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Can Dogs Eat Brussels Sprouts?

Can your furry friend eat brussels sprouts or foods with brussels sprouts in them? Can dogs eat brussels sprouts? If you want to add a human food such as brussels sprouts to your dog’s diet, read this article first!

Dr. Jess describes the risks and the benefits of feeding brussels sprouts to your dog, as well as which types of brussels sprouts dogs can eat (if any!), and which is best left out of their food dish.

bowl of brussels sprouts in white bowl on wooden table

Dog food experts have arguments regarding the safety of serving certain brussels sprouts to dogs.

Well, as delicious as brussels sprouts are, is it actually a health threat to the dogs or are we over-reacting about this?

Let me, the veterinarian, explain my thoughts…

It’s always the best idea to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are safe and healthy for humans are actually very harmful for your dog to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them. Taste is never worth the risk of harming your pet.

That’s why I am so glad that you are here making an informed decision before feeding your dog brussels sprouts!

If you missed it, check out my article on if dogs can eat different forms of fish, mayo, or tuna fish!

What Do Dogs Eat?

Some dogs are not picky at all about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you offer them- they’re like vacuum cleaners sucking up anything you put in front of them and then some!

Some dogs are on the pickier side of things. Pickier pups can be harder to properly feed because they just won’t eat any food we give them. Try feeding a picky dog something like okra!

A common canine diet for pet dogs consists of a complete dry or wet feed and possibly some form of supplements in some specific cases (however, not all pet dogs need supplements).

Foraging can also be included in the diet if the dog is allowed to roam, or the dog is feral, and of course there are treats that are a part of many dog’s diets!

The diet of every dog breed will very when you are looking into a healthy and complete diet for your pup. So it is important to know when offering food to your dog, what constitutes a healthy choice, and what does not.

An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we???

So let’s talk specifically about brussels sprouts, since that’s why you clicked over here today, and talk about how it could affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Let’s Talk Brussels Sprouts:

Brussels Sprouts are a type of small cabbage, where the buds of the plant is the edible part.  

The common type of brussels sprout here in the United States is round and bright green in color once ripe.  There are other varieties that look more red, purple, or white in hue.

However, brussel sprouts can be found in Europe as well, especially in the Brussels area, where the cabbage got its name.

Brussels sprouts are typically used as food, most commonly prepared from the fresh or frozen state.  

Brussel sprouts can be sautéed or baked, steamed, microwaved, shredded and added to salads, or cut and used fresh in with other vegetable medleys.

Brussels Sprouts Nutrition:

Brussels sprouts have many known health benefits associated with them. But let’s start with their nutritional profile. According to Wikipedia a brussels sprout contains:

“Raw Brussels sprouts are 86% water, 9% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and negligible fat. In a 100 gram reference amount, they supply high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folate and vitamin B6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radish

Good Source of Vitamin C:

brussels sprouts have a nice amount of vitamin C in them – a vitamin that helps with the protection of important body systems that keep the body running and functioning appropriately.

Good Source of Minerals:

Brussels sprouts also contain some very essential minerals that important to your dog’s overall health, including iron, potassium, thiamine, magnesium and phosphorus.

Low in Calories:

Too many calories can lead to weight gain – that’s a well known fact. So if you have an overweight pet, this treat may be a good option for you!

Contains Antioxidants:

Multiple research studies have shown that brussels sprouts are a source of anti-inflammatory compounds, which effectively can help fight different forms of inflammation.

Antioxidants are thought to help reduce inflammation inside the body by binding (attaching) to and suppressing (decreasing) inflammation-promoting molecules known as free radicals. [source]. 

Brussels sprouts are also a good source of certain antioxidants like kaempferol, an antioxidant that has been studied extensively to promote good health. 

Studies have shown that antioxidants such as kaempferol may help reduce cancer cell growth [source], decrease inflammation reactions, and improve heart and bloodstream health [source].

Helps Digestive Function:

Brussels sprouts contain a lot of fiber to help aid in digestion.

Your pet needs a balanced amount of fiber in their diets to keep their gastrointestinal tract healthy and moving and digesting food appropriately.

May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Brussels sprouts contain high amounts of good-quality fiber, which may help regulate blood sugar levels. This will come in handy if you have a diabetic pet or are trying to prevent your dog from becoming diabetic!

close up of brussels sprouts on table

Can You Feed Brussels Sprouts To Dogs?

