Brussels sprouts – Filled with essential vitamins and minerals and packed with powerful antioxidants, these little cruciferous veggies provide us humans and our canines with many health benefits. While the general consensus is that it’s healthy for dogs to eat Brussels Sprouts and Courgettes, moderation is definitely key. Let’s slice the sprouts to see what benefits they provide to dogs!
The weird vegetable
The Brussels sprout is a cruciferous plant and part of the brassica genus of plants. “Cruciferous” means they’re members of the cabbage family with cousins including broccoli, kale, arugula, cabbage, radishes, and watercress.
Dietary Fiber: Fiber keeps your dog’s digestive system healthy – and Brussels sprouts have a lot of fibre to ensure healthy bowel movements.
Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water, so it remains intact as it travels through the intestines, attracting water to the stool. As it travels through, it pulls all the other food and waste along with it, reducing the incidence of stomach issues, constipation, and diarrhoea.
Vitamin K: This fat-soluble vitamin contains prothrombin, a protein essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism. Vitamin K also helps regulate blood calcium levels – reducing the risk of heart disease – and aids in blood circulation.
Vitamins B1 and B6: These important vitamins boost your dog’s metabolism by helping release energy from foods. They also help in making new cells and support your dog’s nervous system.
Antioxidants: Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your dog’s health by fighting against free radicals that cause oxidative cell damage. But they also provide some important age-related and cognitive benefits as well.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, sulforaphane, Kaempferol, and folate: These are potent antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties, boost your dog’s immune system, and prevent some cancers and heart disease.
Weight loss: Fiber slows down your dog’s digestion. This can sustain fullness after meals, which reduces begging and aids in weight loss. Since they have few calories, no sugar, and high fibre, Brussels sprouts are an acceptable treat for obese or diabetic dogs.
We mentioned moderation for a reason. Just as Brussel sprouts are good for dogs’ health. What is too much – it might not be healthy.
As these vegetables assist with bowel movements and cleaning the colon, they are known to make many humans a little, err, windy. So it should come as no surprise that apparently they do the same in our canine companions.
Brussel sprouts contain a large amount of isothiocyanate, a substance that helps us pass food and waste through the gastrointestinal tract. This process builds up excess bacterium, which, essentially, translates to LOTS of gas when it leaves the body.
Be warned, though, too many and your dog may suffer an upset stomach or even diarrhoea – be sure to consult your vet if this persists for longer than a few days.
Serving of the mighty Brussel
You should always check with your veterinarian before offering your dog any new food. Your vet knows your dog’s health and can give you advice on how you should feed a particular food to your dog.
The best way to make sprouts for your pup is to steam them for around 5 minutes. This will preserve the largest amount of nutrients, which, after all, is why they’re so great for dogs! Boiling them is the worst because the nutrients will leech out into the water, leaving the Brussels sprouts without their nutritional benefits.
Make sure that your sprouts are firm and green to start with, then wash them carefully and cut off most of the stems.
Best to start from a small amount – from ¼ of Brussel sprout and grow up to 3 sprouts maximum. When feeding your dog any food besides their regular dog food, follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of your dog’s calories should come from balanced dog food, with the remaining 10% coming from healthy treats.