When fall makes its way around again, you’re probably dreaming of thick stews, hot bread, and roasted vegetables. While your dog’s idea of a delightful fall is limited to crisp afternoons and chasing the falling leaves, you can involve your dog in the culinary delights of autumn with some squash.
Squash: It’s Mostly Safe For Dogs
Squash can be pretty good for dogs because it’s got a lot of beta carotene, which is good for their eyesight. Older dogs’ eyesight gets a bit dim as they age, so it never hurts to help your dog get healthy doses of beta carotene before their eyesight starts to go downhill.
However, dogs don’t get the same nutritional benefit from vegetables as we do. Dogs are carnivorous, so they lack the ability to break down vegetables and fruit like herbivorous animals can. Squash will be digested differently by a carnivorous digestive system, meaning they don’t absorb all of the nutrients available in it.
Because of this specific digestive pattern, you shouldn’t feed your dog raw squash. It’s unlikely that they’ll find it very tasty, but it will also be very hard for your dog’s stomach to break down. They’ll suffer from gas, bloating, and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.
When you cook squash, you shouldn’t use any seasonings or oil. Dogs don’t need sodium, and seeing as how most canines aren’t picky eaters; they aren’t going to turn their nose up at their food because it isn’t seasoned.
Proper Introduction of Squash to Your Dogs Diet
Any new foods introduced into your dog’s diet should be given in small amounts. You’ve probably given your dog a large portion of something new and then found yourself shuttling them outside all night while they have diarrhea.
Small helpings will acclimate their stomachs to the new food and prevent diarrhea and vomiting. Roast the squash and then cut or shred it before mixing a small amount in with their food.
The Wonders of Pumpkin
Pumpkin (which is part of the squash family) can work wonders on dogs with loose stools or diarrhea. Cooked or canned pumpkin can be given in small doses two to three times a day to help the stool regain its shape. If you buy canned pumpkin, make sure it’s just plain pumpkin and free of any spices or sugar.
You can mix it with their food and you should notice an improvement in the stool within 12 hours. Adding plain yogurt to the pumpkin will add some beneficial probiotics back into their gut and make the pumpkin more palatable if the dog doesn’t like it. Canned pumpkin is never a replacement for medical treatment if they have severe diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog has had diarrhea for over 24 hours, you should seek veterinary treatment, especially if they’re lethargic and not eating.
Before you get too excited about prepping a bunch of healthy veggies for your pup, you should consult with their veterinarian. No matter how healthy vegetables are, they should never take the place of quality dog food. As an occasional treat or as a simple addition to their daily diet, however, squash can be a great source of fiber during times of tummy troubles.