Can Dogs Eat Brussel Sprouts? How Safe & Good Are They Really!

can dogs eat Brussel sprouts

Whilst Brussels sprouts might not be everyone’s favorite, I love them and constantly have them cooking on the boil. I also have a greedy dog, and it’s hard to cook anything in the kitchen without his pleading eyes staring up at me.

But what can I do? Can I feed my dog eat Brussel sprouts and how good (or bad) can they be? I decided to conduct some research and even calculated calorie data to see whether it makes a difference if your dog eats raw Brussel sprouts versus cooked or frozen ones.

If you’re here for a real quick answer, here’s are the top-line details, followed by the more interesting stuff afterwards.

Can dogs eat Brussel sprouts? Brussels sprouts are good for dogs in moderation as they contain antioxidants, are fiber rich, and packed full of essential vitamins. Whilst Brussel sprouts are safe for dogs, too many can cause an increase in flatulence or gastrointestinal issues. 

The bottom line is this; dogs can eat Brussel sprouts, but… there good ways and bad ways you should feed them. If you want to more carry on reading essential information for all dog owners – including which part of a sprout is safe (or possibly dangerous) to your dog’s health.

Are Brussel sprouts good for dogs?

According to a blog post I read on the American Kennel Club (AKC) website, when fed in moderation, Brussel sprouts are perfectly safe for dogs to eat.

But are they healthy and good for your four-legged friend?

There’s no doubt that Brussel sprouts have some really great nutrients that all dogs need. Here is a brief overview of the main nutrients, vitamins and minerals that Brussel sprouts ca offer.

However, bear in mind that if you are feeding a whole and complete dog food, your dog might not actually need any additional supplementation. It’s a bit different if you are feeding your dog a homemade dog food or raw diet; supplementation is more important here.

Handy Hint: Always talk with your dog’s veterinarian before adding anything to your pup’s diet that isn’t a vet-approved dog food. All dogs are different, and you should always seek professional advice first.

1. Dietary fiber

Dogs can always benefit from high quality insoluble dietary fiber. This type of fiber regulates the digestive and elimination functions and helps maintain gut health.

are brussel sprouts good for dogs
With plenty of fiber and vitamins, sprouts are a great low calorie doggy snack. (Image licensed from StoryBlocks.com)

2. Vitamins

Brussel sprouts are packed full of vitamins including Vitamin K which is important for strong, healthy bones and blood clotting function.

Then there’s Vitamin A which is said to be an essential vitamin for dogs. It is important for skin and coat health, healthy muscles and nerves and proper neurological function.

However, too much Vitamin A can lead to toxicity, and is primarily a problem for dogs who get fed table scraps (read more on VCA Hospitals).

You then then have plenty of Vitamin C in Brussel sprouts which is a super important immune booster. It is said to also reduces systemic inflammation in dogs, and can guard against cell damage and cancer.

The B range of vitamins are also present in sprouts. Vitamin B1 or thiamine as it is sometimes called, helps your dog’s body metabolize carbohydrates for energy. Thiamine is also important for brain, nerve and organ health.

Sprouts also contain Vitamin B6 which is incredibly important to help your dog keep a healthy blood sugar balance. It is an important nutrient to guard against diabetes and Cushing’s disease (a pituitary condition).

3. Essential minerals

In addition to the vitamins, Brussel sprouts are also good for dogs due to the high mineral content. Minerals do lots of different jobs, including helping your dog’s bones, brain, heart, and muscles stay healthy and work better.

The first mineral of note is Potassium. Potassium is a vital electrolyte that your dog relies on for proper heart function and water uptake to the cells. It is also important for healthy muscles, nervous system function and brain function.

The second essential mineral is manganese. Manganese is an important nutrient to maintain healthy bones and cartilage, to metabolize carbohydrates and protein and to help your dog’s body make energy.

4. Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a key role in fighting against disease, cancer, free radicals that cause cell damage and other systemic disruptions. They are key in keeping your dog healthy and are found in high quality dog foods.

