cruciferous vegetables sparingly and avoid feeding the tough parts of the vegetables like kale ribs and the stems of broccoli and cauliflower.
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