While brussels sprouts are not toxic to dogs and can be quite beneficial to some dogs, too many brussels sprouts could lead to some health problems too. 

Let me dive a little deeper and explain myself so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should let fido eat brussels sprouts off of your plate.

Do Dogs Like Brussels Sprouts?

Dogs are natural carnivores.

Some dogs find the flavor of brussels sprouts to be a delicious one, just some people love brussels sprouts in or on everything they eat, from their salads to their baked dinners.

So yes, some dogs like brussels sprouts. Some dogs even LOVE it.

Other dogs will definitely turn their nose away from the small cabbage.

Can Brussels Sprouts Be Harmful to Dogs?

Before we can decide whether brussels sprouts are safe to feed our dogs, we need to first understand some of the risks involved if we do feed our dogs brussels sprouts.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t have any concerns with feeding your dog brussels sprouts, because there are a few key things to keep in mind.

These three factors to keep in mind include:

Harmful Reason #1: Loose Stool/Diarrhea

Too much fiber can mean hypermotile, or increased movement, of one’s digestive tract.

Some dogs are more sensitive to additional fiber in their diets, so they are more likely to have loose stool and in some cases, full-blown diarrhea.

Other dogs will not be impacted by any additional fiber in their diets.

Many dog owners also report that their dog has increased flatulence after eating brussels sprouts.

This is very common and typically go away after the increased gas is removed from their systems.

If your dog acts uncomfortable due to extreme gas from their brussels sprouts treat, stop offering them brussels sprouts and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Harmful Reason #2: Allergic Reaction to Brussels Sprouts

A dog can develop an intolerance or an allergy to any food, so there is always the possibility that your dog is allergic to brussels sprouts.

If you suspect your dog is allergic to brussels sprouts, do NOT feed this food to your dog.

If your dog is allergic to brussels sprouts and accidentally ingests it, go to your nearest animal emergency room immediately.

When this happens, the attack sets off a hypersensitivity reaction and can result in any of the following symptoms:

Common symptoms of adverse/allergic reaction to food:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching/Increased grooming
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • etc.

How Many Brussels Sprouts Can a Dog Eat?

This depends on the specific dog in question. Most the time, brussels sprouts, given in small amounts periodically, are most likely just as healthy for your dog as it is for you.

Moderation is key here; never go overboard when feeding brussels sprouts to your dog, no matter if your dog has a stomach of steel or not. Small amounts every once in a while is okay for most dogs.

Smaller dogs do not need as many brussels sprouts as a larger dog to have the same effect.

Dogs with loose stool do not need, or need a lot fewer brussels sprouts, than a dog that is constipated would need.

The best thing to do to gauge how many brussels sprouts you should be feeding your dog safely, would be to contact your veterinarian about the specific pet in question.

Are Brussels Sprouts Beneficial For Dogs?

The random taste of a brussels sprout or a small bite as a treat is totally fine – it will not harm your dog. 

However, there’s no need to offer it in large quantities, as this can cause some major health issues for your pup, as I discussed above.

Basically, if your dog consumed a bit of brussels sprout, you don’t need to drive them straight to the vet to get their stomach pumped. 

If they start showing any odd signs of being affected by this new food (a list of signs and symptoms to look out for is further down in this article), contact your local veterinarian to get more information on what to do next.

So, yes there are some negative effects that can be seen with some dogs who consume brussels sprouts.

However, this does not mean that a large number of dogs see many more health benefits versus those few health concerns.

Some of the health benefits for dogs who consume brussels sprouts include:

  1. High Fiber: Fiber is great to keep the digestive system flowing smoothly and also helps dogs feel satiated (feeling full for longer after eating).
  2. Low Calorie: If your dog is overweight, you are liking looking for low calorie options for treats, etc.
  3. Low Fat: Again, if you are looking for lower-fat options to serve your overweight dog, brussels sprouts may be a good add-on option.
  4. Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants: A brussels sprout has many different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help keep your dog happy and healthy.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Brussels Sprouts?

Most dogs could handle a bit of raw brussels sprout if offered to them in a size that they could safely eat it without choking.

However, most dogs will not eat a raw brussels sprout when offered Instead, offering them a cooked brussels sprout is the way to go.

Make sure that the brussels sprout is fresh and not overly ripe or rotten no matter what way you are deciding to prepare it.

Some dogs do not like the taste of raw brussels sprouts, so don’t be shocked if your pup tells you no thanks to raw brussels sprouts.