The Care Animal Hospital say this:

“The most common antioxidants are beta carotene, selenium, and lycopene. Some of the best foods to find important antioxidants in include carrots, green peppers, squash, tomatoes, kale, peaches, apples, broccoli, spinach, Brussel sprouts, citrus fruits, and strawberries.” 

Dogs, Brussel sprouts, and calories

We’ve established that Brussel sprouts are ok for dogs. But you still need to balance how this food is added to their diet.

I have a very simple rule when it comes to any food that isn’t recommended by my vet; the 90/10 rule. This just means that 90% of my dog’s daily calories are his “normal” food, and 10% can be snacks.

I don’t really wish to label Brussel sprouts as a snack, because they aren’t what I would consider unhealthy. But I would still use the same rule because ultimately, dogs do eat Brussel sprouts, but it’s not the most suitable of regular food.

When you consider that dogs should only eat 25 calories for every pound they weigh, it makes for an interesting study; here’s what I did.

Based on that I took the average adult weight of two different sized, yet popular breeds:

  • An average French Bulldog of 25 pounds should eat no more than 625 calories daily.
  • An average Labrador of 70 pounds should eat no more than 1,750 calories daily.

I then decided to see how many calories are in Brussel sprouts, be they raw, cooked, fried, or frozen to see how it impacts your dog’s daily diet. Here are the numbers I crunched:

  • 10 Raw Brussel sprouts (43 calories): 7% French Bulldog / 2% Labrador daily intake.
  • 10 Roasted Brussel sprouts (67 calories): 11% French Bulldog / 4% Labrador daily intake.

As you can see, sprouts are very low in calories. Even a large portion of 10 sprouts would only account for between 7% to 11% of a small dog’s daily diet.

I would not recommend feeding Brussel sprouts to your dog in this quantity, and I will explain in more detail later on.

Could sprouts help with dog weight loss?

Based on this, can Brussel sprouts help your dog lose weight? It’s possible as they are very low in calories.

The main aim would be to get your pet into a calorie deficit if they are overweight. Sprouts could help as they can bulk out the dog food without impacting too highly on calorie intake.

Handy Hint: You shouldn’t feed Brussel sprouts in any form to a puppy because the isothiocyanate in these veggies is difficult even for adult dogs to digest. Never feed any extra food to a puppy unless your dog’s veterinarian says it is okay.

Can dogs eat Brussel sprouts raw?

Right now, feeding your raw dog brussels sprouts is probably sounding like a pretty smart idea. But there is one thing I haven’t told you yet that might change your mind about giving your dog raw brussels sprouts.

The dreaded gas.

Brussel sprouts are members of the cruciferous vegetable family. They are basically tiny cabbages. If you have ever eaten cabbage, you probably know it is renowned for both its nutritional value and the unfortunate side effect of flatulence.

As the American Kennel Club (AKC) point out, Brussel sprouts have a special compound called isothiocyanate. This can give the strongest muscles in the intestinal tract an extra helping hand to send food and waste material on its way.

As you can imagine, this benefit doesn’t come without an uncomfortable (and often stinky) cost: dog farts.

If your dog already farts lots like mine does, you really may want to think twice about offering your dog any Brussel sprout recipe – particularly when they are raw as they will contain more of the farty goodness.

Handy Hint: Did you know that some dogs are scared of fart sounds? I decided to research this subject (someone had to)!

Can dogs eat Brussel sprouts cooked?

Cooked Brussel sprouts are good for dogs and the cooking process will make them a lot easier to digest. The harder a raw vegetable is to digest, the better it can be to eat it cooked… and brussels sprouts are one of the hardest veggies available.

In other words, if you think your dog passes a lot of wind after eating a cooked Brussel sprout, just wait until he gets his teeth around a raw one!

Can dogs eat Brussel sprouts every day?

