Brussels sprouts are a green leafy vegetable. Despite the name, they are not actually from Brussels! They seem to have originated in Italy and were introduced to Britain around 1608 where they became a popular food. From there they spread to other parts of Europe and eventually to America.
Brussel sprout plants grow up to 1m tall and each plant produces hundreds of small, round buds that look similar to mini cabbages. The buds appear at the ends of branches which branch out from a central stem that grows up from underground stems or roots called ‘rhizomes’. The leaves form a rosette at the base as well as coming off the central stem but along with their flower buds, most leaves tend to grow close to the ground.
Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamins and minerals, containing more vitamin C than an orange! They also contain lots of fibre which is really important for keeping your digestive system healthy among other things.
They taste slightly sweet and nutty, with a cabbage-like texture. They go well in stews or on their own with a little olive oil or butter, salt and pepper added during cooking. They don’t take long to cook either, only about 15 minutes depending on how small they’re chopped.
If you’re buying from a supermarket it’s helpful to know that nutrient content varies from season to season according to the amount of light the plant has grown so you get a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals at times of year when the days are short.
So, back to the original question – can dogs eat brussel sprouts?
Dogs can eat brussels sprouts but if they do it should be as a very occasional treat only because there’s not a lot of nutritional value for them in them. They taste pretty good to humans though! So one or two cooked up as a side dish isn’t going to hurt your dog even if he begs for more!
BONUS ANSWER: Brussels sprouts are actually really good for dogs! They contain vitamin K, which is important in blood clotting, and glucosinolates which have powerful anti-cancer properties. But remember that these benefits will only be obtained by cooking sprouts for your dog – raw sprouts contain harmful amounts of a gas called thiocyanate. If you want to feed raw sprouts, blanch them first!
Are cooked brussel sprouts good for dogs?
Brussel sprouts are a member of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbages and broccoli. Since they’re so close to those plants don’t be surprised if your dog turns his nose up at them! It’s not that he doesn’t like the taste – dogs love anything edible – it’s just that they’re picky
How many brussel sprouts can a dog eat?
I say not more than one or two cooked brussel sprouts per day as an occasional treat for your dog. It’s important that dogs don’t eat large quantities of cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts because they contain glucosinolates which release hydrogen sulphide when digested. This gas can damage red blood cells, causing them to burst if they are exposed to it in high concentrations.
However, I can’t find good evidence that eating cooked brussels sprouts causes the release of hydrogen sulphide gas, so this probably isn’t a problem unless you’re serving up truckloads of sprouts every day.
Are raw brussel sprouts good?
No! There’s a chemical in raw brussel sprouts called thiocyanate which prevents the body from absorbing iodine. If you eat too many of them your thyroid gland will stop producing enough thyroxin and this can lead to hypothyroidism, resulting in weight gain, lethargy and intolerance to cold. So, don’t feed your dog raw brussels sprouts!
Why does my dog love Brussels sprouts?
Dogs are carnivores through and through, so they’re programmed to love meat. However, the glucosinolate content of vegetables like brussels sprouts activates digestive enzymes in your dog’s stomach which make protein more digestible. So even if he turns his nose up at them initially, once they start breaking down inside his stomach he’s going to love them because he gets more protein from them!
One final reason why your dog may enjoy brussels sprouts is because they contain lots of vitamin C which gives him a boost of much-needed energy. So it’s not just you who benefits!
Are brussel sprouts healthy for dogs?
Brussels sprouts are healthy for dogs to eat but only if they’re cooked. Raw brussels sprouts contain thiocyanate, a chemical that stops your dog’s body from absorbing iodine. If you cook the sprouts the chemical is broken down so doesn’t present a problem. Having said that, it’s not exactly encouraged because there’s not a lot of nutritional value in them!
If you decide to feed raw brussels sprouts make sure you blanch them first, which means boiling for a couple of minutes and then plunging them into cold water. This reduces the amount of thiocyanate they contain to acceptable levels
Can dogs eat broccoli and brussel sprouts?
Both broccoli and brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family, which means they contain high levels of glucosinolates. When glucosinolate is broken down it produces sulforaphane which has anti-cancer properties. So yes, dogs can eat both these foods but you’ll need to cook them first!
Why does broccoli give my dog gas?
Broccoli contains high levels of sulphoraphane which can cause gas in your dog. If you don’t want him gassy then blanch the broccoli first or replace it with brussels sprouts.
How do I cook Brussels sprouts for dogs?
The easiest way to serve up Brussels sprouts for your dog is to steam them, so here’s a quick guide:
Cut off the brown ends and pull away any tough outer leaves. Place the brussels sprouts in a steamer over boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes until they start to soften. Then remove from heat and serve! Your dog may be suspicious of the little green orbs at first so you might have to let him try one before he decides whether or not he likes them.
When are brussels sprouts in season?
Brussels sprouts are grown mostly in California, Georgia, Mexico and Peru during winter months. They’re also grown year round in parts of Europe including northern Germany, northern France and Belgium. They’re in season between October and April in the US but can be found all year round in some countries.