Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower (Rice, Cheese, Leaves, & Pizza)?

Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower

Cauliflowers are healthy and delicious veggies for most people. But like with any food intended for humans, most people tend to think twice before giving something to their dog to eat without checking it’s safe first. With at in mind, is cauliflower safe for dogs to consume, is it healthy, or are their toxic elements to cauliflower stalks and leaves?

Can dogs eat cauliflower? Cauliflower is safe for dogs to eat and it won’t kill them. However, in larger amounts cauliflower can give dogs upset stomachs. This is particularly true if you let your dog eat cauliflower cheese, cauliflower pizza, and other dishes based on cauliflower leaves and stalks.  

The bottom line is, that dogs can eat cauliflower in small amounts. It can actually be a nutritious source of a number of minerals and vitamins for them.

However, there are some cauliflower recipes I don’t recommend you let your dog eat, and I will explain why further down, plus share a list of vegetables that you should not give your dog at all.

Is cauliflower safe for dogs to eat?

Cauliflowers are completely safe for dogs to eat and have no elements that are said to be toxic of poisonous to canines. Not only are they safe to eat, but they can also actually be healthy for your dog.

For example, cauliflower is a nutritionally rich vegetable that contains a healthy amount of fibers, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and calcium. In fact, according to Medical News Today, humans get the following health benefits from cauliflower:

“Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.”

I am not a vet, but I would assume that dogs can eat cauliflower with a similar range of health benefits… one would hope to anyway!

Based on what I’ve read, if fed in small amounts, cauliflowers can provide a range of nutrients for your dog. Fiber, for instance, helps in the dog’s bowel, weight, or colon related issues. The vitamins will aid your dog’s immune system, muscles, blood, and vision. And finally, calcium and potassium are great for dog’s bone development and strength.

Feed your dog cauliflower in moderation though

However, it is worth noting that dogs should never eat large amounts of cauliflowers as it can lead to digestive problems such as turning them gassy.

As a rule, you should also avoid serving frozen or canned cauliflower to your dogs as these are often preserved using salt, which can be bad for your dog.

Another thing worth considering is how you should and should not feed this vegetable to your dog. Your best bet is to serve boiled and cooked cauliflower with no seasoning. I will look at other ways you can feed cauliflower to your dog in a later section.

But one thing you must never do is prepare the cauliflower with onion or garlic. Onion and garlic are both toxic to dogs, and that can be a key ingredient in some of the following dishes I explain in more detail.

Can dogs eat cauliflower cheese?

I would draw the line at letting my dog eat cauliflower cheese for a number of reasons. Firstly, whilst many dogs can eat cheese quite happily with no problems, other dogs can have lactose intolerance… just a little bit of cheese can cause gastrointestinal issues.

can dogs eat cauliflower cheese
Letting your dog eat cauliflower cheese probably isn’t the best idea!

Another reason why dogs cannot eat cauliflower cheese is due to ingredients in the classic recipe for the dish. Many people will cook cauliflower cheese with added onions and garlic.

Both onion and garlic are toxic to dogs and can make them very ill.

When you combine the rich cheesy sauce in cauliflower cheese with the potential for onion and garlic poisoning, it’s not a good idea to let your dog eat it.

Can dogs eat cauliflower rice?

Dogs can eat cauliflower rice providing it has no seasoning and spices in it. The best cauliflower rice for dogs will be when the vegetable is pulsed together to make the rice, with nothing added – most commercial brands just contain the core vegetable and nothing else.

Cauliflower rice is low in calories and could help support a dog diet aimed at weight loss.

Can dogs eat cauliflower pizza?

The jury’s out on this one when you talk with other dog owners, but for me, it’s a no. I don’t believe dogs should eat cauliflower pizza due to the cheese and other seasonings involved.

How to feed cauliflower to a dog

The best way to give your dog cauliflower is by steaming, cooking, or boiling it. Raw cauliflower is also okay, but it is more likely to make the dog gassy.

Small amounts of raw cauliflower are okay, but in larger quantities, it can upset the dog’s digestion and make it very gassy, which can be as unpleasant for the dog as it will be for the owners.

