Do you have a gardening neighbor who brings you endless amounts of zucchini squash every summer? By August, it’s possible that you’ve run out of new recipes for your zucchini, and you probably don’t want to see another squash until next year rolls around. If you’re wondering if you can shoot your dog some zucchini so you don’t have to eat it all yourself, then you’ll be glad to know that zucchini is safe for dogs.
Is Zucchini Safe for Dogs?
Zucchini is a very healthy squash that’s mild in flavor and very low in calories. It’s mostly okay for your dog to eat, but how much they get should be kept limited to prevent giving them diarrhea.
Zucchini is touted for its weight loss benefits because it’s high in fiber and low in calories. The fiber keeps your dog feeling full on less food and improves their digestion so they more effectively absorb necessary nutrition. It’s also filled with nutrients that battle a host of diseases. Even though it’s not a fruit, it has high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiencies cause dangerous diseases in humans like scurvy and sclerosis, but it can also present with something as minor as bruising. Vitamin C is also necessary for a fully functioning immune system. Zucchini is ripe with potassium, folate, and vitamin A, all of which are necessary for properly performing muscles and helping to maintain a healthy hydration level.
Preparing Zucchini for Your Dog
Zucchini is easily digested, but it’s definitely better digested if it’s cooked. Dogs don’t have the digestive system omnivores or herbivores do because theirs is designed to digest animal protein like pork, chicken, and fish. If you decide to cook the zucchini for your dog, you should avoid using excess oil and other fats. Additional fat is not the best thing for your dog, leading to weight gain, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
Skip the seasonings, too. Your dog doesn’t need a fancy meal to enjoy it. Too much salt can increase their blood pressure or cause them to become dehydrated. You probably know that onions and garlic are very dangerous for your dog. Members of the Allium family (i.e. onions and garlic) damage the red blood cells and lead to something called hemolytic anemia. This can kill your dog if it isn’t promptly treated by a veterinarian. Onion and garlic powders are very potent and toxic to dogs.
You can prepare your zucchini in a variety of ways, but steaming and roasting are probably the easiest. You can mix a small serving into the dog food, or you can pull slices of zucchini from the fridge as a treat for your dog. Zucchini is a great alternative to commercial dog treats. Consider swapping out that fatty dog treat for some slices of roasted zucchini if your dog needs to go on a diet.
It isn’t likely that your dog will want to eat the flowery plant that zucchini comes from, but just in case, you should know the plant isn’t good for your dog. Some dogs have a penchant for grazing their way through gardens, so if you own one of those dogs, you should take some steps to keep them out of the plants.
Before you try to pawn some of that zucchini off on your dog, remember that your dog isn’t built to digest vegetables like you are. Things that are good for you aren’t necessarily the best option for your dog. To prevent giving them diarrhea or an upset stomach, it’s better to give them small amounts over an extended period of time. Stick to a few small servings a week and you’ll see that zucchini is actually good for your dog.