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Can dogs eat cauliflower?

Dog holding a food bowl in his mouth

Ask any dog owner (particularly one that’s had puppy experiences!) and they’ll tell you that dogs will eat just about anything—the stuff they’re supposed to eat, and plenty of stuff they’re not. And while some things are relatively harmless, there are certain human foods dogs can't eat as they can cause serious issues for them. Raisins, grapes, currants, and onions are just a few examples.

It’s no surprise, then, that questions about what ‘human foods’ dogs can and cannot eat are common among pet parents. Just like with people, some dogs tolerate specific foods better than others. Generally speaking, though, there’s a good long list of fruits and vegetables that are excellent for dogs and beneficial to their health. So, can dogs eat cauliflower?

Is cauliflower safe for dogs to eat?

Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. This family also includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. While cauliflower isn’t an essential part of a dog’s meal and they are fine without it, it is on the ‘good’ list and is completely safe for dogs to have—though ideally in small amounts.

The benefits of giving your dog cauliflower

Cauliflower has plenty of nutrients to offer, including fiber, vitamins K, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and folate. These nutrients support a wide variety of functions in the body, including vision, liver, muscles, and the immune system.

  • Fiber support regular digestion and bowel movements and is particularly key if your dog is having loose stools
  • Vitamin C reduces inflammation and cognitive aging, and scavenges potentially harmful free radicals
  • Vitamin K helps activate the ability for your dog’s blood to clot
  • Calcium supports strong bones and teeth and helps the muscles lengthen and contract
  • Potassium supports muscle and blood vessel function, and helps regulate the acidity of body fluids

Can cauliflower be bad for dogs?

Remember: dogs are carnivores. Their diet should be predominantly meat, bones, and organ (in the right proportion). But just as coyotes and wolves sometimes include berries and leafy greens in their diet in the wild, dogs benefit from the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables in small amounts. While too much cauliflower won’t be toxic to your dog, fruits and vegetables should make up a small part of a dog’s biologically appropriate diet—about 10%—but they shouldn’t comprise most of it.

How do you know if you’ve given your dog too much? You’ll likely notice symptoms such as gas or mild digestive issues—perhaps some irregular bowel movements. Though too much cauliflower won’t harm your dog, these symptoms can be uncomfortable for him and are best avoided.

The biggest concern with fruits and vegetables is what goes on them. Over time, pesticide residues can be harmful to both human and animal health. For this reason, it’s best to choose organic when shopping. In cases where going completely organic may be outside of your price range, try focusing on buying items from the dirty dozen list organic. You can buy the rest conventional.

How should I serve cauliflower to my dog?

Cauliflower is best served raw or lightly steamed to preserve its nutrients. Boiling cauliflower (and most other vegetables) can diminish its nutrient value, while frying should be avoided due to the use of oils. Here are some easy recipes to try out with your pup tonight!

The best way to prepare cauliflower for dogs

Mixed veggie mash

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

Bring a large pot with a couple inches of water in it to a boil.
Wash, peel, and roughly chop the sweet potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower (stem included).
Add them to the boiling water and cover. Steam until a knife easily pierces the flesh and the vegetables can be mashed.
Drain the vegetables. Add the coconut oil and mash them using a fork or masher. Stir in the turmeric.
Refrigerate in an airtight glass container or separate into silicone moulds and freeze for a cold treat.
To serve, simply add to your dog’s meal.

Cauliflower puree

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Raw goat milk

Bring a large pot with a couple inches of water in it to a boil.
Roughly chop the cauliflower, stem included.
Add the cauliflower pieces to the boiling water and cover. Steam until they are tender and can be mashed.
Drain the pot. Add the coconut oil and mash the cauliflower using a fork or masher. Add raw goat milk until you get the desired thickness (keep it thicker if you want a scoopable mash or thinner if you want it more pourable).
Refrigerate in an airtight glass container or separate into silicone moulds and freeze for a cold treat.
To serve, simply add to your dog’s meal in small amounts.

Learn about more human foods that dogs can or can't eat

The article was written by Katie Stone on August 28, 2020.

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