Can Dogs Eat Roasted Brussels Sprouts?

Yes, dogs can eat roasted brussels sprouts, as long as no seasonings or other cooking products were used in the cooking process.

Your dog will be much more likely to accept a cooked brussels sprout from you due to the softer texture and stronger smell compared to if you were going to try and offer them a raw one.

boston terrier licking face

How to Serve Brussels Sprouts to Dogs:

After checking with your vet to make sure that brussels sprouts should be a part of your dog’s menu, start by offering your dog 1 teaspoon worth of brussels sprout.

If your dog does not show any adverse reactions after 24 hours or more, then you are likely safe to continue feeding your pup brussels sprouts, gradually increasing the amount according to your vet’s guidelines.

How to Feed Brussels Sprouts to Dogs

How to Feed Brussels Sprouts to Dogs

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 2.00

Find out how to safely and properly feed your dog brussels sprouts with this step-by-step guide.

Materials

  • 1 ripe brussels sprout

Tools

  • cutting board
  • kitchen knife
  • food-safe storage container

Instructions

    1. Remove the brussels sprouts stem, leaves from the edible bud as they should not be eaten.
    2. Wash the veggie thoroughly to get rid of any chemical, pesticides, or pests.
    3. Cut the brussels sprouts in slices and then into bite-sized pieces.
    4. Cook the brussels sprouts in whatever technique you prefer, remembering to not add oil, butter, or spices to the food that you will be offering to your pet.
    5. Prepare a bite-sized amount of brussels sprout to give to your dog, keeping in mind not to feed any dogs with health issues or those are not full grown.
    6. Watch your dog for adverse signs for at least 24 hours after trying a piece of brussels sprout before ever offering them more.
    7. Place any leftover brussels sprouts you may wish to keep in an airtight food-safe storage container in the fridge until ready to use.

Notes

Consult with your local veterinarian before adding or switching up your pet's diet. If your pet shows signs of adverse reaction to their diet, contact your vet immediately.

Keep the following in mind when serving food to your dog:

And remember that dogs need more than a bowl or plate of brussels sprouts – they need a complete and balanced diet.

Whichever complete food you choose for your dog, it needs to have the AAFCO label indicating the diet is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage.

AAFCO approved foods have gone through testing and compliance to make sure that the diet is safe and healthy for your pet.

Dogs already get everything that they need from their kibble or canned food.

How Many Brussels Sprouts Can My Dog Have?

Can dogs eat brussels sprouts? As I mentioned previously, they can eat brussels sprouts.

Most dogs are safe consuming a brussels sprout or two if they are a healthy adult dog.

A smaller dog will be good with a half to one full cooked brussels sprout, while a large or giant-size dog could handle 1-3 cooked brussels sprouts after a ramping up period.

So don’t give your large dog 3 cooked brussels spouts the very first time they eat the veggie!

Too many brussels sprouts can lead to digestive upset, increased flatulence (stinky stinky dog gas!), and other bodily conditions.

I highly recommend contacting your vet first before starting your dog on brussels sprouts, and also suggest that you start by offering your pup a small amount of brussels sprout and then working up to a full amount.

A little bit of brussels sprout typically goes a long way!

It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Talk to your vet about the appropriate serving size of brussels sprout for your dog.

Can Puppies Eat Brussels Sprouts?

I would never advise a puppy owner to feed brussels sprouts to their puppy unless your veterinarian is recommending it due to specific medical needs.

Why do I say this? Because your pup’s first months of life should consist of specialized puppy diets approved by your local veterinarian upon puppy examination.

Puppies tend to have an even more delicate digestive system than adult dogs so giving your puppy brussels sprouts might cause diarrhea, vomiting, or other adverse reactions.

Find Out If Your Dog Can Eat These Foods!

What to do If Your Dog Eats Brussels Sprouts:

If it is just a lick or two of brussels sprout, just watch them for the rest of the day just in case, for any signs of adverse reaction. 

If you are concerned with this small amount, of course, contact your veterinarian right away.  Most dogs can tolerate a small amount of brussels sprout on occasion and do just fine.  

If it is a large amount of brussels sprouts, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss details and what to do next. 

It is extremely likely that your vet will request that you bring your dog in immediately to get evaluated if they have gotten themselves into a large amount of brussels sprouts, or a rotten brussels sprout. We vets want to help and we will best help if we are notified right away.

Trust me, us vets are happy to help!

veterinarian signature

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

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