Can Dogs Taste Brussel Sprouts?

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Introduction

Most people either love or hate Brussel sprouts and there is no in-between. These vegetables look like small cabbages and if they are cooked in certain ways, such as steamed, they give off a very pungent smell many people do not like. Despite their distinct flavor, Brussel sprouts are packed full of healthy minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants! They can also be cooked and paired with so many flavors, so it is likely you may have these veggies on hand a lot of the time. 

When you cook them up, you may want to know if you can share some sprouts with your dog as a snack or put some in their food bowls with their dinner. Overall, Brussel sprouts are non-toxic to dogs and are safe for them to eat in moderation. 

Signs of a Dog Liking Brussel Sprouts

Whether or not your dog likes a certain food is quite easy to see. Just like humans, dogs react strongly to foods they are not into and we can observe these signs to determine if we should continue to feed our dog these foods or if we should move onto something else. 

If you give your dog Brussel sprouts for the first time and they chew the veggie without any hesitation and swallow it, take this as a sign they are fine with the food and they like it. Your dog may also drool a lot, lick their lips, stare at you and the food, paw at you, jump up at you and/or the food, pace around, wag their tail, and stick their ears up. 

If you think your dog does not like Brussel sprouts, there are some common signs to keep an eye out for as well. Your dog may take the veggie from you and try to eat it, but then spit it out. Many dogs will take that piece of food and play with it by batting it around as well. Your dog may also give the food the "ugly face" by snarling or exposing their teeth to it whereas other dogs will simply ignore the food and walk away with complete disinterest. 

Body Language

These are some signs you may notice if you dog likes Brussel sprouts:
  • Alert
  • Wag tail
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Paw raised
  • Ears up

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you might notice if your dog likes Brussel sprouts:
  • Staring intently at the food
  • Pacing in circles around you and the food
  • Pawing at you and the food

History of Dogs and Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a member of the cabbage family. You may not have known that there are actually hundreds of varieties of Brussel sprouts because we usually only find one variety of this veggie in most supermarkets throughout the United States. 

These veggies are likely to have been around for thousands of years and our ancestors heavily relied on this food group as a source of nutrition, but also for its high levels of vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, Brussel sprouts are also very easy to grow because they can grow in tough and harsh types of soils. Caggabe plants can also grow in the wintertime, so they are a versatile and sturdy plant.

Brussel sprouts do not grow in the wild and were actually vegetables that were created by cross-breeding between kale-like greens and regular cabbage plants. We don't know exactly where Brussel sprouts got their start and it is unclear if they actually were cultivated in Brussels or elsewhere. 

It is unknown if dogs ever ate Brussel sprouts as a source of food while they were undomesticated, but it is unlikely they would have sought after this veggie, and would mainly stick to meats and fishes. Dogs are carnivores by nature and do not eat fruits and veggies in the wild as their main source of food and fuel. It is possible dogs and wolves would scavenge any remnants of this veggie that were left and discarded from humans, but we do not know for sure. It would be very hard to look back in time and definitively make a conclusion if wolves and wild dogs ate certain vegetables or not.  

Science Behind Dogs and Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a very nutrient-dense vegetable that has wonderful benefits for both humans and dogs alike. They are loaded with different vitamins, minerals, and heaps of fiber. Brussel sprouts contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K. These vitamins are known for helping boost the immune system and create strong and healthy bones. This is a particularly important factor for young puppies and older dogs, making it a good choice of veggie to add to your pup's diet. 

We also find vitamins B1, B6, and A as well. Manganese, potassium, and folate also round out this nutritious food. All of these vitamins and minerals have wonderful health benefits for your dog and will keep them healthy, strong, and happy! 

Brussel sprouts also contain two very special compounds called sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These compounds help eliminate harmful free radicals from the body, which can lead to cancer and chronic disease if the body is not cleansed properly. Although there has been a lot of studies regarding the ability to help prevent cancer in humans, the same has not been done for dogs. However, there is a good chance your dog will reap the same benefits as you would. 

Training Dogs to Like Brussel Sprouts

When giving your dog Brussel sprouts, making sure they are prepared in the safest way possible is a must. This means you should thoroughly wash the sprouts first before you begin to cook them. This will wash off anything harmful like feces, pesticides, and herbicides. You can always take things a bit further and opt for organic Brussel sprouts. You can often find pre-washed sprouts in the supermarket as well. You want to remove the tough, small stem located at the bottom of the sprout. 

Once they are rinsed and trimmed well, the best way to cook the sprouts for your dog is to steam them. Yes, this is the stinky way to cook them, but it allows you to cook without any butter or oil and the sprouts can get very soft for your dog. If you would like, you can also pop them in the microwave with some water or boil them in a pot of unsalted water until they are tender. 

Raw and not fully cooked Brussel sprouts can be a bit tough and you do not want them to be a choking hazard for your pup. Keep in mind that you do not want to overcook the sprouts too much either, as they will lose some of their nutritional benefits if they are cooked too long. 

How to React if Your Dog Doesn't Like Brussel Sprouts:

  • Take any uneaten pieces away.
  • Don't force them to eat it.

Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Brussel Sprouts:

  • Do not overfeed your dog.
  • Always cook the Brussel sprouts first.