People seem to either love or hate Brussels sprouts. As a lover of this cruciferous veggie, they’re a dinnertime staple in my house. But I rarely think to feed them to my pups. Have you ever wondered: Can dogs eat Brussels sprouts?
Short answer: Yes!
What Are Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable that resembles mini cabbages. They’re a member of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables, meaning they’re closely related to other powerful superfoods, like kale and broccoli. Like their close relatives, they offer up a variety of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that benefit both us and our canine companions.
Of course, before you simply toss Brussels sprouts to your pup, it’s important to know the proper feeding tips (which I share below)!
When feeding Brussels sprouts to your dog, moderation is key. So, let’s take a look at the nutritional facts for just 1 sprout! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 sprout (about 19 g) contains:
- Water – 16.3 g
- Calories – 8.17
- Protein – 0.642 g
- Total Fat – 0.057 g
- Carbohydrates – 1.7 g
- Fiber – 0.722 g
- Sugars – 0.418 g
- Calcium – 7.98 mg
- Iron – 0.266 mg
- Magnesium – 4.37 mg
- Phosphorus – 13.1 mg
- Potassium – 73.9 mg
- Sodium – 4.75 mg
- Choline – 3.63 mg
- Folate – 11.6 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 302 µg
- Beta Carotene – 85.5 µg
- Vitamin A – 7.22 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.042 – mg
- Vitamin C – 16.2 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.167 mg
- Vitamin K – 33.6 µg
- Aids a Strong Immune System – Brussels sprouts are rich in various vitamins (like A and C), minerals, and antioxidants that support a strong immune system.
- Great Addition to an Anti-Cancer Diet – Like other cruciferious vegetables, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of Sulforaphane, a compound that various studies show to have potent anti-cancer properties. Additionally, this veggie is packed with antioxidants, which help fight against free-radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells. If there are too many free radicals in the body, it can lead to chronic disease. Experts link free radicals to various illnesses, including cancer.
- Supports Heart Health – This is thanks to their anti-inflammatory benefits! Plus, eating a healthy amount of dietary fiber, potassium, and magnesium (which are all found in Brussels) also offers up heart-health benefits.
- May Benefit Digestive Health – Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, which supports digestion and helps slow the digestive process, allowing the body to absorb more vital nutrients. With that said, overfeeding Brussels sprouts can result in gas and an upset tummy.
- Eye Health – The Beta Carotene in this superfood (which the liver converts to Vitamin A) aids in maintaining and improving eye health. Plus, eye health benefits also come from the carotenoids Lutein + zeaxanthin. They’re said to protect a dog’s retina — the light-sensitive inner wall of the eye — from oxidative damage.
- Blood – Brussels sprouts offer up a nice amount of vitamin K, which aids the overall health of blood (it plays a role in clotting and beyond).
- Bone Health – Vitamin K is also an essential bone-building vitamin.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind when feeding Brussels sprouts to your dog:
- Avoid feeding raw, as they’re hard for dogs to digest. Rather, you’ll want to boil or steam them first.
- Cut them into small, bite-size pieces to avoid a choking hazard.
- While you may like to jazz up your serving of sprouts with various seasonings, keep your pup’s helping plain.
- Only feed Brussels sprouts in moderation. Canine nutrition experts say veggies, like Brussels, should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So what is 10%? Well, that depends on your dog’s size. In general, a couple of bite-sized pieces are totally fine and healthy!
- When first introducing Brussels sprouts into your pup’s diet, do so slowly. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your veterinarian!
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!