I don’t recommend you feed your dog Brussel sprouts daily, and not just because of the gas factor.

dogs brussel sprouts
Cook the sprouts first, preferably steamed to keep the goodness in. (Image licensed from StoryBlocks.com)

Too many Brussel sprouts as part of a regular diet can lead to potential health problems. It’s because in high quantities they can actually disrupt the normal operation of your dog’s G.I. tract.

And I speak from personal experience.

One day my dog ate a whole bowl of raw Brussel sprouts I was prepared for our traditional Sunday roast dinner. There is no delicate way to say this. He had an upset stomach and diarrhoea for a whole day and night.

It is hard to say who was more miserable – him for having to pass all those Brussel sprouts or us for having to clean up after her (while feeling so guilty for not doing a better job of keeping them away from him).

Can dogs eat Brussel sprout stalks?

While Brussel sprouts can look very pretty while still attached to the long stalk, the raw stalks are not typically considered to be safe for dogs to eat.

When unpeeled, the stalks are very tough and fibrous with their thick outer casings. However, some dog owner forums suggest that they are edible on the inside – not unlike how the insides of broccoli stalks are very tasty once you peel away the outer casings.

Please be careful, as smaller dogs that try to ingest the unpeeled raw Brussel sprout stalk could risk choking, perforation or impaction.

However, if you can try peeling the outer stalk and steaming the inner core. You will likely find your dog likes it just as much as the sprouts themselves.

Can dogs eat Brussel sprout leaves?

Brussel sprouts leaves are perfectly safe for your dog to eat. Giving your dog individual raw leaves is unlikely to produce as much gas as if you offered whole raw sprouts.

You could also steam the leaves and add them as a garnish on top of your dog’s regular food at mealtimes. In fact, this is a great way to feed this vegetable.

Can dogs eat frozen Brussel sprouts?

This really depends on what you mean. If you mean buying frozen sprout and then cooking them, then yes, it’s the same as if they were raw then cooked from fresh.

However, if you mean to give your dog a frozen Brussel sprout that hasn’t thawed, then this can be problematic for small, miniature or toy dog breeds.

Raw Brussels are hard enough to chew already and freezing just makes them more so. It will present a real risk of choking.

Where some of the confusion comes from is the advice you see online to give frozen treats to teething puppies or to adult dogs in very hot weather.

Additional notes on feeding

Some dogs don’t have any problem digesting sprouts in any form – fresh, frozen, raw, cooked – but other dogs may struggle. Even if you think your dog has an iron stomach, always start by offering just one sprout and see how your pup reacts.

Just make sure the sprouts are in a pure form with nothing added that could upset your dog’s stomach.

We let our dog have a few and no more than once a week, but I always steam them first.

sprouts
Don’t add oils, spices, salts, peppers or anything else to the sprouts. Only feed them in a pure form after steaming. (Image licensed from StoryBlocks.com)

When you steam Brussel sprouts, you make them easier to digest and also preserve their cancer-fighting antioxidant properties.

Serving your dog steamed Brussels with nothing extra added – no lemon juice, salt, butter, oil or anything else people like to add for flavor – is the best way to offer your dog this vegetable.

You will find popular sprout recipes online that also include lots of onion, garlic, and bacon. Bacon is way too salty for dogs so avoid this completely. Onion and garlic are toxic to dogs, so should never go near them.

Don’t boil them. Boiling will remove a lot of the healthy nutrients and the antioxidants that are said to fight cancer and battle free radicals.

Handy Hint: Find out how cauliflower could contain some healthy elements for your dog’s diet.

Conclusion

Our French Bulldog Claude loves Brussel sprouts and as soon as I start chopping them up in the kitchen, he comes and sits at my feet and begs for raw pieces. I don’t always give in!

You will read plenty of other blogs that say you should add this veggie to your dog’s diet. I prefer to always be cautious – moderation is key.

Whilst sprouts are safe, it should only be something that is served as an occasional treat, in small quantities… and most importantly, once you have asked your vet if it’s ok for your dog personally.

They are all different after all!

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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