You could also roast cauliflowers for your dog. This is an easy way to give the dog this vegetable without worrying about the gases. If you are adamant about cooking the cauliflower, make sure you do it without any oil or butter as you would when preparing it as part of a human diet. Oil and butter are both bad for dogs and can upset their gut and digestion.

You can also be more creative if you like. Cauliflower rice or cauliflower pizzas can be enjoyed both by the owners and their dogs as long as it does not contain other harmful additives.

One thing you should be mindful of is to avoid adding certain vegetables when you’re preparing cauliflower for your dog. Or perhaps if you are thinking about giving some of the cauliflower you’re prepared for yourself or other people to your dog, there are certain things vegetables you should avoid adding to any cauliflower recipe.

Vegetables dogs should not eat

Most people simply assume that the digestive system of a dog is similar to that of humans. This leads to them believing that dogs can eat whatever humans can eat.

This is simply not true. There are many vegetables that humans love and are actually healthy for them that aren’t suitable for dogs.

We will now share a list of all the vegetables that you shouldn’t give your dog: 

  • Garlic: Garlic is extremely toxic to dogs. Even in small quantities, they can cause vomiting or diarrhea. In larger amounts, they can lead to the breaking down of red blood cells, and ultimately, anemia.
  • Onions: Onions contain a chemical called N-propyl disulfide, which can be toxic to dogs. The compound can lead to the breaking down of red blood cells in dogs leading to anemia. It is also important to avoid giving other food items that have onions in them.
  • Tomatoes: These human delicacies are members of the nightshade family, meaning they can be allergic to some dogs. They also contain a chemical called solanine that can be toxic to dogs. Solanine is primarily concentrated in green raw tomatoes. It can also be found in green potatoes.
  • Eggplant: They belong to the nightshade family, which means some dogs can be allergic to it. Make sure your dog can handle eggplant in small quantities before deciding if it’s okay for your dog.
  • Radishes: Radishes are okay for dogs but only when served in tiny pieces of slices. When given whole, dogs tend to swallow big chucks, which can lead to bowel-related complications.
  • Corn: Corn in itself is fine to give to your dog. But you should never give whole corn to your dog as they tend to swallow the cobs whole, which can lead to life-threatening complications.
  • Beet: Raw beet is usually fine, although it can sometimes be a choking hazard. Cooked beet contains oxalate, which can lead to bladder stones. Beets are also acidic, which can be bad for the dog’s gut.
  • Kale: It is high in oxalate, which can be a problem if your dog is prone to bladder stones. Also, it can lead to excessive gas.
  • Mushrooms: Store-bought varieties are usually okay. But some wild mushrooms which are okay for humans can be poisonous to dogs.
  • Cabbage: They are healthy in moderation since they contain important vitamins and antioxidants. But too much of it can lead to excessive gas.
  • Brussel Sprouts: Actually, these aren’t too bad, but it can lead to excessive gas. Give in moderation as discussed here.

The health benefits for dogs that eat small amounts of cauliflower

As I have already discussed above, cauliflowers can be extremely beneficial for your dog’s health (if given in moderation). Besides the vitamins and minerals I mentioned earlier, cauliflowers also contain isothiocyanates, which can help prevent cancer in dogs. Another food that is rich in this chemical is a close relative of cauliflowers; broccoli.

Another advantage of feeding your dog cauliflower is the relatively low-calorie content of this vegetable. This can be particularly beneficial if you are trying to get your dog to lose some weight.

The best way to give your dog cauliflower is in low quantity as an alternative to traditional dog treats, which are usually high in calories. Make sure you also use the cauliflower stalk when preparing the treat.

Cauliflower is also renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. This can be particularly helpful for dogs suffering from joint-related or other inflammation problems.

Disclaimer: The content in this guide is a result of my own research and opinion. You should seek the advice of a vet before feeding your dog anything that isn’t approved food for their diet.

Conclusion

Despite popular belief, cauliflowers are entirely safe for dogs to eat. At larger amounts, they can make the dog gassy. This is something most owners would want to avoid. But in moderation, these vegetables can actually be quite healthy for dogs.

It is also important to know all the vegetables that are actually toxic to dogs, especially common complementary vegetables like onions and garlic. When giving your dog cauliflower, always make sure it is free of anything that can be toxic to them.

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Photo in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/cauliflower-vegetable-food-5538616/

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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