Brussels sprouts are a rather unusual ingredient in our dogs’ feed kitchen. This is why the question sometimes only arises when the dog has illegally stolen some of its humans’ Brussels sprouts or when leftovers are to be fed. But is Brussels sprouts healthy for dogs?
Can dogs eat Brussels sprouts?
Yes, dogs can eat Brussels sprouts. However, not all dogs like Brussels sprouts, and because of its nutritional composition, it is rather unnecessary for a healthy dog diet. If your dog likes Brussels sprouts, he can nibble on small portions.
However, Brussels sprouts are not suitable as a staple food for dogs.
Brussels sprouts cause gas in dogs
One reason you should be sparing your dog with Brussels sprouts is simply that Brussels sprouts cause gas. The sugar compounds it contains lead to gas formation in the intestine.
How much you will be affected if your dog escapes these gases is something you can only know yourself. But even if your dog does not live in the house, you should not forget that gas can be painful after a certain degree.
Therefore it is better to serve Brussels sprouts in small portions only occasionally – and only if they have been cooked beforehand. Your dog can digest it even more poorly and not use the nutrients at all.
Pay attention to the acid-base ratio
The acid-base ratio plays an important role in a healthy diet. The question is whether the digestion of food is more likely to form acids or bases.
Acids are characterized by very low pH value, while bases have a high pH value. It is equally important for humans and dogs to avoid hyperacidity.
Since all meat products have an acidic effect, especially in the case of species-appropriate dog food with alkaline “side dishes”, this must be controlled. This can usually be done well with generally base-forming vegetables.
Brussels sprouts are one of the few exceptions because they have a weak acidic effect. Therefore it is not suitable as a regular addition to the meat ration.
Use caution when consuming vitamins and minerals in Brussels sprouts
In addition to vitamins C and B2, Brussels sprouts mainly contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Unfortunately, your dog can only use the vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, and the minerals calcium and magnesium.
He does not need vitamin C at all because – unlike you – he can produce it himself in the body if he is healthy.
The high potassium content is almost unfavorable because, to get into a potassium deficiency state, your dog would have to have an illness, the treatment of which the veterinarian would advise you of the need to give additional potassium.
Any deficiency should not be diagnosed by the owner himself and should be fought with an extra dose of potassium as a precaution. On the contrary, an unintentional oversupply of potassium must be avoided at all costs, as it could cause serious heart problems.
Calcium and magnesium are not present in Brussels sprouts in amounts that would justify the risk of a potassium overdose. If you give your dog ready-made food, you can rest assured that he is adequately supplied with both.
It is the same with riboflavin, which is mainly found in meat. If you barf your dog, you already know that bones are the best source of calcium.
Other types of cabbage for your dog
For other cabbage vegetables such as white cabbage, broccoli, flower cabbage, or Chinese cabbage, the same consumption recommendation applies as far as the risk of flatulence is concerned. Unlike Brussels sprouts, its botanical relatives are not acidic and therefore do not pose any problems about the acid-base ratio.
So, if your dog is passionate about cabbage and not particularly prone to gas, there are plenty of alternative goodies available for him.
Cruciferous vegetables against cancer
Botanically, Brussels sprouts belong to the group of so-called cruciferous vegetables, which are mentioned from time to time in connection with the treatment of cancer. However, broccoli is usually the leader, and studies on this are still in the experimental stage, even in human medicine.
Such an effect of some types of cabbage cannot be completely ruled out. But Brussels sprouts, in particular, are hard to be regarded as cancer therapy for dogs because of their physiologically rather unfavorable effect on the acid-base ratio.
Brussels sprouts – more sweets than food
All in all, Brussels sprouts can be seen as more of a treat for dogs who just like them. It is not healthy for dogs. If you have a dog who loves taking it, you can occasionally feed Brussels sprouts in moderation without doing anything wrong.
If your darling should secretly steal some Brussels sprouts, you don’t have to worry – it is not harmful if consumed once, even in large quantities. Depending on the quantitative success of the raid, only the flatulence becomes uncomfortable.